Learning to Love My Naturally Curly Hair

Note: Hey everyone! The following story is a college essay that I had written that has gotten a lot of appraisal from my English teacher. I just thought I would share it as a myTake. Hope you enjoy!

One by one, my mother would twist my virgin hair into long, voluminous braids, and then seal them off with hair accessories. This used to be a daily routine before school, then she would take me to the bus stop and wave goodbye as it drove me and thirty other kids to school.

I was a shy girl in elementary school, and due to that imperfection, I didn't have many friends. I was quiet, but observant and intelligent. Oh, and I had an obsession with stuffed animals, and would bring a different one to school every day to play with my small group of friends.

During recess was when I would look around. My eyes wondered over to a group of children, and the first thing I noticed was their hair, particularly one girl's hair. I thought it was gorgeous: their hair was a golden color, cascading down their back like the rapids, and it glistened in the sunlight like a meadow full of buttercups. I was amazed, then my admiration turned to jealousy. My hand touched one of my braids, and felt down the length of it. The texture was not the same, and the feeling was like that of sheep wool. I was different and started to become aware of it.

My obsession with my hair only grew stronger, and after seeing the little light-skinned girl, I began to desire long, straight hair. I wanted hair that would move when I would turn my hair, and would slide effortlessly through my fingers when I ran them through it. I wanted it more than anything. My mom would run a straightening comb through my hair when I got older, which had loosened up the texture of my hair, but it was not near the texture that I truly desired.


When I was about nine, I begged my mom to get me a perm, the magical serum that would morph my hair into the same straight texture, and would expose my real hair length. I went to the hair store with her and picked out the kid’s treatment. The brown girl on the box was gleaming with joy as she showed off her newly permed hair. It appeared healthy and shiny as it fell to her shoulders like a watery wall. It was what I was hoping it would do for me, and would fulfill my desire of having hair like the girls at school.

She stood me up on a kitchen chair and pushed my head into the sink, washing my hair with the included shampoo and conditioner, then she coated my head in this cool, thick, gooey stuff that would transform my poodle-like hair into something completely different. My mom sat me down, and we waited about ten minutes (which felt like hours), as my head tingled and burned from the chemicals that were straightening my hair out into what I wanted. I ignored the pain because it meant fulfilling my dream of having the texture of hair I wanted.

Time was up, and my mom rinsed the burning concoction out of my scalp, and my hair fell down in jet black ringlets, which caused me to smile. After moisturizing, blow drying, and brushing, my poodle hair was now halfway down my back and completely straight, like what the girls at school

had. I absolutely loved it.

“Hey, I like your hair!”

“Your hair is so cute like that.”

I got so many compliments on my hair when I went back to school, which made me feel so much better about myself. I would reply with a “thank you” and go on about my normal day. Why didn’t my mom allow me to do this sooner, I would think so myself. Not only did I have the hair texture I wanted, but it made me a lot more popular and outgoing. This was great.

Pretty soon, my hair curled back up into tight ringlets when I went out in the rain without a hood or umbrella. They weren’t as defined as they once were, but it was still different than my hair was a couple of months before.

So I got it flat ironed. I would flat iron it every couple of days, going through these frantic fits of panic when my hair wasn’t perfectly straight, or the perfect texture. I loved my hair straight, and didn’t want it any other way.

Over the span of a couple of years, however, my hair got noticeably shorter. It wasn’t as healthy as it used to be, and it broke off fairly easily as my hair got finer, more brittle. I didn’t care at the time, though. I wanted my hair straight, and continued to flat iron and relax my hair.

After noticing that my hair was becoming more frail, I would wear it in protective styles like braids or twists to slow down the damage. My mom had forced me to go natural for my 10th grade year of high school. She would only allow them to flat iron my hair, and nothing else. The method of treatment worked in restoring my hair, and it became healthier, and stronger over time. I still had a pang of envy, though. I wanted Caucasian hair. I wanted long, shiny hair like I saw in the media. It was gorgeous, but I was stuck with my tightly coiled hair. Self hate. I was the queen of it at the time.

