Many women of color rely on protective styles as a way to maximize hair growth and to not have to deal with managing the upkeep of their hair for a period of time. I personally love getting box braids or twists because the extra time in the mornings and the eliminated lengthy wash day gives me time to tackle other important things I may have going on.
I typically will get box braids once a year or attempt some kind of other protective style as a way to switch things up. That was pretty much the extent of it. I would casually decide that it was time and go with the style.
It wasn’t until recently when I actually felt forced to get a protective style. No, not by an employer or someone stating that my natural coils couldn’t be worn right now, but instead by myself because I was so close to having a breakdown for a relaxer and chop.
Yes, every natural’s worst fear. When they’re so far into their journey but not quite “there” yet. “There” for me is indicative of growth and a huge fro that when straightened will flow down my back. I feel like I’ve been stuck in this somewhat never-ending awkward stage for the past couple of months. Don’t get me wrong, my hair is definitely growing but my fro just isn’t where I want it to be.
So as I was scanning over a few hairspiration pages on Instagram, such as TheCutLife, and taking in all of the gorgeous cuts, I began to resent my own natural hair. I missed the simplicity of the short pixie cut I used to rock for 5 years. I missed how it was perfect in the summer, how it framed my face, and how it made me actually look my age.
Like an alcoholic almost reaching for the drink, I paused and for a minute seriously thought about reverting to the creamy crack.
“Wait, Vanessa! What are you doing? You’ve come too far to give up now”, is what I had to quickly tell myself to snap out of it. Next thing I know I was running to the nearest salon, like a rehabilitation center, to get my hair braided. So yes, I was forced to get a protective style.
Have any of you gone through a similar Mid-natural life Crisis?