I Am Not My Hair

Day #87

I have a traffic of job and school interviews this week. I had two today, one tomorrow and another one on Thursday. I decided to do crochet braids last minute, because the state that my hair was in, there was no way I could pull it back or gel it to get a neutral look. Luckily, I had a few packs of yaki hair in my hair leftovers. Regular braids usual take me anywhere between 12 to 18 hours to finish, and I wanted something quick and easy, so I opted for crochet braids, which took me 4 hours to finish. Here’s a back story to this sudden decision to change my hair.

A lot of people talk about looking “neat” and dressing the part, when going for a job interview. So I normally use gel or braids as a way to distract people from the fact that I’m black. Yes people, my hair doesn’t “look the part.” Can we talk about the fact that “the part” includes almost every other ethnicity but people of African descent? My hair, in its natural state, is big, which just so happens to not look ‘professional’ in other peoples eyes. I wish I could say that was through my own doing, but it’s not. Trust me, if my hair fell back/down the way that straight hair does, I would let it.

A few years ago I went to a job interview and 20 minutes in, the interviewer asked me if I was going to keep my hair ‘like that’, in other words, in an Afro state of mind. I had never been explicitly asked that before, I had only read, heard or read through the inferred lines about it. To my surprise, I blurted out something that can easily be reduced to a no. I walked out of that interview feeling awfully guilty, like I had somehow betrayed myself by giving someone a platform to belittle me. Ever since that experience, I wear my hair in a ponytail, gel or braids for interviews. I have had fantastic interviews that I’ve lost because of my hair and skin color, and that my friends, is my reality.

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”


Peace and Love,

~Thabie Joy~

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