What my curls taught me: Lessons in love from an imperfect twist-out

I never considered myself to be beautiful.

Yes I have nice eyes, but my cheeks are so pronounced that my face will always look childishly gleeful rather than womanly seductive.  I had nice legs and never thought twice about showing them off.  Not even after the accident in the mall that left my knee permanently marked.  I heard it from friends, guys, family, even my last boyfriend but I really never considered me, the whole of me to be remarkable in the physical sense.  Until my imperfect twist-out.

When I decided to wear my hair in its natural state I didn’t really know what that meant.  I mean I knew it meant no more mornings spent with my CHI, and no more wrapping before bed, but I didn’t understand the journey I would go on.  I couldn’t foreshadow the days of product trail and error, hours spent you tube surfing finding the perfect style for my hair type only to try it and have it turn out HORRIBLY.  I couldn’t have predicted how porous my hair would be, or how much I would grow to depend on coconut oil, I never would have imagined the thought of not buying shampoo.

I did not yet know the frustration I would have over frizz, waking up to a still soggy twist out, the nightmare that was my first wash and go.  I had no clue about any of it.  All I knew was that it felt right, so I was going to do it.

Though I have been fairly heat free for about 18 months (fairly meaning I can count on two hands how many times I have straightened my hair since February 2010) I just recently looked at myself, looked at my hair and thought I was beautiful.

I guess it was sometime last week when I did a dry twist out, woke up the next morning and fluffed to find that my hair was big.  Big like the girls on the tumblr pages I love so much.  Not only was it big, but my curls were there. I could twist my finger around any section of my hair and send it on a spiral journey to the end.  It wasn’t dry, it wasn’t wet, it wasn’t perfect but it wasn’t a mess. It was actually the same head of hair I’ve always had, but on this day I just was filled with so much happiness over it that I snapped a picture and raved to my friends about how good of a hair day I was having.

I could not have predicted that I would have that same feeling each consecutive day that followed.  When I looked in the mirror I would smile at my reflection knowing that from the top of my mane to the bottom of my feet that I was beautiful.  I have not felt too fat.  Too tall.  Too bold or too mellow.  I dared to dream of my perfect man with his prefect (for me) build and I did not think, “Well you better change ______________ (insert hair/weight/exercise regime/geographic location/friends/educational background/credit score” before he will ever want you back.  I did not doubt myself before I stepped out of the door.  I felt beautiful. Truly beautiful, and I felt that everyone who saw me strut down the street, yes I strutted, saw it too.  And they did.

Someone dear to me once told me that she saw having natural hair signified freedom.  From expectation, from worry, and from validation.  I always agreed with her even though I was not congruent in my belief.  I now can attest to having tasted that freedom.

It is a blessing that I am in the extreme minority here in San Diego, when you stick out like a sore thumb anyway, you may as well dance to your own beat.  Why waste an ounce of time trying to fit into something that you will always stand apart from?  I have been given the opportunity to garner a lot of attention, and while it has never been in my personality to solicit the spotlight, I want to work on not running from it either.

I find that whenever I put my fingers in my hair and twist a curl, or toy with a kink I am coming more into my own.  It just reminds me of who I am.  I am black.  I am curvy.  I am highly intelligent.  I am stubborn, and loving, and fierce.  I am a lot of things and when I rock my curls I feel free to dance to my own rhythm.

I am grateful to my twist-out.  I am grateful to that one curl that falls forward, and is left limp and frizzy by the days end.  I am grateful for my kinky roots and tangled ends.  I am grateful for me.  From the top of my mop to the bottom of my feet.


2 thoughts on “What my curls taught me: Lessons in love from an imperfect twist-out

  1. This is such an affirming post. For the past decade I’ve been wanting to go back to my natural roots but always said no due to insecurities about how I looked or how others would judge me. At this point in my life, I’m moving beyond that and you’re realization only confirms that I’m making the right choice. Thank you. 🙂

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