How I Learned to Love My Thick, Coarse Hair By Working With It Instead of Against It

For as long as I can remember, I have wanted sleek, shiny hair. I used to watch Jennifer Aniston on Friends with her amazingly shiny, voluminous hair and was completely obsessed. I even dyed my hair brunette in hopes that the color would make it shine like the top of the Chrysler Building. All it did was make me cry and send me back to the hairdresser two days later to make me a blonde again.

Don't get me wrong. I love my hair. Like, so much. It's thick and full, something that a lot of women envy. But I could never get over how coarse it was. Yes, coarse hair means that it's thick and strong, but it's also a pain to dye and regularly clogs the drain in my shower (and I so miss the ex-boyfriend who would fish it out for me!). It's temperamental, usually affected by any change in the weather, and is sometimes more work than it's worth, TBH. I just wanted my hair to look like a Pantene commercial and went through product after product and technique after technique in order to try to achieve the perfect results. I never got them and would get a bit down about it.

But, after flipping through some photos one day, I really learned to love and appreciate my hair for exactly what it was. Even though my hair wasn't perfect in those photos, it was pretty freaking solid. In fact, it looked soft and smooth, even if it wasn't as shiny as Jen's. And that's when I started thinking. My hair could give me a good curl when I wanted. Flowing beach waves when I wanted. It straightens out pretty well, too, although a second-day or slept-on blowout actually makes for the best look. It's easy to style, too, as long as I have a million bobby pins at the ready. Hey, I am one of those lucky people who can wash and go with just a quick antifrizz serum applied, and it actually still looks like I gave enough effs to care (spoiler alert: I don't give any effs some days).

It's all about self-confidence, and my years-long battle with my hair was definitely what opened my eyes — well, after the bangs grew out. (Never again!)

I've learned that in order to have a good hair day, I have to accept my hair (and what it wants to do!) and not force it. I can't curl it if it doesn't want to curl. I can't part my hair to the side if it really wants to middle part that day. I can do my very best to get it the way I want, but I should always have a backup plan so I feel as beautiful as even the best hair day. I have a few styles that I've mastered for those days I can't even deal, but they still allow me to feel comfortable. And I have learned to prep my hair for big events and to leave a little extra time to switch styles if something is just not working. I no longer get upset about it. I just know that this is the head of hair I was born with and sometimes it needs a little extra attention.

And, as weird as it may sound, accepting my hair has forced me to accept other things about my body, too. I just learned that it's not worth obsessing about how you look to the outside world, but making yourself feel good is the most important. If you feel good about your hair, your outfit, your weight, or your new lip color, then you look as beautiful to everyone else as you feel. It's all about self-confidence, and my years-long battle with my hair was definitely what opened my eyes — well, after the bangs grew out. (Never again!)

Oh, and Jen? Yeah, I'm still jealous AF of your mane, but I found myself a pretty good serum that gives me a decent shine.