Every since the doing my big chop, I’ve embraced my identity as a natural through and through EXCEPT for one place: with the state and federal governments. All of my pieces of official government identification still have pictures of me with my relaxed hair on them.
It’s caused many a raised eyebrows while handing over my license and passport to bouncers and TSA officials (the two groups that are seeing my ID’s on a regular basis). The incongruity between my short natural hair and my long straight hair have never caused lack of entry, but I have certainly had my fair share of interesting commentary from the ID checking faction. A few examples:
“Now THAT’S a hair cut.”
“Hoooowhee! Whatta 180 you did, huh?”
“Oh, I see…you’re kinda doin that Macy Gray, Chaka Khan thing now.”
“[silence]…[looks at me]….[looks at the card]…[more silence]…[stares at me with that look that says 'i-really-want-to-talk-about-your-hair-but-do-not-want-to-come-off-as-ignorant']…[looks at card]…[passes card back]. Looks good.”
“OMG! You’ve got natural hair now! I want to go natural but my hair is just too nappy and I have to work here in security and I just don’t know what to do with it, but my cousin, see she got this stuff called Kinky Curly and it looks good on her but I just don’t think it will work for me but it looks great on you!”
“Mmm! Mmm! Mmm! Just a proud natural sister embracing her hair. Can I call you sometime and embrace your hair too?”
“Hmm. I like it better on the card.”
I guess people think that since I’m giving them card with all my info, that I’m also giving them an invitation to tell me what they think about my hair choices.
Since going natural there has been nothing to motivate me to want to go change my ID picture to match my hair just for the sake of easing these slightly awkward encounters in identification verification. A few hours in a DMV line when I could be out doing, say, anything else? No thanks.
That is, until a magical little envelope arrived in the mail, informing me that somehow half a decade has passed and it’s now time to renew my license. Welp. No time like the present to take a new picture, especially since the State of California is insisting. Today is the day and I’m pretty excited to make this happen.
Confession: I like to look good for ID pictures. I often get made fun of for this, but I will dress up for ID pictures. I will do my hair and wear more make up than normal for an ID picture. I will smize the crap out of the camera for my ID picture. As a result of all my effort, more than any of those comments above, I often receive complements on my lD pictures.
I would estimate that more people see an ID picture than any other photograph of you, therefore I do not comprehend why people insist upon looking like they just got beat up before taking a picture for their ID cards. People roll into the DMV like they just got out of bed and THEN they don’t even smile. No no no no no. THIS IS NOT THE TIME FOR THAT!
This is the time to put in just a little extra effort. Especially for me. Especially today. Today is the day that I proudly become a naturalista in the eyes of the State of California and I know Lola will be ready for her close up.
**Note: just for the record, I’m still too lazy / cheap to go get my passport picture changed. We’ll still have another 3-4 years with that bad boy.