December 6, 2009

Hair care insecure

So it's that time of night where I'm typing up the remains of my homework & taking some downtime to be here. I sigh.

I have the door propped open so my room mate doesn't interrupt me a lot running in an out, plus it's kinda hot. My hair is covered with a plastic bag and then covered with a towel so I don't look crazy having a plastic bag on my head, but I look weird sitting here with a towel. Constantly wiping oil from my forehead.

The oil is dripping down my neck like it does every other night. Making paths down the sides of my face and trying to get past my eyebrows to my eyes to sting. I don't like hair dryers because I don't like a lot of heat on my head. The room smells faintly of pungent rosemary, its scent only tempered by jojoba oil and almond oil. I've been mixing up little potions again to keep my now reddish-gold fro looking its best.

My thin purple towel obscures the right side of my face and I look like a demure Madonna, or a sacrilegious parody of. I have it this way to make sure nothing drips down my tank top, shoulders, etc. Every now and then I take a minute to peek at the door as voices drift down the hall, girls walk by giggling. If they look in at the right time they'll see me on my loft bed, typing away, face hidden for the most part from view.

I feel weird this time of night, knowing I'm probably the only person in this building going through such a strange ritual and so publicly sometimes. Oh, there are other black women in the hall but as far as I can tell they have relaxed hair. Maybe they have their own special rituals--I remember my own. Do they anoint themselves with rosemary and water then sit under cold water for 5 minutes, then douse themselves with cool air for drying? Do they feel as strange knowing that, because black hair & scalps tend to be dry, that hair oil is apparently a foreign concept among white counterparts? Do they scour the net for time- and money-saving natural hair and skin care tips?

Maybe it's just me as usual, not feeling confident in lifestyle choices again. Never quite feeling good in my own skin--the contradiction of not really caring for the opinions of others, and yet seeking approval and basking in attention. Not wanting to explain or be judged, but always wondering--when will I have to explain? Will I be judged? Not being able to just let it go, at least completely.

I'm a little different, I know. If I can just throw myself into this essay--an essay on slavery, I'd be okay. But I know every few minutes I'll pull my veil back a little just to see who's watching the spectacle...

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