Hairbrushed

Featured Artwork: Louisa Cannell

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When I was younger, my mother used to brush my hair in the early morning sunlight

I can remember standing on the chilled, tiled floor of our impossibly small bathroom and being entranced by the specks of dust playing and dancing in the beams of a new day

Hard, stiff bristles would always get caught and snagged in the tattered nest upon my head

I would squirm and wiggle and voice my displeasure; I was often chastised for not being able to stand still as young girls should behave themselves

My mother would brush and brush and brush until my hair hung in a flat, dark curtain down my back; no longer messy, no longer tangled, no longer the hair I had woken with

 

As I grew older, I would attempt to brush my hair myself

It was difficult, my scalp would smart at the pain as I worked through the strands with repetitive, mundane strokes

Trying to tame all the elements of who I was pained me

Other girls had their hair constricted and pressed into copies of one another

Each day I would sit in school staring at the heads of the young girls around me, envious of their uniformed styles

I wanted so badly for my hair to be like that but

My hair was interlaced with dreams and wishes and ideas and ambitions and places I yearned to visit

The clouds of hope that hung and circled around my head would distract me

Sometimes I gave up trying to detangle the mystery of who I was

I would just leave it be for I found it was fine

 

Now I no longer brush my hair

I let it grow wild and spiral out of my control

It captures where I go and the conversations I have and the people I meet

I meet more girls with hair like mine

When I compliment their hair, I can feel flowers and poetry and sun fall from my lips and I see music and zeal and accomplishments glimmer in their eyes in appreciation of our similar souls

Now when I wake up, I flaunt all my ambitions and dreams proudly like a crown atop my head

It twinkles and catches the attention of strangers as it trails behind me

Sometimes it all falls into my eyes and I see the world differently, through a new light

Through this light, things are peaceful; our unique souls are allowed to ascend the highest of mountains.

I love it up there

I don’t even think I own a hairbrush anymore