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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at USF chapter.

For a lot of my curly haired people out there, we know that our hair is truly part of our identity. It takes most of us years of patience to learn to love it. With that being said, people say hair holds memories and I, for one, thought it was such a cliche saying, until eight inches of my hair were cut off in a freak hair accident and I was absolutely distraught for weeks. Seriously, it was insane. It was genuinely hard to look in a mirror without sobbing, knowing that my curly hair had been absolutely botched beyond belief (I’m talking disgusting bob with no layers and my hair looking like a Truffula tree from the Lorax after growing it out for two years). I didn’t leave my apartment for literal days and just sat there crying over something as seemingly trivial as my hair. My curly hair was always such a pressure point for me growing up in spaces where people didn’t look like me at all. I was ridiculed in private school, and told to move my big hair out of the way for people to be able to see the board. After highschool  I was done straightening it daily and I finally learned to love and embrace my curls; until this horrible experience happened back in December. 

Fast forward to the current day, I still struggle a lot with my appearance and overall feeling confident knowing there was a drastic unplanned change to my looks. So, I thought I’d share some of my findings in fostering confidence in yourself because, and this is hard for me to accept sometimes too, the value you denote to yourself shouldn’t be based on whether or not you like how you look that day. 

I sat a lot with myself to find what makes me lack confidence. For the most part, it was definitely my hair (or lack thereof now), but there were also other points of introspection that helped me understand why I get insecure. It truly helps to understand how I operate and what little things may send me into a mode of extreme self awareness. I’ve also had to learn that it is ok to be gentle with yourself. There are a lot of things that may cause you to get insecure or feel out of place, but it is always helpful to understand the why behind it. This translated into how I act or communicate in friendships or relationships, and helped me get to the root of my problem and learn how to instill confidence in myself. Thinking back on memories where people made me feel small or ridiculous may be difficult, but it helped me grow and realize a lot about myself. I’ve found that rewarding yourself and being kind to yourself for the little wins helps you promote appreciation for yourself, which further translates to confidence.

The biggest lesson that I derived from the horrific hair debacle of 2023 was the fact that we’re all just people living for the first time, and we don’t have to be put together 24/7. Just because you don’t think you look your best one day, didn’t ace that test, or hit that curb on the way to get groceries (me too though) doesn’t mean you need to be harsh on yourself. You are the one person you’re stuck with for the rest of your life, and just because things may go awry once in a while doesn’t mean your whole life has. Overall, I have learned to be kinder to myself in moments where things may not have gone as planned. Regardless of how you perceive yourself, just know that there’s people in this world who admire you for who you are and who you have become. 

Hi ! My name is Jess and I'm a second year at USF Tampa studying criminology with a minor in intelligence studies. I love iced chais, anything crystal related, and writing advice articles!