My grandmother said that when a woman felt sad the best thing she could do was to braid her hair; in this way the pain would get trapped between the hair and could not reach the rest of the body; you had to be careful not to let the sadness get into the eyes because that would make them rain, also it was not good to let it go into our mouths because that would make them say things that were not true, don’t let it get between your hands- she would say- because you could over roast the coffee or undercook the dough; and sadness likes a bitter taste. When you feel sad, girl, braid your hair; block the pain in the skein and let it escape when the north wind blows real hard.
Our hair is a net that’s able to catch everything, it’s strong as the roots of the bald cypress and soft as the atole’s foam.
Don’t be unprepared if melancholy takes a grip of you, my child, even if you have your heart broken or your bones are cold due to some absence. Don’t let it getinto you with your hair down, because it will flow cascading through the channels that the moon has drawn between your body. Braid your sadness, she always said, braid your sadness…
And tomorrow when you wake up to the sparrow’s song, you will find it pale and faded in the loom of your hair.
Agradezco a Consuelo Mendez la traducción de “Trenzaré mi Tristeza” al inglés. La fotografía que acompaña mi texto se titula “Jóven Purépecha” desconozco el fotógrafo, el año y lugar en la que fue tomada.
Paola Klug / La Pinche Canela