I remember those days when my hair pretty much controlled my lifestyle. When I was younger, it told me whether or not I could go outside and join the other kids playing with water guns or balloons. It told me whether or not I could take a walk to the store if it was muggy or raining.
It also had my parents and brother traveling in a hot car with a broken air conditioner because I didn’t want the windows all the way down—which didn’t last too long because once they got too hot the windows came down and I arrived at our destination all frowned up because my curls were blown straight.
The following poem reminded me of those days. It was written by author Stacy M. Gilbert, who is also a licensed cosmetologist and certified occupational therapist. Her self-help inspirational book, Black is Beautiful, is filled with poetry, scriptures, historical hair facts, and details of her natural hair journey.
In her book she writes, “During my CROP (Chemically Relaxed Or Pressed) days, I remember the first thing I did in the morning was to turn on my flat-iron. So much of my life was centered around my hair. My hair dictated what I could and could not do.”
The Other Parent
I will define to you what you can and cannot do.
I will need for you to wake up early, when the grass is wet with dew.
Before you leave the house, I need your undivided attention.
I have a few rules for you, so I need you to carefully listen.
No playing at the beach and no swimming in the pool.
I want you to look “pretty” for your recital after school.
Saturday we will spend some quality time, six hours just you and me.
Let’s try to start at ten, and hopefully we’ll be finished by three.
If Sunday’s forecast is muggy, misty, and raining all day,
we may have to skip church and just stay home and pray.
I am not trying to be harsh and seem as if I don’t care.
You know that I am one of your three parents, I am your hair.
– Laquita Thomas-Bank