Finding Confidence In My Curls

I'm warning you now, this is going to be a long post, but one that I am so excited to share with you.

For my whole life, I've had naturally super curly hair, except for the first like two years of life I was bald (but we don't like to talk about those days.) Similarly, for my whole life I've been told my hair is beautiful, my curls were a blessing, people have said they envy my curly hair, they wish they had curly hair, blah blah blah, I've heard it all. I never understood why people said that to me. Yes, I realized I had really unique hair, but to me that wasn't a good thing.

For most of my life, I've struggled with my curly hair. In elementary school, I hated how big it was. I didn't see it as a blessing, but a curse. I couldn't find the right way to style it, it became frizzy and untameable, so I just threw it up in a scrunchie day after day. For years my hair stayed up. When it wasn't all the way up, it was half-up. I would've never dreamt of keeping it completely down, that was an absolute no-go. It would get too frizzy, then it would poof out and I would look like I had an afro, and that was absolutely never going to happen. I feared people would make fun of me, or think I was too "black". Why I feared that, I still don't know. It's something I didn't even realize was happening subconsciously until I was thinking about it earlier this year.

I was talking to someone after they complimented my natural hair recently, telling them how 10 years ago I would've never worn my hair completely down, it just wouldn't have ever been a possibility. Maybe I was afraid what people would think, maybe I just didn't know how to properly manage it (truth be told it's still a struggle to manage.)

I went through a phase during my middle school years where I almost never wore my hair curly. I would get relaxers every six months to tame my locks and assure that I could keep it straight constantly. A relaxer, for those who don't know, chemically straightens your hair, like the opposite of a perm. I constantly wore my hair straight. I felt more accepted when it was straight and never had any fears I would get made fun of for having "black girl" hair.

I still don't know why I thought these things before. I don't know why I hated the idea of having big hair. I don't know why I ever put the idea in my head that having "black girl" hair, or "black girl" anything was negative. Maybe society put it there. I don't think I ever had a bad experience from my peers telling me that, but it was so internalized that I couldn't shake it. That is, until college came.

Coming to college has done absolute wonders for my self identity. I have found my political stance, my spirituality, I have grown up more in the past four years than I ever have before in life. Last year, I decided to chop my hair and wear it big and curly. Since then, I've gotten constant compliments from people on my natural hair, and I don't think I could ever go back to wearing it straight every single day, though I do love it straight here and there.

 I have learned to love every single part of myself. The good, the bad, the black, the white, and everything in between. I now know, no hairstyle or clothing, or the way you talk or act defines the color of your skin or the character in your heart. I have conquered this overwhelming fear and turned it into something I truly love about myself.

Being able to love my hair when it's curly and big may seem obvious to those who love my hair, but I'm telling you it wasn't always that way. Truth be told, I've never been more confident in my life.

I want to encourage you, to find something that you're insecure about, and if you can't change it, find a way to love it. Find a way to make it the best part about you. Recognize that it was how you were made, and it was not a mistake. Remember that, being you and being beautiful are not mutually exclusive. You can do both.


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