A Letter To My Mother

To the ones who wiped snot and cleaned vomit. Who nursed the chicken pox, braided hair and punished a thousand colds. You are the ones who fearlessly fought for more, for better, for the best. You’re the ones who selflessly decided our dreams were more important than yours: our hopes more vital, our goals more essential.

mama waterloo

You are women who were once young girls gloriously adorned with youth and favour. You were courted majestically and men showered you with praise. You had hopes and expectations for the future, but you never quite knew how they would all turn out. You married, you bore children, you created and held families together.

When push came to shove, you gave for your family. You are the women who moved to barren lands, raised teenage girls and worked thankless customer service jobs to see your children thrive. You did it with dignity, honour and relentless dedication. You celebrated their joys and you cried when they cried. When the time came,  you moved on, knowing you’d done your best.

we three girls

You are a woman who has raised three women. You are the woman who made me who I am: a morsel of who you are. You are the woman to whom I owe it all.

Happy International Women’s Day, Mom!

x

niagara falls mom

 

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The Hairy Truth

Hair is an integral part of every woman’s life. However, as most women know, the standards of beauty set by the media often aren’t realistic. When it comes to hair, black women are particularly affected as our hair is anything but “straight and silky.” As a result, we tackle a variety of styles. Allow me to take you on my hair journey:

Washing woes

grade 2     fro

There is no time in a young black girl’s life more feared than washing her hair. I cannot explain the crippling anxiety, pain, and tears I experienced. It is not the washing, but rather the detangling that strikes fear in the hearts of black girls everywhere. My mother would chase me through the house, eventually dragging me to the bathroom, where my fate was sealed. Twenty minutes later, I would emerge red-eyed and raw-scalped. “Beauty is pain, my dear,” she’d always say.

The relaxer diaries

relaxer   relaxer

Getting my hair relaxed for the first time was incredible. I’ll never forget running my fingers through my hair without them getting stuck or tangled. I was struck by how much more manageable my hair was. This was soon replaced by anxiety about when my next appointment to tame the natural growth would be.

Weaves

stjamespark1    bob    weave

Over the past few years, I’ve experimented with weaves. Weaves are carefree and fun, but at the three-week mark, your scalp begins to itch like no other: pat your weave, ladies. While weaves added variety to my look, they were financial headaches that deepened my insecurities about my natural hair.

Au naturel

current fro 2     current fro

In May of this year, I decided I’d had enough of the obsession with relaxers, weaves and long, straight hair. One day, I asked my sister to do the big chop. While it was terrifying, I instantly felt closer to my truth as a black woman.

Black Women and Identity: What’s Hair Got To Do With it by Cheryl Thompson, is a great read for anyone wanting to learn more.