swoodward writes:

Hi Nikki,

My last relaxer was in June of 2009 and I BC’d in March. I had awful hair when it was relaxed. My daughter summed it up brilliantly – my hair looked good the day of my relaxer and the rest of the time it looked like “dry straw”. At least it did to me. I received my share of compliments, but in the back of my mind I always felt a little like a poser. As though my hair wasn’t real or that I didn’t look like who I really am.

My hair was thin, broken and sad. I hated it in the end or rather I hated what I had done to it and during that transition and well after my big chop I wondered if my hair would ever fill out or if it would ever be beautiful.

I discovered a lot of natural hair sites and of course CN was one of them. Everyone is so supportive and encouraging, especially on CurlyNikki! I found wonderful styles and stories and recipes and I just squared my shoulders and took off. I began the journey of discovering my own hair and what it could do. I learned how to be gentle and started to really take better care of myself overall. Now when I style my hair, I feel a sense of accomplishment and beauty. I’ve been getting a lot of looks too and most of them are admiring. My confidence was way up.

Then today, I was in a natural products store with my best friend. The manager was really sweet. She seemed so helpful and friendly as she showed me all of these fabulous products – all natural massage soaps, shampoo bars, and particularly a hair cream for dry hair. The cream seemed interesting and was very expensive. She offered to put some in my hair, pulled a small curl and worked it in, then said my hair would just get better and better. Then she offered to put some in my girlfriend’s hair. My girlfriend is a tall Chinese woman with a lot of presence and long straight dark hair. Not five seconds after the store manager started touching her hair, she started going on and on about how beautiful it was. I was instantly angry. I mean my hackles rose straight up. She didn’t say anything about my hair and I knew good and well that it looked great. I had extra volume and it was big. My ends are amazing and my curls defined with just the right amount of frizz. It wasn’t greasy… it was soft. Why didn’t she compliment me?

It was really galling because I knew that my girlfriend had permed her hair curly twice, then straight twice with the Japanese perm and had dyed it multiple times in between! It looks great but her latest color covered up a whole mess of damage! It’s not that I want to take away from the smoothness or beauty of her hair but darn it, when are people going to see my hair type as beautiful? Was her hair beautiful automatically because it was straight?

Has anyone ever experienced that feeling of resentment? I know I shouldn’t care but I can’t help it. AND I feel guilty because I admire my friend’s hair (I think her hair is beautiful too). But I don’t want to take away from my own.

Have you ever experienced this? How did you handle it internally?
I don’t want to be a hater.