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Letter to my 16 year old self

Fri, 08/24/2012 - 12:24 -- Jess

Dear 16 year old Jess,

It’s 7:00 am and you just woke up and removed your “cap”. You know, that thing you so ingeniously crafted out of a pair of nylons? You wear it while you sleep in an attempt to flatten out your hair and make it take up less space on the planet. Sure, your hair puffs back out after an hour or two, and it creates a pretty deep red indentation in your forehead, but we both know you suffer major anxiety if you go to sleep without that stupid nylon on your head. Only your best friend Betsy knows your secret curly hair flattening measures. :)

(Oh, by the way – in 15 years you’ll find out that you can actually buy something pre-made that functions in a similar way. It’s called a do-rag. There’s no way for you to have known that now though. :) )

I know how much you hate your hair, and how much thought goes in to trying to control it. How you think that if only your hair was straight, kids at school would be nicer to you; maybe a boy would ask you out. You put WAY too much thought into it and you let it have way too much power over you. But that’s ok. You don’t know it right now, but you’re not the only one. You won’t find out for another 10 years, but there are millions of other curly haired girls out there who are going through the exact thing you are. Girls whose self worth is tied up in what is growing out of their head. Some of them go to much greater extremes to control it, using chemical relaxers that burn their scalp and cause all sorts of other physical and emotional pain. It’s not just you. But you don’t know that right now.

I’m writing to tell you that it’s going to get SO much better. I promise. In 10 years, you’re going to decide you’re tired of hating your hair and tired of hating yourself. You’re going to create a line of products that actually make you LOVE your curls! (Don’t roll your eyes at me like that – I INVENTED that look!)

Not only will Jessicurl products make you like your own curls and feel better about your own hair, but they’ll help other curlies love theirs as well. It’s amazing, actually. Seeing you, right now, looking in the mirror and crying, not wanting to go to school because your hair is so puffy, and knowing that it’s going to be so much different. You just have to hang in there.

Jess standing on stage in front of audience

See the woman in that picture below? That’s you in 20 years. No, really. It is!

By the time you’re 36, you’ll have been in business for 10 years. Curlies all over the world will be using the products YOU developed and as a result, THEY will feel so much better about THEIR hair. So please, 16 years old Jess. Hear me. I wish so much that I could tell you to stop crying. To stop trying to flatten your hair. To stop thinking that if it was straight, people would like you. You are not your hair. But who am I, right? Just some old lady writing to you from the future. Some old lady with awesome curls, that’s who!

Because finally, I realized that I have the right to remain curly. And so do you.