As we wrap up our series on anti-bullying during October’s Bullying Prevention Month, I wanted to share the following, which was submitted to us by a teenager about her experience – we’ll call her Hope. It’s exciting to know that teens are also engaging in the conversation and, better still, finding empowerment in embracing their natural beauty.
Hope’s Story (age 16):
A lack of compliments doesn’t settle well for one with a lack of confidence.
It isn’t always what’s said that hurts but oftentimes what isn’t, and other times both.
I’ve been wearing my hair natural all my life, all my life I’ve stayed far from flat irons and even shears, nothing more than a trim. It was nothing I ever really thought all that much about, it was just me.
So when my mom offered to take me to get my hair straightened I figured it’d be fun! A nice little change for the night just to shake things up. And besides, I had a haircut planned for the next day to clean up my ends, nothing drastic.
As anyone who’s ever seen curly hair knows, shrinkage is real.
So, my already long hair went butt length and apparently that’s hot. According to the boys at our school dance that is. I spent my three hours there surrounded at all times being reminded how no one realized ‘how hot I was till tonight.’
Which I took all as compliments, till I got home, and started thinking, and asking myself why no one had said that before. Why no boy had even said you look nice today. Until my hair was straight.
To put it simply I was mortified. And every bit of normality and comfort I found in my natural curls was gone.
So the next day I changed my plans. Instead of a trim, I cut it off. Not all of it. But I might as well have. Embarrassed at the fact that I had it, I cut my hair off.
I had volleyball banquet right after and I assumed that people would like this better. It was another change so why wouldn’t they?
Well I was wrong, apparently I looked like Lisa Simpson.
But honestly, that’s ok.
Because I learned a very valuable lesson.
No matter what you change about yourself there will always be people who are mean. It’s a sad truth, but it’s the truth. But a more important truth is this. I am beautiful. I am confident. I am perfect just the way I was made. I don’t need to change myself for anyone. And most of all, I rock short hair.