Sometimes It Isn't Just Hair
This morning my son and I are running late as we often are. I contact his camp, which is actually a year round community staple where we live, to let them know we are late. Because it is a relatively small community I can text a staff member directly. She calls me right back. Her request initially makes me laugh. Here is this white women with no children asking me to go to the 'hood beauty supply store. Although it is not uncommon for me to send my client's white parents there for products and hair, why is she asking to go at 8am?
She said it was for a friend. The friend has alopecia, and her aunt had recently shaved her hair, but not gotten her a scarf. This friend was having a rough start to her day and her week. I pulled up at the camp and here was the staff and this beautiful petite young lady in a floor length tie die skirt and bright pretty top. She had her bedazzled backpack and flip flops fresh from Children's place in her hands. She didn't appear to have a care in the world. She looked happy, and well taken care of, just like most children on any given day.
We all proceeded to go to the beauty supply store. Inside as we mulled over the choices, both of us adults pointed this and that out. The friend let us adults know in a very polite, delicate, yet confident way that she did not want to cover her hair in a scarf, she simply wanted a headband. Boy did a light bulb go on in my mind! She was not trying to cover and hide it like I had assumed, she wanted to DECORATE AND ADORN herself! Why in the hell wouldn't she Kanisha?! She is after all a princess! She wanted something extra on her head to solidify her beauty! She really didn't need it, she is already gorgeous. But how many of our girls looovvvee to adorn themselves? Almost all do, right? Almost all little girls bask in the glory of being a beautiful little girl! She was no different alopecia or not.
As we drove back to the camp, the staff and the young lady were having a conversation and they filled me in. The young lady's mom had recently left for Africa. She is to be gone an extended amount of time. My mind immediately thought of yall's president and the nonsense he is keeping up. I wondered if her mom would be able to return. I wondered if there was more to the story. I worried. However, this brave girl in my backseat was content at the moment. She had her headband to adorn her new hair cut, and she was going swimming with the camp. She appeared just as she did when I pulled up, carefree and gorgeous.
A child upset over the lack of a headband might have appeared to be a petty concern, and one that didn't warrant the time of day to most camp staff members. Thankfully this was not the case today. The staff that I text because I was late, had listened and cared about everything the young lady was going through. She saw passed the request and had empathy. It was not just a hair thing. I am forever grateful to have witnessed this village concept come to life.
I hope to live my life with as much bravery and confidence as this young lady.