Back in my teenage years, some inconsiderate kid called me a mop head. I mean, I know my hair was out of control but did this guy have to say something about it – and to a whole bunch of people in my class? I was pretty distraught, and from that moment on hated my curly hair – and did anything to tame the wild and weird mop on top. I was on a mission for poker straight, beautifully smooth hair forever! Before straightening irons (yes, that’s how old I am), my best friend and I would pull up the ironing board, comb our hair on top of it, and then iron away. Was it crazy – yes, Did we damage our hair – yes Did this stupidity result in poker-straight hair – absolutely F8#*@ng YES! Today, no hair straighter can get you “flat as a pancake hair” as the iron – but in saying that, nothing damages it as much either. Kids, don’t try this one at home – whatever you do – unless you want to lose your locks! So, before making our way to the club, my friends and I would take turns to do this, and it started a trend for having poker-straight hair. It became a bit of an obsession. For about 15 years, I was obsessed with having straight hair – and lots of it too! I wanted to end my ties with the curls. When it started raining or there was one bit of humidity in the air -forget it! Some days I looked like I had pubes poking out of my scalp. This Australian weather takes a “bad hair day” to another level. And it’s not like you can cover up a frizz ball with a hat – no, you can’t do that. Those frizzy bits manage to stick out of somewhere. Gee, what’s a curly-haired girl to do? I burnt it with a straightener.I burnt it with a blow dryer.I burnt it with bleach and all kinds of harsh chemicals.I attached glue, clips and chunks of hair extension to it.I applied keratin to it.I chemically straightened it as well. I pretty much F#@*$d up my hair – that’s 15 years of torture. In the end, I had lifeless, thin and brittle hair – it wasn’t even curly anymore. I even had small chunks of hair loss in a particular place – it was shocking to see a glistening scalp in the mirror. Was this the onset of female hair loss? I didn’t even have a curl anymore – it was just lifeless and limp. I was heartbroken – I didn’t want to be bald, but I had to accept that my hair needed some mending, tender love and care. To ask for forgiveness, I decided to let my hair be – as it always wanted. For one year, I didn’t colour or blow dry it – I let it dry naturally. It was flat and lifeless for so long. Then I slipped in a hairdresser, colour and trimming. Soon my hair started to get some zest back into it. My daughter asked me why I didn’t put in hair extensions; she commented about how lovely it looked in my straight hair days. I felt proud actually to tell her this: “I thought it was time to embrace my curls and allow them to become natural once more. I accept my hair as it is and want to make it look as best as it can be – without harming it.” Even though she looked at me weirdly, I know that I planted some seed of self-acceptance in her. I hope I did anyway. You see, for so many years, I tried to cover up something that I was born with and something that I was blessed to have. All I did was try to force it into something it wasn’t, and I did a lot of damage in the process. I was over pining hair onto mine that didn’t belong to me – I didn’t feel like myself. For too many years, I was someone else with their hair. There comes a time in your life, and the phases that began starts to dissolve. I guess it was my time. Now that I’m writing about it, I didn’t know how much of an effect it had on me. Although sometimes my curls can become a ball of frizz, I can set on fire from all the products I need to use to get it to look half decent – I wouldn’t change it for the world. The girls with the curls get whatever they want in this world. To my fellow curl friends – raise your cup to the mop of madness on top of your head that holds that brilliant mind – it’s up to you to go ahead and find what lays dormant inside.