I can patiently wait in line for tickets to see a Broadway show.

I can patiently wait in line at the grocery store. (Especially when I have literally one item and the woman in front of me has 26, even though we’re in the 12 items or less lane.)

I can patiently wait to meet the man that will one day become my future. (Well, with some grumbling while I wait, but you get my drift.)

What I cannot abide by, what causes me to fidget and side eye my own self, are protective styles. If you’re not a naturalista, protective styles are ‘dos that protect the ends and keep the hair tucked away and protected from the over-manipulation that can come from constantly styling, washing, and generally having our hands in our hair. Braids, twists, wigs, etc., are the various choices one has when wanting to protect their natural hair. Personally, I tend to stick to the two-strand twist side of protective styles when it comes to my own hair. But when I want to protect the whole giant head for a longer period of time, I tend to choose individual braids, kinky twists, or Senegalese twists, which I am currently wearing and have been since late September.

braids
When the twists went to Europe.

Late September. It’s now mid-November.

You understand me, don’t you? Certain protective styles drive me crazy. After a number of weeks/months, I long for my ‘fro the way I long for that piece of bread on your plate. I long for my strands the way I long to ask Idris Elba why, as husband and wife, we’re still not living together. Yes, these styles force me to remain patient and stick to my yearly goal of protecting my hair in the autumn/cold months. But I can’t be patient. I simply can’t. It’s recommended to keep braid styles in for no more than 8 weeks. I stick to that recommendation like glue. And when the 8th week comes, I nearly cartwheel down random hallways in excitement for finally having my hair back. Because I love my natural hair. I love sinking my hands into it and feeling the coils and the curls. Essentially, I’m the kind of gal who needs to abide by protective styles because of how much I touch this hair. But I’m working on leaving it alone, not being all up in its biz so much. Baby steps.

Anyway, the braids come out this weekend, thanks to the efforts of my long-suffering sissy, who has agreed to take them out for me. I can’t promise that I won’t hold a parade as a result.

Naturalistas out there: how do you handle the wait when your hair is all nice and tucked away? Or am I the only one who needs to attend a 12-step program for this issue?

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