Tuesday, June 10, 2008

19-inch Fall

When I was a little girl, maybe 10 or 11, I got it into my head that when I grew up I was going to turn into a white woman, with blonde hair and blue eyes. After all, that’s what I saw on TV. (The year was 1970.) So, to hurry up the inevitable, one Christmas, I ordered myself a blonde wig out of the Sears Catalog. The wig was $6.88 but then I saw another wig for only $3.44, so I ordered that one. On Christmas morning, I excitedly opened my presents looking for that blonde wig. Finally, I opened a box and saw the beautiful, long blonde strands of hair I longed for. I took out the wig but when I started to put it on my head, I noticed that what I’d bought wasn’t a full wig, but a fall; a partial wig designed to make short hair look longer.

I looked in the mirror and as I looked at myself, a little brown girl with black hair peeking out from under fake blonde hair; I realized. I wasn’t going to have blue eyes. My skin wasn’t going to fade from brown to white and my hair wasn’t going to be long or blonde. My skin was brown. My hair was black and my eyes were a dark, dark brown. That’s how it was and that was how it was going to be. I took off the hair and never wore it again.

1 comment:

Sam Houston said...

I have the mirror image of your situation. I am pura guero but have always felt i should have been brown with brown eyes and black hair. I have little affinity for my northern european culture and love all things mexican. Like you, I have never found a magic wig that would ease my cultural discomfort. I think my ex wife, a latina, felt much as you did in childhood. I always sensed a distaste in her for her own culture. In fact, there were many times when i was more comfortable in it than she was.
In any event, I liked your posting and found it quite poignant. I hope you're happier today.