Do you gals remember in ‘Princess Diaries’ when Mia wasn’t pretty-princess material until she ironed out her curls and muted her quirky personality? The narrative of curly-haired girls who take up space aren’t as regal, gorgeous, or noteworthy as those with silky straight hair is played out across Hollywood in the ’90s and beyond.
Starting from an early age, I saw the girls around me and on the screen with gorgeous, silky-straight hair while my reflection was filled with kinks. I grew up thinking I wasn’t worthy, that I was unlikable for who I authentically am, both in my body and my brains. (This mindset was not rooted in my hair but I don’t have the emotional or mental space to unpack that in the here and now. If you want to hear more, check out my novel, ‘Fireweed’ www.fireweed613.com).
Ironing Out The Kinks
Because I saw this “disparity” in my looks and held toxic thoughts of who I am, I tirelessly worked to iron out an image that fit what I processed the world saw as beautiful; an image that would make me worthy of other’s time and kindness. As if the price to pay for relationships was my ruthless elimination of all things me. Chin up, tummy muscles engaged, and iron out all those kinks if I was to expect others to invest their time in me.
Taking Up Space
No more. I’m done. Oh, girls, I am so done. I have worked hard to unpack past trauma as well as past (and current–I’m still working on this) toxic thoughts about who I am in looks and life. I’m ripping up the narrative that says I must fit into a one-sized beauty box. Out the window with a shove goes the notion that I owe the world a chiseled jaw, flat abs, and smooth hair. I am my own kind of kinky-curled, worthy of kindness and love, double-chined when I belly laugh at my own quirky jokes woman and I’m done apologizing for it.
My hair, my body, and my mind take up space; I’m no longer making myself small to appease some proverbial standard of American cultural beauty.
I do not owe the world a certain look, but I believe with certainty that I owe myself happiness in who I, all-encompassing, am.
I encourage you, precious ladies, be brave, be confident, unapologetically take up space. The price to be admitted into deep, meaningful friendships is your authentic kindness, not the ruthless elimination of all things beautifully and wonderfully you.