show it, flow it, long as god can grow it

for 22 out of of 24 years i have worn my hair naturally. to those of you that aren't black this might seem a given, to wear your hair the way it grows out of your head, but not with black people in the united states. for reasons that i would never stop expounding upon if i started, black hair is an issue open to much debate. it can decide if someone is date worthy, whether or not they get the job they want, how accepted they are by others in their community, with the biggest divide existing between those that love the natural and those that flaunt the perm. there is a stigma in the black community of this country around having natural hair, it is often seen as uncouth, unpolished and unsophisticated. this is by no means a blanket statement, but for better or worse, people react to black hair. it interests them at a level the hair of other peoples just doesn't seem to.

by the time i cared about what the mass of tightly wound curls that springs from my scalp looked like i was in jr. high school, one of a handful of black students at a predominantly white small, private school. until this point, approximately three people had any interest in what my hair looked like: 1)my mother, 2)the woman who'd been braiding my hair since i had enough
to braid, 3) and least of all, me. in this environment my hair was suddenly the center of seemingly unending inquiry. at the time i wore extension braids (an effort to grow my hair back after my mother had finally entrusted me to care for it myself and i had mismanaged it to a dry, broken-off ruin) and to the white students unfamiliar with such stylings they were the source of the most infuriating, ignorant and invasive questions: is that your real hair? how do you get your hair to do that? how do you wash it? how long does it take? without asking, people would grab my hair as if i were some walking multicultural display sent for their own edification. even at the time i appreciated that their insensitivity to my personal space was not truly through fault of their own, they had been taught no better and the structure of our society and culture gave them no concept of their rudeness (though i hope later generations of white children (and adults for that matter) will learn (and that later generations of pigmentally unchallenged children will grow up without ever having to combat this socially accepted intrusiveness: people of other ethnic origins are not here to satisfy your curiosities about them); to them it was true that i had some responsibility to answer their questions, to explain my way of being in a way they were never asked to explain their own. it only served to make me more upset because i felt trapped, i couldn't win: to answer their questions with patience and understanding meant validating their preconceived notion that they deserved anything other than a punch in the face from me for having put their hands on me in an unsolicited manner, to tell them to fuck off was to reinforce the stereotype that blacks are an angry, unfriendly people and discourage them from asking more meaningful questions and letting go of larger prejudices and bridging the gaps between worlds; either way i had to compromise myself, something that i believed in; at the age of 12 my hair had already become something that despite its aesthetic and textural qualities, held resentment, anger, frustration, sadness and confusion for me.

i did what i could, answering questions after making it very clear that if another one of their fingers landed on me without my permission, they would be getting many a ringed knuckle to the dome. i don't know that i succeeded in my compromise on either front, while eventually my hair was left in peace, for the next six years (i attended the same school for high school) i was still pestered with questions, particularly if i changed anything about my hair. the length of my braids, if they were curly or straight, when i took them out, the brief stint i straightened my hair, when i twisted my hair, all of this was discussed, documented and dissected with whats, hows and whys. the most frustrating thing of all was that i knew it didn't matter. i could answer the same or different questions a million times over and they would never understand, the hours spent in front of tv screens with my neck twisted uncomfortably so that those awkward sections of hair could be caught up and braided into design; the hours, sometimes days, spent in front of tv screens or scrunched over books taking out those same braids and dismantling design, often calling on a friend to help; the satisfaction of having soft, tight curls transformed into silky, straight strands. i recall a specific incident in pe class one day in eigth grade. i had just gotten my hair straightened, not permed but hot combed, and because of this i refused to participate in the swimming that day. my pe teacher, a stocky white woman, looked at me incredulously as i explained to her why i would be sitting out. when i finished she asked what was supposed to be a rhetorical question meant to illustrate how silly i was being, you're going to miss a day of class and have your grade lowered because you don't want to get your hair wet? she raised an eyebrow and waited for me to see the triviality of my position. instead i raised my own eyebrow and said, yes, you obviously don't know black hair and have no idea how much time and effort this took. now not only incredulous, but embarrassed and angry she sent me to sit on a bench. just a cultural fyi but, aside from what i believe to be a fear left over from the middle passage, hair is one of the major reasons black people in this country don't know how to swim: most black women in this country, and many men, have had their hair chemically or heat treated to make it straight and water is like kryptonite to freshly straightened hair. it is these little nuances of the black experience that rarely make it out of the community, and if they do they are underestimated and unheeded by the outside world. the relationship black people have with their hair is one of incredible depth, complexity and beauty that no amount of scientific inquiry or observation could accurately surmise or breakdown into politically correct flavored nuggets of multiculturalism.

