Like it or Not: Golden Brown Skin and Frizzy Hair

Thinking about this months ABC Open 500 words theme  Like it or Not  inspired me to write this prose poem.

I wonder what contributors are going to make of this month’s theme.   I look forward to reading their stories.

Looking to the New Year
Portrait – Taken by My Daughter

 

I was born golden brown with
hair thick and frizzy.
I used to think these were things to overcome.

I’d do everything to hide my curly hair
put it under bandanas and scarves
comb it a hundred times to try and make it straight
cut it, pull it out, twist it into ringlets,
ringlets are better than frizz, aren’t they?
pray somehow I’d wake up and it would be straight and easy to brush.

As for my skin, I didn’t change it, but sometimes it felt a burden.
Some people said, ‘You are so lucky you don’t need to tan.’
‘You have to work harder at school people will judge you by it,’ said my Dad who had seen so much prejudice and wanted to protect me.
I learnt that some people judge you by the colour of your skin & some don’t.
They accept you for who you are.
I learnt about ‘internal colonisation’
& read The Colour Purple.

A mother of a friend combed my frizzy hair.
She said ‘it’s so beautiful.’
I never forgot what she said.
It had more power than any unkindness after that.

Here I am now,
my skin has psoriasis
& it’s not just golden brown but full of pink patches that itch.

I have no control,
try everything to get rid of it
& people tell me everything they’ve heard to get rid of it
I listen patiently
I’ve heard it all before
but nothing cures it,
I wish it would.

I keep trying,
live in hope of managing it better,
have learnt detachment gives strength.

My hair is curly still,
it has white strands wound through dark curls.

I smile, laugh, write
nurture, dream,
no matter what my hair or skin are doing,
or changing into.

I have learnt I am not the sum of my external being
but a collection of experiences, moulding me into
me.

My obstacles were a way of thinking
& that I can control.

(c) June Perkins

For more information on psoriasis

10 thoughts on “Like it or Not: Golden Brown Skin and Frizzy Hair

  1. Beautiful, June, like you. I hear you about psoriasis, my eldest daughter has it, and has learned to live with it over the years. But as her mother, I wish she didn’t have to and i wish there was a cure.

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  2. Thanks Gail. It seems there is only management, but I am going to make a huge effort this year to try all the tips that seem to make sense together and see how they go. I’ve come to the conclusion, that it is a way of skin speaking to the sufferer about looking after themselves well, avoiding skin injury, stress, etc.

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  3. You are beautiful because of who you are. Skin color and frizzy hair have nothing to do with it. Beauty comes from within. Some of my dearest friends are of color and I admire their smooth skin. They seem to age better than we whites. As for the psoriasis, I have a friend who suffers dreadfully with it. She has never to my knowledge found anything that helps very much and has learned to live with it.

    Always remember, June, you are beautiful because you are you.

    Vi

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  4. Thanks Vi, this is a reflection on a journey, I have come to terms mostly with the psorasis and know a few things that do help and I will try manage it more effectively this year and see how I go. I have to be pretty strict with myself.

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  5. I love how you explore your feelings in such an honest way. And you’re an excellent writer!!!

    And yeah- I really empathise with the psoriasis. One of my friends has eczema on her face and also finds it quite difficult- she gets a lot of comments about it. She said she also finds it really difficult that medical professionals are so focussed on the medical aspect of it, without paying attention to the social and psychological consequences of it for her, which is most important for her.

    Re beauty- I’m actually really grateful that I’m average-looking. It means it’s not difficult for me to detach myself and my self-worth from my appearance. I think beauty is a real test for your ego. My host mother in Japan said she had a friend with exotic, beautiful looks that she envied when she was younger (my host mother was not happy with her red hair). She went up to the girl and told her how envious she was. The girl turned back to her and said “beauty isn’t a gift, it’s a curse”. In particular, she had lots of trouble with boys approaching her and not knowing whether they loved her for her personality or just her looks. Thankfully, I’ve never had an issue with that.

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  6. Sonia, to me you have always seemed a beautiful child, and now adult, I learned long ago to look to inner beauty and appreciate people for the virtues and wonderful qualities. You were positively radiant in your wedding photographs. I understand what you mean by the beauty as curse though and it must be hard to be judged by looks for any one.

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