Aimee Gerow may be graduating from college this spring, but she'll always be majoring in curls
This month, I’ve been musing about my history as a curly girl, and when I really started "majoring in curls." This month. I’ll be graduating from my time as a writing major, but I don’t think I’ll ever abandon my curly attitude or my desire to study what works for my hair.
My hair didn’t curl into ringlets until I was about 13, but I remember the time in eighth grade when I put product in my hair for the first time and wore it down. It wasn’t the prettiest of hairdos (I was still brushing my hair back then), but one of the girls told me it looked pretty. I didn’t really start wearing it curly on a regular basis until I came across Lorraine Massey’s book "Curly Girl" at the public library.
I thought the book was possibly the coolest thing ever! Who would have thought to write a book just for people with curls? And so began my education in curls — trying new products, new drying techniques, etc.
The small details stick with me — little comments from friends or even strangers that make my day or my week. I’m sure my fellow curlies have appreciated a random comment like “You have such beautiful hair!” from someone you’ve never seen in your life.
Friends who appreciate your curls are also so important — those people who don’t push you to follow trends or look just to fit in with the crowd. One of my best girlfriends loves to “boing” my curls whenever she sees me.
I remember trying to decide what I wanted my hair to look like for my senior prom four years ago. One of the most crucial choices at the time was whether to go curly or straight. Most of people urged me to go straight — none of them were curly. I wasn’t convinced. But one male friend insisted I go curly. When I asked why he said, “Because it’s more…..Aimee.” That was enough to make up my mind.
I’ve only straightened my hair twice in my whole life — both times because friends wanted to know what it would look like. It’s never been my idea, and because it takes so long to do! I’ve noticed how odd my head feels when I’ve lost the curls. I hold my neck and head so stiffly, as if it might suddenly spring back into curly mode if I make the slightest movement. I can usually identify a curly girl sporting straight hair because they do the same thing.
For me, living the curly life has become a "pay-it-forward" sort of movement. My two younger sisters and mother (all incredibly curly) rarely if ever straighten their hair. I know for a fact the women in my family are all envied because of their beautiful locks.
Having curly hair is part of who I am — an element of my identity. It’s one of the first things people mention about me. "She’s the one with the curls." My curls has become a reflection of my personality and vice versa, and I hope that others eventually feel the same way. My hope is that everyone will be able to rock their curls, and not feel like they have to be someone they’re not.