Illustration by Lea Augerae

L’avenir peut devenir plus vite d’ici. The future quickly becomes the present.

I think that was Bonjour Tristesse, required reading for A-level French back in the days.

I also still can not believe that once a grown adult woman asked if my braids posed some type of health risk as a nesting ground for hair lice.

Maybe she was anticipating touching my hair, now that I think of it?

Which is an equally unbelievable interaction for most people in possession of afro-origins hair. I suppose this is why I cringe a little when the stray arm stretches out across a whole expanse of space and plucks at a braid on my hair, no warning, just some innocent and complimentary comment like “I like your braids”.

That was then anyways, the past of just a few years ago, and usually, I’d patiently respond — and I mean patience of a saint-type-patient — with a few handy facts on hair care for my type of hair, and a small oration of our hair textures being different and requiring different care. I’d like to think that I went above and beyond; delivering my response with a message on tolerance to diversity, for the greater good.

But even then, I questioned why black people have to become authorities on race and other socially conscious topics simply on the premise of their experiences.

Why does “I just don’t feel comfortable” not suffice as a reasonable enough statement on self-determination, but instead establishes a precedent for every other black person.

Now, in a somewhat fast-forwarded present, I’ve noticed a different phenomenon.

Fewer stray hands hoovering at eye-level.

Fewer stares on a wash-and-go day with few to zero needless interactions on my style of hair, or my texture of hair. I’m hoping this isn’t thanks to the KWUTK clan (they who shall not be named), or even the joy-giving wig switching that takes place on the various DMX challenge contributions. But is instead thanks to you, yes you heard, you.

You and your doubtless countless varied contributions to the hair pool might have gone some way to unravelling the decades-long mystery of afro-hair textures.

Or maybe it’s just me, and my months-long TWA wearing this summer. Which was blissful and at the same time a spectacle for my mother, who is from a different time.

To my mother, it is a spectacle. She doesn’t get it, she doesn’t get us girls and our desire to rehash old techniques previously expended as “not good enough” cc: “not white enough”, but it’s accepted knowledge now in our house that I won’t be backing down.

I mean this is hair that doesn’t back down.

I propose that next summer, we all just wear our afros out over the same exact time.

So people really have something to ask about. (And also for world peace.)

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