Archives for September 2023

I did it.

I’ve been sitting in silence for the past 7 days.

Praying.
Fasting.
Cuddling with Happy.🐶

Just going back through the course of events that brought me to this moment…

I’ve been trying to “grow my hair back” since Momma maliciously cut it off when I was twelve. I’ve tried TONS of hair styles and extensions to combat her ugly words about me being ugly, dumb, stupid, and a piece of crap.

I’ve tried:

—sulfur 8
—blue magic
—super hair grow grease
—Jamaican Black Caster Oil
—Carol’s Daughter
—Uncle Funky
—Aunt Jessie
—Cantu
—Cream of Nature
—The Mane Choice
—perms
—extensions
—weaves
—braids
—sew-ins
—natural
—steam
—honey
—fruit
—figs
—hair growth oil
—hair growth pills

The list goes on and on.

I never really saw myself as pretty.

That’s not completely accurate. I did feel pretty for a day or two until the new style stopped looking like I had just stepped out of a salon.

Or on occasion, when my hair hit my face in a certain way, I felt beautiful.

But that feeling was almost always tied to me having long braids, or faux locs, permed short hair, or whichever lover (male or female) I was buying love from with my body.

I never questioned why I was so invested into growing my hair long.

It grew when I wore protective styles, but the moment I started to do my own hair, it would break or shed.

Especially when I was under heavy stress.

When I was about to defend my dissertation at Stanford, my hair broke off in the back. I was happy I passed AND I had to get my hair braided to cover up the bald patch.

My need to feel pretty and be loved through my hair were my attempts at silencing Momma’s voice in my head berating me at every turn.

Each box braid, silk press, or corn row has had me continue to be that scared and defenseless little Black girl, who thought that if she had long hair, she would be beautiful.

And Momma would be wrong about her.

A few weeks before a keynote address, my hair started thinning. My stylist, who happens to be a certified Trichologist, did everything she could to stop the shedding. Eventually she diagnosed me with early-stage alopecia.

That diagnosis felt like being thrown in an ice cold placid sea.

Due to time, she made me a wig for the keynote and cut my hair into a short pixie cut to disguise my hair loss and hair thinning.

I could rock my keynote with one of these two options.

But in the light, I could see through my hair.

If the natural light couldn’t hide my hair loss, what would happen when I’m on stage with the harsh video and camera lights?

So I got my heart right to wear the wig.

It felt like a hot helmet.

And I felt like a fake.
I felt completely disempowered.
And I felt ugly.

The day Happy and I were to fly to the keynote, I prepared my freshly pressed natural hair to get into the shower.
I wrapped my hair with a scarf and put on my shower cap.

My shower cap and my sleeping bonnet are both floral.

I mistakenly put on my sleeping bonnet instead of my shower cap and stepped into the steamy tub. I quickly pulled the shower cover back in place to keep the warm mist in the tub.

As I lathered, I started to feel my hair getting damp. I didn’t think anything of it as I bathe.

It was only AFTER I stepped out of the shower that I realize my mistake.

I gingerly took my damp bonnet off my head and slowly unwrapped my hair scarf off my head.

I looked in the mirror and saw Momma.

I saw her cruelly cut my hair in fist full of righteous rage, viciously pulling my hair with such force, my scalp bled.

Then I saw my little girl self get up of the bed grab a hair scarf and covering her hair with shaky hands.

I saw little girl me and adult me look each other in the eyes.

Then I heard little girl me say with her eyes words that I heard deep in my heart:

“I love you Venus.”

And I cried.

I touched the mirror with my fingertips.

My little girl self came out of the mirror and sat in my lap.

She hugged me as I cried in her tiny arms.
She kissed my hair.
Everywhere her lips touched left beautiful tiny dandelions.

When she finished, she smiled at me and put her two tiny hands on my face.

My little girl self smiled in my eyes, took a deep breath and blew ALL the dandelions away.

She laughed.
Clapped.
Twirled.

That’s when I heard it.

The Voice.

God.

“Let it go Beloved. It’s over now. You don’t need to keep trying to fix something you did not break.”

I opened my eyes to Happy licking my face.

I don’t know how I got from the bathroom to the bedroom.

But I knew it was time to set myself free.

So on the way to the airport, Nanna drove me and Happy to a barbershop and I did it.

I got a buzz cut.

For the first time since I was 12, I felt beautiful.

And free.

Thanks for bearing witness.

I love you,

Dr. Venus