Friday, January 23, 2015


Let's talk about curly hair.

I had white blonde Shirley Temple ringlets as a child. It was wavy in a terrible way throughout my adolescence (one more thing that hormones changed, one more thing that was terrible about adolescence), but I cut it short in tenth grade and started using mousse to hold curls. Thus began my (and every other curly girl's) struggle to find that delicate line between crunchy hair, well-defined curls, and frizz. My curls were mostly crunchy for the next decade. Or frizzy.

In 2007, I was working at the Texas State Capitol, and one of the lobbyists we worked with closely lent me her copy of Lorraine Massey's book, and I finally started to accept my curls. (Embracing my hair has taken longer, the way women embrace their thighs or their noses or their height.) I stopped believing that I needed to blow out my hair to look professional. I stopped washing my hair every day; in fact, I went four months without using any suds in my hair at all. I stopped using brushes and combs. I started going to hairstylists who accepted my curls. And, slowly, I embraced my endowment.

Now, I've chosen the adjective "curly" for my blog... and my LinkedIn profile picture is a curly one. I feel like my curls reflect the whimsy of my personality, my ability to accept what happens, my intention to live by my own rules.

Yesterday morning, my beau sent me this link to a new Dove Beauty Campaign, where little girls with curly hair are encouraged to stop their self-loathing. "They’re doing what women rarely feel they deserve to do – celebrate what they see in the mirror."

I, like every other person, doubt myself when it comes to parenting. There was a time when I struggled with beau's daughter every time she got dressed, because I vetoed the combinations of colors/fabrics/patterns she chose. And then one of my wisest girlfriends said, "Does she feel pretty?"

And that's when it clicked for me, and I stopped exercising my veto power.

Yes, she feels pretty. She looks *ridiculous* to me, but she felt pretty. And as long as she feels pretty, she will feel loved. And all I want in this world for her is to feel loved and to feel safe.

So try to put aside your own beauty standards when projecting onto others. Care less about the crunchy hair and more about your attitude. Help others to be pretty, to know they are loved, to allow them to shine.

Especially children.