It’s 6:30 a.m., and I’m plugging in the flat iron to straighten my 13-year-old daughter’s hair. You might ask, what are you Michelle Breyer, co-founder of NaturallyCurly, curl advocate, lover of all things curly, coily and wavy doing flat ironing your daughter’s hair? Why are you smoothing out her beautiful 3a curls so she can look like all the other girls on her cheer squad? What kind of message are you sending her? What are you, some kind of hypocrite? Don’t you practice what you preach? How dare you!!!!!!!!
Believe me, these thoughts go through my head every time I run the iron down a section of her hair, turning her beautiful ringlets into shiny ribbons.
But I’m also remembering my own middle-school years, when my mother cut my hair into a pixie because she didn’t know what the hell to do with my curls. I felt trapped by my texture. I felt like a sore thumb around all the girls with their long hair and feathered bangs (this was the ‘70s, so feathered bangs were EVERYTHING!)
I finally convinced my mother to let me grow my hair, although this was tough with out styling products or a cut that worked with my texture. I would try to control my curls by brushing them (yes, I know, you never brush curls!) Every year on my birthday, my best friend would take her blowdryer (the kind with a brush) and would spend an hour straighten my curls until her blower started smoking. She could actually make my hair feather! Then we would plaster my ‘do with Final Net until it was as hard as a helmet. And at least for that day, I felt I fit in.
Of course I would love Emma to love everything about her curls. But part of that, is loving the versability her texture provides. She can go curly one day and straight the next. And when she straightens, I want her to know how to do it in a way that doesn’t damage her curls. She has options. For every day she asks me to straighten her hair, there are three or four that she wants to rock her curls. I’m hoping she grows up without the love/hate relationship I had with my hair for more than half of my life.