Every summer, especially when it starts to get really hot and humid, I get braid fever. My natural hair is coarse and “allergic” to humidity and I am over trying to compete with the heat and my flat iron. Getting my hair braided is one of my favorite things. (Well maybe not the “braided” part, that can take some time, but I’ve always loved the finished product.) Braids to me are a right of passage, the epitome of vacation hair and a fun way to change up my look with a protective style.
My least favorite part of getting braids is all of the attention I seem to get about it afterward. (Don’t get me wrong, I know I look cute and who doesn’t like a compliment 😜 but overall I don’t like to draw a lot of attention to myself.) I usually end up answering a lot of the same questions.
How long did it take? (3.5 hours this go round.) Where did you get it done? (Hair Waves Salon) Where is your hair? (Under all of these braids.) How long will you keep it that way? (At least a month. Maybe two.) But how do they do that? (This video is how it’s done.)
I get it. People are curious. The majority of my friends are Caucasian so unless you had a good friend that was a Brown girl or you’re REAL familiar with the African American culture, it’s a foreign thing. (Just call me Lisa Turtle. Ya know because she was the Black one on Saved By The Bell. 🙄 Nevermind.)
The first time I ever got my hair braided in with weave (hair that’s not mine) I was in the 6th or 7th grade. My hair was a decent length in elementary school and my mom was faithful to take me to the salon every 2 weeks for a shampoo and style, as well as every 6 weeks for a relaxer – a chemical straightener. (Black hair is not naturally straight so if you see someone with straight hair, it is either straightened with a flat iron, store-bought or chemically straightened.) After I got my hair braided, which took at least 5 to 6 hours the first time, I had hair longer than I ever had in my life. I knew I was cute and no one could tell me ANYTHING! Hair was a big insecurity for me growing up. If my hair was cute, I thought I was cute and I’d exude more confidence. If my hair was not, well, my insecurities would show up front and center.
Fast forward to my adulthood, and I’ve learned that my confidence is not in my hair, it’s in who I am as a person. However, if you look good, you feel good and I am no exception. I’ve also learned that there is no shame in being proud of who am I, whether that be my personality, skin tone or my hairstyle. Building yourself up and being proud of who you are doesn’t mean you have to tear others down or shame anybody else. You own the beauty and confidence that’s within you.
Hair is a form of self-expression. Black hair and the styles that reflect the culture are no exception, at least in my eyes. All that to say, I’m proud of my hair and I’ll be rockin’ these braids for the next month with my head held high.