In the midst of summer, especially this week when the temperatures have been hovering at 100 degrees here on the East Coast with an equally unbearable level of humidity, I always have an internal monologue about my hair. It’s naturally curly as demonstrated in the photograph. Actually, that’s a photograph of my cousin, but we were blessed — or cursed, I can’t decide which — with the same exact hair. (Also, I know you’re jealous of my superior Paint skills.) The humidity during during the summer months leaves my hair looking like a chia pet, leaving me to debate whether or not to spend a lot of money to get a blow out or save my hard-earned money for something that will last longer than a few weeks. My cousin, on the other hand, lives in a state with no humidity so this is never a major issue for her … although she still gets blow outs on occasion because she believes they make her look prettier.
And I can’t fault her about that because of the historical and cultural implications that straight hair is a status symbol since it it makes one look more European and therefore more attractive, whereas curly hair is seen as unkempt and unclean. Maybe this is why I always feel like I’m not being true to myself whenever I pay someone to straighen my hair. It means I’m paying someone to fix what I have internalized as unattractive. That’s the main reason why I haven’t had a blow out in a long, long time. That and the heat from the dryer is damaging to my overly sensitive curls. Start at 1:55 in that video to see the heat rising from the dryer as she styles her hair. My hair breaks so easily, it’s almost breaking just watching that.
So, this summer I’ve been wearing a lot of creative updos and dealing with the humidity as best as I can. And it’s been a while since a stranger has walked up to me and politely suggested that my hair would look so much prettier if I just straightened it, which I always found a little bit obnoxious. I feel like I should accept myself for who I am before I expect others to. This is also despite the growing number of friends and family who have seen my hair both curly and straight and tell me they prefer it curly. If other people, whom I actually respect, genuinely like my hair, why can’t I?