It’s cliche to say that every Black girl (or former Black girl, knocking on 30 *crying*) has a complicated relationship with her hair. But cliches are cliches for a reason. 

My earliest memories are of me, between Mommy’s legs, neck cramped as she braids my hair and tells me stories of her childhood.

I’m trying, and failing, to learn to double dutch, the plastic balls holding up my pigtails clinking to the beat of the ropes.

I’m ten, maybe eleven, holding my ear, the smell of burning hair and grease filling the air, my older cousin pressing my hair straight before church.

Those happy memories of Black girlhood warp into ugliness when I enter my white, white high school. I’m 15, looking at myself in the mirror wishing my hair looser and longer and lighter.

I went natural early in college. The exact reason escapes me. Some combination of reclaiming my blackness and no longer having the energy to burn my hair into submission monthly.

For the last few years or so I’ve been super into crochet braids. Obsessed. It’s lovely to go from blond dreads to waist length box braids in hours, all while my hair underneath is protected and hidden away. 

However, quarantining during our current post-apocalyptic hellscape is changing all that. Alone in my apartment, I have time, so much time. Instead of getting into bread baking (my grocery store is sold out of yeast), I fill my time reacquainting myself with my hair. Pre-pooing and deep conditioning and twisting and, sometimes, just leaving it alone, giving it room to breathe and be.

Black women spend too much of our lives, looking at ourselves through other people’s gazes. Stuck at home, with all its cons, it’s nice to be, momentarily, free from all that. 

How are you and your hair spending your quarantine? Tag @oemibotanicals and tell us your #hairstory. 

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