The pain of beauty

I did my hair the day before yesterday, afro kinky braids that are stranded in a coiled fashion that secures the hair in the middle of the braid as it is coiled to end up with a style that resembles dreadlocks (the style is like the picture I have on my profile, that I did a few months ago) Shortcut to dreadlocks! Why I did it, is because I figured that I could actually experience dreadlocks without having to cut off or twist my hair. I am not patient enough to grow the real ones and I get bored easily to have the real ones on my head for awhile or forever as most dreadlocked people prefer. So this was a perfect deal for me, well maybe not! I can hardly turn my head around, the pain! When it was being done it was so painful I almost changed my mind, but I didn’t . That was just the beginning of the pain experience!! It became worse with time especially on the first night. It was so painful felt like my head was on fire and the fire was being cooled down by hot water! The most interesting thing is that I don’t recall experiencing this pain before. If I recalled it I wouldn’t have done them again! I surely will not forget the pain this time.

This has got me thinking, is braiding really worth the trouble? Why do we endure so much pain in the name of beauty? Does it make a difference in the world with them done? Does it put food on the table? Does it? Well it doesn’t! So I guess it’s not a matter of life and death. I am vowing that I am not plaiting my hair again especially this type. The first night I could NOT sleep! The little that I slept was with my forehead placed down but I could still feel the pressure of individual braids on my scalp. I contemplated cutting them off together with my hair and remain bald. It was an option that lingered in my head for a few minutes but then again I decided against it. I wanted to scream that night but I couldn’t compete with my daughter!! So I just sat on my bed staring at the ceiling board before I finally dozed off. I realized I had dozed off when the alarm went off!

That was the day before yesterday. Yesterday night was much better. Because of the accumulated fatigue I somehow managed to fall asleep: the pain was still there! Today my head seems not to be getting any better in fact I am feeling so much more pain than I did yesterday during the day. And I am asking myself again, is it worth the trouble? Today I was discussing hair with a workmate and she told me she doesn’t braid her hair at all!! She has never bothered about it and never even thought about it seriously. Her hair looks okay, tied up naturally. No stressing over it, no fussing over it. No making so much plans about it. Just easy and breezy like that! She is very beautiful with her beautiful natural never been plaited hair!! So again I will ask why do we braid our hair and yet it’s so painful. Is it really worth it? I don’t think it has to be that painful. Why do they have to make them so tight like that? Honestly you tell me because I have never understood.

There is this myth that was going round when I was a young girl that when hair is pulled like that during plaiting it grows faster!! And the main agenda on hair issues where I come from is the length. Anything to make the hair longer is worth the sacrifice. Now that I have done some research on hair (you tube videos) I am starting to think that the opposite is in fact true. By straining the scalp like that how is the scalp supposed to be healthier? And by an unhealthy scalp how is hair supposed to grow? Pulling hair that tightly and on top of that putting weight on it with the braid is likely going to weaken the root of the strand and likely going to make the hair fall off much easily than if it was done loosely and with much lighter braids or not braided at all! So why do I still go out of my way and pay to experience such painful braiding? That is a million dollar question.

Right now all that I can do is pray and hope that the pain will be gone by the time I go to bed and that my hair will be strong enough to endure the pressure and by God’s mercy I will not drop off a single strand of my precious one year plus growth of pure natural hair (yes I am one of them!). And well I am telling myself that this is the last time I am doing braids and I am singing it to myself now (hoping it distracts me from the pain) that I will never braid my hair again. Good thing these braids will serve me for a long time probably it will be worth it in the long haul. Well, probably. Only time will tell.

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