Curly Confusion: How I Stopped Hating My Hair And Started Appreciating It The Way It Is

February 20, 2014  |  

Source: Shutterstock

I have an embarrassing confession: As much as I love my hair, I didn’t always. When I was 12 years old, I prayed for “Good Hair.”

Girl, I know.

I was influenced to take action because of certain a girl two years older than me, and by default way cooler, who had her edges of legit, wispy baby hair always brushed back to perfection, with swooped edges that only seemed to happen when one has a less curly hair texture. I was so envious that in my despair, I asked Sweet Baby Jesus for the same finely-textured, perfectly wavy hair that flowed from the heads of girls like her.

As a kid in the awkward-looks phase, I thought she was pretty and cool and I wanted to be pretty and cool too, but unsure of how to accomplish it in my own way. Looking back on it, it’s sad that I even had the thought in my head to ask–in prayer no less–for such a thing. I remember after saying my nightly graces, adding in one last line: “Please give me pretty hair like __. I want to have good hair like hers.”

A significant amount of time has passed, and it’s pretty obvious Sweet Baby Jesus stubbornly has not delivered on that request. For good reasons, too. In addition to an old-fashioned dramatic soap opera slap, I needed to learn to be content with what I was given biologically.

There wasn’t a pivotal moment where the heavens opened up and a rumbling voice told me my frizzy ‘fro was a crown and thus, the mark of royalty. It was simple: As an older teen, I got tired of fighting with my hair. Plus, as a waitress at a greasy burger joint back in the day, washing my hair after each shift was a must. I refused to spend two hours straightening my puffy hair three times a week.

So I stopped.

I stopped fighting with my hair, I stopped trying to attain epic, Aaliyah-esque smoothness, and I stopped worrying about how the sphere of people in my life perceived my hair. There was no turning back after that, and I’ve been a fan of the wash-n-go ever since. I appreciate my hair for what it is: thick, frizzy and strong. And for the last few decades, I’ve been delighted with the hair and the looks that I have. Realizing and accepting that you’re going to be you every day, and embracing your physical characteristics is one of the best parts about growing up.

Now, my hair philosophy is this: Let your hair do what it wants–including warranting you being called Scary Spice, Sideshow Bob, Frizzy-Haired Black Girl, Diana Ross-gone-wrong, and many other creative names. Let your hair do what it wants, even if it means you have to start over with a Big Chop or a shaved head. At least you know you’re empowered and free being yourself.

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