Sophie (age 14)
When my wavy hair turned really curly in sixth and seventh grade, I started straightening it—a task that was totally exhausting.
At 11 P.M., after studying and homework, I’d spend an hour and a half blowing it dry and flat-ironing it. Then I’d get into bed and try to sleep carefully so I wouldn’t mess up my hard work.
By morning, a few curls had escaped so I’d spend more time trying to iron them out.
One day, a friend asked me why I straightened my hair. When I told her it was because a boy I had a crush on said he liked it straight, she said, “If he really likes you, he’ll like you whether your hair is straight or curly.”
She was right! So I put away my blow-dryer and flat iron and let my curls just be. They looked limp and unhealthy at first, but once I stopped torturing them, they began to look great.
And that taught me a valuable lesson: I shouldn’t straighten my hair—or do anything else in life—because of what someone else thinks.
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