So then, June 2016 rolled around soon enough, and I was enrolled in a summer camp where I worked as a chaperon. We helped people around our community with their houses and yards, and we were taking a break from it by going to our local wave pool.I only had one thought straying in my mind: Do NOT get my hair wet.

So we all packed our bags, adorned our bathing suits on and huddled in the van to the pool. That thought would not give up

I was hesitant to get in the water.my hair was in a high bun, and I did not want to get it wet. It wasn’t relaxed, and would curl back up. All the chemical damage was gone after months of treatment at the salon I went to, but it wouldn’t be straight anymore. I was annoyed at the thought.

My friends talked me into getting in. The water was freezing, and goosebumps appeared on my arms and legs as I walked down into the water. I just stood in place like a statue, afraid to dunk my head in to swim.

Then, the waves started.

My hair was soaked.

The straight hair that I was rocking for months on end was now tightly-coiled ringlets that I tried so desperately to run away from. My natural hair texture was ruined, and I was a little annoyed at myself for getting it wet. Now I would have to flat iron it again and...

“Your hair looks cute like that,” my friend said with a gleam.

I smiled, and expressed my appreciation. “Thank you!”

It wasn’t so bad after all. In fact, it was cute. My hair was in a full afro, and my curls were defined from getting wet with water. What made it so great, though, was the fact that it was mine, and was what made me unique.

I’ve been completely natural for 2 and a half months now, and will continue the journey, along with many other African American girls and women.

What’s the moral of this story? You don’t need to conform to societal standards of beauty to be beautiful, and that you shouldn’t try to. So many girls are influenced by the world around them, and try to change what they already have. Not that this is a bad thing, but the fact of the matter is that many do it out of insecurity, not because they like it that way. It shouldn’t be like this, as I finally learned to appreciate natural black hair and how beautiful it as along with other textures. Hell, they’re all beautiful. Embrace what makes you special, what you have naturally. You will feel free, not having to conform to what is pushed as the norm.

When you learn to love yourself, you will unlock a whole new level of feeling free. Embrace those lovely curls, those beautiful waves, or that sleek, straight hair. They’re beautiful, just like you.

All art belongs to the respective owners.

#BlackGirls #CurlyHair #SelfLove


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What Guys Said 10

  • 2mo

    Naturally curly hair is awesome lol, I used to hate mine actually but I've grown to love it ^^

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  • 2mo

    My hair gets wavy, which to me is either a half-assed attempt at being straight or a half-assed attempt at being curly. I would rather curly hair than wavy hair.

    For a while I was straightening my hair so I can relate to how much of a nuisance it can be to keep it straight; any bit of water, humidity, or even sweat and it would curl back up. But if I keep my hair short, below a certain length, then it stays relatively straight.

    I'm never satisfied with my hair, but recently I may have found a hairstyle that I'll stick with. We'll see how long that lasts.

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  • 2mo

    You're damn right that you should love your curly hair the way it is.

    And you know what's cool about it? Dreadlocks! One of my all-time favorite hairstyles. With naturally curly hair, you can style them into dreadlocks easily. I myself don't look good with dreads because I'm Korean American, but blacks really look good in it.

    A good number of my favorite musicians have or had dreads: Al Jourgensen of Ministry, Derrick Green of Sepultura, Dez Fafara of Coal Chamber, Edsel Dope of Dope, Skinny Disco of Deathstars, and Nick Oshiro of Static-X.

    And it's also cool if you did cyber dreads, as in make them look like computer wires out of a robot's head.

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  • 2mo

    I prefer natural hair on every woman. With natural I mean, original.
    I kinda like the curly/coiled hair as long as it's natural, because it then it usually fits the face.

    :)

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  • 2mo

    "Learn to love my curly hair" --- I'M GETTING BRAIDS TOMORROW. I'M SO EXCITED.

    ROLL EYES!

