THAT TIME I BLEACHED MY HAIR.

I wasn’t allowed to dye my hair growing up. It wasn’t a ‘religion thing’ or a ‘Conservative thing’ or an “afraid of chemicals” thing – my parents just told me that I wasn’t allowed. End of story. My mom said I had “beautiful hair” and dying it would be like “ruining it”.

These kids today walking around with “Mermaid hair” will never know the struggle.

I mean, I get it. My natural hair had “dimension” (I think that’s the word that hair-people use). So many shades of brown – natural highlights, natural LOW-lights – just growing out of my head. And it was healthy! Ugh. SO HEALTHY.

But, you know, I was a teenage girl and thought that dying my hair was the equivalent of a Mia Thermopolis make-over. (Dye hair = look like Princess of Genovia.) But my mom wasn’t having it. “Pick your battles”, they say, and this is the one that she picked.

A lot of parents put their foot down about partying and premarital sex, but my mom has never been like a “regular” mom. She’s a cool mom.

(Also, I didn’t get invited to parties in high school and boys didn’t talk to me. So if she really wanted to put her foot down about something, the hair thing was kind of all she had.)

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Braiding your own hair is hard.

I don’t know how to French braid. Fishtail braid?

Regardless, I can only do ONE braid. The easy one. The one with three strands of hair and a normal amount of fingers. No YouTube tutorials required.

I don’t know if being a halfwit when it comes to hair is all that uncommon. It seems like when I talk to… well, basically anyone who can French braid their own hair, they seem shocked that I don’t know how do something so simple. Like I’m telling them that I don’t know how to use a comb. “REALLY?” they say, as I explain how my hairstyle skills rival that of a Stay-At-Home Dad’s. “But it’s SO EASY!” they say, and I feel like I must be doing something wrong. I must be making it more complicated than it needs to be. Maybe I’m adding too much hair. Maybe I need more fingers.

The day that I learned the easy, no-frills, nothing-fancy-about-it braid was a big day for me. I think I was ten or eleven. Up until that day, I can remember taking two strands of hair and twisting them around until it resembled… I don’t know, something, a pretzel twist maybe?… and then trying to convince people that it was a braid. But not like, a regular braid. Like a COOL braid.

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