Newly Minted

Newly Minted
Right after I was hooded

Sunday, November 28, 2010

There are always gifts in the things I do not finish. I was going through unpublished posts and found this entry from January 2010:

I walk into a grant writing meeting today and an esteemed colleague (and I mean that I adore and respect this woman) says to me: "Oh, you looks so beautiful with your hair up. You have cheek bones and eyes. And it is not a big fizzy mess." For those of you who are not following the subtext of this conversation, here is what I heard: You are normally a hideous black mess when you wear your hair natural. I am so distracted by your natural hair that I just realized you have the same basic bone structure every other human being has. Afros are unkempt hot messes that are not appropriate nor attractive. Thank you for doing something with your self.

Sigh... I went to the bathroom where all good brown girls go to cry. I think at times I forget what I look like to other people. Frankly, I don't look at myself very often. Maybe I am avoiding seeing myself in the mirror.

One thing did happen THIS TIME that was different. Before I left the bathroom to go cry I said something like "I just started being comfortable enough to wear my hair natural and down. It is new for me and I am very happy with it." I was happy with it.

Interestingly enough, this is the key to the anxiety I have been having since before Thanksgiving thursday. I got my hair done. I got a fun, flippy weave because I decided to have my braids cut out of my hair. I had dreads because my hair grew like crazy after my surgery... Anyway... I should be able to make choices like this without feeling bad. But, I FEEL bad.

Before I got my hair done I asked a favorite colleague what I should have done. My colleague said "I have NO idea, but I am really tired of those braids, if I am being honest". Thank you for being honest, now. And did anyone think I didn't know the braids were grown out? OK....

Then of course, I am overwhelmed by the change in my hair and feeling very self concious. My husband keeps telling me I don't look like myself. My daughter's little friend says I look like Beyonce and my mother in law wants to know "what I did to my hair". Funny thing is, except for my husband, they all thought it was MY hair, and it still wasn't right.

I had gotten my hair done because I have a job interview tomorrow and what I realize is that I have created a situation where my colleagues (I am interviewing for my own job... state regulations... blah blah) will be so damn distracted by my hair that they won't hear a thing I have to say. One could argue that anyone who had their hair changed the day before an interview would have these fears or that anyone who changes their hair would experience this kind of feedback. My colleague changed her hair and everyone told her it was stunning, no one tried to touch it, and life went on. I promise you that will not be the case here.

So not only do I have interview anxiety, I have black hair anxiety as well. I have to sign off now as I am off to the theatre... Where NO ONE cares what my hair looks like. Thank god for performers egos that dwarf my own, it keeps me sane.

More soon...


  1. After reading your entries, I'm surprised no one has left a comment yet. I'm a mixed raced person myself - Chinese+Caucasian - and it's really comforting to see some sort of discussion about the issues of being mixed race, esp when its done in such a reasonable, readable, yet personal way. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Well please spread the word. I would really enjoy more people sharing their perspectives, lived experiences, and identity choices. How do you answer the "What are you?" and what does your family say you "are"? Thank you so much for commenting. I get so excited when I get comments. Have an amazing day.