When you look at this photo, what do you see? From the outside looking in it may look like it’s a perfect moment between two siblings frozen in time. It may look as though it’s a very beautiful moment that will leave a lasting memory. They smile gently and pause to take a selfie. Maybe it’s a dark moment where they chose to see the light. These are my two daughters! They are beautiful, smart and intelligent young women. I try my best to empower them and fill them with positive motivation each and every day even when I struggle with it myself.
The Reality: This picture was taken after my daughter on the left went to the hair salon and cut a few inches off of her ends. Two days prior to this picture being taken my sixteen year old daughter was sitting in her class at school… She’s a junior in High School! While she was focused on doing her class work, another student took it upon herself to light my daughter’s natural hair on FIRE! She used a lighter that she had in school. No reason! They didn’t have any issues that anyone was aware of and she just did it!
As a Mom, immediate anger set in and I was ready for war! I had so many questions?!?! One being why did she have a lighter in school in the first place? Where was the teacher when this was happening? How will this be handled by the school administration? What will they do to prevent something like this from happening again? I’m thankful that my daughter wore a baseball cap that day. The ends of her hair were burned and her scalp wasn’t affected! She also didn’t use lots of hair product on her hair that morning. It could have been worse!
After this event took place my daughter refused to leave the house and cried for 48 hours straight about what had happened. She kept reflecting on when she touched her hair and pulled handfuls of burnt hair from her head. My recommendation was to get a blow out so that we could really see the damage and trim her hair evenly. I also suggested getting a deep conditioner and eventually a braided protective style while her hair grew back. I was heartbroken for her and angry at the same time!
My daughter didn’t like the hair cut at first and it had to grow on her. My older daughter on the right suggested they take the picture trying to convince her that her hair looked fine and she’s no less beautiful than she was before the incident. Message: Your hair doesn’t define you AND… it will grow back! She was being a big sister and trying to elevate her sister’s self-esteem. She was being the rock that her sister needed her to be at that moment. That’s what I see when I look at the picture above! She truly is her sister’s keeper!
I have struggled and still struggle with forgiveness! Charges were filed being there are police officers assigned and on duty at the school daily. It was an assault charge. The young lady has been suspended from school until the end of the year and placed in an alternative school for teenagers. This is still an open case and I am on the fence about the outcome. She can be charged as an adult and have a charge follow her or we can request an alternative course of action with a lesser punishment.
I did ask about her history whether she’s a problem child or was it a first offense. It turns out she has a history of being suspended repeatedly for a variety of things and is frequently in the principal’s office. I can’t say I’m totally surprised. Who lights someone’s hair on fire… just because? Don’t get me started on what I was thinking about her parents or lack thereof. It took some time to process my feelings. I am just now able to talk about it openly.
I am clearly NOT the victim, just an empathetic MOM. If you were in this situation and a parent of a young woman (of color) … How would you feel and what would you do? Would this be classified as Bullying?
Quote: “A picture is a moment frozen in time and always tells a story, it might not always be what it appears to be.”