This I Believe
by Adaeze Okoli, age 16
Everyone is their own person. Everyone has unique and special qualities about them, yet we try so hard to follow the crowd.
We are all guilty of committing this crime, but we all have had moments when we’ve tried to go against the grain.
In eighth grade, my abilities to go against the grain were tested. The day before our school musical, I begged my mom to let me straighten my hair. She set up the appointment for right after school. The only problem was that I didn’t know what to do with my hair in the time between taking down my braids and getting my hair straightened. In a rush, I decided I would simply wear my hair in an afro; a regular, uncombed, product-free, natural afro. I was excited to see how my friends would react.
When I arrived at school, my friends LOVED it. They kept commenting on how soft it was, and how adorable I looked. I was so relieved. If my friends liked it, who cared what other people thought. That is what I was thinking until I arrived at my first period class, only to be greeted by a group of boys laughing hysterically at me. I couldn’t handle it.
My eyes immediately flooded with tears and I ran for the bathroom. As I ran away, I could hear them shouting, “She lookin’ like Aunt Jemima,” and “where you going Ms. Celie?”
That was four years ago. Now I am proudly rocking an even bigger afro. I believe in afros. It takes confidence to wear your hair so differently from everybody else. In the end I hope to be remembered as the girl with the ‘fro, but also as the self-assured, self-confident, and independent girl who was not afraid to stand out from the crowd.