Don’t Touch My Hair!

Don’t touch my hair!!! Is being shouted in every public forum. Don’t touch my hair!! Doesn’t even seem like anything that should need to be said. It’s truly unfortunate that someone would need to be told that it is not copasetic to put your hands on someone else’s person without explicit permission. But I guess🤷🏽‍♀️

I’m not exactly jumping in the “don’t touch my hair” bandwagon, although I agree with these ladies and gentlemen that their space should be respected. Curiosity does not trump good manners. I have observed that now that Black people have embraced education on styling and maintaining our hair in it’s natural form, our artistry is seen more openly in workplaces and common environments. What appears as new styles to some, are the same refashioned styles we’ve been rockin’ at home and our social gatherings for decades.

I have never in my 9 years of growing dreadlocks had anyone touch them without being invited. Ever. And the idea that someone would seems so lacking of class that I am surprised that people still have these encounters. Curiosity of the texture or how an updo is holding it’s form does not override the rules of good manners.

Do I think of my hair as art? Yes. I have spent time hours upon hours developing my maintenance regiment. I buy herbs and supplements to promote a healthy scalp that will grow and support my hair. I have to nurture each individual loc to avoid thinning and breakage. So is it art? Yes, it is a true and authentic expression of my love for myself and my journey of self-discovery. It is a representation of my unapologetic Blackness. It also aligns with my belief that God knows and loves every hair on my head ~so do I 😍

So since I think of it as an artistic manifestation of my self awareness, then gallery art rules natural apply. I mean I have never run my hands over a car’s high gloss shine at a car show. I’ve never fingered brush strokes of a painting in a museum. I’ve certainly never touched a sandcastle to see if the sand was wet or gritty. In terms of art, the styling of my hair survives under those same rules and a barrier exists for the same reason.

Like I said, I’ve never had someone touch it uninvited, but I definitely allowed people to touch it. I can’t think of a time someone asked to. Each time, I think I offered. Why? Because I didn’t mind being open to a coworker or a friend about the truth and fallacies about Black hair (particularly dreadlocks). Mine are soft, long, and heavy. Is it my job to educate someone else about my hair? If my daily life is interlocked with this other person’s, then yes it is mutually beneficial that they would eventually part ways wiser than when we met. Good information shapes good manners.

I had a coworker named Minerva that would play in my hair during meetings. (It was a very casual but stressful law firm) I loved it! It felt so southing and kept my stress headaches to a minimum. I didn’t assign an insult or offense to it. It was just a girlfriend braiding and unbraiding another friend’s hair.

If you disagree with my use of the term dreadlocks instead of locs.. Umm ok 🙄 but please first read my blog entry DREADFULLY for insight into my perspective. I am always open to informed dialogue 😊

Dreadfully

“Girl, what is wrong wit yo head?”
“Nothing.”
“Well you need to comb that mess out. Walking around here with a head full of pig tits.”
“They’re not pig tits. They’re dreadlocks and I like em.”
“I agree with one thing. They do look dreadful.”

Tsk. Tsk. Tsk. You’re trying to shove it down my throat that white folks ain’t gone like it, that doors will be closed, that I have chosen to look unkept. It’s you that cracks back with backhand compliments. Telling me what I can’t be.

I refuse to be responsible for someone else’s fear of my freedom. I push back against false teachings that do not belong to me. I will not be turned around by someone who has processed all the natural thoughts out their head by buying into lye. I won’t deny myself my righteousness. I won’t be turned around.

Dreadful is my awe inspiring outward manifestation of inside revelations. They teach me. Tremble against my courage if you must. Shutter at my disregard for life that was never meant for me. Then at the same time, you wanna touch em. No ma’am. Your ways are a circus; I won’t jump through hoops.

Be ashamed? Of what? If I walk in a door and I’m not welcomed, then that is a place I would not want to be. And in my personal experience, they never blocked access to quality opportunities for me. Key word: quality. Not every door leads to a room I want to go in. I’m choosy. Seriously, what can be kept from me? A mock-up of equality? Yeah keep that. It’s beneath what I already know the path to be.

And I ain’t gonna twist my edges away. Trying to tame whats supposed to be free. Miss me. Besides all that pulling, pinning, and yanking make my roots hurt. But mine ain’t pretty cus they don’t fit into your Cosmo game? Y’all want that GQ fame. Yeah I don’t live in that frame. How do you conform nonconformity? Stop it.

A bit of extra truth though. My crown is a straight mat with coils in the back. My modge podge heritage won’t rest in a label. It can’t nestle into fable, cus it’s silk and nappy. It expresses in a way that sincerely baffles me. I learned not to fight it. It can be quite dreadful.

But feel fear? Terror? Never. Well maybe sometimes you should, but that depends more on you and about me less. Are your intentions to inhibit, restrict, or suppress? I ain’t colorblind. I recognize all the shade I see. Well, your inferior ruminations build on standards of degradation will not rule the celebration of my inalienable right to be. Me. Free.

I hope you felt that. Dreadfully lol.

I’ve added a new read for your edification! Learning about dreadlocks as an art of self-expression is just as important as understanding social boundaries necessary to the respect and preservation of it’s sacred space. Please check out “Don’t Touch My Hair” on my Journey page!