by Brittany Johnson, Guest Writer
My name is Brittany, I’m 23 and, as you can see in the photos above, I have naturally wavy hair. I am African American, as are both of my parents (I look too much like them to argue otherwise, haha), and my hair is wavy. This little factor has affected me my whole life; in good and bad ways. When I am out it’s not uncommon for strangers to come up with the same questions like, “Is all of that your real hair?” and “What are you mixed with?” My hair has naturally loose curls that are almost wavy, unless I’m somewhere with high humidity, then they tend to curl more tightly. I wash it daily out of necessity. I have never met anyone else with hair like mine, and my mother and I only have the knowledge of my great grandmother being Native American to explain things. None of my cousins, or aunts have texture anywhere near mine. I love who I am and where I come from, but as I mentioned earlier my hair has not always left me in the best of situations.
Growing up I didn’t have many black girls as friends, it was hard for most girls that I grew up with to not let ill feelings and envy keep us from a friendship. As many of you know when you are in school, whether it is elementary, middle or high school being different is never a good thing, no matter how small of a difference it is. Middle school was particularly hard because I went to a predominantly black school and according to the other girls I didn’t “act” black. Adding that difference to my hair did not make for a fun few years. For example I had a few girls come up to me on occasion and look through my hair shouting, “I know I saw her tracks, I don’t know why her mama put all the weave in her head”, or I would get dirty looks and and whispering while walking down the hall. Sometimes I would even hear stories from other girls about how they use to have hair like mine until a jealous family member did something to their hair to ruin it. It took a long time for me to feel comfortable around other black girls and to love who I am, but it made me who I am today and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I am so happy and proud to see other women of color on this site proudly showing off their beauty regardless of what hairstyle they happen to have. Maybe one day I will find someone like me to relate my experiences with, but if I don’t, oh well. I will still be here living, and loving life as the natural black woman that I am.
Interesting story! Has anyone had a similar experience? And do you think we sometimes make other women feel guilty for looking different?