Once when I was 12 or 13, my family took a trip to Ghana to visit my mother's side of the family. I was certain that, when there, I would fit in perfectly and that my biggest problem would be trying to explain to everyone why I didn't speak the language. I was dead wrong. Everything about me, from my shape to my walk to my clothes to the undertones of my skin, screamed that I was not from there. However all these glaring indicators all took the backburner to the most gleaming one of all: my braces. When I'd smile to meet family and new friends they all peered, and when we posed for family photos they glimmered in the hot sun. So many people marvelled at those thin bands of metal across my teeth that I actually sat down and wrote a funny postcard to my orthodontist thanking him for boosting my fame quotient.
These days I find myself in yet another environment where I am--again--glaringly foreign. However, this time the braces are gone and there is a new site of fascination: my hair. I wear my hair in a dreadlock style that tumbles down my back, and for the past few years I've barely been able to leave the house without someone making some comment. I like my hair and I am pleased with the good job of maintenance I've done, but much like the singer, Indie.Arie, once said, I am not my hair. So it is with some annoyance that I receive questions about my hair on a daily basis, and I really start to tense up with fear and anger when people (without asking) reach out and grab it. While Ihave been curiously peered at in the past, when I had the braces no one ever actually reached into my mouth.
Now there have been full magazine articles and countless blog posts on this topic and I don't aim to type up yet another angry screed....at least not today (too busy). I will accept (for the moment) that the way this happens in America is maybe slightly different than here in Slovenia and thus Slovenians are less deserving of my wrath. And so, while I have no plans to turn everyone's favorite petting zoo into a dangerous wildlife reserve (keep all limbs in the car!), with all the interest in my hair I might just have to find a way to be declared a national monument so I can start charging for admission. With all this inflation, I could certainly use the extra euros.
P.S. I'm not sure why I went two days without posting, I keep going to bed thinking I'd forgot something but couldn't remember what. Oh silly me. Sorry!