High school student Makayla Pearce’s hair actually has a name and her struggle to control it has taught her lessons in identity and acceptance.
4C hair — the most tightly coiled, thick, and stubborn hair that exists. Its limbs spiral relentlessly into the air, reluctant to lie smoothly, and instead choosing to defy gravity.
My story begins as a young child, sitting between my mother’s legs as she pulled the comb through the puff on top of my head. I often would look up at her, wishing for her smooth curtain of black silk that cascaded down her back. As I grew my hair grew with me, and we both enviously observed the flowing tresses of other women, finding no representation of ourselves. I found refuge in the tools that used heat to provide me with the appearance of everyone else.
I eventually noticed my forest had diminished. It had become small and broken, almost lifeless without it’s crutches. I tried to hide my hair and push it down, feeling anxious when I thought of revealing it’s nappy nature. I desired loosely wound curls, or the long straight strands that my mother wore. I wanted everything that I didn’t have, and became as wounded as my forest.
I recently found the true beauty in my natural hair. As I became comfortable with myself, I learned that my forest of 4C hair needed it’s comfort as well. Gradually, I began to put down the dryer, and embraced the thick strands that yearned for my love.
I can only hope that the joy I found in accepting my hair will spread to those who struggle with their traits as well. There’s pure beauty in the fact that one can embrace their insecurities and learn to love them, just as I have learned to love my crazy 4C hair.
With a Perspective, I’m Makayla Pearce.
Makayla Pearce is a junior at the San Domenico School in San Anselmo and lives in Oakland.