I WISH I COULD SHARE THIS POEM WITH MY MOTHER,
BUT I’M NOT SURE IT WOULD TRANSLATE WELL
I stretch my hands, running fingers from my roots down, and at its longest point, my hair reaches half an inch past my ears. It tickles, and I like it. I tell him when he caresses my feet that it doesn’t tickle, it “feels uncomfortable,” I gasp between giggles. I can’t show an Aries weakness in any form, yet somehow, I melt in my Instagram stories. Why is it more possible to feel vulnerable in the eyes of the entire zodiac?
I know many air signs who envelop me with their words even when I haven’t requested it, and I am thankful because it carries me forward, especially when my Capricorn mother struggled to love me when my image wasn’t of use to her. She hated my hair when I first cut it. We argued over the phone. The first and only time I’ve hung up on her intentionally, silence thicker than the bonds of mothers and daughters who are so similar it’s impossible to always agree.
I wasn’t feminine enough, whatever the fuck that means. I disobeyed. I cut centuries of connections and weaved identity in the ribbons she would intersect in my braids. She never even liked doing my hair. Her fingers cramp. So do mine on occasion. I get it.
I will never really understand her anger yet I will always feel it as my own.
She mentions every time I see her how my hair looks exactly how it did at age one, then two, and soon three. A warm smile and nostalgia in her eyes.
This is the longest my hair has been in five years. And for the first time I feel comfortable in this hair that reflects the choices and sacrifices I’ve made.
We saw the live-action Beauty and the Beast on opening weekend. That’s her favorite Disney princess. It’s because my dad’s the Beast. She must identify. I assigned meaning but I was fucking wrong.
I remember when the animated movie came out. We were in Mexico, your dad was here, and it was just you and me and the house, sad and lonely. Your Tia Rosy let us borrow a new movie she had gotten. It was La Bella y la Bestia. And we watched it, just you and me. You’d say you were my little Chip.
It must be because she’s on the Aquarius cusp, but those words carried me in that moment, felt like an embrace. She might not have liked doing my hair, but I bet she’d never admit what I couldn’t either. It wasn’t about the hair, it was about getting to feel her fingers running through it, my back leaning against her knees. A little bony, but just right against my shoulder blades.
By Cynthia Medrano.
Cynthia is a brown girl exploring arts and crafts as a form of resistance. She lives in Chicago and finally figured out how to keep her plants alive. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @drmcscrewhammer, and her Instagram project, @criticallyenraged.