I remember all too clearly the complete and utter dread I felt when it came time to do my hair. I would do everything I could to avoid it and stretch it for another week or even another day. My mom hated it too. She would spend hours and hours blow drying and straightening my hair. By the time she was finished, she was exhausted; it was an all-day process. I remember her feeling so defeated when I would go to the playground in kindergarten and come home with handfuls of sand not just in my socks, but in my hair as well. All of my mom’s hard work down the drain.
It wasn’t until I got older and started doing my own hair that I realized just how much work it really was.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve had long, thick curly hair. I remember ladies stopping my mom in the grocery store to compliment me on it. My beautiful hair came with worry and never wanting to go outside for fear it would rain or be too humid and it would ruin my hair. I became so consumed my hair and hot it looked that I realized I was missing out on life.
A new movie was just released on Netflix titled “Nappily Ever After.” The movie is all about a woman who, similar to me, grew up with very long hair that her mother spent hours doing. Throughout the movie you see her learning to love herself before her hair.
I can relate to exactly how she felt. Yes, I was blessed with thick long hair but it was also very curly. On weekends when my mom didn’t have time to do my hair or simply couldn’t be bothered to spend hours on it, she would leave my hair curly and put it into two giant afro-puffs at the top of my head. My mom thought it was the cutest thing ever, but I hated it. Any time I would go to school with curly hair rather than straight hair, all the kids would look at me as if I fell from the alien ship and were wondering when the martians were coming to pick me back up. They called me names and made me feel so bad for something that I was born with.
Fast-forward to middle school and high school and I became obsessed with straightening my hair no matter how long it took. I began to associate my straight hair with my beauty. I noticed I would always get more compliments on my straight hair rather than my curly. I would even get more attention from guys when my hair was straight. That is when the love-hate relationship with my hair began.
Although I hated “wash-day,” I would much rather have my hair straightened than left curly. I would do anything to avoid the judgmental stares from all those around me. I genuinely didn’t feel attractive unless my hair was pin-straight. I would base my days around the weather. If it was too humid or raining one day, I would turn down hanging out with my friends because I knew it would ruin my hair. Keep in mind, I live in Florida where it is 90 percent humidity every day and where it rains four out of seven days a week. I let my hair and the fear of looking less than perfect completely control my life.
Then it hit me (finally). My hair was perfect because it was simply mine. Some girls would kill to have curly hair like mine. But, why can’t we be content with the looks we were born with? Think about it. Girls with straight hair always want curly hair and girls with thick hair always want thin hair. Once I learned to be confident with my curly texture, it was almost as if I could conquer anything. No matter what crazy looks I got or what anyone had to say, it didn’t matter because I knew for a fact that I was beautiful.
To all the girls who may have been laughed at for whatever hair texture you have, always remember you’re beautiful in every way, shape and form. Don’t let a couple of idiots ever make you doubt that.