So back in January, I wrote about my deep dark secret of having naturally curly hair. I was (and still sort of am) at my wits end. Basically, I spent a big chunk of my life being told that curly hair isn’t okay – by teen movies, popular magazines, employers, and even my own friends. It’s gotten to the point where I like myself better with straight hair. While my curly hair is my “real” self, to me it also represents my former self. When I see myself with curly hair, I instantly think back to high school. Except. With all the damage I’ve done to my hair, my curls look NOTHING like they used to.
But wait! How do I know what my curly hair looks like if I never wear it curly? Well. For the past six weeks I HAVE been wearing it curly. It started when I was on vacation. I was doing something during the day where I got my hair wet and that night we were going to dinner and there was not enough time to straighten it in between. AND since I hadn’t packed for wearing my hair curly on the trip, I had absolutely no hair product to even try and tame my hair. *cue horror movie shriek here* I put tons of conditioner in, untangled it with my fingers, and prayed for the best. While the bottom layers LOOKED like they were going to dry into nice ringlets, the top layers were more relaxed and wavy. By the end of the night, the top was practically straight and the bottom looked like a frizzy pyramid. Not attractive. The next morning I went for my standard over-sized messy bun that I rocked all through high school, only to find that my hair was so thin that my bun looked like a tight little librarian bun. Also not attractive.
I was totally concerned about the state of my hair, but I also told myself that I was in a strange place with strange shampoo and NO HAIR PRODUCTS and that when I went back home and unearthed my hair products meant for my curly hair, I’d have no problem. Except. I had the same results at home. My hair was dead. The ten years of straightening and bleaching had killed it. The under layers of my hair (with proper product) do curl into the nice little ringlets I remember from high school. The top layers look like these weird beach-y waves and that would be okay if my whole head was like that, but with all the volume underneath, it looks terrible. Also, the bottom two inches of my hair are stick straight. I hate it more than I hate my “normal” curly hair.
Despite this, I decided to wear my hair curly until the end of the school year. It was rough. My curly hair is NOT predictable. Sometimes I can shower at night and it would be dry before bed. Other nights, I’d have to put it in a bun and try again the next morning. Some days it would look just perfect, other days it would manage to be flat and frizzy at the same time. HOW?!?! On top of all of this, I was on a new medicine that made me gain weight (something very few women want to do) and sent me on a mental health roller coaster. I was not okay. That’s really the only way to put it. Luckily, I got the medicine situation figured out (and lost four pounds) and closer to graduation, I was even starting to like my hair on some days. While there are definitely still dead parts, I was able to pull off the second day messy bun pretty well.
And then the school year ended. And I straightened my hair. Let me tell you, after six weeks of not doing my hair, it took FOREVER. The reason I had been able to cut my hair straightening time down was because of all the damage I had done. However, my hair feels thicker and healthier. Well, except the ends. Seeing myself with straight hair after six weeks reminded me of the first time I ever got my hair blown out. I was so happy!
So what have I decided to do? Well, for starters, I’m growing out my bangs. It’s really hard to wear your hair curly if you have bangs. Second, I’m not going to straighten my hair as much. I will straighten it for special occasions, but most of the time, I’m going to wear it curly. It takes less time, it’s healthier, and maybe the more I do it, the better I’ll feel about it. And lastly, I’m going to stop bleaching my hair. Yes that means I have some nasty roots and it makes me feel worse, but once they get long enough to justify damaging my hair some more, I’m dying it to my natural color. My goal is to eventually get my long thick hair back, but I’m not sure how long that’s going to take or even if that will ever happen.