Kayla - Amherst, Virginia
Entered on May 25, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

In today’s fashion era, the accepted image of feminine beauty is described as stick-thin and boyish, and because of this, the fashion and beauty industries have promoted sleek, straight hair styles that accentuate the slender form. Unfortunately, because the female population is bombarded with print ads, commercials, and fashion shows which all depict the nymph-looking model with long flowing tresses, the population of curly girls have decided to join the flow of conformity and deny their natural ringlets. Unfortunately, I too used to be a curly girl in denial, but since then, I have come to accept my loopy locks and now I love my hair. I believe curly girls need to rise above the conventional idea of beauty and fall back in love with their naturally beautiful spirals.

Even though I now am blessed with a mass of flaming red curls that spiral naturally, I was not always so fortunate. In elementary school, my hair was only wavy but had the frizz of a curly girl. I thought my hair was only steps away from straightness, so I would slather it with gel, comb it straight back, and slick it into a pony tail. The result was hair I thought looked straight on top with a poof ball of a pony tail at the nape of my neck. I tried this look for years even though my mother pleaded with me to let my tresses loose. I was obstinate and refused to attempt any hair style than what I saw on the perfect little blonde girls with long straight hair.

Then came the dreaded years of middle school. As if middle school wasn’t awkward enough, and having braces and glasses weren’t enough either, my hair decided to take on a life of its own. Literally, I woke up one morning and my hair had kinked. My relaxed waves had tightened and twisted and appeared to have had one too many Red Bulls. I tried fruitlessly to comb my hair straight as I had so many mornings before. This time, when I combed it, it got bigger. The kinks rested on each other, and I had created for myself a red fro. I panicked. Living in California, pretty girls were tan with smooth, straight blonde hair. I was beyond fair, freckled, and now had hair like Bozo the clown.

As I got older and matured into my teenage years, I have learned how to handle the relationship I share with my hair. I learned that there is no use fighting my hair; it will always win. If I try to wear the pants in our relationship, it retaliates and gets huge just like it did in my sixth grade picture when it took up half of the frame. God also played the “I told you so” card in my situation because he gave me the thinnest hair imaginable. The two times in my life I used the tabooed flat iron, I looked like half of my hair was missing. The Lord knew just how terrible I would look with straight hair which is why I was given curls; to make my hair big and hide its thinness.

Now I let my hair free, and I am only semi- controlling; I always put a little gel in to keep the frizz out. Thankfully, I have come to love my hair. With me, it has changed, matured, and become more defined; on good days, my hair can swirl into perfect ringlets. However, as I look around my high school, I always see curly girls in denial. They still are in the slicked back stage and have yet to set their curls free from bondage. It greatly disappoints me because these girls do not see and accept the unconventional beauty they have been blessed with. Each of their curls has its own eccentric and original pattern rather than the narrow path of a straight hair follicle. I believe girls should be confident of their beautifully different curls.