Laura Velez is a full-time Humber College student of the advance diploma, public relations program.
“Only 4 out of 10 curly haired girls think their hair is beautiful.”
A couple of days ago my best friend Karen sent me a link on Facebook; It was for Dove’s new #LoveYourCurls campaign. The video features curly haired girls talking about how they don’t like their hair and wished they had straight hair instead. As I watched the three-minute video, I was surprised at how emotional it made me feel. At one point, I even began to tear up because I used to be one of those girls.
When I was younger, my number one enemy was my curly hair. There was nothing that I hated more than the afro that refused to cooperate with me or the weather. For me, straight hair signified pretty, perfection and normalcy. In elementary school, everybody was always trying to either touch my hair or play the “how many things will disappear in Laura’s hair” game. At home, I hated my hair even more. If you were to line up all my moms family members, they all have the same trait: straight brown hair. There was no denying that I got my curls from my Dominican dad. Unfortunately, my dad had no idea how to handle my hair and neither did my mom or her family members. I remember crying during bath time because of how long it took my mom to brush my hair out.
Luckily, my mom, dad and the rest of my family have always been the number one supporters of my hair. They would tell me everyday that they loved it, how they wished they had hair like me and that I was very special. When they began to realize that their words were no longer having a positive effect on me, my mom and my aunt went and did something that I will never be able to thank them enough for. They both went to the salon and got perms. They came home and said that they did it because they wanted to be just like me. They continued to get perms regularly until I was in the ninth grade. It wasn’t until then that I realized that although I’m finally old enough to straighten my own hair, I made the decision not to. I won’t be ashamed of my hair because it not only represents who I am, it also represent my ancestry and a long line of women who choose to flaunt their natural hair instead of being bullied into treating it with chemicals to fit a definition of beautiful.
That doesn’t mean I don’t currently have issues with it. It still gets caught on the TTC seats, I manage to break 3 combs a month, I go through endless amounts of conditioner bottles and my baby cousins love to say how my hair matches their black Goldendoodle’s fur. It’s a hassle, but it’s my hassle.
My name is Laura and I love my messy, curly hair.
Have you conquered your insecurity?