Yesterday was my last day with my summer job as a day camp counselor. Saying goodbye to the kids after 6 weeks of fussing, crying, playing, and bathroom breaks was admittedly a tear inducing event. The funny thing about kids is that they are very raw. Joy is felt wholeheartedly, as well as anger, sadness, and jealousy. It's a different kind of purity but one that is able to completely reflects whatever influences that kids have in their life. Kids dont really have a mind screen to make things sound better or worse than they really are. Most of the time, they say or do what is on their mind.
A subject that is strongly reflected in my kids was the subject of my hair. If you are just tuning in, I recently decided to cut off my permed hair and rock a short do. the reasons why is a whole other note that I have written but it involves Malcolm X and my own indifference to looking "good". Anyway people's outward reactions were either along the lines of impressed or angry that a girl like me who had "long good hair" would cut it completely in favor of very short kinky hair. but my resolve to go natural is tested daily by reactions to my hair and how i think people look at me now. people have been less comfortable with my and my social conscious outbursts now that i am a "natural" black young woman. and for first impressions, im looked at with more wariness and caution than before when i was just another light skinned, long haired, girl. whether with long, extension filled braids or my permed hair.
Now the kids at my summer camp reacted in a stronger manner than my peers and other adults. kids still liked me ok (cause im a complete goofball) but i was clearly more intimidating. i was constantly mistaken for a boy or kids would ask me why i didnt look more like a woman. especially the male children. I had one little 6 year old who i had really liked tell me that i should get longer and straighter hair because my short kinky hair looked "nasty" as he slept on my shoulder, i wondered what his parents were like and what kind of people he was surrounded with.
for the first time i didnt feel very pretty. in fact for a few brief seconds, i considered, not getting a permed, but getting extensions again. fortunately that moment passed but i wont forget soon how beauty is looked at and what my going against the grain looks like to other people.
the fact that it only takes me 5 minutes to pick and spray my hair and 10 minutes to wash it though is luxury that i love.