don’t touch my hair…

When I was young, I had straight hair: golden, shiny, long curly hair. People would say, “Olivia, your hair is beautiful, don’t ever touch it.” In a sense, I felt quite pompous because of my hair. I knew people were attracted to it. My mother called it mermaid’s hair and I took extreme pride in the comment. I loved the attention my hair drew; it became key to my identity. Being young and blind to cultural and social cues, I flaunted my hair and reveled in the jealousy of others. 

But then I grew up. I stopped living in the trance of my innocence. I became aware of the culture of my family and I didn’t know where I fit into that.

Being African American, Filipina, and Caucasian, I was surrounded by many cultures at a young age but grew up in a town where the ethnicity was mainly white which was reflected in my appearance with my long, straight, golden hair. The blonde hair that tickled my back as I walked side to side was a label for things that I didn’t understand at five years old, and that was my heritage. My hair was not the type of hair that you would see on a little black girl.

My African American family and my Filipina grandmother would always have something to say about my hair. It was too frizzy or too straight and never right for their standards. 

As I grew older and insecurities rose, my hair became frizzier, longer, and harder to manage. During my middle school years, I was confused and grappling with a loss of identity. With no relationship with my heritage, and trying to guide myself through my pre-teen years, my hair reflected the struggles I was facing. My hair was developing, and so was I, but I didn’t know how to control it. It and I were lost, and this struggle for a sense of identity lasted years. 

Then something happened during the summer between my freshman and sophomore year where I felt a sense of need. So, I cut my hair, all of it, and I felt fantastic. A fresh, ear-length, haircut was what I needed to not only feel confident but awake. 

photo credit: pinterest.com

My sophomore year of high school was a major awakening for me and my relationship with my ethnic identity. I understood the history of blacks in America as I began to read poems from Maya Angelou and read about corrupt African American communities in the works of Toni Morrison. I explored music relating to the struggles of black men and women, and began to experience my culture. I also felt a need to connect to my Filipina heritage as well. I began to cook more of my grandmother’s traditional Filipino recipes and shared them with my friends and family that didn’t understand my culture. 

My hair reflected the feelings that I was developing for my culture. It was curly, big, darker in color, and felt like me. I finally accomplished the sense of identity that I had been searching for in my young teenage years. I wasn’t just a girl, living in caucasian town with frizzy uncontrolled hair. I was a woman, who knew what she wanted and who she was who just so happened to have big curly locks on her head. 

Now, I love my hair just like I loved it when I was a little girl. I am able to bounce my curls all day without feeling the judgment of my family. I don’t care about what people have to say about my looks and how I am not enough in terms of my heritage.

minty

By the river with the low hanging cypress trees and the strong rapids, down by the field, she was sleeping, 

envisioning God,

envisioning freedom, 

envisioning life. 

But reality woke her from what she knew to be a dream, and not her future. 

she was neglected, hurt, defined by the scar on her forehead. 

she was abused for the color of her skin

she was owned.

she was cheated by the world, just like each of her brothers and her sisters.

photo credit: phoebewahl.tumblr.com

she was alone. 

she waited for an answer, an answer that could only come from liberty or from death. 

so minty ran. 

minty ran far,

one-hundred miles far following the North Star that shown bright in the sky.

when she was lost, He guided her to the river that took her home, 

the river that took her away from the heat of hatred and grimness

the river that washed over her face, cleaning her from the dirt of her “masters.”

in thirty-days time, she felt 

the warmth of acceptance, 

the warmth of respect. 

she stand there,

with the right of her freedom in her grasp,

the sun reflected in her tear-filled eyes. 

Minty felt the freedom embrace her,

she felt her brothers and sisters around her,

she felt the comfort of a home.

a diary from the valley part 1

the various moments i experienced in the valley:

  1. A seven hour car ride where i skipped about 80% of my music library.
  2. The smell of fresh pine everywhere I went.
  3. The smell of smoke embedded in my hair for the entirety of the trip.
  4. Freedom.
  5. Shock when looking at the sheer face of El Capitan.
  6. Pain as I slowly walked up the seven million switch backs to the top of Vernal Falls.
  7. Astonishment as I looked down at the waterfall.
  8. A freezing cold lake.
  9. Burning thighs, calves, and feet.
  10. Being really cold.
  11. Feeling incredibly lucky as I am able to be in a place that is so treasured.
  12. Eating too many PB and J sandwiches.
  13. The strong urge to see a little bear.
  14. Moments where I did not feel anything, no stress, jealousy, anxiety. And it felt really good.
  15. Seeing the valley in a new light. Literally and Figuratively.
  16. The mist blowing against my face as I looked at the waterfall above me.
  17. A seven hour car ride back where I realized that I really enjoy a good podcast.
photo credit: pinterest.com

i solemnly swear…

a commitment, a promise to uphold: 

I swear to keep my head held high even when I am

against the current.

