Let’s keep it real: The importance of representation in the Curly Hair Community.

Welcome back, Curlies!

 

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Recently I’ve been in deep reflection mode, and I feel like it’s important to share this with you to give you a more ‘in-depth’ understanding about my Curly Hair Journey but more importantly than that, talking about representation within the Curly Community as a whole and what that means for me personally, too.

Growing up I was very misunderstood about who I was. Being raised by some extremely strong and independent black women meant that I’ve naturally been drawn to my black side. I see myself as black, just a mixed version of that. Growing up I placed A LOT of pressure on myself to find a particular “mould” and stick to it, not knowing that this ideology was a lot more harmful to my growth because I never found a suitable mould that I would fit perfectly into.

As I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, I moved around a lot during my early teens so therefore was exposed to a lot of cultural “shocks” and differences. From South East London to Kenya and then back to the UK to live in Surrey….I’ve literally been all over the place!

Growing up I wasn’t proud of what I looked like, and spent a lot of my time idolising my peers and older women that looked nothing like me. As a result, I didn’t take care of myself as well as I should have and I don’t just mean from excessive heat damage because I constantly wanted my hair straight, I’m talking about a lack of happiness on the inside too.

Believe it or not, my hair wasn’t actually the hair type which I have now, and so growing up I felt as though I didn’t quite look like what I thought I was “meant” to look like as a mixed race girl.

Representation in the Curly Hair Community is therefore SO important. The beauty of the Curly Community as a whole is that there are a variety of beautiful bloggers who talk passionately and freely about their natural hair journeys; starting off with where they began, to where they currently are, to where they hope to get to…notice though, that there’s never an actual ‘ending’ to anyone’s journey but rather a continuous and on-going story which as time goes by, only continues to flourish.

My FAVOURITE thing about being a part of the curly hair community is the constant reminder of self-care.

Hair care is not a “slap on a hair mask and go” type situation but more importantly a consistent and continuous journey. As a young teenager, my idols were women who had hair types that I’d never achieve, weren’t even my colour, or genuinely made me feel as though the standard of beauty I needed to have wasn’t achievable for me. Some of the women I idolised were white, and therefore were influences from outside of my home. The other women who I idolised were within my family or were close family friends so therefore were influences that I was surrounded by pretty much on a daily basis. On reflection I remember how frustrated I was as a young girl, because of how easily swayed I was into thinking I needed to look like one or the other, completely neglecting that even with imperfections I was absolutely fine how I was. In doing this, I forgot about the importance of self-love, care and generally lost all awareness of the fact that beauty doesn’t have just one face (or hair type!)

(This is going to make me sound so granny-ish but…) Back in the day, “influencers” weren’t a thing and therefore diversity as a whole wasn’t widely celebrated. Being that I am quite a diverse individual, it meant that my idea of beauty was very superficial and just generally quite bland now I think about it, so therefore representation within the curly community is so imperative because it reminds the younger generations (even my generation) that there are plenty more of us in the world and therefore more to celebrate! Social media has found a way to broaden our connections and has created a much more inclusive platform for more individuals to be represented and respected.

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I have a lot of young readers who write to me and ask me questions on hair care and look for general advice, which I genuinely adore. I think it’s my duty as a hair blogger, but also as an adult now, to be able to wisely guide those who are younger than me because quite simply, I wish I had that growing up…I needed it! My own introduction to blogging was through another mixed race blogger who I identified with, therefore evidencing the need for representation within the Curly Community.

Representation in the Curly Community is also vastly important because just like our hair type, we don’t fall under one “type” as people! Up until my early twenties (I say early as I guess I now fall within the mid-twenties bracket) I didn’t feel like I was “black enough” so I actually felt quite shy about being expressive and therefore muted my opinions. As I’ve matured though, I’ve used my hair as a form of expression and representation of who I am. Although it took me a while, I feel so empowered because I feel freed by something I’ve always had, which is my hair.

The beauty about representation within the Curly Community is that I’ve been able to find similarities amongst other women and find a common passion which has allowed me to fulfil my own confidence and form my own freedom of expression.

Representation within the Curly Community literally reminded me that there are so many women (and men) of different shapes, sizes and tones and just like our hair, we have imperfections…

(By imperfections I’m simply referring to those dreaded bad hair days!)

…Overall though, being a part of a community where I am represented and embraced but also where my own uniqueness is mirrored and celebrated by young adults and women collectively, is just such a great thing to see and to feel! It’s great to see younger girls and younger adults become more aware of who they are and what they look like; so therefore this kind of representation is so necessary!

My personal favourite is when I see another Curly and I think “I wonder what she/he uses for her/his Wash and Go!” and what I’ve found is that this initial sparked interest has allowed me to naturally network with others, which as a hair blogger can only be beneficial to my continued journey.

Anyways, I know this blog is a little bit more erratic than the usual flow and style of my previous blog posts, but I just felt it was so necessary to have this open and mindful conversation!

What do you think?

As always, I’m keen to see what other Curlies might think or feel. Do you agree with the points I’ve raised above? Is there anything else you can add to the discussion? Let me know!

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