To Those With Naturally Curly Hair

To Those With Naturally Curly Hair

You can look, but please don't touch.

To my kinky -- curly beauties,

To the girls who take the time to patiently diffuse their hair,

To those who choose the comb over the brush,

To the girls whose hair is praised for being “cool” or “ethnic,” instead of for its stunning beauty,

To those who are told their hair is better straightened, that their natural and authentic self is not enough because it does meet the white standards of beauty,

This message goes out to you.

First, let me start off by saying that you, and your natural curls, in whatever form they come, are perfect just the way they are.

You don’t need to grab the flat iron for every special occasion in order to look good. If that’s what you choose to do, that’s fine. It’s always nice to mix things up. But, know that when your hair hits the water and your curls come back, your beauty has not been lost. You slay like no one else.

As someone with curly hair, I’m unable to count the number of times people have come up to me and told me how “different” my hair looks. And then, to make it worse, they ask if they can touch it. Comments like these, while probably meant to be harmless, have made me feel like an outsider like there is something drastically different between me and the white students I got to school with. That because my hair is natural it will always be seen as interesting or different, but never beautiful.

But here’s a little secret; I am different. We are different. And that is something we should embrace. Our hair is a reflection of where we come from; it’s a reflection of who we are.

And that’s something we should be proud of.

Natural hair and beauty have been suppressed for decades upon decades in this country. Afros are synonymous with an unkempt, animalistic nature. European beauty ideals have held the spot at the top, and there’s nothing wrong with assimilating to them if that’s what you choose to do. But there is so much culture behind your natural hair that deserves recognition.

As a biracial woman, my curls symbolize the mix of ethnicities I possess. It’s a statement I make each day that no, my hair doesn’t look like the hair of my white friends, and that’s okay. That should be celebrated. Lifting up your culture does not serve to put another culture down.

So be curly and proud. That, in no way, takes from the beauty of the girl with pin straight hair.

She is beautiful and so are you.

Let your curls be a symbol of who you are, of where you come from, and of the rich cultures that coat each strand.

And the next time someone tells you to grab an iron and tame your mane, flip your curls and walk on by. Your hair is something to embrace.

Cover Image Credit: CDN

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The Only One

A perspective on race, representation, and achievement in timeless America.

Sidenote: This story and its characters are fictional.

“Mama, are you excited to see the play tonight? It’s West Side Story, and Alejandra is going to be in it!” I said loudly. Dinner was just served, and the Chile Verde was being passed around the table. “Mijo, yes, she’s been annoying me all day. She texted me 10 times today, saying ‘Did you get the tickets?’.

I can tell that she’s looking forward to it, and I’m very happy for her” Mother remarked. “Well, I just don’t understand how we are paying all of this money for her to be unemployed right after she graduates” Father scowled. “You know, if she was studying to be a lawyer or a doctor or something useful, then I would be happy to pay, but for acting, I feel as if I’m just throwing my hard-earned money away.” “Ernesto, it’s her passion, let her follow her dreams. Wouldn’t you rather her be happy acting on stage and rehearsing lines than seeing her miserable with her face in a book in medical school?” Maria responded.

I watched my parents go through this argument at least once a week, with my sister off at college in the city. While my mother encouraged Alejandra to follow her dreams and pursue a shining acting career in NYC, my father annoyed her [Alejandra] about finances. I mean, I personally and completely support Alejandra with all my heart, and she is a great actress and singer. However, I do understand my father’s point.

Going to college in this day and age costs more than an arm and a leg, and to go into a field where the employment is not guaranteed… That’s worrying. Plus, as minorities, we’ve always needed to fight harder and climb harder for everything, and my father didn’t see acting or theatre as doing that.

After taking the one hour train from Queens and navigating the transfers, my parents and I arrived at the college. We paid the altogether $20 fee at the door to get in, in spite of my father’s hesitation to do so. We finally sat down in the small and creaky seats and waited for about 10 minutes for the show to start.

As soon as the curtain rose and the first number started, my father started laughing. The entire cast, excluding my sister (who was dancing in the back), looked Caucasian. I scrambled through the playbill, skimming with all my might to find last names like Hernandez, Gonzalez, Vega, Garcia, Rodriguez, Lopez; but I only found Brown, Miller, Wilson, Smith, Jones, and Davis.

