I have felt a bit frumpy since I cut off my hair. I thought I wanted a short, cute, and “easy” haircut BUT I was sorely mistaken. I really tried to grow into loving it but the chemistry just wasn’t there this time. When I cut my hair in grad school, I was a different person and that version of Krystal rocked the short look with absolute confidence. It might have helped that I was also a few pounds lighter. After growing weary of looking at myself in the morning and of threatening to become a legit hermit instead of taking the time to do my hair in order to face the plethora of social outings that creep onto my calendar (not bragging, just telling the truth) I made the decision to invest in my hair by purchasing more hair. I ventured back into the world of braids after quite the hiatus (sophomore year of high school). I needed something easy, flexible, and since it is the summer something that would make it possible for me to actually enjoy the pool and not run screaming from water like I’m Gizmo, the Gremlin.

Now, I’m not a woman that has accepted the act of “going natural”. It still makes me a bit anxious, although I know that the concoction used to “relax” my hair is actually stressful and is doing nothing but damaging my hair and my scalp. Watch Chris Rock’s documentary “Good Hair” to learn more about what he calls “the creamy crack”. My real hair is currently quite unhealthy and the braids are providing it with a nice all expenses paid summer vacation.

I have micro braids and they took 11 hours. I used 3 bags of human hair 1B silky straight. Sometimes there were three women braiding my hair at one time. It hurt and I was exhausted by the end of my session but it was so worth it because these last few weeks have been absolute heaven. My prep time in the morning has been decreased by 30 minutes. I can do things with my hair that I could not do before–I actually went to the pool twice this weekend without hesitation. I can go to the gym without worrying about whether I’m going to have enough time to do my hair before I go to work. New hair also makes your clothes look new. I haven’t shopped because with the hair all my ensembles seem to have a fresh edge. I am actually unrecognizable to some people as my friends totally looked past me at church. I had to smile and wave for them to even know it was me.

I have been asked the following questions:
1. How long did that take? (11 hours) How did you sit there for that long? ( I read, slept, watched a couple lifetime movies, and had some conversations.)
2. Did your mom do your hair? (Uh, no. What?! I went to an African Hair Braiding Salon)
3. Wait, how did your hair grow that fast? (Really? I’m not a Chia Pet–it’s fake! )
4. Did your scalp bleed? (No, but it was sore.)
5. How long can your hair stay like that? (3-4 months)
6. Could I do that to my hair? (the answer depends on who asks the question)
7. Can I touch your hair? (Grr…I am not an animal at a petting zoo.)

Can someone please tell me the deal with wanting to touch African/African American hair?

All in all, I’ve had a great reception even from people who I never thought would compliment my mane. Hair is political and can lead to incredibly heated conversations. There are people who do not believe that my hair is professional, there are people who think that every woman should wear their natural hair texture and don’t understand why women still chemically straighten their hair, there are women who are horrified at the thought of wearing their kinky/curly all natural hair, there are people who still believe in the notion of “good hair”, and there are people who purchase hair and choose their own adventure without hesitation. Hair can be a topic that serves as a catalyst for larger race based conversations. I spoke with my 1st year hall mates a lot in college about the differences in our hair and I got a great laugh out of my suite mate who used my hair products (after being told not to) and the disastrous results. This building block led to deeper issues about race on our campus and even though sometimes those encounters can be exhausting they are often needed.

Funny how the grass is always greener on the other side. My white girlfriends always say “If I had your hair, I would wear an afro.” Meanwhile, tons of African American women are in the hair salon forcing their hair to be stick straight. The cultural norms that society has defined pushes people towards one end of the continuum or the other. I must confess that I was a bit worried about what “the bosses” would think of my hair. I work at a pretty conservative, private, and privileged institution in the south. I know the students will love it because they are cool like that, but I was a bit worried about some of my superiors. To my delight, I haven’t had any issues. In fact, they really like it.

I haven’t worn weave since my first year of college when I realized that my then boyfriend had never really seen what I looked like because I’d been wearing fake hair since we met each other. I was proud of myself for wearing my real hair and I was good with that until it started breaking off and there were crazy split ins, heat damage, and at home relaxers gone bad. I needed to not care so much anymore and braids were the answer to my prayer.

I must say that I feel more attractive. I feel more confident. I’m not worried about my hair all times of the day or night. I know that appearance certainly isn’t everything, but we’ve got to be realistic in understanding the role it plays in our everyday existence. My new hair has brought a new energy to my everyday that I desperately need right now.

Hair can be changed so easily. I have a friend whose hair is a different color every time I see her. I have another friend who loves wigs and switches them up depending on her mood. I also have a friend whose hair has been the exact same for over 15 years. Hair is so personal and since I don’t subscribe to the traditional professional way of dress for work–I don’t do oppressive business suits. I work with 18-22 year olds. My goal is to look classy, be comfortable, approachable, and perhaps have their parents think that I’m not a sophomore in college while adhering to my style. I also need to act on the same philosophy with my hair.

Tell me about your hair journey. Any fun adventures?

Check out my Me, In Real Life page to see various photos of my glorious mane of hair throughout the past few years of my life.

Later Y’all.

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