– By Nikki –
When I was a little girl, my mother would tell me that the small curls gathered frizzly around my face whenever my hair was in a ponytail were call baby curls. She thought they were pretty, and she loved them. I guess she called them baby curls because they reminded her of the hair that I had as a baby. Despite my mother’s love for these curls I hated them with a burning passion.
Whenever I looked in the mirror as a kid I would see a literal mane around my entire head. It looked like I had shoved my finger into an electrical outlet. I would go to school and see girls with pretty, straight hair. I would catch myself becoming envious of these girls, and I would often compare myself to them. My mother was always saying that I was a natural beauty, and that I just needed to enjoy being a kid. While all of her ideas were practical, and important for a young girl to think about, things like being a natural beauty bored me to no end. I wanted to be cute and girly, but my mom just wanted me to act my age.
Despite these frustrations, I was always running around outside and using my imagination to paint worlds unknown in my backyard. In reality, I was more concerned with whatever story my brain was making up at the time instead of how my hair looked. Although I often worried that I would stay the chubby girl with the electric hair, I never stopped playing pretend. Even when I visited my grandmother I would play with my childhood friends who I am still close to even now. I still kept the same hairstyle. At age eleven I cut my hair shorter, and I decided to leave my hair down in an attempt to tame the curls that loved to jump out little-by-little throughout the day. This was foiled when I would come in from playing to see that my curls were still there.
I eventually became a teenager, and I started to straighten my hair like mad. This action led to my curls becoming less noticeable. Once I got to college, my hair was very much tamed, and I knew exactly how to style it. The defining curls from childhood were now a distant memory, much like the kid version of myself was nowhere to be found. The baby curls that my mother loved so much were gone. I often found myself rushing through life, and by the time college graduation hit I was pretty much up to my wits end in adult responsibilities. I soon started grad school, got married, and moved away, leaving my childhood self behind.
I often tell my husband that he de-ages me. This statement probably surprises most of you due to me being only 24, but I had to grow up quickly. My husband always tells me to enjoy life moment-by-moment. He has taught me about enjoying life. For a year now, I have been chipping away at this old soul of mine, and although I have arguably always been this way, I am now choosing to look at the world with more childlike glasses. I am choosing to give people the benefit of the doubt, to be more spontaneous, and to live each day without thinking about tomorrow.
As I approach my twenty-fifth birthday this year, I look in the mirror to see the same brown eyes and those awful baby curls that seem like they will never go away. I still hate them, but they remind me of my childhood self. I will no longer work as hard to hide them, or be like anyone else but myself.
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