Growing up, I got very clear messages about my hair. White trash. Dirty looking. Chaotic. Not curly enough to be pretty, not straight enough to just let it dry and have it look nice. The goal, instead, was blonde and straight and that’s how I wore my hair for forever. If there was a chance my photo would be taken, my hair was straightened. I spent tons of money to keep it blonde enough and spent tons of time to keep it straight. I did this for years and years and years. I bought my first really nice straightener from the salon across the street from the restaurant I worked at in Orlando about 12 years ago, and I went to town.
Ah, 12 years ago. Right around the time of my assault. Is this why I straightened my hair? Was I wearing it curly the night before (and thus the morning of) my assault? Was this just another way I tried to blend all the way into the background after surviving that? Could be. Or maybe one boy said matter-of-factly that my curls made me look trashy. Either way, it’s exhausting doing ALL OF THIS for anyone other than myself.
I started wearing my hair curly again after I first started skydiving. The second I walked onto a DZ (read also: the second I met my husband), I felt freer to be myself than I had anywhere else previously. I learned to let go of my straight hair rules for photo opps and embraced my natural texture. There was nothing more freeing that showing after a long day in the sky and NOT doing my hair after. I’d spend all weekend at the DZ and drive into the agency on Monday morning. One morning at work, I was told I needed to present “more female” if I wanted to be taken seriously in my career. I wasn’t gonna wear a dress, so I busted the straightener back out.
On the #TransCatalinaTrail the second time in June, I wasn’t straightening my hair, obviously. In fact, after I dunked myself in the ocean at Parsons, I didn’t even comb it. I just let it dry, let the curls form how they want, and let it ride. And I’ve been doing that every single day since.
I’ve been #hikingmyfeelings.
On the TCT, I started #reclaimingmybody. That includes my hair. This is me. Wild and free. 💖🦄🌌