It seems like just yesterday I forced myself to stop hiding behind the various head gears that seem to be sold on every street corner - weaves, wigs, extensions and of course, my beloved turban. These were just a few of the things I used to stop myself from having to deal with my own afro and also prevented me from having to face what I believed would be negativity on a daily basis.
Now, don’t get me wrong guys, I LOVE my extensions. They take a few days to put in (depending on the size) but when they’re in... The numb bum is so worth it! And my turban. Let’s just say, if I start talking about her, I won’t stop. But really, why do we decide to cover up what all other ethnicities flaunt so proudly? It’s just hair, right? WRONG. (I think I've heard that before...) It’s so much more than that! It’s an expression of our personalities and a shining beacon to everybody we come in contact with, conveying the fact that we take care of ourselves, that our appearance is important and that we’re individual and unique in our own right.
But let’s face it. Maz and I aren’t here to lie to you guys. It feels ten times easier when you can just stick your braids in a bun and bounce at a moments notice! You don’t have to think about sealing the ends with Shea Butter. You don’t have to think about how much growth you’ve had. You don’t even have to bother doing the whole wash routine that normally, you’d be planning days ahead! Time is saved and now, your fingers won’t cramp up at the thought of detangling your afro. A job made slightly more difficult due to shrinkage (grrr).
But one day, after taking out my braids, I suddenly thought to myself, “What would happen if I was to go out like this? No braids, weaves or anything?” I had to stare for a long time and imagine the faces of people when they saw me approach. In my head they all seemed to laugh and point at me! (The serious kind of laugh too… Tears coming outta their eyes and everything.) After staring for what seemed like an eternity, it seemed worth it to just give it a try. What harm could it do? If it all went down the toilet and if I couldn’t face it, Mariama would be there to re-introduce me to my braids and life would be “normal” again.
What happened when Zainab took out her braids? Find out in Part 2...