when you have long dark hair you leave traces of your self everywhere. your hair becomes a falling map, dropping into the cracks of side walks and cracks of borders. you lose yourself strand by strand and witness how even thin threads are enough for many to trip on. not everyone likes long dark hair. long dark hair isn’t like long blond hair. it isn’t like long white hair. it is like long dark hair. it’s bold enough to hit back at whiteness and catch people’s eyes. people tend to look down a lot. do they think the ground can offer them a safer passage? do they think that if they don’t see then they won’t be seen? well fallen hair is here to tell you that you will be seen. i see how people look at my fallen hair as they look at the ground as they look for safe passage. i see how i spend hours of months of years sweeping my room and sweeping my bathroom and sweeping my hair away from sight. i have learned many ways to sweep parts of me out of sight. my body, i sweep under long sleeves and layers. my second language, i sweep under laugher and strategic sampling. my insecurity, i sweep under silence and reign checks. my arrogance, i sweep under fake nods and quick turn arounds. my childhood, i break into pieces and offer the crumbs. my desire, i let burn inside of me and call myself tanned. when you are a girl with long dark hair you learn to sweep at a young age. when i was in fourth grade the topic of my parent teacher conference was my lack of hair brushing. i guess i was a good enough student that there was time to discuss this. when you have curly hair and free spirit and an international school playground you also have fourth grade ignorance of white power and white beauty you let your hair go through the wind generated by your feet chasing other fourth graders in tag. other fourth graders who are your friends then, then turn back into other fourth graders when you move far away. soon you are in sixth grade and your hair tags you as ethnic. who the fuck isn’t ethnic? one year you are told you have dandruff and one year you wear bandanas as a head scarf and feel almost strong enough to go to school everyday. one year you wear bandanas as a head scarf and will your sideburns to retract into them. one year turns into six years and there are many days where you too look at the ground and look for safe passage. there are many days when you feel your head explode and you pretend to hold it together with a bandana. there are many days where nights keep coming but people don’t. there are many days where you don’t fit into your closet or your room or your home or your remaining family or your school or your city or the new country. there are many days. but your hair keeps growing and after seasons of panic attacks that bulldoze your body from the inside and fear fests that claim your heart from your chest and plans of jumping that you learn to hide from your elders – you realize you can cut your hair. it doesn’t have to just fall whenever it wants for whoever it wants. it is your fucking hair and you can cut it. so you cut it. you cut it and it give it away and you feel like you’ve lost a body part but gained fresh breath. you have short dark hair now and the map that you’ve been weaving slows down enough for you to look up once for every step that you look down. long dark hair has left but clearer vision has come.
i can not be there and be here and be child and be seen. i can not be yesterday and be tomorrow and be timeless. i can not be quiet and be loud and be voiceless. i can not be a liar and be honest and be pure. i can not be english and be farsi and be without language. i can not be closed and be open and be me. i can not be yours and be mine and be woman. i can not be water and be fire and be growing. i can not be pictures and be numbers and be complete. i can not be she and be he and be me. i can not be morning and be evening and be awake. i can not be walking and be running and be still. i can not be speed and be sound and be felt. i can not be cut and be canvas and be antique. i can not be clean and be dirt and be dry. i can not be sleep and be rising and be lean. i can not be be be be me.
Sa Fa is a twenty four year old poet who comes from multiple countries and multiple realities. She writes about the way she flows in the world and the things she gets caught up on now and then. Her writing brings together personal memories with conversations about resistance, self and community love, empowerment and life lived outside of categories. You can learn more about her and her offerings at www.suddenlysafa.com and follow her on https://twitter.com/