So as you can tell from my “About” me pic that I have curly hair, really curly hair. But as a kid I didn’t know this because my hair was always brushed out. Check out this sweet Olin Mills portrait…
I think my mom was trying to brush my hair straight. As you can imagine this lead to a lot of confusion as to what type of hair I had and how to care for it properly. On top of that I never saw anyone on tv or in the movies with curly hair so I really didn’t have anyone to identify with. There were no Taylor Swifts or Sarah Jessica Parker’s around for me to idolize their lovely locks.
In fact, I remember one day being at a friends house and browsing through their Readers Digest (yes the actual paper guide to see what was on tv) and I came across an article about who would be the new girlfriend for Alex P. Keaton on the hit show Family Ties. Yes, I realize I just dated myself with admitting to reading an actual Readers Digest AND watching Family Ties. The article matched up the two potential candidates. One was Courtney Cox (the unknown Courtney Cox at the time) and the other was an actress with curly hair.
Now we all know Courtney has amazing hair. It’s lusciously thick and probably can be curled or straightened and look fabulous either way. The other girl had equally beautiful hair, except it was of the corkscrew curls variety. Finally, I thought, a girl with hair like mine could be on tv! The article went on to list the pro’s and con’s for each actress and let’s face it, it was all about looks since neither of these two actresses were known at the time. I came to the end of the article and the last thing it listed as a “con” for the curly-haired actress was her hair. It said it was “too distracting”.
WTF? Too distracting?!?! At that moment my heart sank.
If this beautiful actress with the perfect-frizz-free-corkscrew curls could have her hair described as “too distracting” what could my unruly and thick be described as? I immediately felt the shame for having too different hair that I couldn’t describe.
I never forgot that article, obviously, and became even more self conscious of my hair. I already considered it wrong, or something I should not have, and I began to actually hate it. Since my pre-teen years my hair has been a major source of pain and shame for me. I had no idea how to care for it so it was a constant struggle to try to get it to look good. After many, many years of trying every product on the market trying to get it to change into something it’s never going to be (smooth and straight) I finally learned to just stop battling with it. It was a part of me and I was actually hating it!
I’m sure most woman can identify with hating a certain part of their bodies whether it be their hair, their smile, their boobs, their hips or their thighs. There just seems to always be something about our bodies to pick on and it really needs to stop. I know self-love is a huge concept and is not something you can one day wake and have, but I believe there is something even more important that needs to happen before that.
You need to accept yourself first.
Just accepting who are, without comparison, is a huge step and can get rid of a lot of turmoil you may have about not liking yourself, or a certain part of yourself. When I finally just accepted that I have curly hair, and that it’s quite awesome, I began to feel better about myself. The simple act of acceptance is saying “Hey, my body may not be anywhere near perfect, but I have this body, it’s all mine and that’s what make me unique” From that compassionate and supportive foundation, you can open up to the possibility of self love.
This is why I’m so passionate about helping women and girls to learn to love their hair. I’m also passionate about having women experience a portrait session with me and see themselves in a different light. To give them the chance to finally say this is me, I accept who I am and how I look at the moment (self-acceptance). Hopefully, when they get their beautiful images they can look at them and then start to feel some love for that woman in the picture. (self-love!)
Looking for more information about learning to love your curly hair and how to properly care for it? Or do you want to celebrate your curls with a photo session? Set up a free 30 min consultation with me and let’s chat curly hair!