Don’t come for me unless I send for you: I need “alladis” chamomile tea.

I have natural hair.

I went natural in 2010 because I was tired of being defined by my hair (being that Black girl with long hair became tiring). On a day in January I went and had my big chop done. I left the shop feeling amazing. I’ve felt amazing about my natural hair every single day since. The thing that continues to excite me about my hair is its versatility. Having the ability to change my hairstyle on a whim just works for me.  

What does bother me about the natural hair movement is the audacity of some other naturals who insist on policing other women’s hair.

The situation: 

After much deliberation, research on salons, and negotiating with my bank account (graduate student life is hard), I decided to  get a sew-in. I wanted a new hairstyle that was: protective, easy to care for, and required little-to-no heat. A sew in just seemed like the right way to go since I had previously tried senegalese and havana twists. I went to a salon that had done a blowout and trim for me before that offered a $99 sew-in. I came up out of that salon with a long bob that looked similar to my own hair when it’s blown-out, just cuter.

After posting pictures of my new ‘do on the Instagram, the Facebook, and the Twitter – I walked into my first class on Monday morning like:

Image

 

My adviser teaches my first class and she complimented me on my hair saying that she hardly sees me with straight hair. I told her jokingly that this wasn’t my hair followed by some other hair related banter for about two seconds until out of nowhere the only other Black woman in the class (also a natural) goes: 

I hardly ever straighten my hair. I’ve only ever straightened my hair twice in the whole time I’ve been natural” 

My visceral reaction to this comment was to say “who asked you to be in this conversation?” But I let it slide because I quickly realized what bothered me about the comment. Instead, I sat through class and stewed on it. At the break I bought some chamomile tea and sipped that while I jotted down my feelings about the situation… two of those thoughts were:

Don’t come for me unless I send for you

and 

I need alladis chamomile tea right now

What pissed me off the most about her comment wasn’t the fact that she interrupted my compliment; but that she, in a very quick and hurtful way, attempted to police me and my hair. She did that thing that some naturals do when they make comments about what it really means to be natural: no weave, no color, no heat. My best response to these women is always a girl, bye because what you aren’t going to do is draw boundaries around me and my hair and attempt to dictate how/when/why I style it how I please. 

What does this boundary drawing do for you anyway, but alienate you from potential sister-friends? 

And I still look fly. 

Girl, No

Sometimes you have to wait for years to feel closure about a situation. When that moment finally came in my life, I responded to it the best way I knew how.

Long story short: what you aren’t going to do is try to take my life from me, shove me in bars, sully my name and then e-mail me asking for my help/guidance/materials.

One morning about two weeks ago I woke up to an e-mail from a girl I used to know. This girl made my life hell during my first year of graduate school. To see her name in my school e-mail account took me aback. The content of the e-mail was enough to make me contemplate whether I had actually woken up – like was this some sick dream sequence? I really don’t understand the plot of Inception, so was I in some “level of abstraction” of dreaming?

Image

After receiving the e-mail I legitimately laughed for about two hours. I laughed the whole bus ride to my office, and then laughed in my office as I read and re-read it. It has been a long time since we connected? The one thing I kept thinking reading this was girl, no it hasn’t been a long time since we connected – it’s been three years since you attempted to ruin my life. As I meditated on the right way to respond to her e-mail, I kept arriving at the same statement. So I responded:

Image

Short and sweet. Kind of like me if you aren’t on the receiving end of this kind of e-mail.

“Best regards”

Rosie

Getting Distracted

IMG_0013

I’m starting this as a distraction. A distraction from academic writing, from reading, and from life in general. I went to see the infamous big duck in Pittsburgh (a 40 ft. replica of a rubber duck that was docked in the city for a few weeks) today – and one lesson I took away from the gigantic bathtub fowl is that people love to be distracted.

As I stood in a crowd of people waiting to have my picture taken with the behemoth ducky, I really began to contemplate the important role of distraction in my own life. Not only was I concerned about how this duck acted as an “opium of the people,” but I, myself, was enamored enough with the idea of seeing this duck that I ventured out into the city with my cohort members to see it in person. I felt the pressure to have this gigantic symbol of distraction be a part of my life. Seeing it made me feel great but that sense of greatness was fleeting.

I say all of this to say that I am starting this blog as a distraction. Hopefully it will be a worthwhile distraction, unlike the duck. Hopefully I will learn more about myself as I write it. Hopefully it will be more than a fleeting distraction for anyone who reads it.

-Rosie