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If You Haven’t Risked Coming Home Under A Flag Don’t You Dare Disrespect It Shirt, hoodie, tank top
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In 2016, I packed my bags and went off to college. While in school, I stopped going to the beauty salon as much. I quickly learned that getting your hair done is a luxury; as a college student without a job, going to the salon every two weeks wasn’t something I could afford. I started embracing my natural hair. After endless failed attempts of twist-outs that resulted in a high puffs, not getting my hair done professionally took a toll on me. I went into a hair depression.
So I started getting protective styles from a local braider, usually at their house. But even though my hair was styled and I felt more confident, I still missed the culture that the my home beauty salon provided.
After graduating, I moved back home with my parents. I was due for a new hairstyle, so I scheduled an appointment with a beautician in my hometown. On the day of the appointment, I walked into a beauty shop that I have never been to before. The first thing I noticed was the beautician stations along the walls, nostalgic art paintings of Black salons, and older issues of Essence magazines on the coffee table.
As I sat there quietly, waiting to get my hair done, I watched another beautician straighten a young girl’s hair. “Ouch,” she said as the heat from the flat iron burned her scalp. A flood of memories came rushing back. A few moments later, my beautician waved for me to sit in the chair. She draped a hair cape over me and began detangling my hair.
Netflix’s I Care was playing on the huge flat screen in front of the shop, which later sparked a conversation. I was still kind of quiet until I saw a familiar face—a long-time family friend who owned a barbershop in the back of the salon—walked in. I was filled with excitement to see someone I knew. We talked about how much I had grown up and old memories of my family. With the whole salon hearing our conversation, people began to chime in, saying, “Oh, that’s your brother, I know them. I remember you when you were a baby.” In that instant, I felt at home. My shyness went away, and I began opening up more with the women in the salon. As I sat there deep in conversation, I felt the same way I had getting my hair done as a young girl. I felt at home.