Listen to this TED TALK first. Then, read my own hair journey.
As a young girl, I begged my mom to give me a perm. Every time, my mom said, “No your hair is fine just the way it is.” The summer before college, my mom offered the opportunity to get a perm. But at that point, I said, “Nope. You rejected the idea my whole life so I gave up on that dream.”
I have had my hair straightened (hot-combed and flat iron) and in braids (by hand or croquet) my whole life.
When I changed my career path to law, a lot ran through my mind. One of those conversations I had with my mom was “How will I do my hair?” “Do I have to wear my hair differently?” “Will I need to have straight professional hair?” I discovered beautiful black women in my school with natural hair, wigs, weave, and perms. So over the next three years, I discovered many women of color as attorneys with various styles of hair. There was not a hair requirement unless I allow it. Hair is hair. God knows my job in advance.
Last year, I tried a new hairstyle. I twisted my natural hair. It does not seem like a big change but it was a defining moment. I have not had my hair done like this since elementary school. I really embraced it.
So I have concluded that my hair is my hair. I will wear my hair without societal pressures my field or my people. I don’t need to compromise. I look beautiful either way.