October 18, 2007

Pretty Woman

I wrote this in 2004

Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater.
Had a wife but couldn't keep her.
Put her in a pumpkin shell;
And there he kept her very well.

That's the way the nursery rhyme goes. Many may say, poor Peter. Why didn't he just get rid of that contentious woman? I see it differently. Looks to me like he would still have a happy wife if he could stay away from that gourd. It had obviously taken over his life, distorted his value system.

Speaking of value systems. I've been going through a hair discovery thing for the last five years or so. I didn't realize it until recently just how much black woman value their hair. The term "good hair" takes on a life of its own in the black community. You can get into a knock down drag out over talking about someone's weave (she swears it's her own good, straight hair).

Why is that, I wonder? It doesn't keep me awake at night but it keeps me turning my head wondering why sister girl's hair is more blonde and waxy-looking than Marilyn Monroe's. Okay, a lot of women (regardless of skin color) like to change their look. I'll give you that. And having bone straight hair can be convenient. But for most women of color going natural means being anything from Iman wavy to Buckwheat nappy. (I think I'm related to Buckwheat).

I wouldn't have thought any more about this hair thing but lately a lot of black women have been coming to me - almost secretly - confessing that they would like to go natural (afro, dred locs, wavy, etc.) but they feared they wouldn't be accepted on the job. I could relate to that, I kept mine pulled back during the almost five years that I worked for the State. Some women though, had another fear. "I wouldn't look pretty with natural hair."

I realize now that my own dissatisfaction with self years ago was linked to my inability to accept the Buckwheat in me. A hair relaxer only magnified what I thought was my ugly bad hair life.

Now, each time I oil and palm roll my shoulder-length locs, I say to myself that I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalms 139:14). I pray that more women of color will be able to look in the mirror and say, "I am pretty because God did a marvelous work in making my hair and me."


fcb4 said...

Thanks for visiting my site (www.fcb4.blogspot.com), I enjoyed the conference, it was my first. I was inspired by the word on Church planting too. For me it was a real confirmation to the Lord's leading to plant our second church. God used the words of John to add fuel to that vision. I also was challenged to flesh out this reconciliation in more concrete ways. I determined to take real steps. During the conference this phrase came to me about the shallow racial relationships that we tend to have around here: "the closest we get to interacting with our black brothers and sisters is sharing "black coffee" together during "fellowship" times. So I pushed the issue to the forefront of our weekly prayer meeting with fellow pastor/leaders in my neighborhood. I asked my black pastor friend (Robert Jackson) what was the next step to moving towards a greater understanding and deeper relationship among us and as friends. It was real good discussion and followed by confessional prayer. It was a first step. Next, I met with and contacted my next leaders for the church plant...first one...a woman. Single mom, white/black child...second contact a hispanic DJ. Next...I attended a "woman rising" event here in town put on by mostly black women. They invited all to attend last night, men and women and my white daughter did a original song for the event. So...I am really pressing to put into practice the words spoken at the conference. I've had to repent of just not noticing the issue. I dont feel like I have a prejudice bone but I realized my "leviteish" indifference was a form of racial insensitivity too. I also realized that I was thinking the blacks in my neighborhood (30%) were more likely going to go to the black church...so why bother reaching out? That is a wrong attitude...of which I have repented too. So good stuff I think...what do you think?

super girl said...

Eric, seems like you're doing the God thing right now. It's not always the popular thing or the most comfortable thing but as you keep your mind/heart/eyes focused on Him, he will direct your path and help you to stand.

As to the question of reaching out to blacks in your neighborhood: I say, don't ever assume. I'm black, my husband is black and God called us into a large (3,000 people+) white congregation. We bacame members and stayed there for almost 8 yrs. That was eight years of growth on both sides of the 'color line.'

The bottom line is people need God. And God isn't picky about how folks come to Him. Just come. Maybe those black folks in your neighborhood won't go to a 'white' church but they will have heard/felt/seen the love of Christ in/through you. Prayerfully powerful John 17 relationships of faith across racial lines will form. And I don't know about you but I can't see anything wrong with that.

Pray (a lot), maybe even fast, and then follow God's lead. Many blessings of truth and grace to you.