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
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.