Having Strength in the Face of Adversity

Having Strength in the Face of Adversity
C. Dzen Models Purple Hair
C. Dzen Models Purple Hair

Picaninny black / Picaninny blue / Your hair’s in kinky knots, mine is silky smooth / Do you wash it? / Do you dry it? / Did you braid it, dye it, buy it? / How’d you do it? / Why’d you do it? / Can you take it out, comb through it?

 

Picaninny black
Picaninny blue
Your hair’s in kinky knots, mine is silky smooth

Do you wash it?
Do you dry it?
Did you braid it, dye it, buy it?

How’d you do it?
Why’d you do it?
Can you take it out, comb through it?

STRENGTH


It takes strength to ignore hurtful comments, especially as a 16-year-old teenager.  I can recall one woman at church told me I looked like ” a little picanninny child”.  My grandmother continually said, “…I don’t know why you want those ugly things?”  My mother tested my sincerity about locing by saying, “…you know I’m not going to hug you when you get them”.  


Picaninny black
Picaninny blue
Your hair’s in kinky knots, mine is silky smooth


After cutting off the last bit of perm, I became a member of the T.W.A. Committee.  That’s right, the “Teenie Weenie Afro” Committee, dubbed so by certain of my fellow classmates.  There was a lot of adversity, but I started locing my hair after I graduated from high school, in 2000, anyway.  Early adversities surrounded what Corporate America would think about my “look” once I graduated.  I ignored everyone and simply thought, as long as I keep it neat, there should not be a problem.  I began interning at a Fortune 100 company that very summer and have since found a welcome home in Corporate America just as I am.


Do you wash it?
Do you dry it?
Did you braid it, dye it, buy it?


It is funny how believing in yourself in the face of adversity changes others.  I found the woman who said I looked like “a little picanniny child” with baby locs herself during one of my summer vacation visits.  I just looked at her and thought how liberating my choice to loc my hair was for me, but also how liberating it must be for other people who are inspired to loc because of my choice.  That is freeing!  On another occasion, years later, my grandmother would express how beautiful she thought my hair looked in a wavy style I choose to don that day.  Finally, I quickly realized that my mother never stopped hugging me because of my hair.  


How’d you do it?
Why’d you do it?
Can you take it out, comb through it?


My hair story is one of strength.  No matter what anyone thinks, if you feel passionately about something, express your unique self!  As you can see, people come around in their own time.  Ultimately, I know who I am, whose I am and where I am going.  That is all that I need to know.  My hair is an extension of how I am on the inside.  Natural hair is not a transition to me.  I can honestly say that I never went through a transition phase.  I cut it all off, BAM…that’s not a transition, that was a whole new look.  The transition that I think folks are referring to – when they talk about having a “transition phase” – has to do with our acceptance of a natural look.  For example, “How will I look with this hairstyle in an evening gown?” or “I don’ t have enough hair for a ponytail, so what does dressing this look down mean for me?”  The transition is really a mindset acceptance of change.  Once we have embraced our new look, the transition period is over.  That is the strength in acceptance of our natural selves.   


Picaninny
Picaninny
Yes, I’m black
Natural and happy
Nappy, in fact!
Strong enough to love from the inside out
Your hair may be smooth, but mine is proud and free
 

That’s what living strong & confident is about!

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