Today was filled with impromptu decisions. Zora’s hair was in a ponypuff that I ended up taking down (per her request,) so she could fully commit to whipping her hair while dancing. I randomly decided to join her for a bath tonight. I also made the last minute decision to turn our run-of-the-mill bathing experience into a bubble bath with complimentary jacuzzi jets (perks of visiting my parents for the holidays.) I didn't anticipate her hair getting wet while we were bathing, but it happened. So, as fate would have it, we had an impromptu “wash day.”
To clarify what I mean when saying "wash day," the Black experience typically mandates that days for hair care are scheduled in advance and met with unwaivering preparation. There are hair products, combs/brushes, and time allotments to be accounted for. So, my immediate thought when Zora’s fro got wet was how much turmoil we'd now experience, because a wash day we hadn't planned for HAD to be done. The thought that immediately followed? Let that baby enjoy her bubble bath without worrying about her hair!
Again, speaking solely of the Black girl experience, our activities are sometimes limited by fear of ruining our hair when braving nature’s elements. My stylist, CurlyNuGrowth, can tell you I'm the non-example for hair care, but a big portion of my decision to loc was based on liberating myself from those worries. I can walk in the rain, unbothered. I can go swimming when I want to, styling be damned. I can wet my hair in the shower and not have that be cause for a bad day. I can fall asleep without a scarf and have no one but myself to blame when these locs look linty. Nonetheless, my life can go on uninterrupted.
I say all this to say, I want that same freedom for Zora. I wouldn't dream of pressuring her into locs, but I don't want her activities to be regulated by their affect on her mane. I also don't want her to consider her mane a source of frustration. My older sister, who's hands down one of the greatest mothers I know, told me years ago that she was intentional about not showing annoyance when doing my niece’s hair. Her reasoning was simple: viewing our hair as a burden is a learned behavior she had no interest in passing on. Thank God for that eureka moment making its way to the front of my brain just a few hours ago. Because I almost found myself pissed for "overdoing it" with a bubble bath.
First and foremost, it's hair. I know people say that a lot, and I also understand it's importance in our culture, but it really is JUST hair. Not the end of the world. Most importantly, Zora splashing in the tub shouldn’t be a deal breaker for a day well spent. That’s not to say we didn’t stay up past her bad time detangling, because we did, and she gave a fair amount of fuss about it. However, I’m sure all will be forgiven come tomorrow’s twist out. Mind you, twist outs are a whole different section of Black Girl 101. If you're not hip, just know that it's a glorious occasion and worth every boomerang effect on Instagram to see a curl bounce back into place after being properly groomed the day prior.