I've had a complicated past with my hair.
Growing up, I didn't have the slightest clue on how to manage my curly hair. I'd brush through a thick, wild curl to get a fluffy, frizzy aftermath. I didn't know which products to use. I didn't know towel drying is the enemy. And I had no idea that satin pillows are a must. I'd throw my curls up in a messy bun with a headband to mask the wispies and call it a day.
I was bullied. My predominantly white Catholic school had no one else that looked like me. So, my hair was "frizzy" never "curly." Regardless if I was having a good hair day, I was never "pretty" because of my natural hair. I eventually used permanents that made my hair pin straight.
The bullying subsided until the permanent wore off. But when that happened, I'd just do a new treatment. I noticed the spots of damage and ignored them because I hated my crazy, Hispanic hair. I only caused more damage in high school by straightening it every day. The hair damage was so severe I eventually had to cut my hair off and had to kept it natural. I hated my hair. I hated how I looked.
But the damage forced me to figure out my hair. When I started college, I started learning how to manage them in a healthy way. I started getting compliments instead of comments. My hair grew, my curls were defined: I eventually fell in love with my natural hair.
My curls are my identifier.
I get the keratin treatment twice a year so my curls can be more defined rather than frizzy. I never straighten my hair in between the treatments, but whenever I get the treatment, my hair is straight for days.
Recently, I got the keratin treatment and I had a bit of an identity crisis. It's been a minute since I've straightened my hair, so a lot of my friends and family were shook. I looked like my young high school self. It threw me off whenever I looked in the mirror. But the responses I was getting were overwhelming.
I got everything from "You look like a white chick named Taylor Ann" to "You look better with straight hair." I got more praise. I got more attention from boys. I gained over 20 Instagram followers once I posted a picture with it.
I didn't like it. I didn't look Hispanic.
I have a very pale complexion and my curls is my main feature that shows my ethnicity. Whenever my hair is straightened, I look like your average white girl who's excited about the short line at Starbucks. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with being Caucasian. I just became so proud of my heritage once I became more proud of my curls. It was all very unsettling, because why did I get so much praise? Because I fit this "white standard of beauty"?
All hair is beautiful hair. Hair that embraces who you are is even better. I don't care if I look better with "straight hair" because I love my curls.
My curly hair is me.