Hair Paranoia: Oprah Winfrey and the Rest of Us

The above image I “stole” from the Huffington Post. I don’t know who the photographer is. Sorry.

Wow! Imagine one of the only topic a twit(s) on Twitter could think of was to tell Oprah that her weave looks nice. She promptly had to tell the entire world that the so-called-weave was actually her own hair. Her hair is awesome. I nod my head in respect, and wonder: why do we seek to tame our hair when it doesn’t need it?

These are the times we live in. Everyone (okay, for the few that are thinking about it) believes black women, for the most part are bald, or close to it. If we happen to have a substantial amount of hair (take your pick: past the shoulder and thick, or between shoulder blades and blunt cut), then the hair on our heads actually belongs to someone else. It was not something due to nature, nurture or genes.

I’m not surprised that a woman, who is a billionaire, would have (a lot of) hair on her head. It makes sense to me. She can afford to have every single strand looked after. If she was bald, it would, in my opinion, have to be due to disease, or incompetence. I don’t ascribe a lack of hair on some black women due to being black. I know in my own past I simply did not have a clue of how to take care of it. Trial and error can take a lifetime.

I have to admit that for a natural hair Nazi (said tongue in cheek), aside from a quick glance at a person’s head, I don’t think or care whether the hair is real, weave, wig, glued in, relaxed, not relaxed, permed – you name it. People, especially these days, are preoccupied with other concerns, and they on average, wear horrible hairstyles. Most people, I suspect, simply don’t care either.

There are, however, exceptions.

My Hair Paranoia

I am afraid to wear my hair loose, blown out, or flat ironed in public. In the past, black women have come up to me to touch my hair and offer commentary on it. As a black person interacting with other blacks, I’ve always felt that we have the truly unfortunate habit of being too familiar with one another.

Never would I look at someone and speak loudly about their hair, clothes, complexion, weight, or appearance. Yet, this is something that black people love to do. It’s extremely rude, vulgar, low class, disgusting behavior, yet too many are proud of it.

The worse is, not only the loud, and public commentary, but this belief that they can touch at will as well.

Even on days where I think I wont see anyone (black) if I am wearing my hair out, I feel as though all-eyes-are-on-me. I wish it were my imagination. People think you don’t know that they are staring. I used to wake people up from a nap on the trains of NYC just from staring. Trust, eyes have weight.

I admit it: I’m hair paranoid. Rarely do I wear my hair out. The few times I have, there’s this niggling feeling that each and every time I do it, there’s going to be some loud mouthed, overbearing, heavy staring black woman waiting to persecute me. In order to fight this, I’ll have to wear my hair out more often, until the paranoia fades, as well as invest in a fantastic new iPod, and taser. Just kidding about the iPod.

For Example @ The Baltimore Natural Hair Expo

Props to the Organic Root Stimulator folks! Great products from nice and professional people.

I wear my hair braided at the root, with the rest twisted. I twist while it’s damp to moderately wet. I load it with product; I’m very heavy handed. For the time being (my mini personal challenge), I’m not blow drying, or using the flat iron. I sit under my dryer to finish. This results in nice tight, shrunken twists. I also wear a scarf to cover nearly half my head to pull the hair back and off of my shoulders.

So, one of the first things a vendor, who was supposedly selling a product, couldn’t wait to tell me was my hair is short, and that she relaxes her hair! Oh wow! Does that stuff seep into the brain? Does it lower the IQ? I wonder. Mind you now, this product only covers the hair, that’s it. The little, itty, bitty, vendor even went so far as to show me her long, long, long micros! And her scalp! It was as though I was supposed to be impressed with long, long, long, fake hair!

Have we not truly become a crazy group of people?

It’s just hair, and generally speaking, folks need to please keep their stupid, ignorant, and uniformed comments to themselves.

If, and when, I form my black female rap/rock group – we must call ourselves The Insane Hair Posse.

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I Wish I Was An Artist: Having a Hobby Would Be Nice

Curiosity and Open Mindedness

A friend called me the other day looking for advice. I’m flattered, and slightly amused by these calls, because the person asking for the advice is older, and has many more college degrees than I do. I know it’s not always an indication of relative common sense, but the degrees she holds aren’t trivial.

I admire her, because she is very intelligent. She’s always curious, and rarely forgets anything. I often wish I had that type of recall. I see our relationship as being one where I’m the one asking for her opinion, because she has such an interesting take on things. Plus she’s managed to stay curious, is willing to pursue hobbies, and even go back to college, or take classes for a certificate, or obtain another advanced degree.

She possesses somethings that are great and wonderful: curiosity and open mindedness. I think it is better to have several interests, hobbies, and explore your curiosity as opposed to ignoring or suppressing it.

I wish I was even half as motivated as her. I feel I have done my time. Although sometimes I feel the call of obtaining another degree. Yet, I cannot tolerate a class longer than 2-6 weeks; I don’t care what the class is about.

I get so jittery, I want to smoke (and I don’t).

My Waning Attention Span

I don’t allow myself to be curious about too many things these days. The reasons why are rather lame, but I use them as my cop-out. I feel hobbies take up too much time. They cost too much money, and ultimately are a frustrating and short lived endeavor. I cannot pursue a hobby, because of my flagging attention span.

I used to be a free wheeling individual when it came to – say – art (painting/drawing) and writing. When I was a kid, I’d just get some water color paint, and commence with painting the walls of my bedroom. How did my folks react? They’d stop by, offer their criticism, or simply admire it. When I got tired of my artwork and I wanted the walls repainted with another of my favorite colors, my father would oblige me and repaint the room.

Yeah, I know, I was something of a Princess growing up.

A New Attitude Required

I cannot focus long enough on my interests anymore. I used to sew: I can make dresses, skirts and blouses, but I don’t have the patience. I used to write. I could finish a book, and I have. However, when it comes time to go back and re-edit, I’m done, I will do no more. I’ve got a ton of finished and nearly completed stories collecting dust. I can’t even muster the interest to finish my last masterpiece of a bookshelf. It’s just sitting there in the dining room, cluttering up space.

I hate clutter.

I’m also turning a blind eye to the news. I don’t follow the release of movies anymore. I don’t plan on seeing any films – in the theaters – this summer. I’ve cut down my evening entertainment to two hours a night, and I plan on cutting it down to one night per week.

I have decided to follow the formula of another friend of mine. She plans most of her weekdays, and every weekend. She makes sure she is always occupied and busy. I’m a last minute kind of person, but I want to follow her example for a period of time, and see if that’s a better way to function. I will plan my entire spring, summer and fall. The free-floating Miss Mellow thing will be gone for a while.

Well, after my pep-talk my friend felt better. She made me think of asking the advice of someone I used to ask for help, but I haven’t done so in years. I think I will now.

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