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Curly hair, letting go and a new identity in the making

I spent New Year’s Eve in London with my friends. It was after the Christmas madness, trying to see as many people in our respective families as we could. We arrived in London, knackered. But really happy. I always look forward to going back to what once felt like my town.

The first morning, I washed my hair and realized I had forgotten my oh so expensive, but oh so amazing, pocket Mason Pearson’s brush. I thought to myself “Am I really going to borrow a brush from my friend, that’s not going to work like my usual one and then plug my straighteners, but first blowdry my hair, just because I don’t feel confident enough to just let my hair be…?” I decided. Non. So I left my hair do their own thing. Which had not really happened in years. I guess I felt confortable enough to do it, to quit, cold turkey.

When I was 19, my mum kindly got me straighteners because I wanted to give this styling tool a try. Well, I tried, let me tell you.

So we left to have lunch in a pub in Chelsea. It was windy, my hair was wet, but for some reason I felt ok, almost nice actually. It might have had to do with the fact that my friends really encouraged me. Encourage me ? To do what you might think. Well, to me, letting my hair curl, be au naturel, is a new identity. Dry, my hair was actually really, really curly. It had not been this way in almost 10 years.

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When I was 19, my mum kindly got me straighteners because I wanted to give this styling tool a try. Well, I tried, let me tell you. The minute I straightened my first piece of hair, I knew I wanted to look like this forever. It was a new me. The closest I could be to kinda have hair like the actresses, singers, stars I’d grew up watching on TV, or seing in magazines. It made me feel more sophisticated, put together. Also, even though it’s actually harder to control straightened hair over curls, I felt like I was in total control. Paradoxically because I had to hide from the rain, (and it rains a lot where I live), hide from humidity, sleep with my hair tied up sometimes, not to mess up with the shape, and bring my straighteners anytime I’d go away somewhere for more than one night. But I felt good.

At least for the first few years. But as I was getting older, I felt guilty in a way to pretend I had this shinny, soft, frizz-free hair. Don’t get me wrong, I wear makeup and I love it, but I could go out without it. I don’t feel trapped when I put makeup on : it actually makes me deeply happy. It’s like being a kid again. I’m playing with colors, textures, looks. It’s refreshing and lovely.

But straightening my hair was not fun. It would take ages, and damage my hair quite badly. And again, the weather or a forgotten tool would make me feel shitty about myself.

Going out without doing anything to my hair was simply not something I was able to consider. That’s when it started to be an issue. Therefore, I had in mind I would stop that nonsense one day. Weirdly enough… I would always find myself excuses not to. But, when in London…

Back to now. When my hair was dry in London, in the Pub, my friends all noticed a difference, and one of them even said, “you look great and it looks like you’ve put some efforts into this look because of how nice the curls are”. This warmed my heart. And not only because it was very kind of my dear friend to say so. But because, it made me think that I looked pulled together, and sophisticated. See ? Why would I want that anyway ? Isn’t natural good enough ?

As you may be able to see on the pictures above, top left is when I used to straighten my hair. So, since that day, I haven’t blowdried my hair, or used a straightener. And I look more like the two other picures… When I came back from London, it was not that easy. I did not like it, thought I looked weird, different but not in a good way, not put together. But I pushed through these feelings, and I’m ok now.

It might appear frivolous but I would strongly say it is not. Hair can be such a big part of one’s identity. It’s funny how emotions, feelings, hopes can be attached to it.

With straight/put together hair I was armed to be strong, confident, and pretty. Needless to say I did not feel like that, but that’s how tricky it gets. If with pretty, controlled hair I did not feel amazing, how would it be with natural, curly, messy hair ? Who would want to know honestly ? I did not. Until a few weeks ago.

I don’t know why. It just happened. And I’m feeling brave in a way. Detached as well. Because curly hair just do what it wants to do really.

So I have to accept that and frankly ? It is so bloody liberating.

So it begins. I’ll take you on this journey with me ! Next up ? Products for curls !

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