Hair, identity, science, soul

My Curly Hair Complex


Complex. An emotionally charged group of ideas or images.  


Explanation of my complex

Even though I love my hair because it is an expression of me…I struggle with a negative feedback loop. I think, maybe, this is a complex. My curly hair complex.



The proliferation of curly products, bloggers, stylists, videos, tips, tricks, tools, techniques don’t help. Every trick or secret seems to poke at my early wounding about my hair. When they say “this technique may not work for you” something in me hears—and, perhaps, some of them might want viewers to hear it— “there is something wrong if it doesn’t work for you and henceforth keep watching my feed.”  I’m noticing how I notice things; this is meta. Curly hair is not a problem to solve and, no, someone else does not have my solution.


Illustrated exhibit of how the complex manifestsvia a random sample of texts I’ve written in the past few months

Jury still out on hair but have been wondering about the soaking-wet application (and what exactly for me soaking wet means) and how to balance with product application.

It is just so interesting how what I thought [my hair] was, isn’t, and what never occurred to me what might be—and that what I needed to go from isn’t [what I thought] to maybe to understand it  

I’m seeing some tentative promise in curl cream as leave-in replacement.

Washed it yesterday and before it was dry was already voluming out. Today it is a nondescript mass of hair 

I really am not sure. I believe I have been using the incorrect kind of conditioner for my hair in general. While not perfect I’m amazed at how my hair is curling and some popping better with the low porosity products.

In data-seeking, experiment mode – trying to address the crown and did the low-porosity. 

Addressed low porosity based on what I’ve read and inadvertently created more problems with too much moisture.


Internal course correction
in the form of responsive reading
that allows awareness of my curly complex 

Someone else’s curated image—online or in person—is not much use to me. 

I am learning to listen to myself.

Curly hair bloggers and YouTubers are not experts in my hair.  

Just because they have followers they are not my experts. Good I realize it. Means I can stop. Keep reminding myself.

My hair has its own expression.

I am learning to trust it.

But when I watch other people do their hair I forget to trust it.

Now when I watch I observe myself and notice my reaction; I see myself as separate.

Curly social media is a resource, not a solution

Being open to new ideas does not mean twisting myself in knots trying to conform. Recognizing this means an opportunity not to go unconscious.



The beauty is really what grows from the inside.
How that manifested via my hair:

+One random hairdresser I went during my teens who suggested so naturally that I wear my hair curly. That she not blow it dry. That she would show me how to grow it out by shaping the sides until I went away to school, and that she would tell me how to have the next haircutter cut it. 

Thank you.

+Laura, my CurlSherpa co-creator, who, through her own discovery of the expression and needs of her hair has shown me what emerging self-acceptance looks like as an adult. I have so many hair salon “expert” traumas, to see someone experience her own and then say “no more” is empowering, supportive, and liberating.

Thank you.

+To the many who have complimented my hair over the decades. And to the many who have envied it…I know today I can still be myself even in the face of envy and, that if you are someone who loves my hair, that you likely have something unique about yourself that you love, too. 

Thank you. 


Image: Judy Kim from Pexels