The State of Black Hair in a Mental Health Facility
Mental health facilities must don’t care
Cause my African American hair
is as brittle and hard as a rock.
Inquiring about something to utilize
Staff brings out a comb I haven’t seen in years
A small black piece of flimsy plastic
It bared the tiniest teeth
I laughed as I continued down the hall
Staring into the mirror
I questioned, “Is there any way I could try this?”
But I did, and I was quickly reminded
that for one: I am a natural queen.
My hair is so thick and dark in hue
Ombre tangerine tips that would normally shine in the sun
Seem dull and breaking to be rebirthed
Even as I travel through my sentiments and diagnosis
I find pride in my tresses
Without conditioning agents and hydration
I’m unsure how they will ever flourish here
Every hospital I’ve visited never finds it necessary
to have more than a 2-n-1 or “no moisture” shampoo
Filled with surfactants and parabens
Not a tad of petroleum jelly
Or any kind of oil
I would take anything
So desperate I used a bit of lotion to calm my coils
And as I tried to create a part, my hair almost shed a tear
I could sense it ripping from the very roots it stood
Forbidden to use ties, bows, or bobby pins
Is it cause I’m crazy enough to kill myself?
Drape a hair accessory around my throat?
Or meticulously poke myself in the eye?
Self-care means taking care of my head
Nourishing it as I would my body and mind
Mixtures of coconut oil
And some other shea butter goodness
We as women of color deserve the tools
To be as beautiful as we are outside of these walls
Our strength, our pride exudes through our crowns
Do not diminish us.
Do not dismiss us.
Respect our black hair.