Love Yourself Even The Parts You Hate
This topic is personal and something I have been dealing with all my life. It is about self-acceptance and learning to love myself just the way I am.
I have naturally curly hair. I am the only one in my immediate family with curly hair, or “bad hair” as they would call it. My parents had no idea how to deal with my hair, they would brush out the curls and tie up my hair. Did you know you shouldn't brush or comb curly hair? It took me a long time to learn this.
I remember when I was nine, someone told my mom that if she cut my hair, it would grow back straight. My hair never grew back straight. It took what seemed like forever to grow back and all the hardships of in-between hairstyles.
The story I was told and believed was: straight hair is neat, it is manageable and it is pretty. It is a polished look, no fuss and no need to worry what it would look like if it rains.
I hated my messy, frizzy hair. I thought my curly hair was a curse, as though I wasn’t good enough to have the pretty hair. I wanted straight hair, or at least not such curly hair. To create the straight hair look, I have had my hair chemically treated and blow-dried since I was a teenager.
I have gone through cycles where I have worn my natural curls; but shortly after I feel it has become messy and wild and I want the sleek, polished look.
However I wear my hair, I get compliments, “You look so pretty with straight hair” or “I love your curls,” But I have selective hearing and tend to believe that which validates my emotions and thoughts.
About five years ago, I decided to do the Keratin Treatment. It was a miracle! My hair was straight as a pin, the humidity didn’t affect it, there was no need to blow-dry. Even a 2-hour sweaty practice in Miami didn’t change it. It was wash and go. And, I could actually see it grow in length, something hard to notice with curly hair. I was finally happy with my hair!
Everything comes at a cost.
The treatment is pricey and your hair is subject to very high heat. You have to use special products and you need to reapply the treatment every three to four months. After many treatments, my hair started falling out and breaking off. I was going to great lengths to keep my hair straight but in the end, it was damaging my hair.
I have decided to let my natural curls grow back. I am in a transition phase: the top half of my hair is curly and the bottom half is straight. The acceptance part is harder because it is about letting go of preconceived notions and stories I have come to believe.
Having curly hair isn’t bad or good. But the stories I believe do matter and can have lasting effects. The first step is breaking the cycle of thought and creating a new story based on my truth. And the truth is, my beauty isn’t about my hair.
I can’t deny the fact that wearing my hair straight makes me feel beautiful, elegant and sophisticated. I could argue that if it does produce such good feelings then why go back to curly? I should do what makes me happy, right? But what I realize is that I am depending on an external aspect to validate my feelings of self-confidence, happiness, and worth. My self-confidence or happiness shouldn't depend on how I wear my hair, the color of my lipstick or even my weight. Even though these aspects may influence my overall mood from time to time, they shouldn’t determine my worth.
We place too much attention on our external appearance and not enough attention on our internal feelings. Or maybe it’s society that has led us to believe that we must look a certain way and when we don’t, that creates a never-ending cycle of self-pity, suffering, and unhappiness. Growing my hair out has turned into a lesson of self-acceptance and love, even the parts I don’t really like. I must accept my multi-ethnic hair and focus on all the blessings I do have and know that true beauty lies within.
Lots of love,