As a little girl the first thing people noticed about me was my hair: this tiny thing with a huge mess of curls on top of her head. In fact, even today that statement holds true.
My hair has always been a prominent feature of mine, and people always made comments on it. From family and friends to complete strangers, people would say how cute it was or ask if it was natural, or even say that I looked like a lion with that mane on my head. When I was young I never thought my hair was bad, however, I did wonder why my hair was different from everyone around me. My mom is from European descent, so she and her side of the family have sleek, straight blonde hair. My dad is Native American, which is where we think my thick, curly locks come from.
Since my hair was so different from mom’s, we had to figure out how to control my hair together. Along the way we tried EVERYTHING, and I mean everything. Brushing it when it’s dry, definitely not the answer. Braiding it while it dried, better, but still not perfect. Mousse, maybe some times. Hair spray, again a hard pass. But in seventh or eighth grade, I finally became fed up with my hair since I could not figure out how to manage it.
That’s when I took the plunge, which was inevitably a bad decision, to get straight across bangs. You heard me right. I thought getting straight across bangs would help me fit in since all the other girls had them with their straight hair. But oh boy was I wrong. The first day they were cut they looked perfect, exactly like my friends and classmates. Little did I realize that would all change once I got my bangs wet. Bangs are not friendly with curly hair; since the hair is so short, if I let them dry naturally they sprung up as curly as a poodle.
Once I realized I would have to straighten my hair and damage it every day because of this, I knew I no longer needed or wanted to be like the other girls. I didn’t want to continuously change myself, just because my hair looked a little different. I embraced my identity full force and once and for all tried to learn how to control my hair.
With the help of my trusted hairstylist, she taught me how to manage my curls. Towel dry with a little product or if I needed to blow dry my hair, do so with a diffuser (that one was a life changer). I haven’t looked back since. I love my curly hair and I am more confident with it natural than any other way. My hair is a part of me, and encompasses an important part of my identity. And yes, there may be some days it is wilder than others, but isn’t that like everybody else too?
I am proud to be #HAIRSTRONG and I hope everyone else is or will be #HAIRSTRONG too. I know it can take time to love your hair and all the struggles that come along with it, but I just have one piece of advice on those days your hair isn’t cooperating…Let that lion’s mane down and roar!!