Random Hair Thoughts: The Aftermath of Senegalese Twists

So I've had my hair in Senegalese Twists for one week (7 days). And here are some of the interactions I've been through (I've been wearing my hair in a bun for work since I'm not allowed to wear my hair down at my job):

Co-worker: Wow, your hair looks great, you are beautiful!
Me: Thank you!
Co-worker reaches out and touches my hair from behind/side (I don't see the hand coming): oh it feels like shoe laces!
Me (giving my co-worker the evil eye): Don't touch my hair! :(

Other person in my work place reaches out and touches my hair, just like that! This is the first day we meet!
Me: frown, walk away.

Co-worker: Wow, nice hair do!
Me: Thanks!
Co- worker: Who helped you put it up like that?
Me: (laughing) No one! I did I myself!
Co-worker: Wow! Sorry, what do I know I'm a guy, it just looks so advanced.

Co-worker (with four other people in the room): Oh my God look at your hair! What did you do? You twisted it? How is it up there like that let me see? Sit down!
Me: No... Yeah... (Trying to get out of the situation)
Co-worker pulls out a chair and more or less puts me in it, grabs my head and looks at my bun from above: Wow, it's twisted, oh my God how cool.
Me very uncomfortable at this time... Speechless at what just happened.

Co-worker: Oh wow, you change your hair! Can I touch it?
Me: No!
Co-worker (laughing): I'm just kidding, I know you don't want people to touch your hair.
Me (thank God!)

These are just some of the interactions I've had with my co-workers these past days. There have been people that politely have asked things like if it's heavy, how long they can stay in, who did them, how long it took, etc. point being a lot of conversations these last couple of days have been about my hair.

I must also add that I'm the only person of African descent at my work place (and I'm starting to think that I'm the only person of African descent most of these people have ever been "close to" [=close enough to blurt out all those questions they have etc.] in their entire lives) and only one out of maybe six people that is visibly "non-Swedish"(whatever hell that means, but that is another discussion all together, or is it?)

I love changing my hair do, obviously you know this cause you are reading my blog. And I do love talking about hair, in a productive way, meaning I don't mind talking about it in terms of how to care for it, products to use, etc. What I'm sick of, to the point that I want to vomit, is being treated like my hair is not a part of me and is everyone else's property, meaning people think they may touch, comment in strange ways etc. I wish I could change my hair whenever and however much I want and people could say "Nice hair do!" And go on with their day.

Sure, sure, if I don't want people to comment and touch etc. I could just stop changing my hair and wear it one way. But why should I have to compromise my personality to fit in? I love to change my hair, it's currently my biggest hobby, why should I have to sacrifice?

Yes, this blog post is me venting, because I really need to vent. It is also to paint a picture of what it's like being a black/brown/African woman in Sweden (I know I'm not the only one who is going through this or has gone through this). You would think I would have "gotten used to" this treatment after almost 30 years in this country, but it still surprises me every time that hand shows up (especially out of "nowhere"), and it still leaves me not so happy when I get treated this way. It's that in your face reminder that I'm not considered being Swedish, I don't have the right to my personal space and that someone else's curiosity is worth more than my private sphere.

I also want to add that there are situations when I love or don't mind getting my hair touched or talking about it. All these situations do include people that I'm close to or share some kind of intimacy with i.g. my daughter, my closest circle of friends, the person I'm dating, my massage therapist. If you are not one of these people the no, I do not want your fingers in my hair!

Here's a previous post I wrote about hair touching back in 2011.

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