My hair and my representation
When I was 15 years old, I decided to ditch the straightening irons and wear my hair in its natural, crazy form. I would spend hours every night before school frying my hair and flattening the curls I was graced with. I strived to resemble the girls I went to high school with who had long, straight hair that bounced around as they walked down the hallway. My hair wouldn’t do what their hair did, but I didn’t stop trying. I forced my dad to buy me expensive flat irons and pay for perms and hair extensions. All of which resulted in damaged, prickly hair. Before long, I was sick of the hassle and the time I spent making my hair something that it wasn’t supposed to be. And one day, I just couldn’t do it anymore. I have been wearing my hair natural ever since. Waking up, putting some coconut oil on my hair, then leaving out the door, my life became much easier when I ditched the straightening irons.
However, it wasn’t until I was 20 years old that I realized the true importance of letting my curls out. I was sitting at the pool last summer amidst a camp of young kids who were spending their day at the pool, as well. Among the young kids, there was a black girl with her white friends who kept looking and pointing at me. I couldn’t figure out why they were staring at me; I figured I had something funny on my face that they were making fun of. After a few minutes, the little black girl came up to me and said, “I hope I have hair like you when I grow up.” At that moment, I realized that representation is what’s important. Yes, it is easier to wear my hair natural, but it’s important for black girls to see other black girls rocking their natural hair.