I took all the braids out (again) this weekend and now I’m in this weird place where I’m confronting (for the first time) that I’m ashamed that my hair isn’t natural. I know it’s the east coast, and maybe more particularly the DC, living that’s having that effect on me. I’ve never seen hair the way it is here, so much is natural and in so many styles and lengths and textures, it’s definitely a different culture. At home (California), it’s for the most part permed and straightened that I experienced. Here though, most of the women I spend time with don’t process it and a few months ago my roommate (also Californian) did the big chop and is now natural herself. Now I’ve got all these reservations about it that I never thought I’d have in my 20s. But then the inevitable happened. I took my braids out and washed my hair and couldn’t comb it. What am I actually supposed to do with it? It’s so thick and the curls are sooo tight. My fingers couldn’t even make it through the new growth (let alone anything fine-toothed) so I didn’t comb it. I just separated it at the bottom and twisted it around. I wish I had the creativity and endurance my sister has. She’s so good at styling and taming, but I just don’t have the will or upper arm strength for it. She did the chop in January and has been trying new things ever since. Me though, I’m more convinced than ever that I’m going to process it in the next few weeks because… again… what do I actually do with it?