the little black girl who hated Sunday dresses,
and despised “Just for Girls” perm boxes.
I loved the natural kinks and coils of my 4C grade hair
and the way it grew but wouldn’t be ruined in the rain.
I loved the hundreds of beads and bows that waited to be yanked out after a fresh hair-do.
My hair was one with the wind and did as it pleased.
I had no worries of not playing at recess.
Groups of girls gathered to play double dutch, others to play ring around the rosie
but I was darting to the swings with the boys.
“Ha, you lose !” they chanted as we conquered the golden swing set
just to leap off and land on monkey bars.
We hung from the steel blue rods like Kings of the Jungle, watching our kingdom.
“Look what you’ve done,” said my mother
as she tried to scrub the grass stains off my new blue jeans.
“Just leave them there,” I insisted, “they won’t stay clean.”
Growing up, I was too young to hang with my siblings.
I was forced to play with my neighbor who was three years younger than I.
She liked playing “Husband and Wife,” and I was always the husband.
“Why I gotta be the husband and wear my brothers’ clothes?” I would ask.
“Well, your hair, and the way you play basketball. I cheer. It’s clear I’m the wife.”
“Ok, I guess.” I thought as I headed to my brothers’ room
Chants were whispered from girl to girl “You are Tomboy.”
And eventually to, “She’s a dyke.”
“If that’s what you call being picked first by every boy, then I’m fine with that,” I’d chuckle.
I am every girl’s dream: to be picked first.