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    • 2mo

      You didn't have to comment if you don't care. 😒

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    • 2mo

      @JoyGirl Wasn't intended to make you laugh though... 0/10

    • 2mo

      This was a college essay about my hair journey...
      And getting braids to protect my hair from damage doesn't mean I can't love my natural hair. Nice try though *Gives you a bag of attention* c=

  • 2mo

    I know how you feel, lol, I have curly hair too, if I don't cut my hair on time, it gets really tangled, and soon, it starts growing faster and faster, looking almost like this:
    www.haz.de/.../nordberg_FullView.jpg

    That's why I always cut my hair very short :P

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  • 2mo

    Why are black girls ashamed of their hair and often get it straightened out?
    www.pictureshack.us/images/66804_1349562902502.jpg

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    • 2mo

      If you read the take you would know why.

    • 2mo

      In this world, money and success are greatly desired. But you need a job. It's hard to get a job when you look.. different. I know how this feels. My hair barely touches my shoulders, and it is a 4C type hair (look up hair types). I felt like a freak, and a weirdo- I too wanted that sleek, shiny, golden, goddess-like hair.
      Being unique is a blessing, but in this world it's hard to make your way when you look different. *sigh*

  • 2mo

    Really good essay - Very enjoyable read, well done

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  • 2mo

    You're good at writing. You have many good points and it's very well written. Often we human tends to think the grass is greener at the other side and we gets affected by peers etc. There are both advantages and disadvantages at both sides. It also exists difference forms for beauty, not only one. Just because a person considering something unattractive doesn't necessary mean everybody thinks the same. People are difference and there are always some people who likes you for who you are. People have difference opinions about things and beauty is one of them. Some people thinks straight hair is beautiful, but other thinks curly or kinky hair is beautiful too.

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    • 2mo

      Yes that is a good point. People try to push their standards as facts when people may think differently.

  • 2mo

    I don't know why more black girls don't wear natural hair styles? Super straight hair doesn't look natural on a lot of black girls. Your hair compliments your features. I'm an artist... I would know... I know anatomy and mostly paint women. Black women are gorgeous. All women are beautiful in their own way.

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What Girls Said 35

  • 2mo

    nice take! this comes from a curly haired girl!
    peace!

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  • 2mo

    Giiiiiiiiiiiiiiiirl.

    The struggle was real when I was growing up in a white high school. I showed up with an afro and got laughed at. And people kept grabbing it and tugging on it and asking why it wasn't straight. One idiot even asked me if I curl every individual strand or do I use a curling iron.

    Sigh. But I'm natural now and proud.

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  • 2mo

    Lovely take! <3 I love my curls too but it gets tangled way too easily 😔

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  • 2mo

    This was a great read

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  • 2mo

    I have naturally very, very wavy hair in a way it is borderline curly. I love it enough despite when it poofs up like Simba from the lion king when there is a tiny bit of humidity in the air. I wish more women wore their natural hair.

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    • 2mo

      Me too, instead of covering it up with weaves and extensions.

    • 2mo

      But I'm lovin' my red ombre braids. Everyone said it looked so cool. I was beging my mum for ombre for ages, so I could be "trendy"
      haha

  • 2mo

    I have naturally curly hair as well. Had ringlet curls all my life lol
    Spent years doing the japanese straightening permanent treatments.
    Finally let my hair grow out without doing that and had the last of the straight hair at my tips chopped off! My hair is 100% curly again. And sooo much healthier and I'm so happy.
    I'm cool with styling and straightening it on occasion.

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    • 2mo

      Ohh you did the big chop?

    • 2mo

      yeah, it used to be long but now its like above my boobs when natural. I'm sure when I straighten it, it'll be longer.

