By: Lanisha Porter
Long gone have been the days when I would settle on the floor with a couch cushion, between my sisters legs as she braided my hair. Each weekend her fingers would majestically pattern designs through the thick of my coils leaving me to feel beautiful. The loudness of my beads which echoed as I whirled my head from side to side while I studied my reflection in the mirror, still remain a keepsake in my memory. These are the same memories I wish for my daughter to have. The whiff of Blue Magic that created sparkling diamonds in the aisles of my scalp; or the Ampro Pro-Styl Gel with the toothbrush that swooped my baby hair into cute swirls reminds me of the intimate moments from my girlhood that was escorted by so much innocence.
Yet again, I would settle beneath the creative hands of another woman and let her talents serve me best leaving me to feel beautiful and powerful.
My body had not yet filled out, and much like my womanhood, I was patiently awaiting when it would happen for me. I looked forward to the moments when I could go to the nail salon and get acrylic; strut in high heels with a fabulous handbag dangling from my forearm, or be able to elegantly prolong my exit with the lingering of my fancy perfume. Voluminous curls, straightened hair, silhouettes that told stories, and personal freedom felt like hallmarks that represented ones transition into womanhood; and I looked forward to that woman I would become in the afterlife of my childhood.
In no time I finally became her. The young woman driving myself to the hair salon in the car that I paid full cash for, lying my weeks troubles in the wash bowl to be massaged away by the hands of my beautician. Yet again, I would settle beneath the creative hands of another woman and let her talents serve me best leaving me to feel beautiful and powerful. This time, however, I didn’t settle on a couch cushion on the floor over sounds of Lyfe Jennings. I was “beyond that” stage, now. After your deep conditioning, you would wait your turn to be signaled over into the styling chair. A premium upgrade from girlhood into womanhood. During your wait at the hair salon there was often bonding between strangers over the soulful conversations centered around the highs and lows of womanhood. The salon became a sacred zone for women—younger and more seasoned ones—to retreat to that allowed for inter-generational socializing. Though the younger women at times pretended to be more invested in the world taking place behind the screens of our phones, we were eavesdropping on everything being said within earshot hoping to pocket tokens of wise insight, strength, or even just be entertained by ratchet gossip.
While at the salon I would hear stories about husbands and children, and careers and also even ladies vacations. This of course sent my thoughts into a spiral, thinking about my future and how I would manifest on that spectrum of womanhood--When would I marry? Do I even know how to stay married? What were my career projections? Could I actually accomplish all of my dreams? Would I lose my body after children? How many children should I have? How close would I stay to my sisterfriends throughout the seasons of life? It made me look on anxiously to the future just like I did when I was that little lad with plaited hair curious to escape girlhood.
Usually by the time we realize we should value our youth, we are racing a clock and often times—by nature—that clock will win no matter who we are.
From that experience there was one important lesson I became privy to. I learned that the future will come right on schedule so you may as well enjoy the present before it becomes a faded memory.
One day you’ll wake up and be far removed from that very space in time where you spent so much time being anxious and dreaming. The scary part? It’ll come so much faster than you could ever imagine, unable to ever be revisited again in this life. In life there are no capsules that reserve time for us; there is only the difference of a day that transports us quickly to the unknown future. That said…at age 22, though I look onward with curiosity about the woman I will become, I cherish the young woman I am right NOW because I’ll never get to be her again. Slowly but surely, she is escaping me each day and there is nothing I can do to preserve her youthfulness beside making wonderful memories, and downloading them to the hard-drive of my heart to be played over and over again.
In the spirit of living life to the fullest, I challenge you—no matter if you are young, wise, or in-between—to ENJOY this space in time where you are blessed to dwell. Usually by the time we realize we should value our youth, we are racing a clock and often times—by nature—that clock will win no matter who we are. So whether the best highlights are ahead of you or behind you, there is a solace to be enjoyed about it. When I was a little girl I couldn’t wait for time to induct me into the society of womanhood where I would experience D cups, romance, and the ritualized experiences of taking myself to the hair and nail salon. But now that I know how the clock of life works, I can wait for everything else I long for. It’s not like I have a choice but to anyways.
Welcome to my views from this horizon!