Straightening out the facts: Living life with curly hair

column by morganhobbs

Okay, shh. I’m going to let you in on a little secret: I don’t look good with bangs.

I was in second grade when I thought it would be fabulous idea to chop off just a little bit of my hair. I intended to be sneaky with it, but unfortunately, that’s not quite how this played out.                        

My mom took one look at me and immediately concluded that I must get bangs in order to compensate for the horrendous, impromptu haircut I decided to give myself, and let me tell you, it was quite the look. Like enough to put Thomas Jefferson’s wig to shame.

But this cutting edge (pun intended) idea didn’t just randomly come to me. I did it because I was told by two girls in the grade above me that they didn’t like my hair.

I’m not really sure why I thought giving myself some nice new fringe would be the solution, but the point is that I know I’m not alone in this, and I feel like this struggle should be addressed.

Curly hair is not seen as the typical beauty standard, therefore it’s a mystery to those who don’t have it. I’ve gotten questions anywhere from “How long does it take to straighten?” (two hours, roughly)  to “Is it a perm?” (…nope) to “If I put something in your hair, would it just stay there all day?” (most likely) Or — my personal favorite — “Is it so big because it’s full of secrets?” (absolutely) My dear straight-haired friends, let me set the record straight and give you the low-down on what having curly hair is truly like, coming from a biracial girl.

unnamed-1Sophomore year was the first time in my life where I realized how unique and awesome my natural hair truly is. I mean, it can straight up defy gravity. And do you know how much money I save on hair ties? I’m telling you, life is good when you can braid your hair and it just sits perfectly still without any elastic. It’s obedient.

My bank account also thrives from not having to spend as much on shampoo. However, this money is then used to buy roughly 20.4363 times the amount of conditioner as the normal person.

Also, that generic hotel shampoo — cute, but why? Whenever I’m in the sun for a long time, I often worry that my hair will randomly combust into flames, and I’ll turn into Lavagirl 2.0.

Want to put your sunglasses on top of your head during the summer? Nope. Don’t even try it. They WILL get stuck, you WILL try and fail to tug them out as nonchalantly as possible, and if you’re anything like me, you WILL start wheezing and trying to laugh off your awkward attempt to be cute. Any brush can effectively transform me into the female doppelganger of Hagrid within a few seconds. I straight up laugh at any song that talks about running fingers through a girl’s hair. If you want to do that with mine, good luck. It might take you a minute. I’ll wait.

And speaking of fingers and hair, what makes people think they’re allowed to just come up and touch mine? Look, I get it. My hair looks as fluffy as the unicorn from “Despicable Me”, but I highly doubt you would go up to a lion and pet its mane; why is mine any different?

Many young girls that have anything other than straight or wavy hair will go through childhood feeling insecure about the hair they were born with. So many girls — this one included — grow up relying on their straighteners to make them appear prettier to those around them.

It reflects a broader issue in our society. We’ve been suffering from a lack of diversity from a long time, and when girls don’t have this kind of representation, it only leads to us wanting to look like what we see in the media.

Coming from someone who only had dolls with stick-straight hair, it’s refreshing and empowering to see things like Disney princesses emerging from all different races to new emojis taking different skin colors into account. It’s beautiful and only makes it clear to me just how much diversity needs to be celebrated.

So, for that reason, I challenge my fellow curly-haired girls to embrace the unique beauty that they have been blessed with.

At least embrace the fact that you can likely wash your hair even less than the average Marian student. Seriously, that’s something to be proud of.

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