• Amanda M. Pericles

"I Hated My Hair"


I have a younger sister who is fifteen years old. She looks just like me, and she's enjoys unicorns, baking, and YouTube. There might be a few more things I missed, but she'll live.

She had a paper due in school this week about a personal crossing or a journey that changed how she lives or perceives things, and she mentioned that she was going to mention her natural hair journey. She's never had a relaxer, but still struggled with accepting her natural hair until recently, as many young people do. I mean, how can they not when they've grown up with European features being stuffed into their brains as representations as beauty and they're just nowwww getting to see girls like Yara Shahidi on their television screens?

Anyway, I asked her if I could feature her essay on my blog - to which she responded, "It's about time you put me up on there ..." (as if it's not MY personal blog - *rolls eyes*).

I'm so glad that young girls like her are learning to love their natural hair, the way God made them. I'm glad that my generation has begun to pave the way for our younger siblings to love themselves the way they are, and I hope this will inspire anyone who's struggling, or who has a younger sibling that can't yet see the beauty in their curls.

"A crossing that I experienced was the acceptance of my natural hair. In Dominican Republic, where my parents grew up, most people see curly hair as ugly. They actually use the phrase “pelo malo” (“bad hair”) to describe curly hair, and so most women get relaxers/perms or blow dry and flat iron their hair.

My mother had her hair relaxed since she was a child and didn’t really have much experience with caring for my hair texture. Because of her lack of knowledge of how to care for my hair type, whenever she would do my hair I would always end up crying from all the pulling and tangles. I associated my hair with pain and so I hated my hair. All the other little girls in my classes had straight or wavy hair that would allow their fingers to glide through it easily and I was jealous. They didn’t have to spend hours detangling their hair, no one told them that their hair was ugly. Family members would tell me that I had too much hair and my mom needed to cut it. It actually got to the point where I did end up cutting most of my hair off so that it was a little shorter than shoulder length in seventh grade.

Near the end of seventh grade, I discovered the natural hair community on Youtube. I saw women that actually looked like me and were willing to teach others how to care for their hair. This whole journey has taught me many things. Learning how to keep my hair healthy was a small plus compared to some life lessons I have learned during this process. I have learned how to be patient, perseverance, self love, and even how society sees me as a young woman of color with natural hair. I am still learning, but this crossing in my life has changed the way I perceive things in society and how I view myself. I am happy with myself and how I look because the hair that grows on my head is just as beautiful as everyone else’s, and no one can say anything to change that."

Love you chula,

YAA

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