My mother had big voluminous hair, on the coarse side, and I remember as young as elementary school hating how my hair was so poofy when other girls had fine straight shiny hair.
My mother had big voluminous hair, on the coarse side, and I remember as young as elementary school hating how my hair was so poofy when other girls had fine straight shiny hair. I used to use a lot of gel in my hair and wore it up as tight as possible. If someone made me wear my hair down, I would probably start running. I remember having this hairstyle in my adolescence where I would wear my hair half up with this pathetic looking bun on the very top of my head like an angel on a Christmas tree. It was the only hairstyle I was comfortable with
Straighteners and blow dryers were no friend to me; they seemed to make my hair even bigger and coarser than it was when it was natural. Then in 2008, I started having a peculiar buzzing in my head that paralyzed me emotionally and made it hard to speak. So I went to a holistic grocery store, and I asked the worker if there were any homeopathic remedies they could suggest for my problem. And to my surprise, she said, “Why don’t you try wearing your hair down?” suggesting that it being tied so tightly could be causing this symptom. I was horrified at the thought of wearing my hair down.
Then years later, I wore my hair down curly at a job I was working at, and my coworker looked amazed and told me how great my hair looked. Coming from a guy, I felt really flattered. Around that time, I got a CHI straightener, one of the best straighteners on the market, and it worked and made my hair shiny and straight, and I started feeling comfortable wearing it down (but only if it was straight.)
Then something happened. I ended up in a shelter in Brooklyn, and on the way to the bathroom, I crossed paths with this older woman, and my hair was down. She told me that I was so lucky to have such thick long hair and she’d “kill for it.” I felt funny at first, but then I realized that that was the best compliment I’d ever gotten. I started feeling proud of my hair and even a little cocky. I bought a bottle of gel since I had decided I was going to start wearing my hair down and really started looking at myself in the mirror differently. I no longer saw this ugly big hair, but I saw the beauty of my hair and how it fit perfectly with my face.
I will never have “fine” naturally straight hair or naturally blond hair, and that’s perfectly ok. I know people with straight hair that wish they had my hair. Nowadays, I don’t even use any products in my hair when I wear my hair down and natural. I love the way I look, and my confidence shows in my face. Sometimes other people’s compliments can shift the way you think about yourself. But as women, it’s important that we accept and embrace the way we look because if we don’t, who will?
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