When I was growing up in my hometown Guatemala, I was the only kid with black hair in my school and in my neighborhood. You see, my black hair comes from my father who is a black man. My mother a kind, smart and beautiful Guatemalan woman never knew how to manage it, usually the best she could come up with was a classical afro puff with a ribbon on the side.
My hair was the talk between my aunt, mom and cousins. They would gather around trying to figure it out how to make it nice and straight, more “Guatemalan” I would say. I remember feeling a little envy of my friends at school and their pretty pony tails. I felt like a little boy with my short hair not to mention the bullying from boys in my neighborhood shouting things at me like “you look like a microphone! Hey Ms. Microphone 1, 2, 3…check check.”
Then the teenage years came and went and the black hair continue to be more and more annoying. I dreamed
about the day I could make it all straight and “normal”. The day I graduated from school my sister gave me as a gift a hairdresser appointment to straighten all my hair. I was the happiest person the day I ran my fingers through my soft flowy hair.
Several years forward I got the opportunity to move to Jamaica for work. Back to roots my friends would say as my father’s side is Jamaican. Little I knew that the road back to roots didn’t just mean discovering my family roots. I also meant rediscovering myself and letting the old me emerge. Yes, the girl with the microphone looking head is emerging again but this time is different. I don’t feel ashamed or awkward, I feel balanced and proud. My hair speaks to my identity and the language it speaks it rich in culture and knowledge.. 1, 2, 3…check check this is my roots, this is were I belong.
Anaitée, Female, 33 years old, Guatemala - Jamaica
#Identity #Heritage #Roots #Proud