My hair and I have an on-again-off-again-love-hate relationship. Right now we are in a fragile state. I am a bit raw and emotional from having stayed up until after four in the morning to unbraid my hair. And my hair is fearfully aggressive like a stray cat. It’s like this every time. Once it’s time for the braids to come out, my hair and I have to navigate through all the steps of grief.

Denial: I pretend that I don’t have to take out the braids. I willfully ignore how fuzzy my roots are getting. I tell myself it’s okay to wait another week or so.