A Book Like 'Bad Hair Doesn't Exist!' Would've Made Growing Up a Heck of a Lot Easier for Me

Mom writes

Like many young girls, I found myself desperately pleading with my mother to relax my hair. I was tired of its being called "nappy," the "wrong texture," and just about every other name that came with the territory. I considered it an unfixable flaw, one that didn't make me as beautiful as others. Hoping to prevent this cycle from continuing is Afro-Latina writer Sulma Arzu-Brown, whose new children's book, Bad Hair Does Not Exist!, has a powerful message for young girls everywhere.


With two daughters of her own, Sulma hopes her bilingual children's book (what an awesome bonus and educational moment!) inspires them -- and other little women -- to love their manes and stop referring to them as "bad hair."

Bad hair ...

Man, I can't tell you how many times I've heard that term growing up. Everyone always had something to say about my hair -- from hairdressers tired of its thickness, to family members cracking jokes.

Even with a perm in my hair, I still didn't feel like it was good enough. I can remember doing everything I could to try to get it to look like some of my besties', or like the hair of the women I saw in magazines.

I wet my hair, used expensive mousse from drugstores, and set it in rollers the night before. Following each and every direction to the letter, I thought I would be able to achieve the bouncy curls I saw in my favorite reads. Too bad all my hair experiments ended in tears and frustration.

"How come my hair won't do this?" I would always ask my mother.

My mom did her best to explain how our hair is different, and why I might face difficulties trying to achieve the looks of certain women in the magazines I was reading. During that time, there was no #TeamNatural or empowering movement to rock your chemical-free hair -- or even a mainstream acceptance, for that matter.

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Friends of mine were also going through similar hair dramas of their own. In particular, I can remember Afro-Latinas I knew feeling dissatisfied with their locks because their hair didn't resemble how "Latina hair" is supposed to be. To say it created an identity crisis would really be an understatement.

It's crazy to think about all the pain and heartache something as simple as hair caused, but it did.

Over time, I learned to deal with what I had and threw it up in whatever 'dos I could think of, in attempts to make it do something. Once I was in high school, I decided that unless I got a weave (or wore a wig), there was only so much I could achieve with the type of hair I had.

I thought of myself as pretty, but not pretty enough.

Even though it took time, I've learned to love my mane. It's been six years since I last permed it, and boy, oh boy, let me tell you all the awesome thangs I've been able to achieve. Who the heck knew YouTube videos, blogs, and all these natural hair products would make your girl feel like a superstar -- and not break my bank account in the process? (Gotta love the DIY life.)

I want all little girls to know: Not all hair textures are alike, and just because yours might be coarser or finer doesn't make it better or worse than anyone else's. Should you choose to take the oath of being natural (there really isn't one, but you might find a cool T-shirt), or add a few pieces to what you have, know that all of who you are is enough.

More from The Stir: 3 Easy Ways to Build Self-Esteem in Teens

Whether you're black, Latina, Afro-Latina, have super curly hair, or have a child of a mixed or different race, tress frustrations are unfortunately inevitable. But as Sulma points out in her book, "We don't have bad hair, because bad hair doesn't exist!"

The more we can drive the point home about self-love, and not trying to compete or hold yourself to someone else's standard of beauty, the more empowered our girls will become.

Bad hair does not exist!



Image via CreateSpace

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