Unlike me, my best friend had ‘good’ hair: longer, softer, looser curls rained down her head, and she never had to braid it.
— Edom

She had the right type of hair. The type that flowed down her back – soft, loose, curls that served as reminders of straight roads travelled and the straighter ones that would come. But yours were different – they reminded you of arduous journeys on broken roads, roads not fully paved. And so you would run your fingers through your hair, wanting to feel that same freedom, only to have your fingertips interrupted by crooked curls –  a testament to impossible hopes and unanswered prayers. You’d spent countless moments willing those curls to unravel themselves into the long, loose, curls that had decorated your best friends back; wanting so desperately to embody beauty and desire – wishing that you too could walk that straighter road. Your mother told you that your scalp served as an intersection between mountains and valleys overcome and crooked paths to liberty still yet to be travelled. Which is to say your very existence is an answered prayer. And so on days like this, when you catch yourself craving looser curls, run your fingers through your hair and savor it as if each crooked curl will lead you to freedom.

Words by Mumbi Kanyogo

Yemi Kolawole