Embracing My Hair

Kimberly - Durham, North Carolina
Entered on July 3, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

A famous proverb once stated that, “if you don’t stand for something, you fall for anything”. Taking this in to account, we have to come to grips that accepting who we are as a person. As many African American women can agree, we’ve have always been obsessed with our hair and have internally not intentionally struggled with accepting our hair. Even if you aren’t of African American descent you have once struggled maybe not publicly with your hair. However you wear it perm, natural, with extensions or if you have curly, or straight, hair we have come a long way. With the constant beauty standards changing, it’s hard to keep up and appeal to the media’s image. This is why I believe in the nature of my hair and by embracing my hair, accepting myself.

I can truly tell you that accepting my hair as a young African America female has never been easy. It’s been difficult to love myself, especially my hair. I constantly thought that I was not ashamed of my hair but I admit, sometimes I wish I could change my hair altogether. But as times progressed and I grew and became more self-respecting I learned to accept my natural locks as they were.

I found it sometimes unbearable growing up when I received comments, often rude, about my hair. It shocked me that all of the comments seemed to come from my fellow African Americans who I thought would be the last to criticize my way of expressing my own style. Strangely they made me feel as though me wearing my hair natural was disrespecting and degrading my culture. Now that I am older I think nothing of the few sly comments and stares but it still irks me. I have learned to look past this for the simple reason that I have learned to accept my hair.

When I was younger the nights were the most memorable of having to deal with my hair. Sitting between my mother’s legs on the floor getting my hair plaited up; crying and pleading to her to change or redo the hair she had plaited for the simple reason I thought it was not presentable enough. Though she would preach to me as she redid them I would tune her out and think to myself that she did not have to face and hear the taunts I received from my peers. I am glad to say those days are over, though the daily ritual was torture for my mother I am glad she hung in there.

I am now able to understand the nature of my natural hair rather then be at war with it constantly. Though my hair is tangled and hard to manage I am not ashamed, why should l be? I thank God for my natural locks and pray for those who talk cheap behind my back. I am sorry India Arie, but I am my hair and it’s me.