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Opinions: Learning to love my curls

It’s never too late to embrace your natural beauty

Alexis Machoka

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When I was kid I remember one of the first times I ever got my hair straightened. It was for a cheerleading competition, I only received a participation trophy for.

Although I knew it wasn’t true, when my hair was straight I felt like Beyoncé. My straight hair enabled me to channel my inner “Sasha Fierce” and display a level of confidence I wasn’t able to when my hair was curly. I was convinced that straight hair was beautiful hair and my curls were a curse given to me by my African father.

The media hasn’t changed much since I was a kid. Barbies still have straight silky hair rather than curls and afros, shampoo companies still market to women with straight hair. The message the media sends to curly haired girls everywhere is that their curls aren’t beautiful or even important enough to be advertised to.  

During my childhood I was surrounded by people with silky smooth hair I don’t remember ever having people in my life with hair like mine. My friends were white, my dolls were white, my mom was white and the hair and faces I saw in the media were white. Never once did I see hair like mine, except a few pictures in the last aisle of the hair section of Walmart when I went to go buy the Pink lotion that would tame my wild and unruly curls.

My mom went to great lengths to convince me that my curls were beautiful. Eventually she realized that coming to that realization was something I would have to do on my own. After I had asked her to get a perm she said  “One day you’re gonna come to me and wish I didn’t let you do this.”

It wasn’t until the end of my freshman year when my hair was fried beyond repair that I realized I had curly hair and my only option was to embrace it. After years of straightening, dyeing and perming my hair I realized that my mom’s words held truth. I eventually came to the conclusion that my hair would never be like those of the girls surrounding me.

The only hair I’ll ever have is my own and my only option is to love it whether I want to or not. I made excuses for the hate that I felt for my hair. One can always make excuses as to why they shouldn’t love themselves, but as soon as one realizes loving themselves is more rewarding, life becomes more enjoyable.

I do still straighten my hair and enjoy it. It still evokes that “Sasha Fierce” mentality, but I’ve learned to feel even better when sporting my curls and that’s what every girl with curly hair who straightens their hair on a regular needs to learn.

Generally, looks don’t define identity, but my hair makes me unique. No girl in the world has the exact same texture with the exact same curl pattern as me. No matter how nappy my curls may be when I wake up in the morning, no matter how imperfect they might lay and hard they may be to brush, they’re still worth loving. If I could say one things to girls with curly hair it would be to love your curls and embrace them as much as possible.

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The student news site of St. Louis Park High School
Opinions: Learning to love my curls