it may seem like this post comes out of nowhere, but trust, it doesn't. it comes from kansas city, where this woman made me rethink my position in the battle between natural and processed hair. uncontainable mirth, a small shiver of embarrassment, the desire to hang your head and sigh, regardless of what, this video will make you feel something.

the end of part 1 (i told you, i could talk about this for a looong time...)


a verse in the key of adams point

mememememeeeeeeeee, lalalalalaaaaaaaaa

bippety boppety loop de loop
a crackhead stops to sit on a stoop

sippety soppety har de har
wearing headset stolen from my roomates car


just a silly facebook note idea i liked

Using only song titles from one artist, cleverly answer these questions

Pick a band/artist: jamiroquai

1. Are you male or female: cosmic girl

2. Describe yourself: if i like it, do it

3. How do you feel about yourself: electric mistress

4. Describe your ex boyfriend/girlfriend: mr. moon

5. Describe your current boy/girl situation: canned heat

6. Describe your current location: planet home

7. Describe where you want to be: traveling without moving

8. Your best friend is: soul education

9. Your favorite color is: hot tequila brown

10. You know that: you give me something

11. What’s the weather like: feels just like it should

12. If your life was a television show, it would be called: just another story

13. What is life to you: whatever it is, i just can't stop

14. What is the best advice you have to give: blow your mind

15. If you could change your name what would you change it to: talullah


a heart demands of a head

why can't you make my dreams come true, isn't the construction of reality your field of business?

what do you want from me, the head complains pleadingly, why can't you just leave me alone?!

the heart chuckles gently and allows itself a little shudder of amusement, you already know why: if i did that we'd be trapped inside a schizophrenic hermit and that would never do.

the head sighs knowing the truth of what the heart speaks, always you are asking me these questions, the whys and the whats of the world; i seek only to ponder my own mysteries, i have no answers for you.

oh when will you learn you silly head! i expect no answers from you, only the pleasure of discourse between equals.

so you say, so you say, the head replies dubiously, still skeptical of the hearts true motives and intentions, so riddle me this: why ask questions you expect no answers to?

well that's simple enough, answers the heart, the knowledge lies not in the end, which is the answer, but in the means we take to reach that end, the roads we reach to get there, we discover nothing unless we take the journey. i am looking for something and the only way to begin my search, my journey, is to ask the questions. i know i can be confusing because i don't always know the right questions to ask, but they are a beginning, the first steps along the way. and we must go. it is time to go. why do you fear my questions, why do you fear this beginning?

it is because you show me what i do not know, rub my ignorance in my face with your never ending questions that burn like sea water on freshly shaved legs. i feel my purpose to be unfulfilled if i cannot supply the information you seek and it hurts my pride to find myself unknowing.

the heart listens quietly and begins to pitter-patter with mirth, oh you silly, silly thing! how can you feel ashamed when i admit my own ignorance by asking the questions? come let us put and end to our bickering and lonely paths and tie our fortunes together in search of the answers.

the head sits back for a moment thunderstruck by the implications of what it has heard, too dazed to respond. it eventually finds it's voice and speaks, you are right. there is no reason to do this alone, no need to accept the solitude and shame of ignorance, no need to fear that someone will discover we are so for it is there for the world to see. yes, i do believe you are right, the time is now. let us go and seek our answers. who knows what we may find: ends, beginnings, perhaps nothing more than fond memories to carry along the way.


sphincter says what?

it has never been a mystery to me why people don't like the police. simply put: they're assholes. and that's not a judgement on every single individual cop in the world, it is simply a reality about the nature of what they do and how they do it.

