Have you ever had a moment where something just clicks in your mind? You’re just sitting there and BAM, it all just makes sense?
Well, for me, that moment came a couple days after speaking with my mother about my neighbor in Jamaica.
I remember that on Sundays, after my grandmother washed and detangled my hair, I would walk to my neighbor’s so that she could style my hair. I was not about to go to school with my granny plaits.
I remember that up until a certain point, said neighbor would “put my hair in one,” my child-talk for a pony tail, when I so requested.
That was during my infant school years.
However, at some point, she stared saying that she couldn’t do it. My hair was too thick, yadda yadda. So, instead, my hair would be styled in braids, twists, cornrows, you name it. I didn’t appreciate that.
Yes, as a child, I liked the simplicity of just throwing my hair into a ponytail and being done.
Over time, as I entered 2nd-5th grade, I started seeing a pattern. The girls with “pretty hair,” or the Indian/Asian kids, or the girls with perms, would have their hair “in one.” So naturally, I started thinking that it was because I didn’t have that “pretty hair.”
So, I resented my hair. I wanted a perm. I wanted to put my hair “in one.”
Fast forward like ten years, and guess what? I can put my hair “in one.” I still love ponytails, buns, pin-ups, everything of that sort. I’ve also grown to appreciate the styles that I’ve worn as a kid.
You want to know the most tragic part of this story? Well, during my conversation with my mother, I found out that my neighbor has had rheumatoid arthritis for many years.
Obviously, as a child I didn’t quite understand what this was. But, such a misunderstanding shaped my relationship with myself, my hair, and my self-esteem.
At that point, everything just made sense. The need for her to rest while doing my hair. Her complaints of pain. How long it took her to sit and stand. I feel horrible for not understanding her pain.
But I was just a child who didn’t understand. Has anyone else had such an experience?