I Go Back to My Stolen Childhood

 

I feel the burn of the smelly and strong relaxer on my head

The chemical takes hostage of each of my natural curls and permanently damages it

I feel the scorching heat of the hot iron as it burns my scalp and ears

And hear the sizzling of conformity through the strands

I wish I could wear my hair how I really preferred it:

Wild, kinky, curly, and free

But mother says it has to be straight, to be accepted.

I hear myself denying my background….embarrassed to hear and say my full name

Claiming to be Jamaican because Islanders are more accepted in America than Africans

But now,

Now I walk down the streets of Georgia

With the biggest boldest boisterous hair I can acquire, hair that defies gravity or

With twists and braids as long as the Nile River, dancing to the African beats

With my bright, colorful, handmade prints and

With my glorious name, the name that means, “God has blessed me.”

It turns out, happiness doesn’t rely on any acceptance, but yours

If only I knew this then.

But as much I want to,

I wouldn’t change this struggle, strife, scuffle, and sacrifice for anything

Because only through our greatest mistakes do we learn best and grow.

This poem is about: 
Me
My family
My community
My country
Our world

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