“Ach!” I shouted at myself as I combed through my hair filled of nappy curls. My hair an impossibility, I threw the comb at the bathroom mirror.
“Positive thoughts, Iyana, positive thoughts. What am I doing this for anyway? It’s not like I’m this hair! It’s not like I’m this skin! I am a soouulll—”
The sound of the front door opening interrupted my paraphrase of “I am Not my Hair” by India Arie.
“Mom!” I sped into the living room and toppled over the back of the sofa onto the soft cushion.
“What’s gotten into you?”
“Nevermind, don’t answer that. You’re the same energetic daughter I’ve always had. So, what’s the occasion this time my clumsy gymnast?”
“For your information, I am a GREAT gymnast! Anyway, that’s not the point. I wanted to ask you if we could…uh…,” I fiddled my thumbs, “go to Sunny Park?”
“Do you have a fever?” My mom rushed and touched my forehead. “Are you ill?”
I removed her hand. “No. Mom!”
She placed her hands on her hips. “I thought you hated Sunny Park? Need I remind you…the flowers…the…”
“Yes, I know, but, I decided that it’s time to get over my fear.” I thought back to the reason for such a dreaded decision.
I jumped out of my chair, in a rush to be out of the sight of the eagle-eyed teacher, Mrs. Gatland.
“Urgh!” I heard the collective groan from myself and my peers sound across the physics classroom.
Mrs. Gatland started passing out sheets of paper to us.“Before you all leave, I have permission slips you all need to sign. In two weeks, on October 24, the physics’ teachers and students will take a trip to the Majestic Bee Farm in North Georgia Mountains. The purpose of this trip is to observe the bees.”
My whole countenance changed when I heard the word bee. A bee farm? Why a bee farm? Out of all the animals in the kingdom she has to choose bees? I put my thoughts aside and tuned back in to the drone-like voice of Mrs. Gatland.
“…forces that oppose their motion. We will have a question and answer session with the bee farm owner, Mr. O’Neery. Then, you all will have worksheets to fill out with problem questions relating to bees. The questions will cover acceleration, velocity, terminal velocity, and free body diagrams. This is a required trip and will count as 10% of your grade, but if you absolutely cannot make it, you can sit in on the chemistry class and you will have an alternate assignment. All of you should have your information packets and permission slips. If you have any questions, stick around.”
I looked around for the information packet my teacher handed me as my mom stood looking at me in amusement. “I know I laid it down here…”
“Looking for this?”
“Uh-huh. You know I am!”
“A bee farm huh? Well, we best get to Sunny Park, then. Let’s hope there’s some bees flying around. I mean, I don’t think you’re likely to find any. Are they out during Fall?”
“Yes, mother,” I sighed. “Bees are active in the Fall.”
When we arrived at the park my mom sat on a bench while I skipped my way to the grassy area. I loved Sunny Park for its wide array of flowers, but I hated it because thanks to Mother Nature, the flowers attracted bees.
I closed my eyes and glided in the field of flowers. Remember your mission, Iyana. I opened my eyes. Purple Coneflowers surrounded me. There was something blissful about being in a field of flowers under the glow of the sun.
I felt my blood race in my body, and I knew the cause. “Ahhh!” On instinct I did a cartwheel in the opposite direction of the bee.
“Ow! Ugh, maybe I should quit gymnastics,” I grumbled.
Though I tried to distance myself away from my enemy, he buzzed ever so closer. “I came here to do one thing. I AM going to get rid of this irritating phobia!”
In my attempt to ignore the bee, I closed my eyes and began singing softly. “I wear my clothes like this because I can. I wear my hair like this because I can.” I got up and started dancing wildly. “I WALK AROUND LIKE THIS BECAUSE I CAN! I DO MY THING LIKE THIS CAUSE IT’S WHO I AM!”
I heard a rough laugh, but I ignored it.
“IF YOU EXPECTIN’ ME…” I was in my comfort zone, now. The presence of the bee no longer occupied my thoughts though in my brief pauses, I still heard its incessant buzzing. “…TO GIVE YOU AN APOLOGY FOR BEING NOTHING LIKE YOU’RE USED TO!”
“WHAT YA DOING?” a voice shouted over my singing.
My eyes flew open to a boy who looked my age. “Who are you?” I asked.
“Daniel,” I noticed how he bit back a chuckle.
“What’s so funny?”
“You have a curious noggin’ on ya. You’re what’s funny. Here’s a napped head girl wearing mismatched socks singing at the top of her voice while doing some sort of nameless dance. You’re pract’ly a walkin’ com’dy!” he flashed me a smile showing off his perfectly white teeth.
I looked at the rest of his appearance. His eyes were popping and too full of curiosity for his own good, while his head was like a balloon about to explode. Despite the weather gradually turning chilly, he wore a striped, baggy t-shirt and cargo shorts.
“Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!” I laughed wildly when I realized that we were both weird-looking.
“Whatcha laughing at me for?”
I fell on the grass and laughed on my back. A bee eased his way to my finger.
“Haugh!” I laughed and screamed at the same time. The bee flew his way to a Purple Coneflower. It was then that I stopped laughing and realized that the bee wasn’t out to get me. He was just doing his job in pollinating flowers. He couldn’t care less that an idiotic girl had just finished laughing psychotically.
Daniel stood there, watching me with a perplexed look on his face, as if he was trying to figure me out.
I jumped up and burst out in my favorite verse of my favorite song, “I AM NOT MY HAIR! I AM NOT THIS SKIN! I AM NOT YOUR EXPECTATIONS, NOOOOOO! I AM NOT MY HAIR! I AM NOT THIS SKIN! I AM A SOUULLLL THAT LIIVESSSSSS WITHINNNN!”
That little insect I was so afraid of is not the fuzzy little hairs on his back. He is not his beady little eyes or short stinger, and most importantly, he is not my expectations. He is a soul hired by nature to do important business. He has a purpose on this earth. I have a purpose. Only difference between him and me is I haven’t discovered my purpose.