You see this girl? We’ll call her K.
K & I went to high school together. She was one of the top students of our class. That’s amazing but not the reason I bring her up.
You see, K has amazing hair. I love her curly hair. One day I mustered up the courage to ask what she did to make her hair look the way it did. She told me, “mousse and water.” Or was it gel and water? Either way, I tried and to my surprise my hair didn’t turn out the same. K’s hair was long, curly and not fluffy. My hair is somewhat long, kinky, curly and fluffy. I often asked myself, “Why didn’t I have hair like K’s?” I did everything she said she’d done to her hair but it was never the same look. I began to experiment using baby oil, baby lotion, powder (not sure why) and anything else I could do to make my hair as close to K’s.
Although I never achieved the look I found one I wanted even more. In trying to look as great as someone else I fell in love with a look I created. There will always be a special place in my heart for K. If it wasn’t for her, her hair & me trying to emulate it I wouldn’t have found the styles I’ve come to love so much. Although, I found a look I loved there were still a couple of problems. I still had a relaxer and there were people that wanted my hair the way they wanted it without any regards to how I felt.
Something I’ve wanted for quite a while was to bask in my own individuality. As hair (among other) choices were made for me it was as if I were being robbed of individuality. You see, I once disliked the volume of my hair when it got wet & later dried. As the look kept appearing it grew on me but some around me claimed, It’s wild, it’s too high, you’re gonna break your hair off, etc. Their words made me think it was wrong to want fluffy hair. It made feel my voice didn’t matter.
A verse from Breakaway by Kelly Clarkson comes to mind:
Trying hard to reach out |But when I tried to speak out|Felt no one could hear me| Wanted to belong here|But something felt so wrong here|So I pray|I could breakaway
At that time there weren’t as many people that wore their hair naturally. My defense was always, I could be an individual and be different from others. Apparently, that response wasn’t popular and didn’t go over so well. Instead I was told to keep up with the in styles.
Fast forward: A couple of years ago, I moved and began to wear my hair the way I wanted to. I still kept in contact with some hair naysayers but interactions have dwindled due to every time I interacted my Big hair was heavily criticized.
Well it’s been about 5 years since my last relaxer and I’m getting accustomed to the way my hair is. I now know my hair was never going to look as amazing as K’s. I used to dread this fact but have come to appreciate our different hair textures. I don’t think she knows but K was a huge help on my journey to recovery. I was emotionally scarred and am now coming to terms with it.
I’m thankful for K because during my struggles she unknowingly helped me discover & decide on something I loved. Something that wasn’t chosen for me. She’s a major part of my beginning steps. Even for something as small as hair. It’s pretty huge in my opinion.
I leave you with the chorus from Breakaway by Kelly Clarkson comes to mind:
I’ll spread my wings, and I’ll learn how to fly| I’ll do what it takes till I reach the sky|And make a wish|Take a chance| Make a change| And breakaway
Thanks so much for reading
Have you ever had something chosen for you? Have you had experience with naysayers? How did you deal with it? Are you still dealing with it?