My mother has curly hair. My aunts all have curly hair. My grandmothers had curly hair. Therefore, it was destined by the genes that I too would have curly hair. I didn’t always love my hair though, for a large part of my life I hated it.
I remember being in six grade asking my mom to blow dry my hair straight and she would do the front and leave the back curly. I can only imagine today what that would look like; thankfully, there is no photographic proof.
This interest in straightening my hair would continue at full force from high school straight through my junior year of college. The only times my hair wasn’t heat straightened or heat straightened and heat curled was during New England summers where the humidity would dictate nothing less than frizzy curls.
To be honest, I was never shamed for having curly hair or felt different because of it, I really just loved the way my hair looked straight more than I liked it curly.
It was silky, I could run my hands through it, or braid it, or friends could play my hair without my worry of curls being pulled out. Even today, when I’m attending an important event, I feel most put together when my hair is sleek and heat styled.
However, by the end of my freshman year of college, I had considerable heat damage on my ends, which resulted in needing to cut 6 inches off the length of my hair.
It was a huge disappointment to me because I loved my long hair, but it didn’t create the wake-up call to stop using heat on my hair like it should have. That wake-up call didn’t come for another two years.
As I said, the curls came out every summer when the weather was just too humid to keep my hair tame. In college, summer started in late April and extended through the end of September.
My friends would see my curls pop out twice a year for maybe three weeks each. They always liked when my hair was straight but they loved when my hair was curly.
At the end of September my senior year of college, just as the season was starting to turn where I would straighten my hair again, they sat me down and held a mini-intervention. They encouraged me to stop hiding a unique aspect of myself and see where my curly hair journey could go.
I have now been a proud curly girl for two years. I have a 3B hair which is defined as a definite S shape with a defined curl pattern, with or without the use of curl enhancing products.
It was a struggle in the beginning, but embracing my curly hair has been integral to owning my uniqueness and confidence and has done wonders to my sense of style and self-worth.
I am so grateful to the friends who saw something in me that I couldn’t yet see in myself, and the trust I had in myself to start my curly hair journey.
Feature image credit: Gradina Botanica