I got my hair braided on Monday. I’ve been wanting to get it done for a while. I got a phone call from a friend whose sister knows a girl that could braid it for me but she could only do it Monday and I wanted my hair braided before I leave for Chicago. I didn’t have hair yet and I hoped to make it to Bible study so I left work early to go buy some hair for the extensions. I went to the beauty supply store close to the girl’s house and they only had 3 bags of the color I needed. I have A LOT of hair and planned on buying 10 bags. So I bought those three then drove across town to the other store to get the three bags they were holding for me plus four more of another color that was close enough.

I liked this hair, it was soft and curled on the ends. I wasn’t too sure about getting my hair braided on such short notice. I’d probably miss bible study, was leaving work early, and I would have to ditch my turn making supper. But I wanted it done, so I went against my “gut feeling” and went anyway. I made it to the girl’s house around 2:30 and we started braiding around 3. About a quarter of the way through I started getting chills and feeling nauseous. I figured it was from the variety of smells in the house, the loud children, the little girl with a poopy diaper and a finger in each nose climbing all over me, all the anger and bossiness I could hear or that my scalp was being pulled so tightly I thought it would bleed. Nine hours later we were done. As soon as I got home I cut the hair a little because it was too long and heavy. I could barely sleep my head was so sore. I’ve gotten my hair braided before so I knew the pain would go away in a few days. This experience–the pain, the nine hours–made me remember why it has been almost 10 years since I got my hair braided this way.

When I woke up I could finally enjoy the style. It looked good (I’ll post a picture soon). I like my hair in braids and I like my hair long. My head still hurt but it was nothing a little pain killer wouldn’t soothe. Halfway through my work day, my head started to itch. It began like mosquito bites. I sprayed water on it to try to soothe it. It worked for a while. I started feeling nauseated. So I left to get some leave-in conditioner thinking that the hair was just so tight my scalp was itching. Leave-in conditioner would loosen the braids to give me some relief. I sprayed and sprayed. As the night went on my scalp and face just began to itch more. So much so I began to cry. Words cannot describe the horror and irritation I felt in those hours. My face was turning red. I tried to shower, hoping the cool or hot water would soothe the itching. It didn’t. I lay in bed crying like a baby while my kids yelled to Big Stud for help. When he came in his eyes would get irritated. Long story short, we concluded that I was having an allergic reaction to the synthetic hair. I spent the next two hours removing the braids from my hair. I had already decided that getting braided extensions was not worth the money, time and pain for me since I have so much hair. I already decided that I would never get this style again–only braiding with my own hair. Last night the decision was sealed.

Once I was done I needed comfort food. Big Stud popped popcorn and we sat up and just hung out and ate popcorn while discussing a variety of things including which types of beverages go best with certain flavors of popcorn. I changed the sheets on our bed because the others had that hair on them. We read a magazine article together and went to sleep. I was so glad to have that hair off of my head and so glad that Big Stud was such a great friend through it all. The kids were very fun through this time. Whenever I would feel the horrible itching Bubba would say, “Are you going to cry again?” He was kind of frantic. Every five or ten minutes after the first crying spell, “are you going to cry? Do you need a Kleenex? I’ll go get a Kleenex. I need a Kleenex.” They were both so cute and their comedic antics were very comforting. Peanut would say, “well, at least your hair smells good.” I learned a lot through that whole ordeal, maybe a little too much to express to the public, but I learned a lot.

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