Curl power: The Strength of Loving your Curls

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I hated being different. Growing up I was, to say it nicely, weird. Bookish, outspoken and often misunderstood I didn’t fit into one social group. I wasn’t cool, but I also wasn’t uncool so I stood somewhere in the middle. One way of fitting in was to have straight hair.

Most of the girls I hung out with rocked waist-length weaves or flipped their fresh perms over their shoulders. My mum carefully braided my hair since I was a baby. I never chemically straightened my hair and thought of natural hair as my norm. However, it would be many years later until I understood the importance of embracing my curls.

As mentioned in a ‘Stuff Mom Never Told You’ podcast about Curly Hair, curls got a lot of hate in movies and TV. When a female lead would ‘transform’ from the awkward duckling, she was into a graceful swan gone was her ‘unruly’ mass of curls. Straight and silky her hair seemed to play a part in her newfound popular life. Gorging on ice-cream and watching these transformations unfold as a kid, my mum’s teachings escaped me.

Shopping channels and late night infomercials offered solutions to my kinky ‘problem’. Blow dryers with magical abilities and straighteners that did the impossible had me begging my mum to straighten my hair. Eventually, she caved and did it. Without the use of chemicals, my hair fell into more of a triangular shape than bone straight. But I rocked the style on my birthday and special holidays like I was hot stuff. Feeling too old for the cornrows I was accustomed to, I started wearing my hair in the curls it would wave into after I pulled out my flat twists. My afro drew attention from the guys I had crushes on and the girls I wanted to be friends with. Since then the power of my curls surprised me everyday. While the natural-movement was in full swing, my natural hair drew attention wherever I went. From sneaking looks in the middle of a conversation or blatant staring on the subway, people just couldn’t resist ‘em (or maybe I had something on my face?!).

Since embracing the power of my curls, I learned to accept a lot of other things about myself I would have given anything to change. Yes, it took other people appreciating my curls for me to realize their strength. But it showed me that I shouldn’t look to others to define what beautiful is to me, but to work with what I’ve already got!


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