A Letter from Trinity
If I could go back in time and talk to myself in that moment or reach out to another little Black girl holding back tears at another locker, I would read this letter I wrote to myself with lessons I wished I had learned much earlier:
February 13, 2021
You are going to be okay. You’ll be better than okay. You’re going to spend so many mornings running out the door on the verge of being late because you were styling your hair, but when you get to school you’re going to have friends who tell you that your hair is beautiful, and you’re going to believe them. You’ll believe them because you’re proud of your hair, and you’ve reached a point where you don’t determine your self-worth on validation from others. You are worth so much more than the way you let your peers, even the ones you call friends, treat you.
First and foremost, please stop surrounding yourself with people who do not see the value in your presence. Secondly, your hair is special, don’t let unsolicited opinions and uninvited touching make you wish God made you differently. When you were younger, before the blaring lights in the halls bounced off the braces of your middle school tormentors, you loved your hair. Find the joy of that three-foot tall hairball you used to be; the one who was proud of every strand and tangle.
Go back to never wanting it pulled back because you wanted everyone to see your voluminous hair billowing in the breeze. Our hair represents our confidence and stamina. It demands attention and space in the room. With it, we are saying that we are valuable and deserve to be seen and heard. It means that you will never be put into a box – literally, my hair would never fit in my school pictures.
You are telling people that just because they do not understand how to manage your hair, it doesn’t mean it is anything less than beautiful. I am saying as a Black girl – almost a woman – that I refuse to make myself smaller to make others comfortable. I do not need to brush my hair into tight buns so that others have more room. My hair is my space, and I am claiming all of it. It is a physical characterization of strength and grace that ties me to my family forever.
As I comb through tangles, I am reminded of my grandmother’s tireless work to make a better life for herself and her children; it’s the love my mother has given me, it’s my sister’s fighting spirit and fierce loyalty to our family, my brother’s passion, and my father’s humor. My hair connects me to my family and their stories. To hate my hair, would be to dishonor my family and caring for it is my way of honoring them. I remind myself of this when my hair feels like a burden because the truth is, it is one of my greatest blessings. It hasn’t been an easy journey, but I finally love my hair and I love myself. I can’t wait for you to feel that way too.