curls just wanna have fun

There are lots of things I worry about in terms of my career. Am I being challenged? Do I have enough experience supervising others? Am I an ethical team leader?

But there’s one thing I have never worried about having an impact on my professional life.

My hair.

Yeah. Call me naive but I guess I’ve never really seen it as an asset or a liability. Just as something to take care of and wash every so often.

But today I came across this article titled: Can Having Curly Hair Hurt Your Career? And I plotzed.

Seriously? I could be at a professional risk because of my HAIR?

Forget about the long hours and grueling events and meetings. According to some folks, those might all be forgotten, unfairly overshadowed by my unruly locks. Or something.

Here’s an excerpt from the article: It seems that curly hair, to some people, automatically represents a lack of seriousness. It goes against the slick-backed power suit look women are supposed to aspire to in the corporate world. Perhaps it is because curls are so unabashedly feminine.

Apparently this is a real thing though…

Look – I get it. Curly hair has a tendency to get – well – big sometimes. And it’s nothing you can safely run your fingers through. But I seriously can’t imagine it keeping me from any career opportunities that I’d actually want. As if the shape of my naturally given hair follicles indicates something innately different about me in the work place. Personally, I think having curly hair just makes me more awesome.

It gives me an edge. It starts conversations. It fascinates my friends and family when I’m in a humid climate. And man oh man has it taught me patience (because yes, I straightened it daily throughout high school, before I even owned a straightener).

That being said, if I had a desire to be the spokesperson for, say, Barbizon School of Modeling, or wanted to become the face of the next Pert Plus advertising campaign, perhaps I’d care more about it. But generally speaking, I like my hair, and when the alternative is something called a Brazilian Blow Out – which sounds more like a martial arts technique than something I’d pay for in a salon – I’m ok a la natural.

Here I am rocking some cutesy-pie toddler curls in my first car:
In this next photo I’m at my brother’s wedding. My curls were in a new-found state of glory in the humidity of Belize:
Note that I have not included any photos of the 20-some-odd years between when these two pictures were taken. That’s not because I don’t have any. It’s because, as any curly gal knows, there are some lots of awkward years spent learning how the hell to style curly hair. It’s a menacing learning curve combated only through lengthy product trials and a kind stylist. I kid you not, when you finally find a method that works, it’s like being reborn.

In fact, for years before I hit my curly-hair stride, my brother referred to me as the lesser-known member of Bone Thugs N Harmony, because sometimes that’s what my hair looked like. Yep.
 Stop laughing.

I’m proud to have curly hair – like my mom and my dad. It isn’t always easy to manage, but it’s me. And as much as I like to worry about even absurd minutiae in life, I am not going to spend any time pondering whether curly hair is the new glass ceiling.

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