The first thing I did when I got home for the holidays was to liberate my head from the cornrows that Joburg’s afro-unfriendly weather has forced me to wear 24/7. To my delight, strangers were in awe of my hair but those who knew me barely noticed it. My friend Wilma said the reason why they weren’t shocked or amazed was because they had known me for such a long time and that I have always been different.
I turned 21 on Sunday and that’s the lesson and power that I am taking with me into my twenties. When you know you are different you spend so much of your life trying to find ways to relate to others. Relating is good, but not at the expense of yourself. Society dictates to us that we should all strive to be the same. Even religion. My counter argument is always; “Why would God purposely make us different if he wanted all of us to be the same?”
So while icy Joburg has my glorious ‘fro tucked safely away under cornrows, my daily affirmation remains that I am different and I am focused on living that out and no longer trying to kill myself to be like others.