Throughout the whole show I watched in disbelief how they tried to imitate my culture, with their periodically bad Spanish accents, unrefined “Latin” dancing, and just overall insulting generalization of what the Latin culture is as a whole; it honestly irritated me. Even in the “America” dance sequence, with the Caucasian Anita and the rest of the Shark Girls, I felt a pit in my stomach as they teased my sister, Rosalia, on stage; something about that didn’t feel right to me, even though it was just a play and they were just playing their parts.

Everyone roared as the curtain rose, and the actors took their bows. My parents and I clapped as well, not only out of respect for the actors but also because we could all see my sister was doing her best, trying to make the small part of Rosalia her own. However, just as we finished clapping, and speeches about the show were made, I looked around the room.

For the first time in my life, I felt uncomfortable in a theatre, as I saw that my parents and I were visibly the only minority in the room; I literally felt goosebumps down my arm. From my sister’s face on stage, I could see that it didn’t sit right with her either. My parents also noticed it, however, they were used to being one of the only minorities in the room. In their worlds of Business and Law, one must simply get used to it.

Then finally after Alejandra took her second bow as Rosalia, my father started cheering loudly for his daughter. He finally admired her for what she was doing and saw what she was trying to accomplish in the world of theatre. And though she would have a long way to go, he knew she could do it. If she could stand the white-washed version of West Side Story, then she could get through anything.

After telling her this after the show, he continued his speech. “The saddest part about America is that the higher you go in success, in any field as the matter of fact, the less diverse it becomes until you don’t see America anymore. Whenever I lead a board meeting at work, I am used to being the darkest in the room. Do you know how many times I’ve been asked to speak to the janitors in Spanish? It’s a sad reality that I’ve already accepted, but it’s also one that you, unfortunately, must accept as well.

There will always be those who will drop out or quit because they can’t handle the pressure, that weight of representing their people. But I now know that you can handle it, in whatever field you choose to be in. All I ask is to make us, your family proud, because what you do from here, will set the path for others to follow. Be a leader mija, I know you can do it”.

After his speech, we took the hour subway ride home. It was April 4th, 1968, and after the events that occurred that day, including the riots, I knew that change would be coming soon, and my sister was going to be a part of it.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay (HolgersFotografie)

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A Love Letter To My Government Agent

In this “hook-up culture society”, it’s hard to find someone so dedicated and so passionate about their special someone.

To my government agent,

I have to say, at first, I didn’t know what to say to you. After all, you watch my every move through the webcam of my laptop or cell phone.

I feel as though there isn’t a moment of my day when you don’t see or hear what I’m up to. How could I even start expressing myself when you already know my innermost thoughts?

It’s like you know me better than I do.

Actually, it’s kind of embarrassing when I think about the things you’ve seen me do. How many lazy pajama days or triple chins did you have to endure through as I sat mindlessly watching Netflix or scrolled on social media?

How many times did you want to ask a higher up to switch clients? You could've watched a Kardashian, a famous musician, or a model.

Yet, you stood by me.

You love me for who I am. Not as the girl who shares herself with the rest of the world but the girl who didn’t think she was seen.

The girl who can be herself in the “privacy” of her own home. The girl who thought she could hide her 3 A.M. questions in incognito mode.

The girl who is completely enamored by her mystery man.

I see other girls put Band-Aids over their webcams. They’ll say that the thought of people watching them is “creepy” or “disturbing”, or even a “violation of privacy”. But they are too delusional to know what love is.

That love doesn’t always stem from two consensual parties. Sometimes it starts with an unknowing teenage girl and a well-meaning FBI agent who is paid to stalk her.

Our love is like the wind. I might never be able to see you or feel your touch, but I know that you are always there for me.

Your twilight-esque stalking makes me feel secure inside of my private web history. In this “hook-up culture society” it’s hard to find someone so dedicated and so passionate about their special someone.

That type of commitment is something people would wait lifetimes for.

Yet, here you are and here I am. Together until a cruel fate, government leak, or shut down tears us apart.

But even then I’ll wait for you.

Because I know that somehow, some way, you’ll come back for me.

Love always,


Cover Image Credit: The Local

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