Braiding your own hair is hard.

I don’t know how to French braid. Or is it 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.

I’ve watched the YouTube tutorials, I’ve tried practicing in a mirror, I’ve sectioned off my hair and tried bobby-pins and hair clips and “being patient”. Nothing works. My brain does not know what to do with that fourth section of hair. My fingers can’t even keep four sections of hair separated. They panic while some beauty guru on YouTube is saying: “It’s super simple. Just take your index finger, bring the hair over to the second section, then with the second finger of your left hand, bring the third section over to the first section, and there you have it! Now you know how to fishtail braid!”

Uh… well, no? Not exactly? Maybe I missed something, like the big moment when she mentioned how you’re supposed to keep all that hair separated without feeling like you have early onset arthritis. Rewind.

Okay, the second section.. and then take your left hand... and the third section goes over here… wait. Was this the third section? Or was it this one? How am I supposed to get it all the way over there? What if I tie my hair into a knot?

Well. That doesn’t look right.

At this point, the hair gets all tangled up together and I find myself staring at what looks more like a bird’s nest than a fishtail with strands drooping around my face. Maybe I could pull this off, I think optimistically. If I can’t braid, the least I can do is start a new trend. The whatever-this-is trend. 

Because that’s what you want to call a trend. “Oh, this? Yea, I don’t know what’s going on up there. I was trying to fancy-braid my hair, but I don’t know how to fancy braid, and somehow I ended up with this. Whatever this is. I’m afraid to brush it out, it’s gonna hurt.”

I tend to wear my hair down. A lot. Not because I’m trying to impress anyone, just because I can’t – for the life of me – figure out how to braid my own hair without looking like a twelve year old milkmaid. Or a crazy woman. Or someone who can’t do her own hair. #BirdsNestExpress

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