By Katlyn Humphrey
As I was growing up my hair was basically an afro, my mom just really didn’t care. I played outside a lot and it was manageable at the time.
I started having problems with my hair around first grade when I saw other little girls’ hair wasn’t like mine. I felt like the odd one out, everyone’s hair was long and gorgeous and I felt like my hair couldn’t compete. When I hit double digits my mom started doing my hair for school, mostly just pigtails, braids with beads, and ponytails, which was fine at the time.
As I was getting older feelings about my hair were getting worse. I felt bad about the way my hair looked because that’s how everyone viewed it. Then, they started commenting on my hair, those were the worst days of my life. I felt I needed a change, so I asked my mom to put a relaxer in my hair and she said yes. After that day, my hair was like everyone else’s. Eventually, I got extensions and it was wonderful- until it all came crumbling down.
When I was sitting in math class, I scratched my head and some of my hair was on the floor. I thought this was normal so I touched the back of my head and a chunk of my hair was in my hand. I didn’t know what to do so I just threw away the hair and pretended it didn’t happen. When I got home I didn’t tell anyone, I figured it would grow back in no time. That was the biggest mistake.
I kept getting relaxers and extensions, but one day while I was getting my hair done my mom saw bald spots on the back of my head. It was then I had to tell her what happened. She told me that I wasn’t allowed to do anything to my hair anymore. I had a nervous break down because kids at school were finally being nice again and that would all change. I had to go all natural again. The kids were treating me how they use but it was very brutal this time around. What I felt about my hair at this time that it let me down and I was ashamed of my hair.
Over the months of school it still didn’t get better. I just had to live with my hair being horrible. My hair was still damaged, it didn’t fully recover. When I went to the library at my school I found a book it was mostly pictures so I just strolled through the pictures. It was interesting because there was a image of a girl who had no hair, then an image of a girl who had hair like mine. Something clicked inside of me. After that day, I started to look at my hair in a different light. I started to do my own hair it was still damaged, but I just styled it better. Kids still commented on my hair, however I no longer cared. I felt like I wasn’t alone. Even though my hair fully recovered, I didn’t want to put anything in it anymore so I eventually wore it naturally. I finally accepted my hair for what it is and I love my hair.
I learned to love my hair and to love myself in the process.
I believe loving my hair was step one to overcome flaws within myself. I never thought I would be confident with my hair; it was a very difficult and long journey but it was all worth it at the end.