braids.

Every night as we crawl into bed and drift off to sleep, we dream. It’s our mind’s way of sorting and figuring out thoughts that enter and reside in our psyche. Although we rarely remember our dreams, some remain in our minds in detail and can create a lasting impact.

I had one of these impact dreams a few months ago.

It was a Sunday morning and my family and I were getting ready for church. My mom had french braided my long brown hair into two pig tails that rested just below my shoulders and my six year old self thought I looked nothing short of exquisite. Once at church, I made my way to my Sunday school classroom, skipping in excitement to see everyone. But, instead of being greeted with corresponding excitement, I was met with glares and jeers.

“You can’t be in here. You have a braid,” they taunted. 

I felt shamed. If only I hadn’t asked my mom to braid my hair, I could be in there with the others whom I loved so dearly.

The dream was short and it seemed to be one that would quickly be forgotten as the day went on, but I couldn’t shake it. I had a contradicting sense of confusion and comfort. Why was this dream on repeat in my mind when it hit me with no immediate meaning? Why was there an impression of peace that this dream was somehow concluding a circular thought process?

It was nearly a week before I had my aha moment with the dream’s meaning in full clarity: my sexuality was equated to the braid. God would never turn a person away due to their hairstyle; the same is true with sexuality. 

Would God turn someone away because they have a braid? No. Would he define them by their hairstyle saying one is good and the other bad? “Anyone who has a pony or a buzzcut is welcome, but if you have a braid, you better change it or you aren’t welcome here!” No! But, there are many Christians who find it important to take an aspect of someone, such as their sexuality, and turn it into something to be shamed, defining, or unacceptable. When in reality, all along, God has been helping weave that very braid.

Stand firm in who you are. People will always have something to say about your braids. People will try and inundate you with reasons why you can’t be who you are, backing their words with their versions of research and life knowledge. Don’t let that change you. Remember who you are and hold tightly to it. After all, it is just a braid, a simple and beautiful display of who you are.

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