Jackie Wilson Asheeke

I have been wearing braid extensions since I was 21. Current articles on natural hair care say that I have done irreparable damage to my natural hair. They are right. The pulling, braiding, and twisting has weakened, thinned and broken off my hair. But, then again, I have had decades of loving my braided look. Life is all about trade-offs. That said, working remote at home in these pandemic days, there is no need to go out as much. So, I wear no braids most of the time. It was weird at first – I look so different in the mirror, but now, I love it!

I keep what’s left of my hair clean and moisturized. I use combinations of organic oils and keep it soft. I massage my scalp regularly and it feels wonderful! It is growing and thickening again. The few times that I must go out, I brush my hair down and wear colourful head wraps in lovely colours and prints that match my various masks. Finally, I realized that I can choose any look I want. It is liberating.

Thankfully, I have the talent to braid my own hair. I can put braids in whenever I want. But, I have decided not to. I haven’t put chemicals or relaxers in my hair and I don’t intend to start now. A perm is not for me – though anyone who wants to go that route is free to do so.

The new wave of acceptance of hair styles of choice is great! I am embracing it while in the privacy of my own home. I can take my time to get used to any new looks that I wish to try.

I have decided to buy a few wigs and experiment. I’ll get them one by one to get used to wearing them and caring for them. If this works out, I can have a new look everyday!

Now that I have so many options for my ‘look’ I am wondering why, for decades I insisted on having just one presentation? In my mind, I am not of one thought; one idea or one dimension. So, why did I cling to one look for my hair?

I don’t wear the same clothes every day or the same shoes or the same earrings. Why have I been wearing the same hair style?

I suspect that most people have a ‘look’ they like. Doing the same thing everyday forms a comfort zone. Who doesn’t want to feel comfortable? I think that making hair changes is a way to push away self-imposed chains.

Some people have jobs that have confined ‘looks’ based on a dress code. But, on weekends or at home, there should be ways to look the way you choose.

We all have personal inhibitions when we decide on our ‘look.’ For example, I admire the colourful extensions that people put in their hair. Doing this expresses more about who they are. But, I would not choose that for myself. If you want blue or pink streaks in your hair, do it. If you want jet black hair to cover your grey, do it. If you want to shave one side of your hair and press and curl the other, do it. If you are uncomfortable doing something unusual with your hair, then don’t do it.

Hair care during the pandemic-enforced time at home can be an uplifting discovery time. You can check out all kinds of new hair looks with a limited audience at home and see how it makes you feel. Do something wild with your hair if it makes you feel good. If you end up wearing your hair as you always had, that’s ok too!