Since the day I was born, I've always been the curly haired little girl. It was cute when I was little, people would constantly call me Shirley Temple and I just ate that right up.
But as I got older, sometime around 8th grade, the hair admiration from others, or hairmiration as I'll call it, dissipated and was replaced with teasing from the boys. Teasing that, as sad as this is to admit, still nags at me today.
They'd call me pubes, because of my curly hair.
Throughout middle school and into high school I tried everything to tame my hair... to make it not look like pubes. I used gel and moose... nothing helped with the frizz. One summer, I gave up and cut it all off, but that didn't help my attitude toward my hair either.
I wished my hair was straight. I wished so hard for straight hair. I wished so hard that I'm still kind of surprised that my hair didn't just one day throw its arms in the air and say to me, "Fine fine fine, we will straighten if you'll just shut up in there!"
At age 14, I knew I would never get a date with that hair. I knew no boy would ever love me. I knew they would just call me pubes behind my back to all their friends. So I took my hair into my own hands, and I bought my first flat iron off Ebay.
I straightened my hair all the time. I would plan my life around my hair. Oh, sorry, can't go swimming, my hair is straight today. Looking back on the number of hours I've spent with a flat iron in my hand...... is insane.
I've done Keratin Treatments and Brazilian Blowouts.... lots of them. Those were game changers. It was like a magical genie came and granted my wishes but then required I pay for them. I couldn't sign the checks for the genie fast enough.... every three months, like clockwork. Blank Check To: Genie. Love: Sarah, forever.
But then all that fuss about formaldehyde was released a few years back, and once the formaldehyde was removed from the process, the treatments stopped working. Keratin treatments simply became a very, very expensive blowout with an empty hope that it would produce three months of stick straight hair.
So back I went, a slave to the flat iron and round brush. Good hair days held in the clutches of what mother nature decided to throw at me on any given day.
I had been dating my boyfriend for about two, maybe even three months before he ever saw my curly hair. I don't remember why I was forced to wear my hair curly that day.... I probably had stayed the night at his place unprepared, and was left with no choice. I felt so ugly and gross. I think I put it in a ponytail as soon as I could track down a hair tie. Ashamed is the only way to describe how I felt about my curly hair.
About a month ago, a friend of mine, Jasmine, shared this video from Dove on Facebook.
I was so moved by this video and my eyes were opened.
What I would have given as a 14-year-old, being called pubes by the cruel boys in high school, for a cool 28-year-old to tell me my hair looked pretty, or beautiful.
To show me, that as I got older, I would embrace those curls. For a 28-year-old that has her life together, to point up at her head and show 14-year-old me how much she loves her curls. How she thinks her curls are the bomb, and 14-year-old me should too.
For a 28-year-old's cute boyfriend to tell curly haired 14-year-old me, that he loves my curls because they are so unique, so uniquely Sarah.
For a 28-year-old to teach 14-year-old me that so much more can be done with curly hair, versus straight hair. The sky is the limit on hair styles, anything you want to do to your hair, you can do it. Nothing is off limits.
You can have bangs, you can have volume, you can have straight and sleek, you can have beachy, you can wash and go... aka you can sleep in 30 minutes later than everyone else. This proves useful when your alarm goes off at 6:30am!
You will have boyfriends, you will have amazing friends and the most shocking thing of all about your curly hair? You can even survive a Texas Summer!
I know, because I've had and done all of those things. All with curly hair.
Will I straighten my hair from time to time going forward, absolutely. But I'll also leave it curly, I'll rush off to work with it sopping wet 4 out of the 5 days of the work week, I might bring back the bangs one day, I'll tie it up in dutch braids, I'll wear a high pony, I'll go sleek, I'll go in a pool, I'll go on a boat, I'll cut it all off, I'll grow it super long, I'll go outside regardless of the humidity or rain report.... I can do whatever I want. Because I am so lucky to have curly hair.
Ever since I saw Dove's video, I've made it a point to proudly go curly on a regular basis. I am going to let go of those negative high school memories I've tied up in my hair for 10 years, in hopes that a 14-year-old girl somewhere, won't spend 10 years trying to change what she was insanely lucky to be blessed with. She will go through those young adult years having the curly hairmiration that it took me 10 years to find.