Have you ever wondered what it would be like to get your long hair braided? We have. What’s it feel like? How does it look? How long is the process? Does it make me look like a gangsta? Just a few questions we had, so Brookie B came down to the studio and braided Lindsay up.
Watch him share the experience of getting his long hair twisted—and learn a little back-history about about long hair and braids while you’re at it.
As soon as I was walking around in public, I suddenly didn’t feel so awesome. I started to feel very insecure about my newly twisted braids. I felt as if people were giving me dirty looks and snickering as I walked by. I imagined everyone laughing and thinking to themselves, “look at this guy! Who does he think he is??”
Why? I guess because braids are different, unconventional, extreme, radical. Maybe I felt braids are most often worn by black guys, and what business does a white guy have wearing them? Whatever the reason, I felt insecure and uncomfortable.
As each new person crossed my path my regret for getting braids grew stronger. I started telling myself I was going to take them out as soon as I got home.
“I have to unbraid this shit and be relieved of this awkward, uncomfortable feeling. What am I doing anyway, everybody is thinking I’m some kind of wangster and they’re all laughing at me.”
This was a strange feeling because usually I couldn’t care less about what strangers think about me. For some reason this was different, I had these braids and they were making a statement. A statement I wasn’t sure I was prepared to claim.
Lindsay Barto with Braids Top So after the awkward stroll through downtown San Diego I made it back home and had to get ready for the ultimate test. A night out with the girlfriend. We were going to hit up a nice romantic Italian restaurant in Little Italy. I was going to be looking sharp and the hair was going to remain braided.A couple glasses of wine and a pasta dish later I started to reflect on my experience earlier in the day. I realized that this experience was much deeper than just long hair and braids. I let the insecurity and discomfort pass with a third glass of wine, relaxing and thinking to myself:
I have already chosen to grow long hair. That by itself has set me apart and made me different. Now that I have long hair, I can—and should—do anything I want with it, try new things, if that’s braids, a ponytail, tied up, dreads, whatever the hell I want. It’s my hair. I’ve already put myself out there by growing it out, to some degree saying I don’t care what people think. That’s part of the deal. So I’m gonna rock these braids, own them, and feel great about it.
And I did.
It’s an exercise in self-confidence, and owning it.
There’s an emotional connection with your long hair. With that may come insecurity with trying new and different things with it. But as longhairs we have the opportunity that others don’t: to challenge our insecurities and grow—figuratively…and literally. It’s an exercise in self-confidence, and owning it.
So I’m challenging myself, and I challenge you as well to step out of your comfort zone and try new things with your long hair.
Cuz what if you go bald tomorrow? It’ll be ok, because we respect the combover. But that’s a topic for another time.
So rock that shit, try something new, something you’ve been wondering about, something a little uncomfortable. And let us know how it goes.
And yo Brookie B, thanks for dialing it up! Rest those fingers, Chris is next.