Meh Jata by Gracie Berry

No! My hair is not a fad. It is nothing less than a natural phenomenon. My birth right. Meh dreds, rasta, shiva, locs, jata. Yea…I Loc’d, following a sinfully addictive relationship. Rebelled the loss of my lover, so I Loc’d for healing. The rebellion sort of rid me of a sickness in mind, yet severed my vocal folds-silenced me whole. My spirit needed the calm centering from a weighted blanket, or to be doused with glitter to make pretty what was left and loathing. And that black magik woman didn’t allow me to stop feeling. In fact despondent inside from sad currents washing on and off the shores of my heart that had been kind. Maddening smiles of suicide ached me so like hamstrings after running. BENEATH my scalp was vulnerable, and those damn fingers gnawing beneath my scalp were RAMBUNCIOUS LIKE CHILDREN playing and teasing too much. Fingernails etched unmet needs into the fabric of my temples both sardonic and harsh. Oh but these locs made breathing natural again! They circulated everything CHANGED! Scars healed over. Replenished supplies of worthy and strong and pretty. And I can hear the GOT DAMN sound of my own voice again! IT’S Loud, raspy, rumbling! Meh jata, keeper of MY brown secrets, a visual poem, cascading downward, elegant, black, triumphant, CHANGED.

And my new growth stands for everything RADICAL! YET This NEW GROWTH ain’t always been treated kind. Been outcast while sitting peacefully at my local coffee shop, been molested while standing in lines at the grocery store, and protested by dead white eyes while PRACTICING Nadi Shodhana in the park. And their privilege always stalks me with their eyes-then averts when mine stare back. They glare-hate and curiosity-an immanently dangerous combination. And they have the unmitigated gull to blame all things considered on my pigment? Well I move to fucking strike and blame all things considered on their privilege! Check my locs! This shit is beyond skin deep! THIS SHIT IS INHERITED “bad behavior”, stitched into the framework of the universe-light moons-old of bullying and shaming the dark, causing trauma to those of us born from the dark before we even arrive on the planet. And ENTITLEMENT makes them kick and break things while wearing rose colored glasses to combat every painful truth from US bloodied and trailing ALONG THE WAY. And they never consider our journeys-victims indeed. That have survived to tell our stories of hair more alive than dead! In fact umbilical cord commitments between US and the CREATIVE. And instead of owning these facts-they blame us for what they see, project onto us what they feel or cannot understand as if we have no understanding of such things. Or they are offended when we turn stone or jarring to protect what liberties their curiosities told them to take from our bodies. Shit! This dred right here just might be that little bit of curiosity that sets you free. Cause Meh jata will not cower for you! No! You can NOT touch! Meh jata will not apologize for what you see! Step aside-Stop taking up the whole got damn pavement! Meh jata is Afrikan and lives on American soil! Recognize us with more than Lincon’s copper pennies. Meh jata holds secrets for the universe-adorns our temples with love, and cowrie shells and copper elephants. Cause my hair is as historically significant to black culture as black skin. Know this. Believe this. Respect my locs! -Gracie

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