Having to brush your hair? Can't relate.

I grew up envying the girls whose moms braided or styled their hair every morning, adorning perfectly parted manes with big, multi-colored bows, sparkly headbands, and beaded hair ties. I wished that my hair would be just as shiny, sleek, and pretty as I found everyone else's to be, but no matter how much I tugged at it, I saw my curly hair as nothing but a big, annoying mess.

At 10, I sat teary-eyed in a hairstylist's chair feeling the painful pull of a straightening iron, covering my mouth and nose with a towel to try to block out the burn of the formaldehyde emitted from the Brazilian keratin treatment. Three days later, when I was permitted to wash my hair again, I looked in the mirror and cried at seeing my natural curls reforming. Heaven forbid.

I had grown used to my hair being called "frizzy", "frizz ball", "poofey", and "unmanageable", and even saw these adjectives as normal, rightful descriptions of the thick entanglement of strands on my head. Over time, as I came to accept that what I was born with was something that wouldn't change, and started to better understand that having long coils that grew and flourished in every direction, that I saw that they were not a flaw, a fault, or a burden, but rather something that made me individual, unique, and beautiful. It was in the moments that followed that realization that allowed me to realize that I was my own worst critic. Little old ladies and young girls alike would come up to me saying things like, "I love your hair!" or "I wish I had your hair!" Although I had accepted them myself, getting this validation from strangers that helped me reinforce what I already knew to be true: all hair is beautiful hair.

One thing that no one tells you growing up, though, is the amount of work and responsibility that comes with mane-training such locks. If you have anything but curly hair, your hair washing routine probably consists of the standard shampoo/condition, maybe spritzing with some texture spray or using a leave-in conditioner, towel or air drying, and you're out the door. This is the dream routine of us #curlygirlys. Everyone's routine is different, and I'm sure some are more extensive than others, but I know mine consists of a post-shower hair routine with steps that must be done in a particular order otherwise the results will show for days to come. To spare you the details, just know that there are many.

Long and loose curls, tight coils, or anywhere in between, if you've grown up hearing people say your hair is "frizzy" it's okay to be hurt by that, it's an insult, but it's not okay to not correct that person. Let them know that your curly hair is crazy, a little wild, and maybe something that you don't always have the energy to deal with; but remember that it is also beautiful, makes you unique, and that you wouldn't change it for all the straight hair in the world.