The Politics of my hair
I am one of those people who would rather have my hair short, any day. Wait a minute, that could be years of visiting the barber man at the beginning of every term and when it ended because, God forbid that ndiunze inda mumba maamai vangu (I should bring Lice into my mother’s house) from all that playing of mahumbwe and chuti speaking. Or maybe was it because it became a statement of defiance borne of default when, in high school we were finally allowed to braid our hair, and I decided that I would keep it short and neat, after realising that maintaining long wavy hair wasn’t really my thing (you either have a knack for it or you don’t and I am one of those people who don’t).
It also became the politics of my pocket. In fact I still get into a hair shop, see the prices, do lateral neck turns, think HEEELLL NOO and walk out. And then walk back in because by the time I visit a hair shop I will have undone my, let me mention, kinky, hair (also think: politics of her pockets) and its all a messy mass of unyielding knots and any self respecting woman knows to get their hair done. And besides those hair braiding vulture sistaz outside every shop and corner in town won’t give you rest with tokurukai here sista, this time imbondiedzaiwo ( do you need to get your hair braided? Try me this time)……basically telling you you are inadequate as a woman looking as you are. It’s in the blood and DNA of what gives life to kitchen parties, ladies’ church or general meetings and social media groups to make sure you always look good enough for your husband/ boyfriend so that he wont leave you or that your competition knows that you bath and fair enough warning that he will come back. It’s also mandatory that you use his money while you are at it (and at this point I am still not even sure I care to be respected sometimes).
And then of course there is the dilemma of to weave or not to weave.
Now, I have worn a weave and I have felt wonderful although I have never managed to catch up with the trends. GOSH! the 28 piece is out of fashion already?????. But I have also felt guilty, horrible guilt, borne out of my real or imagined betrayal of the struggle against white supremacy. The whole debate about needing to identify African haunts me as I whip my long weave back and fourth and alternately pound my head into a head ache because I cannot scratch under the net that has been glued around my head to keep the weave in place. The nausea kicks in when I see a discoloured woman who has used one bottle too many of skin bleach. And then I think: Hypocrite. And I am . I have also tried the chemicals and I am still convinced I was punished for trying. I have been burned by every chemical that has ever been made. So I resort to safer and more navigable terrain. Braids. Which ones? The soft glossier ones? Or, yes the kinky ones because they resemble my hair? I have thought of dreadlocks and a very dear friend of mine whose opinion I normally value said NO. they are too manly apparently and they communicate man hating and shout female dominance which scares men the hell away. Do I care for that shit? Yes. No. Maybe.
So once again it’s that season of that time of the month when my hair needs to get done and these thoughts haunt and torment me. I am just hoping that when I get to the hair shop see the prices, do lateral neck turns, think HEEELLL NOO and walk out. And then walk back in the hormones of this time of the month will decide for me.