This is me today!

This morning, I was too busy to put any effort into styling my hair. So I looked in the mirror, decided the curls actually looked kinda nice, and left my hair completely down. Natural and free. And I couldn't help but think that 10 years ago I would have been horrified by that idea, and I'm really happy about how far I've come.

Ever since I was little, I thought my hair was the wrong "type." As kids, my older sister and I both had really long hair, as is the tradition in my family. But my sister has always had naturally straight, silky hair, while I inherited my dad's thicker, coarser curly locks. When I was a preteen, I found it really difficult to manage my hair because 1) no one ever told me how and 2) I didn't really have faith that it could look good because of how it was looked down upon. I remember one time, my grandmother made the brilliant suggestion that if I just "comb my hair" it could look my sister's (implying that I don't comb my hair?). The fact that my older sister also seemed to be smarter, more successful, and more popular than me didn't necessarily help my perception of myself.  

Once, in seventh grade, a boy I kind of liked asked me to go out with him somewhere (over AIM. yeah). But he strongly suggested I straighten my hair. After that moment I thought back and realized that every time he showed me attention in school, it was only when my hair was straightened. (And no, I didn't go out with him.) It seemed like all the girls at my school who got attention had naturally straight hair. Needless to say, I constantly felt out of place. I never left the house without straightened hair if I could help it.

Me with long curly hair (left) and me with long straight hair (right)

When I started high school I had transferred school districts. At this new school, there were girls of all different hair types and they were all beautiful, and kind, and they didn't make me feel isolated. Not only that, but boys seemed to like their unique styles, too. My new group of friends, all with their own personal versions of beautiful hair, loved the length of mine and its kinks and curls. I started straightening my hair less and relaxed about it more. I gained confidence in my look and realized that my hair type was actually really versatile. I was so confident, in fact, that I chopped ten inches off my hair in 11th grade (donated to LoL) and, shortly after, got dark red streaks. I made sure that every guy I went out with found me pretty with any kind of hair. But I guess what I'm saying is that my hair journey was a reflection of my journey to accept myself. It was always beautiful, I just never noticed.

When I chopped all my hair off (left) then when I got red streaks (right)

Since I've had such an intimate relationship with my hair, I tend to notice other people's hair a lot more now. I don't necessarily judge them based on their hair, but I do think that looking at someone's hair — the style, how they treat it, what they've done with it — can provide interesting insight about who they are inside. I know if you look at me, you can definitely tell my mood, or what kind of day I'm having, by looking at my ever-changing hair.

What does your hair say about you? Did you ever face any insecurities with your hair growing up?