I’m not angry. I meditate on that thought. It’s not easy.
I repeat the phrase. It easily escapes other people’s lips and it plays on my mind. I feel like I’m walking a thin line between being socially correct and turning savage. Giving into being super petty and letting the pieces fall wherever they might. If I knew better, then I’d temper my anger better and pretend to smile when I’m seething with fire.
Lies, I’d still be a little too hot to handle. It’s my default setting.
I’m black. My skin is chocolatey, smooth and ages like fine wine. I believe in strange things like prayer but I still pour food on the ground to appease my ancestors. The baobab tree is more than a tree. Extra melanin lives within my body. I can’t just shake it off.
My hair shrinks whenever it touches the water. It clumps pretty hard and refuses to give way. Some mornings, when I’m running late I wish I had ‘straightened’ it like others. Making it look long silky but it won’t have volume.
Natural hair chose me. I can’t maintain a bi-monthly visit at a salon with running water and legit electricity. So, I soften my hair with Shea Butter or coconut oil and try taming my curls and style it. It’s a representation of my roots. The past. The future. The present. A political statement in the awakening.
Instead of choosing hair that breaks up with me whenever it kisses the rain. With the thunder, growing louder and louder like my heart. The rain splashing my paper bag protecting my hair. Since I’m deciding whether to wait out or ruin my blue suede pumps.
I don’t have coloured eyes just these large brown ones staring back at me.
My natural hair is problematic but loveable.
I’m not that angry, I tell a loud voice that creeps in one me. I stopped snapping at things. I stopped issuing ultimatums.
You write one piece about the girl child and a boy in your circle hopes that you aren’t turning into one of those. Those. They label men the unthinkable and look like covert leaders for underground female movements. Recruiting other ladies in broad light and opening up their mindset. Ladies that give patriarchal, chauvinistic men sleepless nights since they can’t be isolated from ‘good nice girls.’
That voice mouths Angry Black Feminist next to my ear.
Picture Courtesy of https://www.instagram.com/picture_bad/
I immediately picture a large bonfire.
Long flowy garments draped on ladies of all shapes and sizes. Some clearly have experienced childbirth but others are still discovering their path. Looking like straws in a cup, short, long, chunky, thin, bendy and just really different.
I can tell that the bonfire has more than wood sustaining it. Ashes from partially destroyed documents and pictures are floating in the air like a miniature vortex.
The air tastes minty and salty. Things are a little hazy because of the black smoke dancing with the dark sky and the rhythmic pounding waves. It is mesmerising. The calm before the storm.
I can’t tell if pangas are concealed beneath their feet. Hoping to avenge all their fallen sisters? Making the streets safer for ladies to use at any time. Practising how to pound cassava as they collect intel? Learning how to identify wild herbs and use them to their advantage.
Only a brave man eats a cassava when he can’t trace its roots. So be careful when you state that women belong in the kitchen.
There’s a lingering feel in the air. It’s like when you’re new somewhere but you can still tell that everyone is waiting for a somebody. With baited breath, waiting for a leader to emerge from the shadows whether she can seat on men’s backs like Wangu wa Makeri or radiate herself as a stronger feminine force like a spiritual doula.