• e.l.f. cosmetics

    “Don’t Touch My Hair,” Means You Too

    It doesn’t matter what time it is,
    When sitting face to face
    Legs wrapped ‘round your waist
    Even when nobody’s around

    We’ve reached the point of removing fallen eyelashes
    And touching in public
    The question phase,
    When two sparks are trying to figure out if they could burn a fire that would last forever
    And you start with telling me about my perfect curves
    Working your way up to my lips
    And how you could spend all day between them
    How my eyes remind you of mirrors
    And what a beautiful mind I have
    And then,
    You’re quiet.
    Comfortable enough in silence that I know exactly what question is coming

    “Baby, why do you wear fake hair?”

    And just like that
    Reality stomps its way into this movie
    And I have the nerve to get flustered every time

    “It’s not that I don’t like it, but, what’s your real hair look like??”

    And immediately,
    Here come the war flashbacks to 6 year old me
    Crying on a stack of phone books
    While this bitch with the hot comb takes no mercy on my scalp
    Feeling like I’ve been there for days
    Tired, hungry, and my first real taste of misery
    So that on picture day,
    I can smile into the camera and look just like the little girl on the envelope

    My best friend’s pool party
    Where I learned to crack my first nappy joke
    While everyone gathered to pull on my roots
    Like my skin wouldn’t have turned bright red if it could
    The first three years of high school
    Behind glasses and a “black girl ponytail”
    So I got my first extensions just so people could stop walking into me

    Freshman year
    At Binghamton University
    When my door was knocked on 3 times
    In 2 hours
    Because they could smell something burning from the hallway

    Right now,
    When you can’t stop complaining about my “ratchet weave” getting in your mouth
    And you have no idea that it’s hurting

    I know you didn’t mean it that way
    And that you think we’re the only two things here
    But you’ve just kicked the giant elephant in the room that’s been staring me down for the past 20 years
    And I kind of want to mush you

    The one that says I’m not Asatta Shakur
    Or Eryka Badu
    Or as Lauryn Hill as I wanna be
    And the “good haired” girls can still make me feel small
    Forehead deep in insecurity
    Hoping maybe one day, I’ll know a crumpled crown still makes a queen
    And it won’t threaten to snap my neck under the weight of it

    So the next time you get curious
    About what she looks like completely naked
    Be patient
    Tell her
    She is beautiful no matter what she has on
    And maybe
    She’ll get comfortable enough to undress her scalp for you

    Lindsay Young
    Lindsay Young

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