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Free from the Peine

My mother A Taino queen from Puerto Rico With the fairest skin and Silky jet black hair that flows like a raven through the sky Her fingers able to caress every strand with a simple stroke and every piece falls back exactly as it once was without any evidence Little did she did she know she would birth a young Latinx queen with a head full of hair that expands outward and downward settling on my shoulders are curly locks from root to end Hair My mother didn’t know how to tend to this curly fro She didn’t know how to change the texture of my hair So that it was tamed one of six women in her household yet none had hair like mine they taught me how to close my legs when I sat how to accessorize how to moisturize and condition and most importantly how to apply handfuls of sulfate that would tame the Maine which was rightfully given to me Greña “Peinate la greña” he says my father with an accent that stems from la isla de Hispaniola where the women portray themselves to look like euro statues cynched waist,straight hair and extra points if you come from a barrio of colored eyes by nature our women have nappy roots which must be subdued to rolos and dubis otherwise we didn’t try hard enough to appear beautiful. My father He spent Hours in the salon waiting while i took a seat in the throne that would validate my appearance with applied heat and a rounded brush that combed away my roots. Peinate Porque no te peinaste? They ask when you’re at a family party Although my locks are well moisturized and coiled to perfection When what they really mean is why didn’t you straighten your hair so that it can appear beautiful, controlled and silky straight because without your hair withstanding the flowing fan test my dear, in your skin you are not beautiful.

 I am not my hair we try to convince ourselves. That we will not be defined by how long,short,curly or nappy our hair may appear. We want you to see what we see in the mirror Mi pelo My hair does reflect where I come from Where women tend to their children with compassion and warmth Where their curves are like mountains in a valley following the kinky curl pattern aligned with every hair follicle that shapes the roundness of our faces I grew into my hair With endless attempts to nurture and care for the strands that would frame the woman I was aiming to become Free from the peine


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