Low-maintenance fabulousness.

I’ve written more than once about my hair, even wrote out the saga that ended with my short-short afro so many years ago.  Nowadays, my afro, when I wear it, is Cleopatra Jones


not old-school Rashumba

( Couldn’t resist this photo of her with the eternally-gorgeous Beverly Johnson).

When I wrote out my hair story, I had wanted to post pics, but my scanner wasn’t cooperating.  But now I’ve solved the problem of the scanner (thanks to wanting to put Koh’s postcard into yesterday’s post), so …

You can look at the “Hey” page to see what I look like most days.  Here’s what I looked like before I cut off my relaxed hair and went for the short afro:

Passport1(I mean, ok, I didn’t usually look so wide-eyed and stiff, but you get the idea.)  I look about twelve in this photo, but I think I was actually 22.  I had lots of hair (it was just below my shoulders by the time I decided to cut it all off), but the straightening was so high-maintenance … to say nothing of the fact that it was bad for my hair.

But then I went under the shears.  Here are a couple of photos from a reading I gave at the Cornelia Street Cafe:

Reading2Reading1I still look pretty shockingly young to my current middle-aged-lady eyes.  I was 29 here.  I had such a good time that night … after Fox calmed my rampaging nerves by walking me to the front of the restaurant and telling the bar tender to give me a double shot of tequila!  It bypassed my empty stomach and went straight to my head.  Suddenly, I wasn’t so nervous any more!  Obviously, the first picture is during the reading.  The second picture, as must surely be clear from my much bigger, more relaxed smile, is after the reading.  That’s the one and only David Lawrence, guitarist extraordinaire in the second photo.

Aside from the fact that my scanner is working now, I was thinking of my short hair because it was so easy.  So easy and so excellent.  I loved that short cut.  It went with all my clothes and was totally wash and wear.  Not in any way like the hair I wear now.  Today I wanted the Cleo J hair because I was off to a big conference and sometimes the fierce hair just feels more appropriate.  But it’s so labor intensive.  Messing with it this morning really made me miss my old look.


8 thoughts on “Low-maintenance fabulousness.

  1. molly

    Those are some really beautiful pictures, you stunner, you. I look at the smile and can’t help thinking how lucky your students are to have that beacon shining on them. But where’s the pciture of the fierce hair? That would be fun to see.


    1. Thanks, Molly. My students are always trying to figure out me and my smiling: why am I always smiling? what does it mean? what will it mean if I stop smiling all the time … They do get a pretty liberal helping of my smiles on a daily basis. I can’t help it. I love working with them, so I just have to smile!


  2. yes–beautiful shots of beautiful you! natural hair is no joke…somedays I miss my twists but I sure don’t miss the hours it took to get them done! I love that you were daring enough to cut it all off…I grew up with short hair, so getting it past my shoulders was always the dream…then I got that (after numerous mishaps) and thought, “That’s it?” Short hair takes guts–you have to know you’re fierce and that you don’t need hair to prop you up…


    1. Thanks, Zetta. The original “cutting it off” was fairly traumatic, but after I got used to having “no hair,” I loved it. Nowadays, although I’m not yet ready to give up my Cleopatra Jones option, all I can think about is locking my hair. I would LOVE to have locks … I just know I’m not ready for that commitment yet!

      I wouldn’t say I knew I was fierce before I cut my hair (most days in the week, it’s anyone’s guess whether I’m aware of even the hint of fierceness). In my case, I think it’s more accurate to say that having the short hair introduced me to my fierceness. I used to joke with a friend of mine that it was like I was channelling Angela Davis!


  3. Maybe it’s not the hair itself, but how you *own* it while wearing it that makes it fierce. Then again, I have a black leather jacket that makes me 20x more badass than usual and it’s all the jacket’s doing.

    Loving the short hair…it totally highlights your smile. Would love to see the fierce hair. 🙂

    Hmmm…have you inspired me to do a chronology of hair post? Maybe.


    1. I think it’s both, Erika. The twists always feel very young and girlie to me because they remind me of how Mildred used to braid my hair in the summers when I was a kid, but the big afro definitely makes me think Angela Davis and Cleopatra Jones, and it’s harder to get more badass than either of them!

      I’ll look and see if I have any “presentable” photos with the big afro. I have some from my last mermaid parade, but I’m not posting those!


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