July 14, 2012

On [the discovery of] Universal Languages.

This little love braided my hair for me.
When a group of people don’t share the same language skill set, they are forced to resort to alternative methods of communication. Pointing, drawing, and hand motions are often employed. Those who know a bit of the other language attempt to teach each other phrases or words a little at a time.

At some point these techniques fall short.

All that remains are the several universal languages of humanity.





I’ve recently discovered yet another, though it may be exclusive to females, eliminating the whole ‘universal’ claim I just made.

She did this without referencing Pinterest. #talented.
Girls love to talk about hair—color, length, style, and texture. Girls also like to simply play with hair—even more if the hair does not belong to them. And when language is limited, sometimes you have to resort to styling one another’s locks.

When I was in Peru several years ago, the little girls in the orphanages loved to play with my hair, brushing it with their plastic combs and adorning it with colorful barrettes. I tried my best to push the thoughts of probable head lice transmission out of my mind, and let them love me in this tangible way.

Here in France, the girls are in college and most aren’t orphans, but the principle is the same. When we run out of words in the same language, we communicate other ways. We speak in fishtail braids and ponytails, bobby pins and headbands.

We affirm one another’s beauty. Through the smiling and the laughing and the styling—we are loving.

And it’s beautiful. 

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