so i finally learned how to braid. it was one of the goals i set for myself at the start of winter. i figured i had plenty of time on my hands that i needed to learn how to do it. people have lots of feelings about african hair, myself included. one friend who is a social worker told me that as a case was going before a judge where the birth mother had too many drug problems to care for her child who was entering the foster-care system. the mother's chief reason she didn't feel her daughter could be taken care of by the white foster-mom was because she wouldn't possibly be able to take care of her daughter's hair.
i have issues. i realize this. i obsess over my girl's hair. i worry that if it's not done properly that i will be judged by strangers on the train or people we pass on the street. why in the world do i care? transracial adoption is such a BIG issue, an article i read today even said adopting outside your race is 'cultural genocide' and so i wonder if i feel all this internal pressure because i'm a white lady, or if other moms feel this, too. i gave up on hilina's hair for awhile because she pitches such a fit and when it was wild and crazy i got SO many compliments on it from, you guessed it, white people. i have such boring straight hair i love her curls... but when i started 'doing' saida's hair i got so many compliments from friends who are you guessed it, black. i'm just thinking out loud here, wondering about the differences.
i knew it would be different than caring for my hair. i knew if i basically did the opposite of what i did for my own, namely, taking the oil out, i would be heading in the right direction. i guess what i wasn't prepared for was the cultural stigmas surrounding african hair and how it's taken care of. if it's long or short. straightened or natural. braided or 'down'. on the bus i'll look across the aisle and see white kids coming from the playground or school with their hair in haphazard pony tails, looking like it hasn't been brushed in days. you almost never would see a black child out in public like that. is it because it requires so much attention to make sure it doesn't get damaged?
anyway, i just never thought i would feel so insecure about it. and judged. and proud when it looks good. i'm not sure if the judging is in my head or actually exists, probably some of both i imagine. i just don't want my girls as adults to look back at pictures of themselves as kids and think, lord what was she doing to my hair?!?!?!? even though i say that about my mom (thanks for the bowl cut, mom!). i just want to be able to answer that i was doing the best i could, and for me that involved learning how to braid.
parted into triangles and braided
i was just playing around here in the back trying to braid braids into each other.
these little barrettes at the end of the braids can be picked up at any african hair braiding place for cheap. i think they work great at the ends of braids. trouble is keeping them from judah...
i joined one of those yahoo groups for african hair but i felt too embarrassed to ask any questions so if anyone has any questions ask away. i'm no expert but i've sampled my fair share of product (carol's daughter - totally overrated!) and dropped enough braids to offer a little advice if anyone has a question.