Having curly hair is not just a hairstyle, it’s a way of life. It is as though you pass through a right of passage when you have curly hair. It is a process. Ask anyone with curly hair and they will tell you.
It starts with denial. This was a no-brainer for me because I didn’t always have curly hair. I had stick straight hair, glossy and smooth. Granted I was six years old, but my hair was easy and I didn’t think about it (admittedly, not many six years olds do think about their hair). But as the years passed and I turned twelve/thirteen my hair began to change. It curled. Not only did it curl, it grew fuzzy and coarse. And as this hair change occurred, I stood in staunch denial. I don’t have curly hair, this is just a phase. It will pass. Well, guess what… it didn’t.
So then began the straightening procedures. I pulled and tugged and dried the crap out of my hair in an attempt to have that smooth straight hair that everyone else had. It’s true, not many people rocked the curls back in the 80’s; unless you were a pop star and sported the afro (and were black or half black). The straightening didn’t work so well and often left me frustrated and with sore arms and hands.
Until…. I reached the financially solvent age of adulthood were I was able to pay for straight hair. A new millennium was here and I, a young professional, found myself with disposable income to spend as I wish (i.e. on expensive hair treatments). When the keratin treatments came out promising smooth, straight hair for months I ran right into the arms of mister keratin. And he did exactly as promised. I had straight, smooth, glossy hair. The financial cost aside, my hair was soaked and saturated in chemicals. At the time I told myself that I did not care. That if this was the price for straight hair, I would pay it. But as the months passed I realized having chemicals so close to my brain and so near to my face was probably a bad idea. So as the keratin slowly released its grip on my hair, so did the smooth straightening effect. And as the curls (and coarseness) returned I felt happy. I felt pure and natural.
And this is the prefect place to enter the next phase, acceptance. The acceptance phase in my curl journey was to embrace and even welcome my fate of a curly coif. The drama that ensued with this stage (there is always drama) is that I went a little too far with the embracing and decided to wear an afro, with wild hair coming out in all directions. I thought, “Why not cut off all my long locks! They are dry and brittle anyway. Rock the ‘fro!” Sounds like a great idea when high on confidence and loaded with courage. Alas, soon after my locks were sheered off, I regretted it. Ouch. No way to turn the clock back on that one.
The moral of the story is that throughout the process, each step was integral to get to where I am now – peaceful reconciliation. I knew then that short hair was not for me. And when my hair grew back (hair does grow back!) I had a newfound appreciation for my curly locks.
This blog is dedicated to my curly hair guru, Healthy Curls. Thank you Healthy Curls, you’re a brilliant inspiration to all us curly haired gals out there!