Where I grew up, “Can I touch your hair!” was never a question– it was a statement.
My slinky-tight curls enamored my blonde and brunette friends. With glowing eyes, my classmates would squeak with amusement upon stroking what they said was a ‘soft’ and ‘fluffy’ Afro, often comparing my hair to that of a cloud.
As a young girl the comparisons seemed to be nothing more than kind words and a generous compliment. I glistened and welcomed the petting of my hair, and would even wear colorful bows to attract attention to my poof-ball ponytails.
But as I grew into my preteen years, the admiration of my hair became less about its unique texture and more about ‘how exotic’ it seemed. Groups of girls would form a tight circle around me at lunch and ask questions about my everyday hair maintenance. I didn’t mind feeding their curiosity, but the one question that always seemed to bother me was, “Don’t you want to make it straighter? “How do you get your hair straight like ours?”
There wasn’t a day that had gone by where I hadn’t grappled with my hair’s thick, tight curls. When a comb snapped in half mid brush, I recognized the challenges my hair posed - but figured it was simply who I was. I never toyed with the idea of trying to change what had always been, but the more and more the other girls asked, the more I wondered if that’s what would make me feel beautiful.
It was then I committed the ultimate sin and doused my natural curls in chemical relaxer. My once voluptuous hair sank flat onto my scalp, the curls succumbing to straight, mousy waves. Writing about the experience now sounds like a nightmare, but back in 2008 it was my dream unfolding (or more literally, my curls).
Instead of making my hair longer, straighter and more culturally accepted – the relaxer destroyed not only my hair, but also my confidence. I could never maintain length, my hair was dry, brittle and DAMAGED- and in result I had felt ugly. Instead of taking this as a sign to transition back to natural, I hid under extensions for years.
Now, with the help of an excellent and very trusted stylist, I am on the pathway to a more natural approach to my hair. I yearn to get back to my bouncy, full curls. As I continue to transition, I still wear extensions as a protective look as well as a way to try unique hairstyles.
Extensions are great, and I embrace everyone to try them as a way to enhance your natural beauty-not as a shield from the world.
As I wake up each morning I can see my natural curls peaking out, longing to ambush my scalp once again. Looking the mirror I can smile at the person I’ve become as I am one step closer to celebrating my fully natural self.
Post was first published on Biracial Beauty