Stand your crown and Let Your Fro Flourish

The first time I wore the Afrona out in public, I was shopping at my local grocery store. I had worn the Afrona before but only in my house, usually to sleep and to clean. I liked how it looked and it kept my hair healthy and my curls and volume lasting a lot longer. It was sunny and hot that day and I wanted to protect it from the sun since my type of hair easily becomes brittle with sun exposure. Walking into the grocery store I started to feel eyes on me. The Afrona made my hair stand high over my head and I was the only one there with something like that on. When I walked into the grocery store I felt like everyone was looking at me. I had a big urge to take it off because I wanted people to stop looking at me I kept feeling that they were unsatisfied of what they saw. Just as I lifted my hand to take off the Afrona I stopped myself. What I felt and what I was just about to do reminded of the first time I wore my natural curly hair out in public.

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But when I arrived at school and noticed that I was the only one with hair that looked like mine, I changed my mind

I was in 8th grade and my relaxer had finally grown out. I thought my curls were cute and my afro was cool and I was getting tired of brushing my hair back and blow drying it straight. So one day I decided to just let it out. But when I arrived at school and noticed that I was the only one with hair that looked like mine, I changed my mind. It felt like the whole school was looking at me and I did not like it. I was sure that they thought my hair was crazy and ugly. I tried to “tame” it down during homeroom, when I heard my teacher say “what the heck are you doing? your hair looks beautiful. keep that way, I love it!” and there were two other classmates of mine in that room that agreed with her. I was taken aback because in my mind, everyone was looking at me because they thought my hair was awful but to the contrary they were looking at me because they thought my hair was beautiful.

maybe people aren’t looking at me because they think I’m weird or ugly but perhaps they are looking at me because they think that I’m unique and beautiful

I remind myself of this experience at the grocery store and instead of taking off the Afrona I keep it on, the whole time. I remembered the lesson that I learned in eighth grade; that maybe people aren’t looking at me because they think I’m weird or ugly but perhaps they are looking at me because they think that I’m unique and beautiful, Either way what they think of me truly does not matter because how I feel about myself and how I look is up to me. I vowed from that day on in eighth grade that I was going to do what felt right for me regardless of how other people responded to my decision.

 
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I let my afro out in eight grade because I was tired of spending hours at the salon, mistreating my hair, putting it back into a bun and burning my scalp with relaxers and blow dryers. Today, I wear the Afrona because I grew tired of spending time wrapping my hair up before bed, just so that it would come lose at night and I’d have to re-wet my hair in the morning to get my curls back and choosing between hat head or protecting my hair from the damaging sun and cold weather. I needed something to protect the curls that I have grown to love.

Trying to flatten or hide my hair or what I am, I have learned only causes damage

Both times, when I wore my afro and when I wore the Afrona, I did it out of my own want and need. If I had not acted on what was right for me, who knows where my hair would be now . Trying to flatten or hide my hair or what I am, I have learned only causes damage. By standing out and being seen I have been able to let me and my hair be. Now, today, without fear I put on my Afrona, I stand my crown and I let my fro flourish.


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Charlene PenaComment