So I just finished watching a YouTube video of a girl crying her poor heart out because she finally accepted that she could wear her hair curly and not be judged for it. It sounds so vain and small compared to everything going on in the world, but I totally understood it and it really is that deep. Whether we own up to it or not, appearances are a huge thing and if you are told all your life that a certain look is ugly then of course you’re bound to have that ingrained in your head.
If you had told me over a year ago that I would quit straightening my hair and let my hair just be then I would have laughed in your face and thought you were an idiot. The only idiot here is me now because fast forward a little over a year and I have let my straightener gather dust *runs to throw it away* I was exhausted from using so much heat so I decided to set myself a challenge and I am not where I would like to be, but I am closer than I was last year.
Like many woman in my South Asian community, we are consistently told straight hair is beautiful and being a lady means to be polished which basically translates to STRAIGHTEN YOUR BLOODY HAIR OR YOU WILL NEVER GET MARRIED. What about those of us who don’t have silky straight hair like those in Bollywood movies or Vatika adverts? Are we the ugly outcasts? Does it make me less of an attractive woman to others if I have curly hair?
Watching movies like The Princess Diaries as a child where the traditional makeover of geeky girl with wild hair turning into a beautiful swan with chic hair and a beaming smile was so common didn’t do anything to help matters. Adverts telling us to tame our hair to transform our locks into thick glossy manes is still a regular trend now.
I genuinely did grow up thinking straight hair was perfection and I strived for so long to achieve it. The smell of burnt ends and scalded fingers or ears was a weekly thing for me, I so badly wanted to be accepted I forgot that it was ok to be different. In fact the only time I ever had my hair curly was when on holiday because it was ok to be exotic then, but mainly because I had to deal with the beast that came out from my head to hello to the world. Cue the scene from Friends that every girl with frizzy or curly hair can relate to, Monica, Barbados and humidity. I remember watching that episode and thinking YES girl work that hair, but never really thinking I ever could. This then resulted in me completely damaging my hair from all the heat and suddenly losing so much of it. My thick hair was suddenly a few strands of dry burnt disgustingness, but the shine from all the silicones and ceramic hair straighteners I was putting in my hair was giving the illusion of healthy hair.
I am still working out how on earth to style my hair, but the journey has been fun and at the end of the day it is just hair on my head. Those around you encouraging you not to have your natural hair for events such as weddings or job interviews are people you truly don’t need around you. My curly hair isn’t going to change the world but the person inside is, my straight hair won’t mean that men will line up to marry me regardless of what ‘aunties’ down the road think.
Social media has played a huge part in helping women globally to see others with the same features as them and what was once seen as a flaw is now celebrated through the unity. I can look at a picture of a girl from across the world and relate to her, I can make friends virtually and in reality just striking up a conversation about the best way to achieve defined hair whilst having volume or looking like sideshow Bob every night just to help my curls stay in place for day three. I used to think my hair looked like a wet dog until I finally found products that worked well with my hair and started to read up on how to take care of it. Growing up around girls with straight hair I find the whole internet community inspiring and I know I can log into Instagram and have a chat about the LOC method without my other life friends looking at me wondering why I am talking a different language.
The lesson to take from girl in the video was she finally understood that it wasn’t really about her hair, it was about how she saw herself. I am not sure where I am going with this, but I guess this is where I give a shoutout to Fatman and Lamoth (not real names, just my names for them) for their encouragement since we met all those years ago, firstly how did we get so old but secondly thank you.
If you take anything away from this it is just do you whether that be your hair, your body shape or even the moles on your face. Ok that part just applies to me, but that would start a whole other rant and I will stop here for today. Also love your virtual friends, they will help you get through a lot of the hard times unless you’re getting catfished in which case maybe don’t listen to me. Great episode for me to watch but still, be careful people.
PS for those of you with straight hair, embrace that too. We are forever wanting what we can’t have and never appreciate what we are blessed with. On that note, I am actually done as I need to go and oil my hair aka Medusa.