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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Scranton chapter.

It’s always during cold afternoons after long days and even longer conversations when my defense mechanisms slip away. My exhaustion brings me back into my default patterns, where I feel the most vulnerable and the most insecure.

It’s asking yet another cute boy, “what’s your type” and no one ever saying afros. It’s hoping for open-mindedness and asking if they like your hair, the response often just being “sorry.”

Your preferences feel valid, but they hurt me sometimes. I don’t know what I’m supposed to think about myself when my traits aren’t universally admired. Only a minority finds this minority beautiful. I have my favourite hair type in the world and on hollow afternoons I find myself wanting to straighten it. Because maybe the cute nerds will like me better when I’m less intimidating. Maybe they can picture themselves with me then, when I’m more familiar.

I know my worth doesn’t come from a man. My sense of worth comes from my humanity. But tell me your resolve would never waver if prejudice rejected you before you even opened your mouth. If before you even made them laugh, the interest was gone. On days like this I feel the most vulnerable and I know tomorrow I’ll be renewed. Tomorrow, I’ll wrap up my beautiful box braids before proudly making my way through campus, in spite of the looks I know I get. In spite of the times, I’ve seen them stare through reflections.

“They’re looking because you’re beautiful”

Then why don’t they say that after asking if it’s real.

“Your hair is so pretty”

So why do you reject your own frizz and puffiness, the very traits you tell me to love.

“Don’t listen to people about your hair.”

I bet you picture your soul mate with long, loose strands. Locks that fall and frame her face.  She’s beautiful… and I’ll praise her as my sister every day. 

Still, where does that leave room for me when all I do is take up space? But I’ll feel beautiful again tomorrow. I’m sorry that I hate you again right now. 

Orgullosa Afro-Latina at the University of Scranton who was born in Puerto Rico and grew up in Scranton. I am here to challenge, educate, and make you laugh all in one sitting. International-language Business & Philosophy Major "You've got to jump off cliffs and build your wings on the way down." -Ray Bradbury