In the day,

And in the night

Twinned thoughts and

Feelings are exposed –

Raw like a fresh wound

They are tangled

Through my heart

They affect my breathing.

I see them everywhere I look.

Sleep can be quiet and

Sometimes silence is the only solace.

© Marjorie H Morgan 2013


I am not my hair


“You have good hair”

“Is it real?”

“Can I touch it?”

“Have you got any weed?”

“Ha! Jackson 5 hair.”

“Is it all yours?”

“It feels like a carpet.”

“Can I use it for a weave?”

“How do you do it like that?”

“Do you have bad hair?”

“I like it when you wear your hair down.”

“I like it when you wear your hair up.”

“Can I play with it?”

“Is it hard?”

“Is it soft?”

“Does it hurt?”

“It suits you.”

“I don’t like your hair like that.”

“How often do you wash it?”

“Can you comb it?”

“Does it feel like a Brillo pad? It looks like one.”

“Your hair is so soft.”

“You have tough hair.”

“Have you ever cut it?”

“Don’t cut it.”

“Cut it, it’s too long.”

I am not my hair. My hair is part of my identity. Or so it seems. People always have a lot to say about other people’s hair. I have been no exception. I have shared a few of the comments I have heard over the years. These are all fresh in my mind now because I am thinking about cutting my hair – much shorter.

I have no idea why this thought process has taken so long to come to any sort of firm conclusion so I’m releasing them here to find some clarity.

For years as a child I was told that I had “good hair”. What is that exactly? What makes hair good or bad? It’s ability to grow faster than other hair? I guess so because mine did (and still does) just that.

I am on my second lot of locs. The first set I cut off completely about 9 years ago. Back then I grew them down my back, pretty much the same as I have now; this lot is longer – I can almost sit on them now. My history of locs seem to be a cycle of letting them grow and then cutting them off, but the cutting time also appears to have been delayed by me right now. I’ve been musing on a quick trim, a medium cut, or a totally new start for a while but still I hesitate and the scissors stay sheathed. Why is it such a big issue to cut my hair right now – I think it’s starting to become a big thing so I’ve been reflecting on the history of my hair and hair as part of identity.

I’ve looked back at my photographs and remembered what I was doing when I had different hair styles. My hair really does tell a journey of my growth and change in different circumstances. But surely that was my hair changing and not me? Different hair styles show a difference but they don’t show all of me. I am not my hair.

However, I do like having some hair. You see, I’ve been thinking about the loss of hair – through accident, illness, age, or choice. Each situation has a different affect on the person involved. Hair is more important that I first gave it credit for. It’s part of a uniform, a means of entry or exclusion from different groups; it is a badge of identity. Hair has a character all of its own. Hair is both political and social. How your hair is worn has links to gender divisions, theories about sexuality, images of beauty and power and concepts of ‘wrong’ or ‘right’ hair.

Hair speaks volumes whether a skinhead or locs-head. Hair, like eyes or clothes, is a window into a person’s identity.

This has led me back to thinking.

I am not my hair … or am I?

To snip or not to snip? That is the question …

India.Arie – I Am Not My Hair ft. Akon



The journey of grief

Everybody experiences grief. But not everybody talks about their grief. This is because with every person’s grief the language to deal with it is different – just like they are. There is not one universal language of grief; there are as many ways to speak it as there are people to experience it. Grief is always personal.

The way to communicate feelings at times of intense sadness can be with words, but it can also be by being present, taking time, showing love. These things can all be done in silence, but they speak volumes to the person grieving. There may be times when you need help but can’t speak it. This is because grief can make it impossible for you to speak, or it can make you talk non-stop. It is a changeable visitor.

If people offer you help then that gift of love may be well received – even if it is not acknowledged immediately. You see, grief changes people. It has a mental, physical and social impact.

When someone else is grieving we console them in the best way we can. When we grieve we begin to understand how the grief occupies you from within. It is only then that it becomes a different kind of truth and pain. The ache you feel and the hole it comes with can never be truly explained to anyone else.

The journey of grief can consume whole lives. It has the capacity to devour everything. It may start with your focus, your memory, your concentration and continue until it has physically enveloped all of you. It takes you back to a state of naked emotions: social behaviour and constructs have no meaning and validity – maybe that’s why when grief is in control people hide away from each other. It is loss amplified. It saturates you.

Then as we tried to control grief on a daily basis we may keep hiding from each other, even though we are in plain sight. You see, like a wayward child, grief refuses to be constricted by social norms. It’s primeval and raw and appears anytime and anywhere. It is always present.

Which is why it amazes me that we talk about it so little. For something so pervasive in our individual and collective lives it seems to receive the minimum of attention until it has forcefully invaded our lives. Then we have to wear the grief for the remainder of our days. Like the unwanted spot on our forehead, it is with us everywhere we go and part of everything we do. It is your own.

Physically, grief is exhausting. It drains you of all energy. It numbs and heightens different emotions and often does it all at the same time. You are pulled in so many directions and yet can stay perfectly still in one spot. Experiencing grief is a journey of disorientation and throws you into the deepest panic without warning.

I think grief is one of life’s biggest paradoxes. For confusion levels, it is only matched by love. They are different sides of the same coin: both as potent as each other. They are equally important and they both appear to remain mysterious.

Grief is consistent in its inconsistency. It just is.