By Tendai Machingaidze
They say that I have Schizophrenia. Delusions. Demented dreams that detach me from reality.
In my culture, there is no such thing. You are either bewitched or you are blessed. Ensnared by sinister or sacred spirits.
He looks at me like I am a stray dog. Filthy. Rabid. Foaming at the mouth. He has decided that I am mad. “Unhinged” he says. This old Caucasian man they call an expert. He tells them to cut my hair. To make me presentable. Of course, he can’t understand. Won’t comprehend that my hair talks to my ancestors. A multitude of voices writhing from my head. A supernatural message in every twisted strand.
His thinning wisps of limp blonde hair lie flat against his head in shame. He cannot hear the voices from the Great Beyond. My hair stands at attention. Poised and ready to receive orders. Ten thousand antennas so I don’t miss a word.
I gnash my teeth at the orderlies who dare to touch a sacred vessel. “It is my hair. My birthright!”
For better and for worse, my gift and my curse.
Tendai Machingaidze was born in 1982 in Harare, Zimbabwe. She holds degrees from Syracuse University and Southwestern Seminary. Her short stories have been published by Weaver Press Zimbabwe, Africa Book Club, Munyori Literary Journal, The Kalahari Review, Open Road Review, and Lawino. Tendai’s debut novel, “Acacia,” was published by African Perspectives Publishing in 2014.
My Hair Talks to my Ancestors was originally published here: http://brittlepaper.com/2015/09/hair-talks-ancestors-tendai-machingaidze#sthash.KbLta4A6.dpuf