The Last Black Unicorn

The Last Black Unicorn

Tiffany Haddish


Hello, my name is Tiffany Haddish. I would like to invite you to read about a few of my experiences in life so far. I know that a lot of these stories will seem unbelievable. Shit, I look back over my life and I’m like, “For real, that happened?”

Either you will cry or laugh, and I try my best to figure out how to do the second one. I know life is no laughing matter, but having experiences can be. They can be the best learning lessons—just fuck ups but still lessons. That’s how I think of my life, all my wins are lessons and all my failures are lessons that will one day become wins. I decided to write this book in the hope that someone will read it and feel like, “If she can do it, I know I can!”

I am inviting you to read it, because I never want you to say I didn’t invite you to nothing. So come on in!

Mascots and Bar Mitzvahs: High School Years

School was hard for me, for lots of reasons. One was I couldn’t read until, like, ninth grade. Also I was a foster kid for most of high school, and when my mom went nuts, I had to live with my grandma. That all sucked.

I got popular in high school, but before that, I wasn’t so popular. Kids would tease me all the time in elementary and middle school. They’d say I got flies on me and I smell like onions.

The flies thing came from the moles on my face. I got one under my eye, I had one on my chin, and so on. That was kind of mean.

The onions thing was because my mom used to make eggs in the morning with onions in them. Every damn morning, I had to eat eggs and onions. That would just make you stink. The whole house would stink.

Yeah, it was mean to say I stunk like onions, but . . . I did stink like onions.

Kids used to make fun of me all the time about shit related to my mom. She didn’t know how to do my hair. From kindergarten on up, I had the craziest hair.

I had long, pretty hair, but she didn’t know how to do the ballies, or put it in a cute little ribbon. She only knew how to do the afro puffs, or just one big ponytail, but she didn’t comb it all the way through, so I’d look like a cone head.

You know—black women, we got complicated hair. If you do it right, it’s beautiful. But if you don’t, it looks like some crow’s nest.

In the black neighborhoods, little girls’ hair is always cute. They’ve got the barrettes and all that. It’s a big thing to have good hair as a black woman.

But not me. I had naps, and it was crazy. I would love when I would see my auntie Mary, because she would do my hair, and it would last for a few days. I’d try to sleep pretty. I’d put panties on my head, so I don’t mess it up, and I’d sleep pretty.

But there was one nickname that stuck for a long time:

Dirty Ass Unicorn.

I had a wart growing on my forehead. I thought it was just an ugly mole. You couldn’t help but notice. It was spiky and big, and I could not hide it. I used to try. I would wear bangs and stuff, nothing worked. It was growing out of my head. It was like a flower, and spiky, and it would curl into itself, like a horn.

The kids would make so much fun of me, they would talk about me so bad. It would make me so mad, it would hurt my feelings so much. I just wanted to hurt them back, but I didn’t know how to hurt them back or what to say, because I actually did have this horn.

So all I could do was hurt myself. I would take scissors and I would try to cut off my horn, and then it would bleed. It would bleed down my face.

In school, in class, I would cut it off, and I would just sit there and wait for people to notice me. I would be bleeding down my face, and when they did notice, they’d freak out:

Kid 1: “Tiffany’s bleeding!”

Kid 2: “Oh my God, oh my God, she cut her horn off, oh my God! Teacher!!”

They’d be trying to like take care of me, getting me paper towels and stuff. It made them care about me. Hurting myself made them stop hurting me and care about me.

Teacher: “Tiffany, why’d you do that?”

Tiffany: “Because they keep talking bad about my horn. I want to cut it off, so they can’t talk about it no more.”

The teachers never had no response to that.

Then I’d be walking around for three or four days with a hole in my forehead, ’cause I done cut it off. Then it would just grow right back. Like, in five days, it would be right back.

Finally, one day I was crying about this to my grandma. She grabbed me and started looking at my head:

Grandma: “Child, that ain’t no damn mole. That a wart.”

Tiffany: “What’s a wart?”

Grandma: “It’s nasty is what it is. You got HPV. What’chu been touching on, child?”

Tiffany: “What’s HPV?”

Grandma: “It’s a nasty wart that nasty people get after they do nasty things.”

That was messed up by my grandma. Now that I’m older, I learned that skin warts is nothing like genital warts. They’re totally different. But in my grandma’s eyes, I was nasty. I was doing something nasty.

The good news is that she got it burnt off. She took me to the doctor to confirm it was a wart and then burnt that shit right off.

That’s how the Dirty Ass Unicorn died and the Last Black Unicorn was born.

? ? ?

High school was way better for me.

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