So the other day I was sitting in class, just like any other Monday evening. I was a bit early, per usual, so I was able to snag my seat near the back of the classroom.
As other students begin to trickle in, I had to do a double take when one girl walked in. Her name was Julie. She’s one of my white classmates, whom the most I know about her is her name, but other than that we don’t really talk.
Usually she comes to class with straight hair but today it was in its natural state, which were beautiful brunette curls. I obviously wasn’t the only one to notice this new change, because other classmates immediate spoke up and complimented her on how much they liked her hair!
I even overheard one girl ask her why doesn’t she wear her hair curly more often. Not to take anything away from Julie’s shine, but a part of me couldn’t help but feel disgusted.
I mean, I wear my hair curly after occasionally having it straight and nobody bats an eyelash, or gives me any compliments. I usually get sideways glances, and even sometimes inadvertent rude comments. I just think it speaks to the fact that African American natural hair isn’t always deemed as beautiful, which is really sad.
It’s the reason I was so adamant to get a relaxer as a young teen, because I thought straight hair was beautiful and not my curly natural hair. I would be lying if I said that I didn’t care what people think, because I do. For example, my white coworker recently made a comment about how often I change my hair. It was as if I was supposed to feel bad about the fact that my hair is so versatile.
Even though I care what people say, the difference now is that I don’t let it get to me. I love my natural hair, regardless of how society views it or doesn’t view it.
There was even a time where I wouldn’t wear my natural hair to class because I was ashamed of what people might say. I’m so glad I grew beyond that.
So if you’re reading this and struggling with natural hair anxiety, I dare you to embrace your natural, in any and all circumstances. Chances are everybody isn’t going to love it, but that’s okay! Self love, over everything.