I have always been self-conscious of my hair. I can’t explain when this insecurity surfaced, but I have always felt as if it has always been present. I am bi-racial (Mexican and African American). My race and ethnicity have always made me feel different than my friends because of how different my hair was. My hair was long, thick, black and curly and my friends’ hair were straight or wavy in a variety of colors. I was envious of their hair. I hated mine.
As a child, my mother did my hair every morning. She would either fasten twists, buns, or pigtails with cute animal barrettes and colorful scrunchies. At eleven years old, I eventually I grew out of this practice and my mother gave me the decision of perming my hair. A perm would make my hair permanently straight. I was so excited that without haste, I decided to make the conscious choice of perming my hair. To me, I thought this meant big changes. Maybe all the boys at school would finally notice me or I could be like all the other girls who woke up with straight hair. I was wrong. No one really took notice of my drastic hair change and it was a lot of work and upkeep to keep it straight each day.
I continued to straighten my hair every day. In high school, my routine consisted of showering at night, blow drying my hair and then straightening it, which took two hours. I would stay up as long as it took to finish my hair, no matter how tired I was. I did this all throughout high school. I made sure my hair was straight and presentable for school. It wasn’t until college where I began to stop caring about how my hair looked. I wore my natural curls a bit more, but I still straightened it. Soon, I began to stop straightening it all together so that I could find my look.
The hardest part about having curly hair is being satisfied with it. Although I had stopped straightening my hair, I was still self-conscious about how it looked. I would throw it up in a ponytail or throw a hat on it, but I would never wear it out. I had tried so many different products and techniques, but nothing seemed to work for me. I was frustrated. I wanted to feel okay with my hair.
Now, I would say that I have finally gotten to point now I am confident and comfortable with my curly hair. I sent a picture of myself and the mountains to my friend Bee today and she commented on how pretty my curls looked. I thanked her profusely. I have never really gotten a compliment on my curls, only on my straight hair.
Bee: They look professionally done! They are so pretty!
Me: Thank you! I don’t know what it is, but Vegas has been really nice on my hair.
Bee: Well, they look really good!
I absolutely love my curls now. They are a part of who I am.