As a kid, one of my largest struggles with self-love was accepting my hair. I would stand in the mirror for hours trying to make it look smoother. Wash days brought anxiety (I have a tender head, and my mother wasn’t afraid to harshly pull combs through my hair). I quit the middle school swim team because I hated the tangles pool chlorine left. Flat ironing made me feel prettier.
My mother is Filipino, Portuguese and English. My father is French and Haitian. As you can imagine, there is a lot going on in terms of my hair type.
Everyone in my school had light straight hair that styled with ease. It took tears in the morning for my mom to tighten my thick dark curls into braids. I used to envy over my friends’ effortless ponytails in class. Since I looked so different from everyone I grew up with, I often felt alone and isolated.
I remember wishing to meet someone who had overcome hair insecurity. My parents’ hair is different from mine, so I had to learn how to take care of it on my own. For all I knew, I was the only girl in the world who hated her hair. However, I was shocked to find out that this was not the case. As it turns out, more than half of women dislike their hair, and wish they looked a different way. Had I known this growing up, I probably would not have felt so alone in my insecurities.
Now that I am older, I have had more opportunities to try out different products. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, I settled into a routine. Even though I felt more confident, I still didn’t think my experience should have been normal. So, I began researching to understand why I had struggled to love myself.
I realized that the issue was representation. There were not many shows or idols I had who looked like me, and this ultimately affected how I looked at myself. I didn’t see myself in the media, so I felt like I didn’t even exist. I needed to grow up seeing other people who looked like me to love themselves.
Hopefully, this article reaches someone who has difficulty loving their hair. I dealt with the same struggle. When I was younger, I would have been elated to hear about someone who conquered their insecurity. We are not alone, and everyone’s journey is different.