As I entered the room I said, Hi Mr. (———-) I’m back .. it’s time for your medications. My patient is bedridden yet he always find the strength to offer up a smile when he sees me. As I lean towards him my hair falls off to the side closest to him. He slowly reaches up as he continues to smile, I looked at him and smile while I mixed his medications. I see his hand coming closer to face. He’s touching my hair and in a weak voice he says, “you have beautiful hair and a lot of it.” I chuckled and said, “Well thank you Mr. (——–) ”
It’s time for your insulin. She looked at me and in her always pleasant voice said, “tell me your name again darling”. “Nurse Bryant” I replied. She smiled and said, “Oh yeah, the one with the pretty hair”. I smiled and said, “Yes ma’am”. She could not believe this was my hair. She thought, as she put it.. I wore “extensions”. She told me all this time she thought I had hair extensions. I chuckled and told her that was okay because I get that all the time 🙂
I expect those type of reactions from the elderly or from those who may not get the opportunity to see me in person or from even another race of cultures. As I think back to the 3 times I visited Korea. The reaction there was surprising & touching because they were so eager to know more about it (my hair). From the very old to the young… my hair was so fascinating to them. They would stop me in the streets and ask if they could be photographed with me. They did not hide their excited expressions as they anticipated the moment they could actually touch and feel real African hair. They were compassionate & courteous when they spoke the words, “you’re so pretty” … and I too thought they were pretty.
Funny thing… those who are no longer an active member of society and those living in lands far far away can recognize & appreciate your unique beauty but those living right here in my very own community sees the “nappy” natural texture of African hair as an embarrassment right along with their real facial features. It’s simply self hate… no matter what you say… like it or not.. you can’t tell me we love our self if we’re embarrassed at the first sight of kinky hair as it transforms from the creamy crack we have laid on top of it and when the lye from the relaxer has damaged our hair instead of us embracing our natural hair we’ll happily pay to have someone else DNA (from lands far far away) sewn onto our scalp to cover up what’s not naturally silky straight. That’s what’s most disturbing.
I’m thankful I was able to see the light.. It truly has changed my life. Hopefully one day we can all stop living the LYE.
I adorned my locs with beads. It’s not the first time I have done that to my locs as you can see here in this past post: http://blog.latreniabryant.com/2012/05/beaded-locs/
I will be posting my last farewell 2013 post tomorrow! 🙂