Unbothered: Why the Constant Pressure to Straighten My Tresses Doesn't Faze Me

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There is nothing that sets me off more than someone asking me when I am going to straighten my hair now that I am natural! I don’t know what it is. Even if they say it in the sweetest way possible, it irks the heck out of me. Yesterday, I was talking with an African American teenage girl. She asked, “When are you going to straighten your hair?” I immediately asked her, “Would you ask a white girl when she was going to make her hair curly?”  She said “no” and insisted that I answer her because she was just curious to know what I would look like with my hair straight.

If that wasn’t enough to turn my mood all the way down. A week ago I was speaking with a family member about the fact that I needed to get a professional picture taken. She questions, “Oh, are you going to get your hair straightened for that?” Quickly I responded, “No!”

I don’t get it. Why do people think that I am supposed to change what I am doing to make them happy, to make them feel comfortable, to make them feel relaxed, to make them think that I will be more beautiful because my hair is straightened?

Last time I checked I was in full ownership of this here body from my hair follicles all the way down to my gorgeously pained red toe nails. Why is it that I can’t rock the hair that grows out of my head while every other group of women get to wear theirs with no issue because their hair is straight?

I am happy with my natural hair! Since going natural a year ago, I have fallen in love with my hair texture even more and have learned more in one year then I’ve ever learned my whole life about taking care of it.

Straight hair does not equal good hair. Straight hair does not equal beauty just like curly or kinky hair doesn’t equal ugly. Nor does wearing natural hair mean that I am anti-white or that I am unprofessional, ugly, or unattractive. I rock what I got!

“To be pro-black is not to be anti-white. To love oneself does not mean to hate others. It must be understood clearly that the genuine love of one’s own ethnic group is the basis for the love of oneself, for the love of others and the basis for a loving personality in general”  - Amos Wilson “Developmental Psychology of the Black Child

What I am is a black woman who loves herself, her hair, her cultural heritage, and her life. My hair does not define me, but it sure as hell does add to my style, my presence, and my confidence. Consequently, I will not be straightening my hair to make anyone happy other than myself on occasion when I FEEL like it. I refuse to compromise who I am so you can feel more comfortable about who you are and what you believe to be true. My truth doesn’t reside in my trying to be like everyone else. My truth lies in my being me and natural is as real as I can get.

Photo: Shutterstock

Taria Pritchett is a writer, teacher, lifestyle blogger, and women’s empowerment expert. She is the Founder & CEO of Regal Realness, a lifestyle brand and blog that empowers women of color to build and radiate confidence in all areas of their lives. You can read more from her at www.regalrealness.com.

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