Monday, August 16, 2010 - Nisus

Vacation reflection- Did I look Crazy?

I have yet to settle back in from my mini vacation BUT I just have to tell ya'll... My hair was THE hugest attention getter this weekend in Cape May, New Jersey. I'd just had a trim the day before at Fiddleheads in DC. (Pictures are littered throughout my rant- keep scrolling down!)
My BF is going to help me write a full post on the ridiculous amount of attention my hair garnered during our 3 day trip. I mean it was absurd. Mostly positive attention, but it began to get ridiculous as the 10th and 11th random people (all Caucasian) felt the need to tell me something about my hair.I get attention all the time- sure, positive attention, compliments and knowing smiles from other naturals in DC. I love that attention, and I often feel helpful and pretty when I can respond or feel truly complimented. But this attention had me beginning to wonder if I looked like a freak or some sort of mythological character. Some of it was negative (a car full of white teenage boys- one of whom yelled "AFRO!" out the window), and some of it I didn't even catch, but was informed of by my BF who had a better vantage point.
Granted, there were not many black folks, or even mixed folk there, but the environment was casual and comfy, and relaxed. I had perfect, vacation, wash-n-go, no-hassle hair- free to blow in the wind while staying off my neck and out of my eyes. I was very pleased with it myself. But even after almost 10 years of being natural, some experiences can shake you and lead you to wonder about how others perceive you. I mean I just wanted to enjoy my time off and float about with my man like any other vacationer. But I began to get the vibe that I looked veeeeery different, and was standing out amidst all the other women.And having different hair (naturally and "raw") leaves you open to socially permissible comments about what is essentially your race and ethnicity, not just styling.

I could not offer advice or any sort of styling cues for these commentators. These weren't conversations, or questions for the most part. It was just gawking and wonder, !amazement! even lol.

Which brings me to the title of my Blog. My BF's son asked me, "why do you care so much about hair" after seeing me taking pictures and chilling on twitter (talking about hair). I told him because I like mine a lot and people ask me a lot of questions about it. But really, even if I tried to just ignore it, and not even consider myself anything but a regular chick with regular hair, I'd be considered "natural," "different" or otherwise non-standard and the attention would come to me regardless. It's not just hair- it's a statement that other people hear whether you've said anything or not. The fact that I'm not doing anything to it makes people think "LOOK what she's DOING!"As frustrating as it can be at times, especially when I'm really trying to do NOTHING at all, I'll gladly help enlighten those ignorant to kinky-curly textured hair. I'll gladly offer tips and encouragement to women seeking to embrace their own hair. I'll gladly share what happens to me so that others in my situation know that they are not alone! And I hope that I can play a small part in a movement towards the general knowledge that hair is indeed just hair. And it's all good.

17 comments:

modest-goddess said...

something is wrong with the world when a woman wearing her hair as it grows out of her scalp attracts so much attention

Adalia said...

I think it looks cute. Not sure what the hubub was all about.

Tara B said...

I think your hair is beautiful and it suits you, I love reading this blog. Thankfully the natural community is very big in Atlanta, almost to the point where I get looks from people in a competitive sense like "my curls are better than yours"! I never thought about how it would be in an unfamiliar city with it.

camille Bolton said...

I've had that experience in the dmv area I think it comes from people who really dont get out much. Your hair is beautiful btw.

Jocelin Thomas said...

You and your hair is gorgeous. If I saw you I would be looking at you too, but for the positive reasons. Now that I have gone natural I actually look for other people with natural hair. It makes me feel like I am not taking this journey alone.

Anonymous said...

First of all, your hair is so lovely, and I must say you look fantastic in blue. I love that maxi dress!

+1 for Modest-Goddess's comment. In Raleigh-Durham, I see naturals just about everywhere I go, and I must admit -- I love the love we show each other. But my experience as a natural are dramatically different experience depending on where you go. It's not a north-south thing, but i do think there's something about a small-town (homogeneous) environment. About ten years ago I was walking along the beach somewhere in Delaware, I don't recall the town. A group of teenage boys yelled the n-word from their car and peeled off. I was wearing locs at the time. The first time I went back to my hometown in West Texas as a natural, to the regular Friday night football game, people gawked at my TWA as if I'd just got off the circus train. I've lived in NJ, so what happened to you on the shore doesn't surprise me, but that "norm" is still disappointing. You'd think natural would be normal... but to so many, it's just not!

Shannon said...

I think your hair looks AWESOME!!! Some folks are ignorant to the unknown and after you educate them, they remain ignorant! Keep doing you cause your hair is FAB!

Veronica W. said...

your hair looks GORGEOUS!

you know people never know the right things to say and even when they do, they don't know how to articulate. With the caucasian teenagers..you can jsut chalk that up to their ignorance. Some people should really take the time to sit their children down and talk to them about #1, how to act in public #2 tolerance of others whether your understand or not

Otherwise I hope you enjoyed your vacation!


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Anonymous said...

Your hair is absoloutly gorgeous, as are you! Crazy people!!!

Coily said...

Beautiful!!!!!!! as always...ehh..whaddaya gonna do?..Im glad you didnt let it interfere with your vacation...

Anonymous said...

This post brought a smile to my face. The things we go through... I'm glad Nisus is there to enlighten the "Randy Savages" of the world. As tiresome as it may become. Still, if it were me, I couldn't lie... "Wash n' go" styles damage my hair and I'm not about to take a dip and mess up a good twist out. So he woulda got me, lol!

Anonymous said...

really? your hair garnered that much attention, in NJ? ( live there btw). I'm sorta surprised.I woulda thought that people there had already seen and known abt big hair. I mean man...

Anonymous said...

oh, and i love your outfit. you seem really chill amidst all the craziness and attention. :D

Nisus said...

Thanks for the comments all :-) ♥♥♥

I'd been to NJ before, but closer to NY and nothing out of the ordinary ever happened. It was just this little resort town that was- I dunno- sheltered from the world or something. Which made me wonder about folks from other places, or people who are not exposed much to other cultures and people. What was dismaying was the fact that their inexperience was not the oddity there, it was my acceptance of myself. I wish I could have pointed that out in an eloquent, quick way. I'll have to think about that.

ME said...

Love your blog, so refreshing. That has been my experience on a few occasions...."stares and weird behavior surrounding my hair". I have been natural basically all my life with various hair styles. My "Afro" above all has received most disturbing reactions. The worst reaction was from a person of color on the train in NYC. I do not see it as a racial issue. They have not been exposed to different aesthetic of "brown" women. Your hair & cut is Fire!

Florita said...

YOU AND your hair look beautiful. I am starting my natural hair journey, and your hair is such a big inspiration.

Christielove said...

Your hair is amazing. I thought it was 2010 so where are all these people that never seen curly natural hair. I would like to know if they have been living under a rock. I get really angry about anyone white, black, or yellow who are amazed by natural hair. It is beautiful but theres nothing weird or rare about it. I don't understand how people can be so closeted.

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