Debra Swersky
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Aggressive Curl

I have an aggressive curl. It shows up every time I wash my hair, it gets bigger throughout the day grabbing more and more hair from the side of my head to incorporate into its cyclone-like spin, and it’s always in my face. Same spot. Same curl. And :::sigh:: I don’t want to get a haircut. 

In May, pre-Rwanda, I donated my fourth ponytail of 12-inches to Locks of Love. Locks of Love deems four ponytails as enough hair to make one wig for a child suffering from hair loss due to alopecia. (Said differently, 1x12-inch ponytail is only enough for 1/4 of a wig.) After donating my fourth ponytail, I decided that my “hair farm” of 15-years had been “over-farmed” and was thinning. Since the ponytails need to be organic (i.e. never dyed and undamaged by styling), I didn’t want to start taking hair growth supplements to continue the donation process… So, I was left this year with short curly hair, an upcoming move to a city with 100+ degree heat, an aggressive curl, and no desire to spend money on a haircut. What to do?

I’m doing nothing. (Still haven’t been to get my haircut… I will eventually, but not now.) Lucky for me, approximately 10-something years ago the love of my life said, “I like your curls better.” So I stopped my sporadic-straightening and went with “all curls, all the time.” Shortly thereafter my curly-haired older sister told me about DevaCurl and how I can better “embrace my curly hair” using their styling technique and products. Their methodology fascinated me. I’ll paraphrase it for you:

Own it. 

Resistance leads to acceptance: I have curly hair. It’s a part of me. People know me here in Dallas as the petite brunette with short curly hair (go figure, there aren’t many of my type here in town). I have to own that brand. For the past few weeks I’ve been fixated on this concept of trying to “own” my hair more. Do more of what I’ve been doing instead of less. Sally Hogshead would ask me: “How do I become more of my [curly haired] self?” For the past few weeks I struggled with my response. And then this past week I flipped my part and experienced what my mentor would say, “What want[ed] to happen here?” (originally from Alan Seale) Do you know what happened? My aggressive curl diffused itself. It showed me a side of my curly hair that I had never seen before. And, it stayed out of my eye a bit. But it was all me! No costly haircut, no change of product, no technique switch. Just a different spin on the same ol’ me.

Then I stood back from the mirror and I thought to myself… what really just happened? Well, for starters, I owned my petite brunette short curly hair brand. I didn’t, cut, color, or straighten it to be like other petite brunettes. I became more of what I already had. I owned it. 

And then I looked at my favorite brand that I struggled with a couple of weeks ago. What happened there? They didn’t own the unique facets of their brand: their competitive advantages.  They confused their loyal customers. They took their short curly hair and put on a purple pixie cut wig to try to compete with their “competitors.” But, it’s hard to own a “purple pixie cut” without being the person who has built the “purple pixie” brand presence.

In short: Own it. It’s easier, and less costly, than trying to be something you’re not.

Debra Swersky