“I wish I could’ve been mixed”

Yeah right?

Ok, I’m over to my mom’s, and my niece is sitting on the sofa feeding her face. She speaks, and I give her some big wet smootches on her forehead. She looks up at me with those big brown eyes and says, “Auntie. What am I going to do about my hair?”

So I tilt her head around looking at her cornrows, which are as usual, swirled around in some intricate design. He dad’s sister-in-law (the other aunt) keeps it done up in these styles for about twenty bucks a pop. No matter how fancy it is, she can usually get it done in a couple of hours. I don’t always like all those designs but hey, I haven’t really wanted to do her hair lately so it’s not like I have any room to complain. Anyway, other than her braids starting to turn in on themselves just a little bit from new growth, and a few of her little bebes starting to show along her front hair line and kitchen area, her hair, overall looks fine to me. So I ask, “What’s wrong with it?”

She shoots me this look like I have two heads with two brains…both of which are obviously clueless by her 12-year-old standards.

“I need my hair done…but mama doesn’t have any money.”

I shrug, “Why are you telling me this?” I ask.

“Cause I NEED my hair done,” she says. Then she gives me another look with the big brown eyes and says, “I don’t want mama to do it. She can’t braid, and it takes six hours for her to twist my hair.”

“Well I don’t see anything wrong with it. All you need to do is brush your edges a little bit. It still really neat looking, it’s not frizzy. You can see a little new growth. Other than a few little bebes it looks fine to me.”

 “Grrrr….” she says. “Fine then.”

Ok…now I’m starting to get it. I’m a little slow somethimes, but I get it now. She wants me to do it, and she probably figured since I was lovin’ her up a few minutes earlier, it wouldn’t take much for me to give in and say I’d do it for free. (Yes, I take money from her mama to do her hair. If she can pay her sister-in-law, she can pay me too…shoot.) But I haven’t been in the mood to do my own hair, let alone her hair too, not even for the money, hence the reason the other auntie has been doing it so much lately.

Anywhoo, I’m on to little miss big brown eyes now, and it ain’t gonna work.

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“Ok…what was the right answer then missy? You asked me what were you going to do with your hair. I told you what I THOUGHT you should do with it, but that obviously wasn’t the anwer you wanted to hear. Plus, I don’t even think you asked me the right question. So what was the REAL question you wanted to ask?”

See, I don’t play that crap and the games she plays with everyone else. EVERYBODY indulges her little manipulative ways even though they know they’re bein’ played. Auntie don’t play that. She should know that by now, but I guess she’ll just keep tryin.

She just looks at me so I say, “Well?”

“Would you do my hair?”

“Nope…I answered your first question, and there’s nothing wrong with your hair,” I say as I walk away and go into the back bedroom where my sis is talking with my mom. So I relay the whole story. My sister says, “She’s trippin’, her braids aren’t even a week old yet. Ain’t nothin’ wrong with her hair.”

Now I’m really through with her. “Oh…see,” I say, “No wonder her hair still looks really good, her braids are still dang near new.”

That’s when my sister says, “Yeah, you know what she asked me today? She said, ‘How come she couldn’t have been mixed?’ ”

“What? She been hatin’ on her nappy hair?” My sister says apparently so. “Oh well, I need to talk with her,” I say.

So I head back out to the living room to confront her. I’ve been talking to her about lovin’ her nappy hair for too many years now for her to be talkin’ smack like this.  I gotta get to the bottom of this.” She’s around white kids and biracial children soooo much, and her mom is ALWAYS talkin’ about somebody’s good hair. My mom too, so I’m thinking all my efforts to make sure this child loves her hair unconditionally is obviously being undone. So yeah, I gotta go find out what’s knockin’ around in her nappy little head.

“Hey little girl, I hear you been dissn’ your nappy hair. What’s this I hear about you sayin’ you wanna be mixed.”

This time she looks at me like I have THREE heads and still only two brains. Cuts her eyes up, tryin’ to talk and look at me while tryin’ NOT to take her eyes off of her ice cream. Which by the way is driving me nuts. She has stuck a fork in a big lump of it and is holding it up and trying to lick it. When this child eats, you really have to ignore what she does to food or you’ll go crazy tellin’ her to “stop” all the time.

“Auntie,” she says with a smirk on her face, “I…was…just…kidding when I said that.”

Hmmm. See she always tryin’ play somebody. She probably said that tryin to make her mom feel guilty enough to break her down and let her get her hair rebraided. Yes, I’m speculating, but I really wouldn’t discount this as a motive for saying something like that. So this time it’s my turn to cut my eyes.

“Humph,” I say, “You better be little girl. There will be no dissin’ nappy hair around me.” All the while, I’m givin’ her a long hard stare.

“Really,” she says.

“I hope so missy,” I say as I walk away leaving her with her ice cream. “That’s what you get for always tryin’ to play somebody. If I was your mom, I’d make you wear that do for four more weeks,” I say as I start walking into the kitchen. Then I turn around abruptly and ask, “What did you say?”

“Nothing, she says in her sweatest voice.”

“I thought not,” I say.

“I love you auntie.”

“I love you too,” I say sweetly. “But I’m still not doing your hair.” As I go into the kitchen I can’t help but smile. I swear, she’s such a stinker and life just wouldn’t be right without her!

Lawd have mercy. How come I couldn’t have been mixed? Mmm, mmm, mmm.

2 Responses to ““I wish I could’ve been mixed””
  1. Braided Mane says:

    In a world where most people make european and asian hair out to be superior,can you not understand what affect that has on the children? When I was younger, I used to argue with my mother saying “Why couldn’t you have married a White guy!” I always envied that long, flowing hair blowing in the breeze slow motion on the beach thing. Now I see that we are blessed. Our hair is different and it is harder for them to get our hair than it is for us to geth their hair. We need to start showing children positive image of “nappy heads” and not grovel over european/asian hair.

  2. nappyme says:

    Braided Mane…welcome to my site girl!
    And let me say you ain’t nevah lied. We as a people need to stop with the negativity about our nappy hair. I mean, even if you choose to relax, that’s your business, but honestly, folks need to put as much energy into praising and appreciating natural hair as they do with straight perms, wigs and weaves. If we could ever get to that point collectively as a people, then I’d say we were making some progress, but until then, I think all we can do as naturals in wear our hair proudly, plant the seeds of change and hope someone, somewhere is taking notice that nappy hair is as beautiful as any relaxed head of hair could ever be.

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