Type of Hair
by Veronica Odetunde
Black, silky, smooth, long,
blowing in the wind type of hair.
The type of hair
you can brush through with a comb
without breaking kind of hair.
I am talking about my mother’s hair.
That typical Asian,
having you look like Mulan, type of hair.
That had people wondering why my hair
didn’t turn out more like,
hers, type of hair.
The comb never went through
my hair all at once.
It would try to fit its coarse strands
to please the holder.
My hair never behaved
the way they wanted.
It didn’t want to lay flat on its back.
It too breaks when temperature gets colder.
It curled up and creased.
Like fingers turning into raisins
when coming in contact with water.
It wasn’t good at telling lies.
It grew back stronger
when I tried to hide it under my perm.
They said make it lay down
so it looks professional
if you ever wanna work at a firm.
They never said it out loud.
But somehow I understood they all
wanted it to conform.
they would allow it to perform.
Natural was too real,
they wanted to conceal the truth.
no matter what I put in it,
It could never cover up the root.
"[Type of Hair] was created for my final performance in my poetry class. It was emotional writing this poem because I forced myself to revisit old feelings and to really think about how I feel and have felt regarding my, hair, being mixed and the way people have treated me because of who I am and how I look."- Veronica Odetunde
Veronica Odetunde is a Thai, Nigerian poet, writer and co-founder of We ARE ALL POETS, a platform based in her hometown, Gothenburg, Sweden, which organizes events and workshops to encourage people to share their thoughts and feelings via preferred art form. She is also the writer and content creator for @WordsbyWeronica on Instagram.
on intention: "I started writing poems at a young age to help understand and deal with different situations. The reason why I write poems today stays kind of the same. Mostly, I write to deal with the feelings that I have inside. Most of the time it works as therapy. After I write it down, I can also let go. Sometimes I write with the purpose of making sense of issues, injustices, or just to shed light on different issues. The reason why I share my poems is because I want people to see that they are not alone in some of the hardships they might have. I also want to bring attention to certain subjects and create a discussion around them."
on marginalized voices: "It is important for everyone to have a voice. I think it is especially important for people in any marginalized group to speak on their own issues and struggles. It is very problematic when people from other groups speak on behalf of somebody else."
a word: "...Focus on being true to whom you are and do not force anything. I have noticed that when I force things or give myself deadlines none of those projects have turned out well. When I let something grow in its own phase I have noticed that the journey is much more enjoyable and the end result is much better."
on neglected topics in marginalized communities: "Topics that I think are important, which I write on often, are mental health, body image, gay rights, racism, exotification of black women, self-love, anything regarding the black community, politics, and natural hair."
on re-framing the stereotypical identity: "In order to change the stereotype of what it means to be black we need to create our own outlets such as SYLA, or my instagram account [@WordsbyWeronica], to tell our own stories. It is also important that we create, write, film and distribute our own magazines, films, media etc. in order to get a perspective that is correct to who are today."
on self-care: "Self-care and self-healing has been the reason for me being able to post and write on social media; before I only wrote for myself. These past years I have worked actively on getting to know myself and accepting and embracing my so-called flaws and imperfections. Writing, meditating, actively re-wiring my mind, and getting rid of negative energy and people has been the way I’ve been able to do so."