On February 1, 2016, I made the decision to shave my head, cutting off the hair I had been growing since I went natural a few years ago. It wasn’t simply a cosmetic decision (for black femmes, it rarely is JUST hair after all); I decided to cut my hair in honor of my ancestors, their suffering, their hopes and dreams, and who they imagined I might be in their wildest dreams.
I cut my hair on February 1st not only because it was the beginning of Black History Month and it was officially OUR month, but in acknowledgement that one month wasn’t enough. Much like how November has just this year been declared Native American Heritage Month even as the Water Protectors endure harassment and outright assault by militarized police forces to fight the DAPL Pipeline (#NoDAPL), Black History Month has become less about remembering the fullness of the Black American experience and more about the consolation of a structurally-embedded white guilt through the effacement of the Black Radical legacy. We see pictures of Martin Luther King Jr. drawn up all around during this month, and yet the discussion of his radical actions and politick seldom moves beyond the words ‘non-violent’ and ‘pacifist’.
I cut my hair in honor of these buried legacies.
I cut my hair in humility to myself, a reminder that my beauty does not stem from the features of mine one might call feminine, and that my body and mind do not need to be forced into traditional – or any – gender roles. That I am a Queen born to birth a society of royals where ‘they’ – in their ignorance – could conceive only of a utopia, enslaved. To destroy the binaries and systems that have overstayed their welcome. To create, to nurture, to be.
I lived throughout the hell that is/was 2016, the year of ‘their’ lord, with this in mind, grew and twisted in this solar wind storm, bent, and cried to release the pain so I wouldn’t break.
But I did not pay my respects to my past self in this life. The inner child that I carry with me is also an ancestor, the one who dreamt fully and proudly before the world could step in and breathe self-doubt into my lungs. Throughout this year – while I prioritized the protection of others (sometimes using my own body as a shield), while I tried my best to nurture and heal those around me, I neglected myself.
The inner child that sleeps between my eyes and waits to awaken is also an ancestor. I neglected my dreams, which were never about attainment of status but about my own self-fulfillment. I dreamt of being happy. I dreamt of being knowledgeable. I dreamt of teaching and loving and being loved. I dreamt of eating delicious food and traveling to see the world. I dreamt of space and climbing nebulae (where I imagined the gods slept).
I slept, and I dreamt, and I loved empty symbols back to life.
This year, 2017, regardless of the fuckery going on in the White House, the fuckery going on in academia, or the fuckery going on in my life personally, will be about the nourishment and awakening of my spirit. I refuse to live my life the way I did in 2016… in fear, in isolation, and in reluctant submission.
I will let myself breathe life back into my ego (the seed), and water it til it grows into a blossoming soul.
If you didn’t catch it yet, what I’m saying is 2017 is dedicated to the Aries. Be ready, y’all. ❤