I thought very hard about writing this post, because it is very personal and also because it is not politically correct and adresses the sensitive topic of race.
It seems like nowadays we live in a culture of shame and today I will adress the shame of having “pelo malo” in Panama that is the phrase people in my country, use when referring to afro hair, which translates to bad hair.
I think it is just a form of casual racism and blackness denial that shames panamanians, even if they have light skin with mildly wavy hair, into frying their hair with flat irons and altering its natural curl pattern permanently with Relaxers and keratin treatments.
Today I feel no shame and never will again about who I am and how my hair looks, my multicultural heritage and my life choices, I used to be ashamed of my hair like a lot of women and girls with afro hair (without being aware of it) but today I say NO MORE.
When I was little I saw the most glorious set of hair on a beauty peagant and it was curly & big like mine is today thanks to the love and tips of many wonderful beautybloggers and vloggers. Back then mine was brittle and it hurt to detangle. My mom did not know how to do my hair because, I Got my curly fro from my dad so that was new territory for my beautiful, adorable & sweet mother. The information was not out there for moms of mixed babies. She loved my curls but I did not, until now.
My beloved mother had thin, fine, high density,wavy hair due to her caucasian, asian, and native american heritage. My mom loved everything black, she loved my hair so much and thought it was beautiful. I wish she could be here to be silly about it with me,she was so funny, but I know she is still watching over me. The point is we are not just a skin color or a hairtype, we are people and people of the same country and culture who should be united not divided by old hatreds and long standing privileges.
As much as my mom and my dad loved everything black the country in which I grew up, I feel, lives in black denial. The gold standard of beauty over there is caucasian and only 6% is in fact caucasian. Panama is a mix race country but somehow there is shame in embracing the part of our nation that came from Africa. I call that The denial of the Black Panama.
Back to the beauty queen with amazing curls? Well it turns out that with deep conditioner, finger curling,air diffusing and good hair care, today I get to see how my hair really is like I and that is the true model of the beauty peagant for me. Off course my hair is shorter and we look nothing alike. I am that beauty queen because I have the courage to walk out there and be as myself as I can possibly be with No apologies and so are you.
The irony of all of this, is that I now know I had the curls I coveted for so long secretly hidden under my flat ironed hair all along, if only the information to care for my hair had been available when I was a child.
I am not ashamed to write a personal story, I am not ashamed of remembering my mom as sweet as she was. She beat cancer even if she died, because every single day after her surgery she went out and did something amazing for others.
Dear mom today I realized I can be the beautyqueen I had always wanted to be and that you already knew I was. Sorry for not being there to save you. I was always away seeing the world and now your piece of the world is forever lost but not forgotten, never forgotten, your legacies stay behind, and I will work hard to move forward and keep changing the world through Education and science.
Dear Mother you were always silent about your accomplishments while others bragged loudly. I will tell the world how amazing you were. Love you my ever so gracious mother.
See you when the stars fall again.
With Love Your Daughter