Dear Black Women with 4C Hair and Depression,
Oftentimes, as women, but especially as Black women, we tell
ourselves that we have to take care of our appearance first before
we can begin anything else. Partially because, we love looking good
to the point we are often the blueprint with our creativity but don't get
me wrong. It is also because we are highly cognizant of the fact
that we live in a world that judges us so harshly for our every
move so we feel pressured to look put together at all times,
emptying the ammunition clip. But that means that when depressive
episodes come calling our names, they can be especially paralyzing,
and days can end before they begin just because of appearance.
My fellow loves, if you need someone to say it, I’ll say it:
It is okay to cover up that hair that is singing so painfully in 4C
right now that it's breaking glass in your already fragile mind.
It’s okay to not contend with it and unravel the matts just yet,
it's okay to not look at it and feel like a failure of a Black woman
every time you catch yourself in the mirror yet still can’t lift yourself
out of the bed, much less grab a comb. It's okay to resent your hair
a little even though interest convergence has now led society
to suddenly celebrate natural hair, but that doesn't undo centuries
and centuries of internalized racism we've worked to untangle
carefully with self-love. But when the depression hits, oh,
that's when the forced, incubated, snake of racism comes to
strangle us, especially when we can't get our hair to "behave",
to look like the women in commercials, even though 4C women
are suspiciously absent as they tout every beautiful brown-skinned
girl across 3 and 4 but ah ah ah ah always somehow texturistly
ending at 4A or if we're lucky 4B.
But you listen to me, gorgeous queen, as we work to crush the
venomous, hissing snake under the heels of our bare feet.
Buy a bonnet. We're gonna have one specifically for times like this.
And make sure that you get it in gold.
That part is very important. A beautiful, shimmering gold
that looks like that mesmerizing shit Rumpelstiltskin spun
which helped that girl cleverly maneuver her way into queenship.
This bonnet is gonna be your crown because you even when you are
at your lowest your queenship is never in question. The only
one here you need to trick is that voice in your mind that whispers
that you are not good enough. This bonnet, when you put it on,
when you cover the matts that may be bothering you, any shame
that you may be carrying about struggling with your hair while
you're struggling with your mental battle, warrior lovely, we're
going to quiet that feedback loop, so that the voice of your heart
and your ancestors can be amplified, so they may swell forth like
a sea that carries your raft on your journey, until you find where you
are meant to land. Your coils may be locked, kitchen married to scalp,
but know that being at war does not make less of a queen, it makes
more of her. Our people are made of resiliency and so are you, so
put on your temporary crown. Get some fresh air and let the light hit it.
Put your hand on your heart and take several deep breaths that fill
your lungs. Feel your chest expanding with the new start your bonnet,
your satin crown is giving you. Give yourself permission to wear it and
let your your hair go for now while you try to work on just breathing.