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Do you know what your hair type is? Probably not, I have natural 3c-4a hair. Beyond interesting trivial, I honestly care less as to what my hair texture is, but at one point in my life I felt as if my hair texture would either make me or break me. Society doesn’t help with this internal battle for black teens in America either. The standard of beauty is unrealistic for most and causes them to want to change who they are and become someone they’re not. Growing up I wanted to have pin straight hair like all the white girls, because that’s all that I knew.
I didn’t think it was acceptable to rock my natural hair in an afro. I saw that as ugly and barbaric, as awful as it is to say. In hindsight, it almost makes sense as to why l thought this way. All the young black girls on television had straight hair: That’s So Raven, True Jackson V.P, and My Wife and Kids. These protagonists lived up to white beauty standards. Even though I craved pin straight hair, the closest thing I came to having was a bunch of protective styles. Protective styles are styles that tuck the ends of your hair away from being exposed to damaging agents such as sun, heat and constant manipulation. With a little bit of straightening I never had manipulated my hair too drastically.
That’s up until sixth grade, when l made the biggest mistake of my life.
At the time, l was elated because l finally felt like l fit in, one step closer to looking like all of my white friends and the black girls I saw on television.With the new hair came a tremendous amount of maintenance I wasn’t ready for. I had anticipated l would relax it and that would be the end of it , but that’s not what ended up happening. Once every month and a half my mother and l would spend my Friday nights or Saturday mornings in either my kitchen or the salon getting my hair relaxed. I would sit in a chair for no more than ten minutes dealing with the excruciating pain of my scalp being on fire,but beauty is pain, right? I spent around four years dealing with this process. But it wasn’t until the summer before tenth grade where I was getting fed up with putting chemicals into my hair. I began the process known in the natural hair community as “transitioning.” Transitioning from relaxed to natural was personally difficult because all l wanted to do was to get rid of all the curly roots that were growing in. The idea of letting my curly hair grow back in was completely foreign to me because the second I saw growth I would immediately relax the roots in an effort to make everything look uniform.
During this time, I didn’t put any heat on my hair unless it was to blow dry it. The final “big chop” made me feel like a new woman. At first after l cut off all of the straight ends I felt a little insecure. It was a culture shock seeing myself, but over time, whenever l look at myself in the mirror, l actually recognize the girl who’s staring back at me. If you told me six years ago that I would be wearing my natural hair in an afro pouring out self confidence, l would have looked at you like you had five heads. Going natural was probably one of the best things that could have ever happened to me. It has created a sense of personal pride l didn’t have before. It has even taught me not to succumb to other people’s beauty standards because everyone is beautiful in their own way. Leo? ?Tolstoy? once said “It is amazing how complete is the delusion that beauty is goodness.” With this, I too finally realized that I too am beautiful.
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