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With Beauty the Grass Always Seems to be Greener on the Other Side

Growing up as one of the only Jewish kids in my town was not easy for many reasons, with one of the reasons being my hair. I was born with stereotypical dark curly hair. Now mind you, this is only a stereotype. There are Jews in all corners or the world with different skin tones, hair types and hair colors and that deserves to be celebrated. Unfortunately, I did not consider my dark curly hair to be a celebration until now.

When I was in middle school the “popular” girls had sleek, shiny straight hair. None of the “popular” girls had hair like mine. I desperately wished I looked like them, so I begged my mother for a flat iron. 

My mother was hesitant about getting me a flat iron. She told me I could blow dry my hair straight. When I tried that, I would become frustrated because no matter how long I tried, it would never become “perfectly” flat like those “popular” girls due to how curly my hair is. 

I remember asking my babysitter if I could borrow her flat iron for a day. It was one of those that claimed that you could flat iron your hair while it was wet. However, I would recommend not doing this unless you want to burn your hair off. 

When my mother got me a flat iron, I was so excited. I would wake up at least two hours before I had to leave for school, so I could have time to straighten my hair. With my very curly thick hair, it would take at least an hour to straighten it. I wish I was exaggerating. 

I even continued this going into high school. When I became a senior, I started to care less due to senioritis. I would throw my hair up in a bun or ponytail most days. I was a cheerleader and would straighten my hair for the majority of the games because that is what was being emulated as beautiful at that time. 

It did not occur to me until I arrived at college that maybe my hair was actually beautiful the way it was. I joined KU Hillel and met so many Jewish women with hair like mine and thought their hair was stunning. 

I took a quiz to figure out what type of curl I had because different products are best for different hair types. I found that I have 3A curls, which are springy curls that have a “S” shaped pattern. I looked for 3A hair routines on YouTube and found one that worked best for me.

I realized those girls who would flat iron their hair had fairly straight hair naturally. Flat ironing their hair would maybe take 20 minutes at the most. I also realized those same girls maybe wish they had hair like mine. 

With beauty, the grass always seems to be greener on the other side. We tend to always want what we don’t have instead of cherishing what we do have. I wish I had not flat ironed my hair all those years and cherished what I was born with. I wish I could go back in time and tell my teenage self that I am beautiful the way I am. Being unique is beautiful. Let’s celebrate each other’s beauty. 

Sophia is a Junior majoring in journalism with a minor in creative writing. When she is not writing for HerCampus, you can find her eating chocolate or watching The Office.
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