My name is Israa and I have curly hair. You might have never known this fact because up until 2015, I used to straighten my hair all the time and the days I didn’t I either put it up or straightened bits and pieces to mask my curls. Ok and so what is the big deal you ask it’s just hair but it’s not. It’s a culture that enforces that girls with curly hair aren’t pretty and girls with straight hair are gorgeous. Girls with fair skin are desirable and ones with dark skin aren’t. It’s an unfortunate stigma that I grew up with.

I remember my Kindergarten graduation. I was 5 years old I had my hair straightened for pictures, every occasion I would go to the salon with my mom and they would blow dry my hair and then flat iron it. I had really thick curly hair, looking back now it was beautiful and I wish I could get it back.

I decided to write this post because it’s an epidemic that has plagued little girls and women into believing that if they were born with specific traits they are not beautiful. At one of my previous jobs I had my hair curly one day and one of the senior managers told me that I looked like a party girl for having such wild hair and that I shouldn’t wear it like that especially when I am meeting clients. I listened and kept straightening my hair. Another time I saw a friend and I said hi the person next to them was like “omg you are Arab? You look black.” I don’t care if I look black, or Arab or whatever. But shaming me for my natural hair and telling me it makes me look like a party girl? When did this become ok?

Every time I went to a hair dresser it was daunting. The look on their face, I knew what they were thinking. How the hell am I going to style that mess. I had hair dressers razor my hair in order to be able to straighten it, others telling me to get it relaxed because it will make me look beautiful. All I would do is either agree with them or smile and nod.

In 2015 my hair was fried. I had overly processed it, it was lifeless. I had to stop straightening it. In my journey of repairing it, I started following the youtuber sunkissalba and fell in love with how beautiful her hair was. Still I never thought or believed that I would look beautiful in my own skin. On this journey I saw so many stories online with people who went through the exact same process. It was truly empowering and I felt like it wasn’t something that only I dealt with.

I haven’t straightened my hair in a really long time. I can’t say that I won’t ever straighten it again. But what I know is that little girl that thought her curly hair wasn’t beautiful and who cried because people teased her about it, is the most beautiful girl I have ever seen. That girl who had her manager tell her not to wear her hair curly would tell him that this is discrimination and I can wear my hair however the hell I want and report him for it. That girl that just listened to whatever the hair dresser told her would tell them if they can’t deal with her hair then she is taking her money somewhere else.

I started this blog to promote natural living. So yes I will wear my hair curly because it’s natural and if you think I look prettier with straight hair then you don’t know what the definition of beauty is. My name is Israa and I have curly hair. I think it’s beautiful and I think you are beautiful no matter what type of hair, skin and body you have.