Thursday, January 21, 2010
Grown, Part 3: Hair.
I remember, as a little girl, the harsh, trying feat of my mother doing my hair. Most of the time, I did not like it. The whole process caused tears and plenty of "ow! ma!" 's coming from my lips. I was affectionately labeled "tender headed", because one comb stroke convulsed my limbs more than a seizure would. Usually, I didn't like the end result either. My bangs were too curly. Or my ponytails were too tight.
But the older members of my family raved about how cute I looked. I pouted as they pinched my cheeks, but something makes more sense to me now than it did back then....
My mother was shaping my glory.
One thing I appreciate about being a Black Woman is that hair-care is a form of intimacy. Mother to child. Sister to sister. Woman to man. Other cultures won't quite understand why this can be a sensitive act between two people. My cousin recently put micro-braids in my hair, and it was a nurturing, bonding experience. She was doing more than "hooking me up". She was tending to my glory.
[I am, in no way, trying to disregard the recent anthem of India.Arie. Women ARE more than their hair. However, there is something significant about the covering of a woman's head that shines brightly to the opposite sex. I've been told that it is one of the first things a man notices about a woman's apperance.]
When I was in middle school, I hated doing my hair. Transitioning through my ball-playing, tomboy phase, I rocked t-shirts and wore my hair back in a ponytail. I never brushed it. I seldom combed it. I washed it to keep it from itching, but I could have cared less what my glory was becoming (or not becoming). It wasn't until I started to get it professionally done (at my mother's prompting) that I noticed a difference. I remember my stylist Keisha (who is still my go-to superwoman when I am back in my home state) spinning my chair around to face the big mirror...and asking me what I thought.
It was one of the first times in my adolescence that I'd felt beautiful without someone telling me so. I remember looking down for a moment in shame because I wasn't aware that I could be pleased with my appearance. But then I quickly looked back up, and smiled at my reflection. Keisha nodded and said something to the effect, "I guess that means you like it."
Sometimes we can be afraid of our own God-given glory. Granted, it is a glory that would be non-existent without Him, but it is ours none the less. Other times, we assume that we should possess a certain type of glory. But true glory is unique to its vessel; though it all comes from a singular Source.
I've spent too much of my life being afraid of me. Stifling the glory that so wishes to shine forth.
It is a battle, but I am searching. Digging for the depths of God's glory, and the glory He has destined to rest on my head. Flowing. Lovely. Gorgeous.
...after all, I am grown now.