Growing up, there wasn’t a Natural Hair Movement taking place that made me feel confident in my curls. My surroundings made me stick out like a sore thumb because everywhere I turned there were girls with long straight hair. My black Barbies and baby dolls even had straight hair and didn’t reflect what I looked like.
For years I begged my mom (who also had curly hair) to put a relaxer in my hair so I could fit in with my peers. I gazed in the mirror ashamed of what was growing out of my head. I hated that it always looked messy and I couldn’t wear it in a perfect bun. My curls had a mind of its own and most importantly I didn’t look like everyone else.
Other than my mother, most of the black women in my life wore extensions or relaxers so I didn’t get to see a lot of individuals who looked like me. Society painted the picture that straight long hair was the epitome of beauty.
As a young girl it never crossed my mind that it was okay to rebel against society’s beauty standards. I was a curly girl living in a straight world and I wasn’t sure how to be comfortable in my own hair.
I remember when my neighbor told me to love what I have because so many people pay top dollar for what naturally grows out of my head. At the time her words didn’t mean much and I was still determined to ditch the curls, praying to wake up with straight hair. My prayers were never answered to say the least, but after years curl shaming I finally embraced my natural beauty.
It was 2011 and my junior year of high school when I fell in love with my curls. Now that I cherish the ringlets that grow out of my head I want to encourage others to do the same. I believe that is our duty as adults to set an example for the younger generation and love our natural hair, so they can do the same.
I would tell my younger self that some of the most beautiful things in life are unique and stand out. It is okay to look different than those around you and to love what you have. Curly hair is versatile, luscious, beautiful and a part of your identity.
Experiment with hair care products to achieve the look that you want and have fun trying out different styles. Love who you are and encourage others to do the same. Flaunt your curls and hold your head up high because you were blessed with natural beauty.
Your curls might not be perfect, but embrace the volume and don’t be ashamed if it is a little messy. Remember that one day you might have a daughter or a little girl in your life that might need some encouragement to accept their beauty.
It doesn’t matter if you have beach waves or the tightest and kinkiest curls, you were born with a beautiful head of hair and don’t be afraid to share it with the world.
It is up to us as curly haired women to help lift up the little girls that do not see the beauty that they have. The natural hair movement is about loving ourselves and inspiring little girls to do the same.