I remember one time my dad called me nappy head. It hurt me so much so, that to this day I still bring it up in discussions with my mom and siblings. Not that time he whooped me, the lectures, or the countless times he’s told me off for whatever reason. I bring up that one moment. That one word hurt me so much. Not the word itself, but the negativity and malice surrounding it. Nappy. My hair is nappy, and kinky, and coily, and curly. It’s beautiful. But at that moment, it was hideous. Ugly. Negative. it was one of my many insecurities.
I used to hate going outside of my house when my hair wasn’t pressed. My skin would crawl. Stomach turn. Complete anxiety over the thought of anyone outside my family getting a glimpse of my nappy hair. This is how I, and countless other girls grew up. Being afraid to showcase our crowns. Looking in the mirror and seeing an ugly girl. Ignoring our beauty.
It’s hard being burdened with an ideal beauty. Being one of the only races who can’t submit. Black, nappy, and curvy growing up in a place that worships pale, straight, and thin. It’s damn near impossible to have any type of self esteem.
But I do.
I’m more comfortable in my naps than I’ve ever been. And it for sure ain’t easy. I’m the only one with super coarse hair. My step-mom’s side got Indian in they’re blood (like, for reals. they really do). So it’s easier to manage their hair. And even though my maternal grandfather is something (I think Mexican. his cousins are straight up Compton cholo’s), my daddy’s genes are strong and I’m as black as they come. I think the difficulty of it all, makes my mental victory that much sweeter. To stand up and love me, despite what I’ve been trained all my life. It is a wonderful feeling indeed.
So, to all the girls (and boys) out there who feel the sting of the phrase “nappy head,” i feel your pain. But know, that you are beautiful. Wear your crown proud, cause it is glorious. Revel in the uniqueness of your tresses. Stand up tall, confidence and self-esteem intact, and let the oppressors know, that you’re not succumbing to the “ideal” anymore!