I am a queen among Jamaican women,
I wear a crown –
Coiled ropes of woolly hair
Knotted into regal dreadlocks.
They attract glances and cat calls
Stiffened my backbone,
Proclaimed my identity,
Given me protection,
Made me free.
My sister wears a hijab –
A silken headscarf
Worn to work and play.
She tells me that it too draws glances; with questions.
But that this has strengthened her resolve,
Asserted her Self,
Lent her courage,
I am not a Rastafari.
Yet I have trespassed at will
on another’s religious symbolism.
Used it without understanding
my own Nazarene vow.
Worn for fashion,
it has percolated into my soul as
I revel that I have become an empress.
Who am I to pity my sister?
I understand nothing about her faith
So, I cling, though no longer blindly, to ignorance.
Unlike me, she plays no games with God or men.
I admire her resolute certainty
that Western ways are empty, unfulfilling,
For somehow, she has a conviction in her identity that I lack.
So now, two women, sisters, regard each other across the divide –
with suspicious understanding.
Photo credit: Thanks to my sister, Dianne, one of the most persistent women whom I know. She refused to allow me to use any of my selfie shots for my conference brochure appearance in July 2013. God bless her; I like this portrait.