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July 1, 2016

Before & After: Why I no longer take an Iron to my Hair.

for her blog - author photo

 

Bonus, check over at Reddit: “Thought I’d post this comparison pic here. On the left, my hair was long, but very thin and damaged from heat and perming chemicals (there’s no hair in the back, all pulled forward). On the right, my hair is short, but is in it’s natural state and healthy, without chemical or heat damage.”

I can no longer bring myself to take an iron to my hair.

I used to be ashamed of the kinky dance my locks played.

Each morning I woke they were swaying to some alternative beat, to some foreign set of drums.

I tried to keep them from living out loud with product, straightener, special brushes.

They have never been perfect ringlets, but they’re most definitely not straight.

I remember life at age 14, looking at myself in the mirror, constant eyebrow plucking and application of liquid in a bottle to cover the natural redness in my complexion.

I no longer take an iron to my hair. I am no longer afraid of dark roots showing that I spend thousands of dollars a year trying to cover up my natural beauty.

I no longer feel embarrassed to run into a man I desire, even with a naked face.

I no longer cave to billboard and commercial propaganda that imply we aren’t beautiful without their products.

I no longer wash my face with harsh chemicals and exfoliant in hopes that it will make my skin radiant.

I’m radiant enough.

So I no longer take an iron to my hair.

Don’t get me wrong—I love the occasional pop of red on my lips when I’m in a feisty mood.

But these days, I’m most comfortable without a lick of makeup on.

They say we are how we take care of ourselves—how we present ourselves to the world.

But society says we are who we paint on.

And who is to say tamed hair and a perfected contoured face means that we are taking care of ourselves?

Just give me cucumbers from your garden and grapes from the vines.

Give me a day in sunshine and salt water; sand is exfoliant enough.

Give me a glass of wine with a few friends on a summer evening, laughing until my stomach aches.

Give me an hour with a child in conversation about butterflies and aliens.

Give me a job I don’t resent and a relationship I feel alive in.

You can keep the rest.

It took me long enough to realize these things, but I no longer take an iron to my hair.

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Author: Emily Gordon

Image: Author’s own

Editors: Yoli Ramazzina; Renée Picard

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Emily Gordon