Buds and Blossoms are Bigger Than Just Springtime
Today I had the pleasure of watching my heart grow. An actual piece of it.
This child is my cousin, but more like my little sister and my daughter in spirit. We are twin souls out here sent to sup from one another and pay it forward. There are 14 years between us and I've been getting her as often and regular as possible since she was 15 months old. I don't know why it was so important then, except that the nurturing genes run deep through me (believe it or not). She's watched me grow up and I have taken an interest in how she grows up.
Besides having similar features and body structure, I wanted my cousin to take away fearlessness (you know I'm workin on it for self too) and determination. I wanted her to be exposed and interested. I wanted her to taste life not just with her tongue but her eyes and her hands and her ears. From me she's gotten the gift of Fish Fridays and trying something new off the menu. She's developed a healthy sneaker addiction, and an all around dangerous shoe fetish. She's gotten my modesty [SHUT UP] and a strong sense of self. I simply wanted her to have the tools necessary to create the life she wants, and not to ever feel the need to live her life according to another's blueprint. Not even mine.
My cousin and I share another similarity. We've always had hair. Lots of it. Long at times. Always thick. Typically healthy. A Black girl/woman with hair carries the responsibility of having and maintaining hair for all the Black girls/women who don't. Anything we do to our hair is taken as a personal affront to any sista whose hair doesn't quuuuiiiiiittteeee (usin my Cedric the Entertainer voice) grow like they want it to. Our history has essentially taken Black hair and put it in a pan w/a stick of butter--fried hard please. So busy chasing the reality of other ethnic groups straighter tresses, we've disrespected our roots, literally, and killed their right to flourish. That's not to say every Black woman would have long hair, since we're so concerned with this, but that our hair would be healthy. The difference between my cousin and I is that her hair is officially the Mixed Chix brand, courtesy of her parents' interracial union. And you know what? They still relaxed that baby's hair.
Now, at the ripe young age of 20, and with a great deal of encouragement from me to DO YOU (WHATEVER that may be), as well as introduce her to more than one standard of beauty for Black women, my cousin made a Big Girl move today. She cut her strands down to the quick. Just long enough to bend and curl. Glad she rid herself of Dead Head, but saddened that the acceptance of her new style by others will come mostly from their comfort with and envy of the softness of her hair's natural texture. Kinky/Curly girls have a rougher time of it. All that aside, Ms. T got through the adjustment period [quickly] and then straightened her back with a brand new sense of self. The transformation, with absolutely no verbal coercion from me, was incredible to witness.
My "baby sister" born of my older cousin, "daughter" of my soul, came into her own today. She staked a claim on a small patch of land just for her, to build her own identity.
Pridefully, I am watching her evolve. Perhaps I've ruined her from being a good suburban housewife or your standard Type A female exec. But I have prepared her to take the world by storm, grab it by its reigns, and make it gallop in her direction. I wish I would apologize to her parents.
Watch her move.