So, fitting in… it’s such a strange concept actually. If you think about it, we’ve been trained to ‘fit in’ from birth. As a little girl I was exposed to endless fairy tales of what love looks like and of course Barbie dolls. When I got older fitting it was about having the right phone, the right brand of clothing, the right hairstyle and hair texture. When I reached adulthood it was about what car I drove, where I stayed (have I moved out of my parents’ place yet?), what job I had, and, of course, am I married yet? OH MY FLIPPING POTATO CAKES; who actually cares?!
The real question should be: am I happy?
Let’s cut back a few years. I’m in high school, I’m fat, my hair is beyond curly, I have braces, and my mother has decided that instead of a normal throw-over-your-shoulder school bag I get a bag with wheels. This is all great and well except for the fact that my school had cobble stone paving, so every time I walked from class to class *everyone* could hear me. A really nice kid pointed out one day that my bag made me looked like I was permanently off to the airport to catch a flight. This naturally lead to everyone asking me where I was flying to every day - earth swallow me now! Also let’s not forget to mention the fact that my mother also refused to give me a normal lunch box. No, no, no, rather I had a small cooler box I had to carry around outside of my airplane luggage bag.
Most of the girls in my class had long and straight hair, and because at that time I was a big magazine-lover I was brain-washed into thinking long straight hair was beautiful and everything else just wasn’t! Unfortunately the ‘everything else’ included me and my naturally curly hair. I did everything to straighten it, which meant running a cheap hair iron through it everyday, and, ladies, this was before GHD’s. The struggle was *so* real.
Then one day all the girls decided they were going to cut fringes. I’m thinking ‘My hair can hardly control itself on a good day, it DEFINITELY isn’t going to control itself if I get a fringe’. As my hairdresser always used to say ‘You have curly coloured hair, not straight white people hair; calm down, girl!’. But I really wanted to FIT IN and these girls were telling me things like ‘You’ll look great’, ‘All you need to do is straighten it quickly in the morning’, and ‘Trust us, we know what we’re doing’. Heavens! The last thing I should have done was trust them, but I wanted to fit in so I let them cut it OH BOY. Wrong move! Now I’m stuck with this tuft of hair sticking out from my forehead that won’t go down. Also did I mention I grew up in Cape Town, and that place is windy!
By trying so hard to fit it I literally ended up sticking out. To stop my newly-cut fringe from sticking out I either had to keep my hand over my forehead trying desperately to keep it down, or use 2 little clips to attempt to contain it. Honestly I don’t know what looked sillier.
Now, I tell you these stories because I didn’t fit in, no matter how hard I tried. I was different. I looked different, I felt different and everyone knew it. So why was I trying so hard to fit in? Unfortunately because of society I had a warped version of what was beautiful. I can laugh about it now, but back then looking in the mirror and not liking what was looking back at me was hard.
I finally had enough. I decided to change my version of what beauty was, so I stopped buying those magazines, and started looking to women who looked like me for inspiration. I also started telling myself that I was beautiful, naturally curly hair and all. In the beginning it was complete lie, but I told myself that until I believed it.
Today I only wear my hair curly. I love my hair and I love myself. I don’t buy into what society thinks, but I do surround myself with positive strong women.
Why was I trying so hard to fit in, when I was born to stand out?
Anyway, enough about me… How you doing?