Nothing like being the shortest AND the ugliest of all your friends. The one that guys don’t find attractive so you try to compensate by being nicer, sweeter, and begging your mother to let you perm your hair. Good thing she said no.

I always saw myself as ugly, don’t know why but just always did. Could have been because of my 5-head, not 4-head, but FIVE!. Or maybe my big lips, fat nose, short height, big cheeks, small ears, no brows ad barely any lashes. Who knows? I would spend time trying to fix my nappy headed hair so it looks something close to decent. This all began from the moment I became really conscious of my beauty, so about 3rd grade. It’s kinda sad that at such an early age, I felt ugly, unwanted, unloved. I was often made fun of for my hairstyle, it’s a plaiting style back in my home country that all the girls did. But in America, it was an abomination, looked down upon. My nickname became “snake head”. Imagine having that name at 8years of age, newly migrated to a different country, and only in 3rd grade. As if I didn’t already feel ugly and out of place enough. Fast forward, I started getting my hair braided soon, my natural hair, not with extension, my spiritual beliefs frown upon extensions. Fast forward to 4th grade, I remember one particular day I was on the phone with a friend and asked her if I was pretty, she said, “idk but you’re not ugly either, you’re like in the middle.” I asked another friend and she said about the same thing. I had to let it go and accept that I was meant to be the ugly duckling forever. Elementary school ended, I survived.

On to middle school, met more challenges there. I had two “friends” who were more bullies than friends but that’s a story for another day. One particular day I’ll never forget is this day, I’m coming from P.E class and I heard a boy say “alien head.” Oh I guess I forgot to mention I had a rather large head. (more long than round) and round face as well. It was sad but I walked as quickly as possible to get away from that hall and went to my next class. Went to class, did as I was told, often braided my hair (oh by this time, I had learned to cornrow my own hair, started halfway through 4th grade but it wasn’t all that pretty, just cheap/free- I’m frugal). I would braid my hair sometimes and other times put it up and look like an alien but you learn to close your ears to such names after a while and hide in your little corner of imagination. Middle school ended, graduated, high school begins.

High school was high school, nothing so special, it happened, I graduated, got into college.

I started in 2010. It was a journey well spent and much needed. A lot happened (stories for other days), enjoyed it, graduated. But right before I graduated, I did the most daring thing I had ever done, I cut off my hair. It wasn’t super long or anything but it was a bit below shoulder length {had suffered from straightening with an ACTUAL iron, not straightening iron but CLOTHING iron and blow drying-I wanted to be cute and fit into the American society, I wanted to be accepted. It did more damage than good & I stopped.} I didn’t straighten it that much but did blow dry it when I washed it. Anyways, that’s besides the point. The most daring thing I ever did about my hair was

cut it

just two days before I graduated from college. No one expected it, not even me. Today it seems every black woman is going “natural” but I wasn’t going natural, I’ve always been natural so trust me when I say I felt the pain, maybe a bit too much because I’d already “endured” enough pain from being natural. I cried, but I wasn’t sure if it was because my hair was gone or because I was leaving a place i had called home for 4years, a place that had given me friends that became family. People were shocked, I was in awe so their shocking faces didn’t help none. This decision was by far the boldest decision I have made and to this day, I have never forgotten it nor regret it. I remember everyday when I look myself in the mirror and smile about it. This decision was the ultimate, it got me to the point of self-acceptance, self-love and probably a bit conceited but a little confidence hurts no one 😊

We often make choices that impact other, directly or indirectly. Although as “good” humans we should always try to put the needs of others before our own, sometimes we have to say

screw your needs and wants, this one is for me.