The minute that Arianna said that she wanted to swim with the dolphins, I knew that I wanted to, really bad, but I didn’t bring stuff to do my hair if it got wet.
My brain went into overdrive. I could make a high bun and even if it gets wet, it will still be cute and not too wild I thought to myself. I thought about it when she initially said it, as we walked to the plane for the first time. Yes, the first time. We were deplaned twice and had to wait for 10 hours before we could board a flight to Charlotte and then we had to stay in a hotel courtesy of U.S Airlines. The airline lost my luggage and I was forced, again, to think of my hair. I didn’t have my scarf or my shower cap and I didn’t want to flatten my hair sleeping on a cotton pillow. Thankfully, I was with Arianna who shared undies, toiletries and a shower cap, but it wasn’t long before I would have to confront the issue again. I put my high in a high but loose ponytail and got in the bed. I could shake it out in the morning for our flight to Jamaica (finally!).
I was so excited to be in Jamaica, and Arianna too, that we dropped our suitcases off in the room and headed for the beach. We laid out and waiting for the remaining friends to find us. This is nice, I think, so far so good. I didn’t have to wet my hair.
“Are you prolonging wetting your hair?” Stephanie asked snapping me back to reality when she finally found us. “Guise, I’m scared of my hair wet, I’m not sure what to do with it.”
“We can help!” Stephanie proclaimed before she and Arianna dunked me in the water as I sat at the swim-up bar. Guess this is happening sooner than I thought. They weren’t lying. The two of them reminded me to put leave-in conditioner after getting my hair wet, helped me wash the sand and chlorine out of my hair each night. Stephanie even went as far as to come in during my shower, section my hair and apply the conditioner herself so I knew the proper way to do it.
Throughout my time in Jamaica, Steph would put her hands in my hair and tell me to embrace the curls, “this is really pretty, I feel like you’re not owning it,” and I liked it, it was reaffirming.
I braved wearing my hair wet from the shower with a little product and letting it air dry while we were out for the night. Au natural. I’m not saying that I’ve mastered this hair thing, in fact, I’m going to schedule a consultation with Carol’s Daughter’s new salon in Harlem. Right after I schedule my hair appointment at Drybar. While it was freeing to let my inhibitions go in Jamaica, especially all the hangups associated with hair and how it could or couldn’t make me feel pretty, I’m back in the real world, and I don’t want to scare my co-workers.
But I feel like this was progress in the right direction. And I’m grateful to my friends for literally forcing me to embrace me, completely natural.
oh, and p.s. I did end of swimming with the dolphins. And it was amazing.