When I was a kid, I was always plagued with questions about my hair. Conversations in elementary school tended to run something like this:
Girl: Why do you always wear you hair in little pigtails? You should wear it down.
Me: But my hair’s too thick.
Girl: (scoff) My hair’s thick, too, and I wear it down. And look at Chelsea over there. She’s black and she wears her hair down.
Me: But your hair’s thinner than mine and Chelsea’s hair is 3 inches long and looks like she stuck her finger in an electric socket. My daddy says straightening your hair like that [with a hot comb] isn’t healthy.
Girl: Hmph. My hair’s not thin.
Of course, the girl I was talking to was inevitably an Uma Thurman-look-alike in terms of hair. You know, one of those ladies who works to have body and volume. (Who I don’t envy.)
I remember when I started plaiting my hair up in middle school, I felt this secret private pride that finally I could wear my hair more like “everyone else”. It dangled; it could be pinned up or let down. Folks still tugged on my hair, but they stopped asking me as much why I didn’t wear it out. All that remained were the never-ending swimming pool questions. *grin*
When I plaited my hair up a couple of weeks ago for the first time in years, I felt this strange duality. I didn’t feel that same satisfaction as I had when I was younger. In fact, I didn’t even remember that I’d felt that way until I finished plaiting it up. I like the style, and I like its low maintenance qualities, but it has nothing to do with being like “everyone else” anymore.
It was a very weird sensation–like I was of two minds, expecting an emotion that wasn’t there because it was an old habit, and yet unsure as to why I was expecting it.
If that makes any sense at all.