Just enough hair for… Hairspray! (Cutting the Dreads)

Posted: April 12, 2011 in Just enough hair for... Hairspray!

“I did it!”

My mind danced the jerk, ricocheting off the walls of my skull. My teeth squeezed their way through my lips as they exposed themselves – naked and bright. My body cooperated letting me know it supported my plight and my arms flung into the air, aiming through it and at its target. However, the target was rarely hit. My thoughts reminded me:

You SUCK at basketball.

I knew it. D-Squared, with his zest for life and passion for all things irregular, knew it as well. He knew because we were both equally as bad.

The ball hit the backboard, the side rim, the fence and the air as we made feeble attempts to sink it through the eighteen inch diametric opening. We blamed it on the double rim, the burning sun and the flattening ball. But the truth was:


I didn’t care.

Moving to NY, I passed by the basketball courts longing to play. Growing up, being of color, it was naturally expected that every person of my race picked up a ball of some type. But not me, I picked up bugs, dead birds, leaves, boils, spider bites, infections and the all too familiar animal attack. Exploring was my game and I was on a quest to discover the world – at least the world through my naïve glowing eyes.

But now, finally, in the comfort of a non-judgmental companion, I was shooting the ball through the air laughing at my every failed attempt. It was as if I could see the little boy inside of me standing and watching me. Cheering me on, thanking me for finally stepping outside of my comfort zone and doing it just because I wanted to.

But it didn’t stop there.

D-Squared and I meandered through the park in search of alligators. I longed to get as close as I could, vowing to scale a few fences. We jumped through the grass and flipped in the park. It felt like a Snuggles commercial. D-squared taught me how to do a sideways handstand and to throw a boomerang. And I taught him how to dodge an arrow.

Lying in the grass, waiting to be plucked, a stray arrow longed for my embrace. I could feel it calling me, whispering for me to touch it and run my calloused hands down its stiff covering. And when it was safely in my grasp, I could feel my mind telling me to run as I tossed it directly in the air – more than 100 feet – and vowed to catch it on the way down.

For seconds at a time, it defied gravity. I watched as it slithered, effortlessly, through the atmosphere vowing to reach beyond the horizon – me there to catch it when it fell. However, as it lost rocket ship momentum, it turned on me.

Waiting below, I could feel its eye focused on me with less than fluffy soft intentions aimed at my forehead. I tried to coach it into slowing down and releasing its malice. But soon, I had to run.

Its point came careening by me, disturbing the earth with a soggy blow. My excitement reached through to the ionosphere. I felt alive. I felt invigorated.

I felt like me – more me than I have tangoed with in a long time.

Nature was my playground and imagination my teacher.

Then, back to rehearsals I went…

I knew a joke had been played on me.

The dance was called “The Madison”. The choreographer moved to the front, glided through a few steps and instantaneously, everyone caught on. They sang and danced as if their bodies had risen into the music allowing the notes to guide them. Everyone accept me.

I looked around with malice in my eyes desiring to scream:


I had been left out of the rehearsal of the secret society and I vowed to punish all who would not let me in. And with each added move, it was as if my body betrayed me, my mind dissolving into a pool of confusion with every new added motion. I turned to Smiley-Cheeks, the Hairspray extraordinaire, with sunbeams implanted in her face, and asked for help.

After observing me for brief second, she proclaimed:

“You’re good. You have it!”

She waved her approving hand and me, and slightly turned her cheek, scolding me like an endearing mother. I vowed to rebel and stomp my fingers, throwing my fist in the air in an all out tantrum as I pounded the floor:


However, I leaned back quietly and took my punishment, chalking it up to exhaustion. Until, I was slapped in the face.

The pinnacle of afro-centric dancing had come to fruition. Run and Tell That was ready to be stomped and gossiped all over and I had my track spikes on. I poised myself to pop, lock and drop it, as my body gyrated to anything that could be claimed as a beat. And by the end of the rehearsal I wanted to punch myself in the liver.

Once again I felt like I had three-left feet, with the third one planted in a tub of stupid. I desired to jump outside of myself. To hit my knees, begging before me:

“Why have though forsaken me?”

It was as if my body was punishing me for not embracing the stylistic flow of the rap and r&b worlds. Questions formed in my head:

Is it really that bad to like “Offspring”? Now you punish me for not Big Pimpin’?

Too mentally exhausted to care anymore, off I sprang into a corner and watched from a distance as people did a merry-go-round through the moves. I mentally searched for an oil can to put my joints at ease, as all hopes were leaking out. And then it happened.

Out of nowhere Kool-Aid, the down to earth chameleon, who seems to mesh with everyone he talks to, walked over to me. I fought to scrounge up enough positivity to hold a conversation, yet, I could only grasp enough for a forced hello. I fixed my lips. They slightly parted to the size of a slit of paper, sucking back despair in order not to translate my sullenness to him. Then Kool-Aid spoke:

“I really enjoy watching you dance. You really get into the groove!”

And just as soon as he appeared, he was gone. And with that, so went my dread…


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