Hair is one of the things that can make or break a girl’s confidence. That’s why I was so proud when my daughter embraced her curls, and made sure to nurture and care for her long locks. However, along with having a healthy curly hair identity I want her to love herself beyond her long hair while also learning about generosity and selflessness.
As a Dominican woman, hair has always being considered part of my beauty. Many even consider that my hair ‘is’ my beauty, as having a type of hair that can be straightened with a famous Dominican blowout is something people really value. My own curly hair identity, however, is something that I worked on my own as I’ve always defy the concept that my curly hair is not professional or that it means that I don’t comb it or care for it.
When I was a kid my grandmother never let me have my hair short; again female beauty in DR was -and still is- linked to long, straight hair. Having my daughter made me realize it was important for her to have a curly hair identity that allowed her to feel free the way she is naturally, but at the same time I didn’t want her to be attach her worth, her value and her beauty to having long hair.
I have meaning to donate my hair for the longest time but couldn’t because you cannot do it if you hair has been processed, so I kept cutting it and waiting for it to grow until all of it was natural and healthy. Since I wanted to change my look due to my milestone birthday this year, it was the perfect opportunity to do it with a purpose. My curly hair identity needed a refresher and it gave me the perfect opportunity to talk to my daughter about this and encourage her to do it with me.
Curly Hair Identity & Little Girl Compassion
My daughter was skeptical at first because she truly loved her long locks, but as I always tell her ‘hay que dar con amor y con alegría’ to reinforce the importance of giving with love and joy. She was unsure how the hair would look, questioned if she really wanted to do it and doubted if she would like it. As I had anticipated, my daughter’s curly hair identity was tied to the praise she gets for having it so long.
I wanted to change that and free her from the burden of her pretty hair, allowing her to be free and feel confident with or without the hair. Also, it’s important to me that she learns to give from the best she has and do it with joy, meaning and purpose. After talking it over for a couple of months, my girl said yes a few weeks after I originally wanted, because I wanted to cut the hair on my birthday to mark the start of my new milestone.
Although I was a bit disappointed about missing the date, I really wanted to wait for her to be ready, I didn’t want her to do it because she felt pressured or to be sad after the hair was cut, so I was patient and waited until she asked me. When she was ready, she asked me “mommy, when are we going to get the haircuts?”, and I was very happy to see she had moved beyond her fears and doubts and decided to do this with me.
We cut 12 inches each and decided to donate to Beautiful Lengths because of the reviews we found online and recommendations from a friend. For this special occasion, my girl asked for her hair to be blow-dried and straightened for the last week of school, and of course we did! Now that my girl is happy with her natural hair, I don’t mind indulging her with getting it straighten once in awhile as we girls love change and playing with our beauty.
I’m happy that I did this with my girl, we bonded over getting a new look, an easier hair care routine and especially about doing something good for others. After sending the hair on the mail, we have continued to talk about it to reinforce the importance of giving to others and loving ourselves. This has been one of the best gifts I’ve given to myself this year and I hope she will treasure it for years to come.
Do you have a curly hair identity and how would you define it?Let's embrace diversity and create social change! © Dania Santana ~ Embracing Diversity
Multiculturalism, Diversity & Inclusion Expert | Author | Speaker