Staying true to yourself is an aspect that I value incredibly highly in any person. There have been many times in life when I’ve had to make the decision to either go with the majority or carve my own path and in general, I’ve gone with the latter.
But when I hit that awkward age of 14, I felt a lot of inner conflict, and it was mostly regarding my hair.
That might seem odd but when you’re fourteen, your hair is extremely important. Or at least it was back in 2006. It determined your friends, your social life (or lack of) and seemingly, your future.
My hair has always been
difficult to handle a giant ball of frizz.
Aged 14, most of my friends were straightening their hair and wearing makeup, things that I didn’t care for, except copious amounts of eyeliner so I looked like I’d walked straight out of Kerrang! magazine. What started as a simple ‘you should try straightening your hair’ became ‘let me straighten your head’ when I went round to friend’s houses, swiftly followed by ‘you look so much nicer with straight hair.’
This really confused me. With straightened hair I didn’t feel comfortable. I didn’t look like me and I just looked like I was trying too hard to be something I wasn’t. So I just didn’t do it. Despite being aware of how shallow some secondary school friendships can be, I took the risk. I didn’t want to look like everyone else or feel like I had to look a certain way to be liked.
Unfortunately, this wasn’t my only foible. I also had a huge disinterest in other stereotypically girly things in life. I wasn’t interested in wearing makeup, I wanted to play video games, read books and watch classic films. So suddenly I was faced with a big decision. My two best friends were constantly reminding me that the things I enjoyed doing weren’t cool. Wearing mostly black wasn’t cool, having posters of My Chemical Romance wasn’t cool, not straightening my hair wasn’t cool. And being friends with me was somehow a hindrance to their social lives. So I was given an ultimatum. Be more like us or don’t be friends with us, which turned to be more like we’re going to socially isolate you until you choose one or the other.
I didn’t want to lose my two best friends but I also didn’t want to not stay true to myself. I wasn’t about to give up my passions for a few years of ‘being cool.’ So I did the thing which I now feel was a brave decision and I stopped being friends with them.
Looking back this might seem like some petty high school drama but at the time it felt like my world was caving in. However, I’ve remained this headstrong since and never regretted sticking to my guns. Sometimes the road is rocky but being yourself and knowing who you are will never fail you.