My Curly Hair Journey
My mom likes to tell this story about when I was little and how I went down for a nap with straight hair and woke up with a head full of ringlet curls. For as long as I can remember I've had these ringlets. They've been a multitude of different colors, straightened, chemically treated, you name it I probably have done it to my hair. I love these crazy curls now, but I spent most of my life hating them and trying to look "normal". This is my journey on the road to loving my curls.
The first time I can remember feeling like I looked different from all the other girls is when I was around 5 years old. My family moved 45 minutes away from Boston to a tiny little town where most girls had beautiful porcelain white skin and pin straight hair. I of course had olive skin and curls galore, nothing abnormal, but I felt like a weird alien with my unruly frizz. I was super shy growing up and hated anything that made me stand out. I remember wanting so desperately to look like everyone else. I had my hair in braids a lot during my early years (thanks for the labor mom!) because it created the illusion of straighter hair and turned my curls into waves when I took them out. I'm also fairly sure my mom had no idea what else to do with my thick crazy hair as she is of the fine straight hair variety.
Good God! What an awkward stage of life this is! This is when I first started experimenting with gel. I wore my hair slicked back in a bun or pony tail most days. The problem is I used crap quality gel. The kind that leaves your hair crunchy and with embarrassing white flakes that look like dandruff. Needless to say I got teased, mostly by boys, about it and scrambled to find another solution for covering up my curls. Eighth grade is when I started dying and straightening my hair. Sadly my first straightener was a piece of garbage and really just made my hair into more of a poof akin to when you brush a poodles fur out. I was a brushed out poodle for an entire year of my life. I like to pretend photo evidence doesn't exist. I also tried chemically straightening my hair for the first time and only time that year. It smelled, it burned, it really didn't make my hair that straight. Still looked like a poodle.
Thank the straightener gods, I finally found a good one. I learned the best way to get my hair as close to pin straight as I could and damn did I love it. I finally felt beautiful and like I was Becky with the good AF hair. I started becoming more confident in my own skin and definitely got more attention from the fellas. My hair went through many styles, bangs (what was I thinking?!), and as always colors, but it was straight and that's all that mattered. I didn't care about how brittle and gross my ends were from constantly using heat and chemicals, cause beauty is pain...or something like that. I used to straighten my hair multiple times a day just to keep it from having any curl, especially during the humid Summers. This was also the age that I was told by multiple family members that "you look so much better with your straight hair". Well damn, I didn't want to be ugly, so I listened and avoided anyone ever seeing me when it rained or got too humid. PSA: If you know someone with curly hair regardless of if they wear it naturally, love it or hate it, NEVER I repeat NEVER say stuff like that to them. It destroys all confidence and is just generally really not nice.
My college years were much the same as high school. Most days my hair was in a bun because I went to culinary school and no one wants hair in their food. But it was straight and it was long, so double points on the "normal" hair ranking. The funny thing is I actually started to curl my hair during this time. I would fully straighten my hair and then use a smaller straightener to curl my hair. What the heck? It took so long but they were "cute" curls so I loved it, even if they did fall out after just a few hours. As my college career started coming to an end I was becoming more comfortable with the occasional natural curly hair day. This was mostly due to pure laziness, but I actually started to not completely hate my curls. Though the only person who ever saw me in my natural state was my (now) husband.
Going Back To My Roots
It took me two more years after college to finally be fed up with sweating my ass off and burning my hands on my straightener every day. In the Summer before I transitioned I decided to give up my straightener for the season. If you aren't familiar with LA Summers...it's basically like being in Hell. I enjoyed the break, but ultimately caved and rekindled my love with the straightener. It wasn't until March 2016 right after my brother's wedding that I decided to dive head first into my own curly journey. It was time to give my hair and myself a break from all the stress. I researched everything I could about curly hair. I read books about the curly girl method, watched countless Youtube videos, and tried out a whole new world of products.
For the first time in my life I fell in love with my curls. I felt like I joined a super cool club of girls who understood everything I had been through with my hair, and finally felt like my curls were normal. It's been a little over a year and a half now since I transitioned and I can proudly say I've only straightened my hair once in that time (it was for my Harley Quinn Halloween costume). There is absolutely no part of me that misses all the straightening and panicking over any moisture in the air. But most of all I'm happy to show the world my real hair because I don't feel like I'm hiding behind a mask anymore. I don't care if people don't like my curls, because I'm head over heels in love with my healthy, bouncy, voluminous ringlets. The transition was not always easy. There were many days I almost gave up and went back to my old habits. I felt extremely ugly in the beginning because of my weird limp curls and having to get used to my own hair. Watching my curls come back throughout the transition has been encouraging, but feeling my confidence grow has been life changing.
Ps. I hope you enjoyed all the cringy old photos of me! ;)