Pretty Woman

I wrote this in 2004

Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater.
Had a wife but couldn’t keep her.
Put her in a pumpkin shell;
And there he kept her very well.

That’s the way the nursery rhyme goes. Many may say, poor Peter. Why didn’t he just get rid of that contentious woman? I see it differently. Looks to me like he would still have a happy wife if he could stay away from that gourd. It had obviously taken over his life, distorted his value system.

Speaking of value systems. I’ve been going through a hair discovery thing for the last five years or so. I didn’t realize it until recently just how much black woman value their hair. The term “good hair” takes on a life of its own in the black community. You can get into a knock down drag out over talking about someone’s weave (she swears it’s her own good, straight hair).

Why is that, I wonder? It doesn’t keep me awake at night but it keeps me turning my head wondering why sister girl’s hair is more blonde and waxy-looking than Marilyn Monroe’s. Okay, a lot of women (regardless of skin color) like to change their look. I’ll give you that. And having bone straight hair can be convenient. But for most women of color going natural means being anything from Iman wavy to Buckwheat nappy. (I think I’m related to Buckwheat).

I wouldn’t have thought any more about this hair thing but lately a lot of black women have been coming to me – almost secretly – confessing that they would like to go natural (afro, dred locs, wavy, etc.) but they feared they wouldn’t be accepted on the job. I could relate to that, I kept mine pulled back during the almost five years that I worked for the State. Some women though, had another fear. “I wouldn’t look pretty with natural hair.”

I realize now that my own dissatisfaction with self years ago was linked to my inability to accept the Buckwheat in me. A hair relaxer only magnified what I thought was my ugly bad hair life.

Now, each time I oil and palm roll my shoulder-length locs, I say to myself that I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalms 139:14). I pray that more women of color will be able to look in the mirror and say, “I am pretty because God did a marvelous work in making my hair and me.”