The way I perceived my hair in the past definitely affected how I saw myself and my own beauty.
I grew up in a predominantly white area where people never saw someone with my skin complexion in addition to my hairtype.
What I represented was nothing but novelty and fascinated a lot of them, especially in my school years. I just wanted to blend in and hide away as this was something that genuinely made me feel uncomfortable.
It’s interesting because being light-skinned is celebrated in many ways in today’s society, fetichised, but then your hair appears as a clear reminder of your blackness. Something you have to manage, something that needs « fixing ».
I used to relax my hair when I was younger. I remember that as soon as my roots would grow all I could think of was to make them disappear, make these indicators of blackness vanish. I eventually learned to cherish them.
My mother is black and grew up in Guyana. Her way of dealing with natural hair wasn’t necessarily linked to straightening but was clearly about taming it – to make it more acceptable to white society I guess. As much as she encouraged me to take care of my hair she would never let me wear it out.
We can witness a growing acceptance and a greater representation of curly hair nowadays but there is still a lot of work to do to make curls being seen as normal.