My Open Letter to Curly Girls
I recently went to my friend Armelis’ senior expo. She’s graduating from FIT (congrats girl!) She made this really cool short film called “own your pajon” — if you’re not Dominican, Pajon is a term used in the Dominican Republic to describe hair that is “not done”. — She wanted her daughter to love her hair so much so that she dedicated her entire senior project to her. #MomGoals. As someone who’s at the salon religiously every weekend & hasn’t seen her curly hair since circa 2005, i was moved, not to the point where I’m going to go natural, let’s not get crazy, but it gave a voice to a topic that needed a lot of understanding; Hair.
As women, we are so concerned about our hair. Hair is life. If my hair ain’t right, I’m not going. I assumed the film would be about curly hair being best, but it was deeper than that. It was about self-acceptance… understanding why you choose to wear your hair the way you do & doing it for you & not anybody else, & as a sucker for lists, I’ll give you the 5 things i took away from Armelis’ presentation.
- do it for you.
- love it.
- don’t let anybody else define what is beautiful
- Curly hair is beautiful
- going natural is about much more than your hair.
She wrote “ As Dominican women embrace their natural hair they are trading this environment of community and sisterhood for a more individualistic experience: styling their hair on their own” YES! the Dominican salon is so much more than just going to do your hair. it’s about gossiping, lo chismes, complaining your husband and kids are driving you insane, being yourself while sitting in a chair to make your self more beautiful. the Dominican salon is someone else telling you, you look crazy, and you being okay with it. Giving that up, to do your hair yourself, it’s brave, it’s strong, it’s giving yourself the power to make you beautiful. That’s strength, that’s self-trust (still not going natural tho). It takes a lot more than just the right products to be a “curly girl”. I respect it so much. I can’t even begin to imagine the responsibility of doing your own hair, trusting yourself, letting your entire beauty rely on just you… That’s wild, you buggin.
My cousin, best friend & god mother of my child, Sophia has been a “curly girl” for almost 3 years. Since she’s gone curly i’ve seen her go from a shy girl who had the hardest loneliest freshman year of college to someone who is one of the most popular confident funniest self-loving human beings I’ve ever met. Her going natural was her way of bearing it all & allowing the world to see her become patient, loving, and kind to herself through the care & dedication she gave to her hair.
What I understood through Armelis’ work is, it’s not about what hair is best, it’s about what hair is best for you & only you. I took a second to reflect on why I always straighten my hair and if I do it because I genuinely love myself this way or if it’s because it’s what I’ve been taught is beautiful … I do it for me, because I’ve learned I am lazy & impatient, I rather things easy for me and thru Sophia I’ve seen how difficult it is to maintain curly hair & I want no parts. It’s about self love, self acceptance, doing shit for you not for anybody else. Her message was way deeper than just hair, I mean at least for me it was.
Love your hair no matter how you wear it but wear it that way because you love it. I guess what I’m trying to say here is, Good job & Congratulations Armelis D’Orville!!