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Hair follicles are the most misrepresented DNA used in forensics because identification is only possible through nuclear DNA that is found in the hair root. In other words, hair can only specifically identify someone if the root of the hair is still attached (Hughes). However, without looking at the forensic aspects, a person’s hair and how they wear it is an indicator of that person’s identity and personality. Our range in hair diversity is one of our most defining features. Our genetic makeup determines our hair type and even though we may have similarities we are all different. While some people don’t let their hair influence them, my hair has had an impact on me by shaping my individuality and eventually leading to my growth.
When I was younger I struggled in finding my own individuality. I wanted to be like everyone else. My hair is naturally curly but I would straighten it to fit in with my friends. Throughout middle school I was always hesitant to wear my hair curly because it didn’t look like the other girl’s hair. I didn’t want to seem different or diverse so I didn’t like it. As I grew up and began to accept my differences, I realized how much damage I was doing to my hair by constantly applying heat to it. Eventually I began wearing my hair curly which gave me a new identity. Accepting my differences from the other girls lead me down a path way of finding my individuality and characteristics that define me. The way I chose to wear my hair has influenced what makes me who I am. Other girls with curly hair have experienced the same desire of choosing to straighten their hair over wearing it natural. In one instance a woman named Gabi Morales was told by several different guys that she should straighten her hair because it looks better that way. Instantaneously this triggered her impulse for her hair to be straight rather than curly. She continued to wear her hair straight until she realized that she loved her hair curly. Her curly hair defined her (Morales). Though we had different reasons for disliking our natural hair, we experienced the same feelings and eventually the same outcome. We both took on a new identity by choosing to wear our hair curly and accepting our diversity. The trial and error that we experienced with our hair led us to assume our own individuality instead of conformity.
Deciding to wear my hair curly came with more than finding my identity, it led to my growth mentally and physically. When a person constantly applies heat to their hair it can cause a great deal of damage. In particular, a person with curly hair that routinely uses a straightener will start to lose their curls. This was unfortunately the case for me. Not only was my hair severely damaged from the heat, I also started to lose my curl pattern. This is when I knew I needed to make a change, not only for my hair but for myself. I needed to understand the impact of my curly hair. As soon as I started applying less heat to my hair I slowly started to see positive results. It taught me that it’s okay to express yourself through your hair in a variety of ways. I am able to identify with my straight hair but I am also able to identify with my curly hair. I admire that I can identify with both, which is why I wear it both straight and curly depending on my mood. In an article I read online, a woman named Stephanie Diaz wrote about her experience with her heat damaged hair. She explained her long journey of transitioning from heat damaged hair to healthy curls. In the end she wrote, “I wanted to change that because I was not being my true self. I think going through the transitioning process really made me more in love with my hair, and myself, because there was a struggle to figure it out. I have grown more confident and I want to share that with other women” (Diaz). Many women experience similar instances of finding themselves through their natural hair. Society paints a picture that straight hair is ideal and highly praised. However, in reality our curly hair makes us who we are. Stephanie was able to grow more confident just through embracing her hair. It gives us a sense of a new identity, and I love that.
Some people don’t experience what I have and wouldn’t agree that a person’s hair influences who they are. They may have naturally straight hair and don’t understand the diversity in curly hair because they simply don’t have it. They’ve only ever wore their hair one way and have always identified with their hair that way. Others have loved their naturally curly hair since birth and have never touched a straightener. They didn’t go through the transition phase that influenced me and helped me find and understand my identity. Many women argue that it is the transition phase that truly gives us our self confidence.
I am grateful that I now can identify with my hair both ways. When I was younger I cringed at even the thought of my hair being curly. My experience with my hair has truly had an impact on who I am today. Constantly straightening my hair in the past wasn’t worth the heat damage that came with it. I found my individuality and I grew as a person. It gave a better understanding of who I am and I now understand that our differences define who we are. It gives us an identity, our identity. Even though society praises a certain look, it is up to us to show our individuality. Acknowledging our differences will bring an abundance of success in generations to come.
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