  • 21h

    awesome

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  • 2mo

    This is great! I have a funny combination of wavy and curly hair. The top half is wavy and frizzy, but the bottom half has these spirals and ringlets. I used to also want straight hair as well, thinking that it must be very low maintenance and always look good no matter what, until I found out that the grass is always greener on the other side and there are pros and cons to everything. Many of my straight-haired friends actually wish they had my hair, which I was initially surprised by. I thought I just had "bad" hair, and I always wanted what I considered to be "normal" hair. I didn't realize that many girls with straight hair also wished for the opposite of what they had! I've learned to love my hair because it's a part of me, and I've also found that I like a lot of volume and that it comes natural with my hair type. I don't even really like to straighten my hair anymore (other than running a flat iron lightly over the top half to cut down the frizz) because my curls have grown on me so much!

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  • 2mo

    My hair is curly as well, it forms loose ringlets when I leave it alone. It's very fine too. It's easy to straighten and easy to curl again in the slightest humidity. I used to love emo hair as a teen, but it just didn't work on me. The many layers made my hair look too few. When I flat ironed my hair, they lost all their volume and I had to backcomb a lot. Also the ends always curled outwards.. Now, I let my hair dry naturally and then straighten my fringe only with the blow drier. I haven't dyed it in 3 years. I'm trying to get it long, another childhood dream of mine.

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  • 2mo

    The poisonous so-called "Standard Beauty" of the country I live in has greatly damaged my self-esteem over the years. I remember as a child, I thought something was obviously wrong with black kids' hair. I mean, you got the whites, the Asians, the Hispanics, native Americans, etc that all have the same type of hair, yet we're the only ones that have hair like this, and let me tell you, I went to get a big chop one day, but some idiot elephant lady kept the relaxer in my hair longer than it should have, and it robbed my hair. I told myself I would never put a relaxer in my hair again, nor will I ever stop at a salon again. After the chop, I couldn't run my legs fast enough out of that store, because I felt ashamed. I swear, an older white lady passed me by and she stared at me as if I was an alien from another planet. I just had a nice normal afro. It wasn't as if my hair was in a way that suggested I just woke up.

    At newly 30 I am Just now coming out of that slave-like mentality and going on a journey with my hair. After treating it differently, I actually feel relieved. I appreciate black hair becuase I love the fact that I don't have to wash it daily. All it needs is one wash day a week or every two weeks.

    But the journey is still hard becuase you got schools banning only OUR hair, you have the army banning only OUR hair, and you have workforce banning only OUR hair. So, to other people, our hair is a big deal as well.

    It's just stupid.

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  • 2mo

    Since I have naturally straight hair I prefer straight but I know a lot of girls who have naturally curly hair and do things to have them straight this hurt their hair a lot and don't make them more prettier at all

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  • 2mo

    Honestly, your curly natural hair is beautiful I know many people that would love to have your hair. Your hair looks in good condition embrace your hair it what forms who you truly are. Don't conform to social "expectations" you'll never truly be happy, plus if you keep straightening it will start to get scraggy and ruin your hair.

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  • 2mo

    And I would really love that curly hair... :(

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  • 2mo

    I've always had long, golden, very straight hair and I always envied girls with voluminous curls.

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  • 2mo

    I'm not black, but I do have super thick curly hair that I used to hate as well.. same thing happened, it got damaged and when I started college, I didn't have time to always straighten it anyway. Now I just wash it, put frizz control product in it, and let it go. It's so easy and I love it now. It's also so much healthier. The only thing I hate is when people try to touch it

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  • 2mo

    :) Amazing MyTake. :)

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  • 2mo

    Aw, nice take!
    I got a relaxer when I was 9 too.
    The reasoning was different, but when my mom came back (she was in the military and had no one to do my hair when she had to leave)
    She saw how terrible my hair was... & the chlorine from the school's pool made it worse.
    I ended up having to get it cut into a mushroom haircut, lmao.
    Sucked so bad.

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  • 2mo

    Curly hair FTW!!! <333333

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  • 2mo

    My hair is a mixture of curly and puffy. I am going to start loving it now, because of this take. 😜
    Well done! 👏

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  • 2mo

    I notice their is a movement thats growing of people loving the natural way they where born which is super good. I hope it gets bigger

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