"My Mexican mother didn't know how to manage my black hair, so she made me get a perm in the 7th grade. At the time, my straight hair gave me so much confidence because I started getting more attention from boys. My upbringing also gave me the impression that natural hair wasn't beautiful, so I would judge the black girls who were. But, in high school, I became more aware of social justice and black women's issues and was ashamed of how I'd disregarded my own black identity. Between that and years of constant heat and chemical damage to my hair, I stopped getting perms, cut my bellybutton-length hair, and eventually big chopped in April. I love my natural 3C/4A curls and am so excited to grow them out!"