I grew up in a little farming town in Southern Alberta. It is mostly known for ranching and Mormons. I loved growing up in a small town, I never feared going to the park on my own or being a typical child. I was the typical tomboy, I was often be found running in the fields and jumping from hay bale to hay bale without a care in the world. I also had the longest hair in the world. It was down past my bum and adults would often tell me how much they loved it! First Nations people’s strength is held in their hair and my mom always kept my hair long and healthy.
At some point when I had finally started grade school I became self conscious of how I looked. I distinctly remember being in grade two and my friend was home sick so I asked two girls if I could play with them at recess. They stopped turned, looked at me and laughed. In that one moment I all of a sudden became self conscious of how I looked. The more bold of the two girls said to me you can’t play with us, we only play with girls who have hair up to their shoulders are friends with us. In that moment, I wanted nothing more than to cut my hair.
I would spent the next 9 years of my life fighting with my mom over the length of my hair. My mom, trying to hold onto what little bit of culture was left in me, would always refuse to let me cut my hair to my shoulders. Me wanting to fit in with the girls around me would fight my mom on the issue. At some point in high school my mom finally got sick of fighting me on issues and decided to let me cut my hair, I had finally confirmed to the girl I wanted to be.
Recently in one of my English classes I read the novel In Search of April Raintree. As i read this book I realized that I identified with April, a metis girl more then I would like to have admitted. The following post explains where I really identify with her, “There were two different groups of children that went to the park. One group was the brown-skinned children who looked Cheryl in most way. Some of them even came over to our house with their parents. But they were dirty looking and they dressed in real raggedy clothes. I didn’t care to play with them at all. The other group was white-skinned, and I used to envy them, especially the girls with blond hair and blue eyes. They seemed so clean and fresh and reminded me of flowers I had seen. Some of them were freckled, but they didn’t seem to mind. To me, I imagined they were rich and lived in big, beautiful houses, and there was so much that I wondered about them. But they didn’t care to play with Cheryl and me. They called us names and bullied us” (Mosionier 14). I spent majority of my life envying the white the girls. I wanted to be like them, to the point of changing who I was - I wore coloured contacts, I even once dyed my hair blond, I cut my hair short to fit in. Guess what?! None of this made those girls accept me, ever.
Over the past few years I have recently come to accept myself and love myself. I decided I was no longer going to hide who I was, I was going to embrace who I am. All of who I am, the First Nation’s side, the Newfie side. I have recently even decided to grow my hair back. It’ll never be as long as it once was but I think it’s a step in learning to love every part of me.