This. I had no idea how I could get the tangles out WITHOUT brushing, and I think there was this mistaken idea that I could make my hair lie "flat" if I brushed it, thus making it more "straight."
Unlike you, I did have the desire to straighten my hair, only because I didn't really know what to do with it (luckily, I've never had a way with a blow dryer or flat iron). But I personally always found gorgeous, soft, boingy curls much more attractive than straight hair.
Nobody really made fun of me either, but certain family members did make it hard. I remember my mother yanking my hair out with a brush every morning and my dad telling me that I should wear it tied back all the time because it was too unruly.
I did fry my hair with a blow dryer almost every day for years, so by the time I was about 20, I had a ton of damage, split ends, brittle hair, etc. I still use a blow dryer with a diffuser, but I don't think I've had a split end in about six or seven years.