The funny thing is that my curly hair has only been wound into ringlets the last few years.
Minus, of course, the unfortunate year in the early 90’s when the poodle tight perm was in style. In retrospect, the Cringe Factor came not from the tight coils themselves so much as from the 6 pounds of Dep (green, obvs.), to make them crunchy. I remember the goal was to apply enough gel (Extra Mega Hold) to make it look like my hair was wet all day long. Paired with the 16 ounces of Aqua Net (the white and pink can DUH), to rat out my long bangs and get them to stand straight up and then half curled down with the big barreled curling iron. The one that got too close every few days and left a searing pink line on my forehead. No matter. The hard, crunchy bangs covered the evidence.
Honestly, just reading that makes me ill.
But I digress.
My point is that I’ve lived the better part of my life’s years in straight, dark brown locks.
When Lucy was little, Andy and I often marveled at the head of big, luscious curls. Where did those come from?
And with time, the silvery strands have multiplied on my head, but so has the texture and volume of my hair. In fact, it is curlier than straight these days.
There. That’s where they came from.
Her mama. It comes from me.
Granted, my curls don’t hold a candle to hers most days. But with the right product, and a diffuser on my blow dryer, I can get them to be a poor reproduction of hers.
The truth is that I wear my hair in a messy pony most days. Because Busy Mom.
I add some product and scrunch in haste on days I may be seen in public.
And the truth is that on Date Nights, though few and far between, I pull out my flat iron.
As Lucy stands in the doorway watching the mama pucker red, blush in pinks, dramatically line, and finally iron out the twists and turns, I wonder what that says to my sweet girl.
And I cringe as my iron sizzles against my hair because I know my heart would break even just a little to see those honey colored strands flattened.
And yet, I do.
I don’t want her to believe that Straight defines Beauty. That Straight is for Special Occasions. That curls are to be flattened and ironed and made Less Than.
The truth is that I absolutely, positively, undeniably, ridiculously, and over the top ADORE that girl’s curls. With all their color and dimension, and a natural ombre that women pay good money for in fancy salons with hairstylists with wardrobes in shades of black.
The truth is that I few things bring me a wider smile than watching her bound down the hill in our yard with wild curls bouncing around her head and tangling into a mess that will take forever to coax out.
The truth is that Lucy’s curls are Lucy. A wild, rambunctious, crazy, sweet hearted, curly girl.
And I re-think my flat iron. I prepare my words.
The truth is that after 30 years of Straight, it’s the way I feel most like Me when I look in the mirror. Not because I don’t love my curls (because really, I do), but because so much of my identity and how I picture myself, both in snapshots of memory and those framed on my grandmother’s wall, are Straight.
But still. Those are complicated ideas of self-worth and identity that my five year old girl, standing in the doorway as mama gets ready to go on a date with daddy cannot understand.
So I set down my iron, wind my fingers in her curly curls and remind her how beautiful she is, just the way she is.
How incredible she is. Curls. Heart. Inside. Outside. Her. All of her.
* * *
Did you know that only 4 in 10 little girls with curly hair think their hair is beautiful?
No, no, no, no, no.
We can’t do this to our girls. They don’t need to diet and starve and wax and flatten and MOLD.
Dove Hair has launched the “Love Your Curls” campaign to encourage women to celebrate their curls and inspire future generations to do the same.
You can download and share the free ebook (and really, it’s gorgeous) HERE.
So while I learn to embrace my own hair, changing though it may be, I will whisper in her ear that her hair is perfect and lovely and brilliant.
Because I mean every single word.
Dove has also launched a line of products specifically aimed at Curly Girls (called Dove Quench Absolute). As a newly curly girl myself, I’m always on the lookout for product that works best and locks in the moisture needed.
*This is a sponsored post with Dove and The Motherhood and while I was compensated for this post and given hair product to try, you better believe every word of this was true and mine and from my heart.