on friday afternoon i was in alameda "teaching" a classroom of preschoolers, which really meant playing outside all day and wiping a lot of runny noses. at some point while on a boat trip to chuck e. cheese, my fellow travelers pointed into the sky and started jabbering about the airplanes. i corrected them, for they weren't airplanes but helicopters, and specifically the ones they bring out when shit is going down in oakland. although my curiosity was peaked there was no way i could figure out what that shit was at the moment so i turned my attention back to steering our boat towards pizza and games. my curiosity was later satiated when on my way home i drove right into a police barricade at the intersection of 15th and harrison. there were crowds of cops and as i waited for the cars in front of me to make their u-turns, i saw an oakland police department tank sidle through. now, much shit has hit the fan in oakland, but never have i seen a legit tank pulled out to deal with it. now knowing that all my shit/fan instincts were correct i pulled into a conveniently adjacent open parking space and got out to see what the commotion was. my mother happened to call me approximately 30 seconds before this decision and upon hearing it began to yell frantically for me to go home; i ignored her rational motherly pleas, told her i'd call her when i got back and hung up the phone. all around me were television crews, obviously disgruntled pedestrians and bikers, and of course, cops. i walked over to a group of people to ask what the deal was. it turned out that oscar grant's killer had been released on bail that day, and righteously so, oakland was pissed.

over the span of maybe 180 seconds that i stood and chatted with my fellow outraged citizens, that intersection was transformed. the next thing i knew the cops had aggressively started yelling at everyone to get out of the street; granted there were only about 6 people not on the sidewalk that weren't police, but that didn't seem to be reason enough for the cops to simply walk up to those people and ask them to move. so me along with everyone else began looking around to figure out exactly what they were so upset about. as we did, we saw a teenage black boy sauntering back to the sidewalk when he was tackled by 4 fully loaded policemen and arrested. a cry of outrage went up from the bystanders, and like reasonable people we began asking the cops what the fuck they thought they were doing. people with cameras, mostly middle aged white men, were not arrested or yelled like the young people of of color, they were asked, not yelled at, to step back onto the sidewalk. those of us with a little more melanin were rudely shouted at and approached with a totally unnecessary level of aggression. once they felt like they had arrested enough young yellow, brown and black people they began pressing onto the sidewalk and ordering us to move back. being in the front row, i asked the cop directly in front of me why we were being moved back. his response: because it's an order. now being the supra-rational person that i am, i swallowed the rage and my urge to mollywhop him and rip his face off and calmly asked what the purpose of that order was. his response: because i said so.

any rational human being knows that that is simply not the way you deal with someone if you are trying to not start shit with them; that sort of juvenile authoritative response is exactly what ignites the sparks of anger, hatred and rage that is directed at the police forces that are supposedly in place for our well being. and that response definitely blew my fuse, from that point on, until i left, my middle fingers were at constant attention and in the face of every police officer on my side of the street accompanied by a stream of logical deductions from observation about the effectiveness, purpose, intelligence (or lack of all of the above) of the police tactics, along with very detailed explanations of why everyone hates cops and a fine smattering of expletives. it it wasn't for candy (the love of my life, a 95 corrolla), i would probably be in jail right now. if i had walked into that situation i would have stayed, but not wanting candy to get caught up in the bullshit and attacked as an innocent bystander, i made my way back to her and took her out of the melee. even on the way out cops were yelling at me to get out of the street, as if i could reach my car and leave the situation through any other means, and once in my car they continued to yell at me to move my car faster as if my toyota corolla was going to pummel the escalade in front of me into letting me drive through it. that cop received a highly directed and focused finger and a series of well chosen expletives specially created for his particular brand of stupidity and assholeness.

while this is not the first time i've been part of cop/public horribleness, it was very much a reality check; mixed president or not, those of us with a little color are still under attack from this system and it will not stop because we have changed the color of our elected leader. the fear, the anger, the misunderstandings, the frustrations and the pain are all still here and aren't going anywhere until people are simply taught better. it is common knowledge that the police force attracts napoleonic characters and this truth combined with the aggressive and authoritative pedagogy perpetuated by the institution are fine kindling for confrontation. oh people, will we ever learn? cynicist that i am i can't say i believe we will, but regardless of what i think, it remains to be seen.