Today, my curls are an extension of my personality. A couple of years ago, I dreaded the sight of them! I know that ‘hate’ is a strong word, but I really did dislike my hair back in school. It looked different compared to everyone else’s long, straight hair and most of the time, I was made fun of because of my ‘Maggie-type’ hair.
The first time I played around with my hair was when I was in Junior College. Bangs were a thing back then. However, with a case like mine, you really did need a hairstylist who was trained and experienced to cut curly hair. They would often chop my locks, straighten and blow dry it after. I have to admit that it looked fab for the first three days post the cut, but after washing, my hair went back to square one. Bangs looked terrible on my curly hair. The length was off and my curls looked like a messy bush. Well, that was my first hair experiment! (10 years ago a friend of mine clicked this picture of me. About my bangs, doesn’t my expression say it all? )
The second experiment was a bit more dramatic than the first. I got it done during my troubled teenage years. The time when I wanted to stand out from the crowd and develop my personal style. I had a friend who personally knew a hairstylist. Today, that hairstylist is a dear friend. When I was 18-19 years old, he gave me one the craziest cuts I’ve ever lived with - a shaved side bob. At first, I felt out of character, but after a few days, I got used to all those awkward stares and ‘OMGs’. I think the cut was amazing, but just like the bangs, after washing my hair, I constantly had to straighten it every morning before I left for college. It was a high-maintenance hairstyle that needed attention. Hair products were more expensive than others and just managing the cut was troublesome. (Especially during the rains!)
A year later, this happened…Yep, I lived with a bob with blunt bangs for a year and a half. Still no words.
I grew my hair out after I graduated from college. Only this time, I straightened it. For a large chunk of time, I finally felt accepted by everyone else. No more awkward stares or letting people play with my hair. I was free to do what I wanted with my mane. Tie a high pony or braid it up, I could style it how I pleased. Over a period of time, I felt hollow. Each time I looked at myself in the mirror, I felt that there was a part of me I was afraid to show the world. The ‘real’ me was straightened to fit in with everyone else.
Sometime last year, curls were a rage again. They suddenly weren’t associated with noodles or called a bird’s nest anymore. In fact, they were now sexy and beautiful. I knew friends who had poker straight hair who ditched their hair irons and invested in curlers. Curly hair to them meant having a personality. Standing out from the crowd than blending into one.
This brought me to the conclusion that what I had been searching for was right in front of me ALL along. I was born a curly-haired girl and I should have been proud of it. I remember running late to a work event one day and I had forgotten to straighten my hair. In the cab, I realised that this slipped my mind, and the worst part, I did not have a hair tie with me! I was so self-conscious about what others would think, but one lady there asked me if I curled my hair. She even asked which products I used for my curls. I had no words. In a really long time, someone actually liked my hair! This gave me a serious confidence boost.
From that day onwards, I let loose, literally and figuratively. Every compliment I received made me love my curls even more. I want to conclude by saying that there’s no point running from who you are or trying to be or look like someone else. Embrace your individuality and own who you are like a goddamn boss!