I promise to love my mother, my father, my sister, my brother 

for eternity. 

I promise I will represent my filipino nonnie and my black grandfather 

as I walk down the street with my hair as

big and curly as ever. 

I swear to be as spiritual as my grandmother, 

And to not let the stress overcome me.

I vow to teach my sister everything I had to learn alone.

I promise to heal those around me with love and joy.

I pledge to never bleach my hair. 

I  vow to not express through harshness but through 

my passion. 

And,

I will never forget my heritage 

I will remember where I came from and be 

humble 

I will come home, 

wherever home may be 

I will always listen to soul and jazz music that comes from 

the heart of New York,

or the deep south. 

This is set of rules, guidelines, and obligations that will set a path for me in my near and far future. I may break or might not keep these promises but I will try. These promises and statements will shape me and prepare me for the unknown. 

Photo Credit: pintrest.com

shower thoughts

The entire day, I have been thinking about what to write and what to say. Quite frankly, I have nothing to say. So here is everything that has been swallowing me alive this week:

  1. This week, I have exhausted my opinions and today, I feel indifferent about all those previous feelings.
  2. Being a Libra, one of my qualities, more like flaws, is that I am indecisive. Sometimes, I cannot make a decision even if my life depended on it and that scares me as I apply for college.
  3. I am so excited to vote next year.
  4. I am done with the cliches that I hear in music and see on TV. Why can’t the world be real with me?
  5. How much water is too much water to drink?
  6. The sun is literally going to cook me alive and sunscreen will not stop it.
  7. Why did all my teacher’s decide to give me tests in the same week? Just wondering.
  8. I believe that we are not alone in this universe and I want to be the one to truly prove that.
  9. The world is crumbling under our feet and so many people are careless about it.
  10. Clouds are crazy.
  11. I am a consumer and I hate it.
  12. Even though its 100 degrees, I want to be in a hot tub.
  13. Is it okay if my conditioner is my best friend?

This is a brief look inside my brain and conscience this week.

Photo Credit: i-love-png.com

My Time

I broke my foot in October
I thought the world would come to a halt
But only mine did
Everything I had worked for, my season, my future, my passion
It all escaped me
I’d failed
I got the news in November
It was supposed to be my year
I promised it would be my year
I fought for a chance and guaranteed results
And was left to face the consequences
I was left behind
By December I was finished
As selfish as it sounds
It hurt that the world didn’t end like it did for me
I was hurting but the globe kept spinning
Practices continued on without me
Games were played
Fun was had
I was left on the stilts that took me nowhere
In January frustration had become my norm
The jokes didn’t bounce off like they used to
I was consumed by the mistakes that brought me here
I couldn’t forget the memories I never got to make
The apologies I made that could never make my team understand
February is when I finally lost the crutches
But mentally I was still on them
I was afraid to go back to playing
The courts promised me nothing but remorse
My recovery meant getting over my injury
But I wasn’t prepared for the strength it required
In March I was back on my feet
I was playing again
My game was coming back
But it didn’t matter anymore
I was making shots, playing with my team
But it didn’t feet right
I had failed them, and they knew it too

Credit: images.unsplash.com

 

day dreaming

I like to live in my head a lot. My mind is racing constantly with ideas, things to say, ways to approach conflicts, what to wear the next day. But most prominently, I see myself taking several different paths in my life, each of them dramatically different and in each of them, the same me.

I see myself going to New York after school and being an assistant to a high-up, liberal lawyer who defends the rights of the people.

I see myself traveling the world, opening my mind and not settling down until later in my life.

I see myself never coming back to Ojai.

I see myself becoming a cook and writing about my connection to food and the happiness it brings me and others.

I see myself being a complete activist who stands up for social and environmental causes resulting in a better, happier planet.

But I also see myself doing exactly what I currently plan on doing, going to school and becoming educated.

Even though each of these potential futures that I have created for myself are drastically different, there is a common thread, and that’s my happiness. I find myself extremely joyed in each of these positions. I am able to be myself.

I am at a point in my life where, for the first time, I can choose what I want to do in my future without restrictions. Now, taking my life into my own hands is a reality. But I have to ask myself, what am I prepared to do to get to one of these places?

credit soflete.com