Can you be an introverted black girl and still rock an afro? The question is simple, and the answer is even more so:
“Yes. You can do whatever-the-bleep you want to”.
The thing is, while you can control what you do, you can’t control how people engage and/or perceive you.
Even so, let me make this clear in case someone out there suddenly realizes their mistake. Yes, I’m wearing my hair out and I know it’s Big, Awesome, and Beautiful… but no, that doesn’t mean I want to talk to you right now. There should be no correlation between the two, so I am not sure how you jumped to that conclusion.
This mirrors the issue many women face when they decide to put on a little extra makeup, or heaven forbid; wear a dress. People assume that we’ve put the added effort into our appearance in order to get attention. No. Maybe I just really like makeup, dresses, and big hair.
Then, when we want to keep to ourselves, we are smacked with the label of being “Stuck Up”.
This happens often when I wear my hair out.
Most of the time, when I wear my hair out, I am mentally prepared for the additional attention I’ll be getting from strangers (whether it’s blatant stares, sly smiles, or people outright commenting on it.) Honestly, most of the time I’d even call it a bit of an ego boost, but once again, I’ve hyped myself up for it. I am ready for it.
But on those days when I’m not prepared… coming up to me and trying to chat puts me in a bad mood. Especially if my headphones are in and I am busy focusing on something that is not you.
I am an introverted black girl, but I am not shy.
If you approach me and make small talk, I will play along, but I will be dying every minute of it.
This train of thought came about a couple of months ago, when I wore my hair in a big fluffy twist-out so I could be a subject in a friend’s film project. I hadn’t done my standard ‘social-mental preparation’ because I was wearing my hair out for someone else, and not myself.
Within 15 minutes of leaving my apartment, I had already received a car honk, and a couple shy smiles and overall wasn’t feeling up to the attention. By the time I boarded the train heading downtown, I was trying my hardest to shrink into the corner, and make it obvious I was minding my own business.
That was when a woman walked very deliberately, from one end of the train to my end, and decided that out of the 50 other people around us doing their own thing, that I would be a suitable conversation candidate.
“I love your hair!” she said.
I was genuinely flattered, but once again, really not feeling social, so I thanked her and returned to scrolling through Instagram on my phone.
“It’s just so big and amazing,” she continued, “I knew I had to come over and talk to you.”
Once again; not feeling it, but people tell me I have an encouraging smile. (I’m figuring out how to fix that). “Thanks I appreciate it.”
“How do you do it? Does it take a long time?”
“Not really, just braid it, sleep on it, then take it out…” (Yes, I know I oversimplified the process, but come on, I wasn’t about to get into it.)
Then, she got personal: “Are you a religious person?”
I would like to think I just stared at her dumbfounded for a solid five seconds, because in my head I was thinking B*tch Please. But in all reality, I was probably still smiling my stupid encouraging smile.
So what followed was some small talk about religion, her making me feel bad for not having a faith and telling me I should really think about going to church. Oh, and of course I got her life story while I was at it. She was a Mormon serving her mission.
When I finally got off the train I was pretty taken aback. I was used to men (and women) using my hair as a conversation starter to hit on me, but this was a definitely a first. I really don’t know what it was that she saw in me that was like “Yup. That girl with the unruly hair? She needs saving. And you know what? I think she’ll be receptive to it.”
Even within the Natural Hair community, someone rocking their fro usually earns the title of Queen, or the attribution of being Fierce.
These words bring to mind confident, outgoing, and social women, so it makes sense how these images carry out into the real world.
I also want to make it clear, I am not against compliments or attention… But I am against assumptions. I just want people to check themselves and think hmmm. out of everyone else in the vicinity. Why do I feel it’s a good idea to talk to this chick?
Are you an introverted black girl? Do you just like your personal space? Do you think you’re asking for it when sporting an eye-catching style? Or is it all innocent and we really shouldn’t be bothered?
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