Kyana Early remembers the pain of her mother struggling to style her curls every day before school. Years later, she is on a journey learning to love her natural hair.
When I was in elementary school, each morning my mother poured a ton of hair gel into my hair. I remember the agony I felt as she brushed through endless, stubborn knots, tying my hair in a hairdo so tight I felt it tug on my scalp.
Other days, it would be in a loose ponytail, exposing my unkempt hair. And I can’t forget the fashionable headbands that kept down my untamed baby hairs — which my friends remember me by to this day.
Growing up as a mixed girl, I didn’t know anyone who was educated on taking care of curly hair.
It was rare to see girls with hair similar to mine. Going to school every day and seeing all my classmates with quote-unquote “flawless” straight hair — the complete opposite of my poofy curls — made me feel like an outcast. Soon enough, I resorted to straightening my hair. One day of straightening my hair eventually became two years.