Tangled: A Tale of Curly Hair

By Laura Collins

Its no mystery to those who know me that I have a love/hate relationship with my hair. Some days, its all I can do to not straight-up shave my head.

People always say they want what they cant have, and all throughout my childhood and teens, I longed to trade my curls for straight hair. Growing up in the ’90s and 2000s, I didnt have Disney princesses or celebrity icons with curly hair to idolize. Women with silky hair that ran down to their waist was what was defined as beautiful.

I was different than the other girls in my class, the ones who were perceived as attractive and therefore popular amongst our peers. And truthfully, I wanted nothing more than to have the locks that those girls had.

I have a distinct and horrifying memory from the eighth grade. It was during a working session in our French social studies class, and we were seated with our desks in groups of four. The boy I had a crush on was chatting with the group, and as he glanced at me, he told my friend that he would never date a girl with frizzy hair.

That would be me.

I got my curly hair from my dad, which meant my mom didnt really know how to manage the beast. I would often wince when she brushed it, trying to work through all the knots after my bath. She wasnt the only one who was lost when it came to my curls. There has been more than once where Ive cried after a haircut, battled with different products, and finally just put it in a bun. Defeated. Through all this trial and error, a hatred was instilled in me for my hair.

A hatred that Im still working on.

Over the years Ive learned a trick or two; dont brush your hair (ever), or it will become a lions mane; spend money on the expensive hair products; get your hair cut dry; and when you cant fight it anymore, try to embrace it.

There still exists a stereotype that curly hair is unruly, unkempt, and unprofessional. Unless of course theyre perfect, silky curls manufactured by an iron. So how am I to learn to love my curly hair when Im fighting against these ideals?

I still dont like dunking my head in the lake during the summer, as my hair is sure to be frizzy once it dries. Sleepovers with new male interests make me nervous, because whos to know the state of my hair in the morning. And rain? Terrifying without an umbrella. Its sickening, really, how much of my life is planned around my hair. Its a constant battle to try and change the way I think about my reflection, and the way I’ve been made to feel about it.

As I get older, the love/hate relationship is slowly becoming more love.

Despite still having lengths to go, it wasnt really until university that I started to embrace what I had and accept any compliments that came my way. I cant change what lives on the top of my head, and really, why would I want to? My curls are apart of me. They showcase my personality before I even speak a word and expose my crazy side before you get to know me.

I wouldnt be Laura without them.

I applaud women who wear their curls 100% naturally, and am working on getting there. Like most women, I had to fight with myself to love my body, and Im sure the full-fledge love for my hair will soon follow. Some days I feel sexy and sassy, and others, not so much. So its time to start idolizing Disney princesses like Merida, and celebrities like Taylor Swift (yes, I did just admit that).

So heres to this wild, beautiful and bodacious part of me. Its all mine.

LauraHeadshot Collins likes people watching from coffee shop windows, drinking wine when she’s forced to cook, and is sure to be caught skipping from meeting to meeting while at work.