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Beauty

By , Carrollton, TX
A long time ago, when my age could be counted on one hand, my mommy cut my hair. She cut it straight across, above my shoulders and below my chin. She cut my bangs straight across too; right above my eyes so that I could see myself walking, putting one foot in front of the other.
Then I grew up. My younger days had left me, so I told mommy, “My hair has to be long, like yours and like a lady’s.” Then I grew out my bangs and I grew out my hair. But the longer it grew, the more and more curly my hair wanted to be. The long curls tickled my ears with their teasing whisper, “Let me be curly, just let me be curly…”
I didn’t listen to those curls because I wanted straight hair. But no matter how much I brushed it, it went everywhere, like I had just rubbed a balloon on my head. I hated my hair. It whispered, “let me be curly, just let me be curly…” over and over again.
Mommy told me it was beautiful, but when I looked in the mirror I didn’t see beautiful. I saw ugly. Ugly like a floppy-footed duckling. Red like a fire hydrant. Wild like a lion. Yucky like chili meat.
At school, the popular girls had pretty hair; it didn’t look like they had rubbed their head with a balloon. Their hair hung long and straight. Those girls got to where their hair loose, gracing their shoulders with its presence: even when it rained. It didn’t frizz in funny directions like mine did when a measly drop fell from the dark clouds. When I looked at them I saw beautiful. Beautiful like a swan. Brown like smooth chocolate. Tamed like the cute little kitty I always wanted to hold. Perfect like music’s sweet soft melodies filling your ears.
I didn’t know what to do with my hair anymore, so I wore it up and out of the way and hopefully out of the view of others. I put my hair out of sight, in a ponytail or in a ballerina bun or sometimes messy under a ball cap, to keep it out of my mind, so thoughts of it wouldn’t permanently furrow my eyebrows like the eyebrows of my teacher at school.
One time, I tried to wear my hair down, and act like I didn’t care if it was frizzy. That day the boys made fun of me, and the girls laughed at me. They said my hair looked like a lion’s mane. And inside, I knew that I did care.
At church, I had a friend named Kelly. One Sunday, Kelly taught me how to braid. I began to braid my hair into two-pigtail braids everyday. The boys didn’t make fun of me, and the girls didn’t laugh. The girls even wanted me to do their hair too!
So I did. I wore my pretty hair in braids and I braided the other girl’s hair like mine. I didn’t ever want them to feel like their hair was ugly, because I knew what ugly felt like. But what I began to know is that everyone’s hair is pretty in its own way, even mine. Everyone’s hair is lovely like a bird, colorful like a rainbow, and perfect like any song, if sung with confidence and joy.





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