Dear World

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It was 1:20AM on Thursday, May 4, 2017, and I lay wide awake in my bed.  I had that feeling you get the night before the first day of classes.  The feeling where your heart is racing faster than Usain Bolt and no matter how hard you try you can’t fall asleep–that feeling.

My heart was pounding because at 11AM on Thursday, May 4, 2017, I was getting braids.

You would think after all the anxiety I went through doing the big chop and learning to embrace my fro, I would be a pro by now at not caring what people think.  But alas, I am a human.  With feelings.  Lots and lots of feelings.  And no matter how hard I try, I still seem to struggle with caring what others think of me.

So…at 1:20AM on Thursday, May 4, 2017, I did the only thing I could think of to help me calm down–I wrote.  And this is what came of it:

Today a video popped up on my newsfeed with the caption: “Top 60 ghetto names. Just for laughs.”  It was posted from a church friend back home, and I can’t seem to shake this video from my mind.  Two high-school aged boys sit at a kitchen table going back and forth as they theatrically pronounce “ghetto” names: Shaniqua, Laquisha, Mo’Nique.  The list goes on for over a minute.

To the boys who created this video and to the 314,336 people who’ve shared this video, what if I told you one of my closest friends’ name is LaQruishia?  What if I told you in eighth grade, her teacher once told her she’d never get a job because of her name?  Is her name still funny?  What if I told you she’s a Yale graduate with a masters degree and a job? Is her name still a reason to laugh?

If I’m honest, I think the reason I’m so bothered by that facebook video is not simply because it is highly problematic, but because it hits too close to home regarding my own biases. The reason I’m wide awake right now is because I am getting braids tomorrow and I’m scared.   I’m scared because I don’t want to be labeled as “ghetto”.  I’m afraid someone will take one glance at me and assume my name is Shaniqua just because of my hair.  

If I’m honest, I  can’t shake that facebook video from my mind because I’m realizing the fear I am experiencing has been shaped and manufactured by the same society that motivated and encouraged those 314,336 people to click share.  

Dear World,

I don’t need you to think or tell me that I’m beautiful.  Because I am.  I can rock a fro, braids, or even a straight up bowl cut because my Father told me I’m beautiful and I believe Him (I don’t know if you know this, but He lowkey created the entire universe, so He’s pretty good at creating beautiful things #justsaying).  

Dear World,

I am not angry with you.  At least I don’t want to be.  I’m just trying to figure all of this stuff out.  I’m sick of trying to fit someone else’s standard of beauty.  I want to stand.  I want to be still and know that God is God.  I want to be still and know who I am in God.

Dear God,

I’m a mess, but thank you for being here with me, in the mess.  Thank you for the daily miracle you perform of loving me and somehow how seeing a masterpiece in the midst of a mess.  Thank you for not giving up on me even when I’ve seemed to have given up on myself.  Thank you for always singing over me.

So, yeah.  After journaling until nearly 2AM, I finally felt at peace.  Per usual, God had helped me find his supernatural rest in the midst of unrest, and when the time came, at 11AM on Thursday, May 4, 2017, I was ready for my braids.  I have lots more to say about these braids, but I will leave that for another post 🙂

For now, enjoy these (silly) photos of me embracing the versatility of my hair.

P.S. All photo creds go to my girl, LaQruishia, who also has a bomb blog you should check out!

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4 thoughts on “Dear World

  1. YES NIA YES

    (Also thank you for writing this because I feel that way about my hair and it’s something that we can/should/must talk about very very soon. kthxbye)

    Like

  2. Pingback: Afro Lessons | Purposefully Nia

  3. Pingback: Hair as Repair: Emotional Reparations | Purposefully Nia

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