Saturday, May 4, 2013

Hairties and Bad Haircuts

(Day Two)

People say they want things to stay the same, to never change, but that's crazy.

When I was a little girl, my mom would tie my hair up in tight pony tails with hair ties that had bright, plastic balls on the ends. They snapped at your fingers if you tried to take them out yourself. So much hair. Neatly packaged in the morning, escaping for dear life in the afternoon.

I remember my Mom angrily cutting my long hair the day she discovered I had come home with a'ac. There was an argument between my Mom and Dad. Nothing new, there was always an argument. It ended with the screen door slamming and my black hair on the floor. I cried because I was embarrassed, but my sister told me, "Hey, it happens." and my brothers just shrugged their shoulders.

My Mom continued to cut my hair after that. A little here, a little there, "Oops." " no! Quit moving!" "You can't sit still!" "Eee! It's straight enough, no one's going to notice..."

Everyone noticed.

On top of that haircut, my hair was now frizzy.

I wanted straight, shiny, black hair like everyone else.

I asked my Mom for hair gel. So we bought some at the swap meet. It felt like water in my hands, I didn't notice a difference except that my hair smelled different.

"I spent money on that! You better use all of it."
So I used all of it. Then she bought me more.

There was the time I was mistaken for a boy at McDonald's. "You gave me the wrong toy..." My Mom still likes to laugh and tell the story, even though it used to make me cry.

I wanted straight, shiny, black hair like everyone else.

In high school, I went to a very fancy place and got my hair cut and highlighted. It cost me over a hundred dollars. The highlights were red, but they looked blonde against the black of my hair. I had to learn to use a curling iron. Scabs on my forehead. "Maybe no one will notice."

Everyone noticed.

Oh well. It happens.

When I became pregnant with my twin daughters, I called to cancel my appointment to the fancy salon. Every O'odham woman knows you don't cut your hair when you're pregnant.

When I became a mom I combed and styled hair. I wouldn't cut their hair at home, I remembered the accusations of "not sitting still". The McDonald's incident. I didn't want angry scalps. I let them have wild hair.

They had straight, shiny, brown hair.

I started to cut my own hair after a couple of years. A pair of scissors on the bathroom counter is a dangerous thing to have around when a woman keeps getting tangled in her own hair, on a hot, summer evening.

Eventually, I cut out the last of the highlights. Then I remembered that I wanted straight, shiny, black hair just like everyone else.

My hair was cut short when Hu'uli-bat passed away.

And again when my brother passed away.

Gray hairs are starting to grow in.

I'm okay with that.

It happens.

We used to call these "Bolitas".

I hate these with a passion. 

* Written as part of the 31-day Native Women's Writing Challenge
Today's Challenge: Write about "Change". On the Warpath Women Poetry

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