Warm and tightly stitched, soft to the touch, the fabric hangs high over my head as the strength in my arms supports its flimsy structure. I lift the scarf stretching it lengthwise and positioning the center on my forehead leaving my baby hairs exposed. My 9 month old locs are now tucked under the colorful and beautifully textured material. Unless you’ve seen me prior to meeting me in my headscarf you don’t know what my hair looks like under its protective layer. What kinks and coils you may find under such a piece of art and artifact, the world may never know.
Under this wrap doesn’t just lay the history of Aunt Jemimas and countless creole cooks of the south and nursing nannies of the North. I don the “hard working black woman who protects her hair from dirt and grime” wrap. I don the “my hair ain’t been done or fixed up in a minute” wrap. I don the “natural hair is tons of work” head wrap. Under this wrap lies the secret of what my crown looks like. The curves of my coils and the spirit of my outer beauty is concealed behind the tapestry wrapped around the physical holder of my brain and my thoughts. When I cover my hair, I wrap away the beauty and the struggle.
Without getting too deep I find it comforting taking on this covert disguise. I find it comforting to have individuals look at my face and not develop an idea of who I am based on my locs, which have so much energy and vibrancy, my locs which do not smell, my tangled strands which I nurture like a well rooted plant. I massage a combination of organic oils into my roots for strength, thickness, and overall wellness. I take the best care of my hair in the best way I know how, for my hair is magic. Is it any wonder I every now and then must cover it, and hide it away and close it off from scrutiny and too much attention. Must my hair always be a topic of conversation? A heavily integrated discourse regarding black culture?
A head wrap is not just a fashion statement. A head wrap is a political statement which removes me from the mouth of those who have so much commentary on what the standard of beauty is and what it should be. I express my inner beauty by wearing my headscarf. I hide my outer beauty through covering my organically formed locs.
Wrapped life till I die.