Connecting Over Curls

by Kaya Marriott

Just over a week ago, I met up with the beautiful (inside and out) Bréa. (This lady right here:)

IMG_8307Initially, I had expected to do one, short but sweet post about the encounter. It was simply going to be a transcript of an interview with an old class-mate, describing her experience “Going Natural”. But the thing is, I got so much more than I had anticipated out of meeting up with her, that I realized I needed to do a bit of an introductory post:

A few weeks ago, maybe even a month now, I was scrolling through Instagram and saw a picture of a girl rocking her dyed-red, natural hair. This immediately spoke to me on a personal level, because alongside dyeing my hair purple, bright red hair has long been on my bucket list.  I clicked the image and realized that this girl with the awesome hair happened to be someone I went to high school with.

Bréa and I have always been friendly, and I think my mom always secretly wanted to be friends with her parents… but despite being in the same classes, and our younger siblings being in the same classes,  we never really knew each other. But when I saw her photo, I immediately felt a sort of kinship. It was the same sort of feeling I get when I see a girl on the street with natural hair; I just can’t help but make awkward eye contact and smile ear to ear.

I really have no idea what motivated me to reach outside my little bubble. Maybe it really was just the affinity I feel towards people with natural hair, or maybe my drive for a good blog post, but either way, something made me message her. I invited her to not only do an interview for my blog, but also, if she was interested; to do a small little photoshoot. Keep in mind, I had about one week of photography experience under my belt at this point, so I still don’t know what I was thinking.Any who, kindly and graciously, she agreed, and we set a date, time, and after me humming and hawing basically to the last minute; a meeting spot.

IMG_8263It was the night before when the panic started to set in. While I am known for being a friendly person, I am very introverted, and rarely purposely place myself in social situations. My biggest worry was that outside of my pre-meditated interview questions, what was there to talk about? Especially while taking photos of her. High school? That could only take me so far. Small talk, while I have been told I am skilled at it, is the bane of my existence, and I was dreading it well into the night.

When our meet-up time finally rolled around, I could not have been more wrong about the encounter. What I had figured would be two hours tops of my day, ended up being nearly five hours worth of conversation.

And I mean good, deep, thoughtful conversations. I don’t remember having to bring up the weather as a filler even once!

IMG_8525It was amazing how such a surface similarity like hair allowed us to open up a connection to so many other things, when otherwise I probably would have missed out on the chance to get to know such an awesome person.

The whole experience had me realizing a couple of things that my mom will be (and has already been) saying “I told you so” to.

  1. High school wasn’t everything. I mean, as someone who had especially hated high school, I always knew this to be true. But still, I had never once anticipated that there were people in high school that I would connect with later on in life. Despite the small handful of friends I took with me into the adult world, I never really thought I had anything in common with the rest of my classmates. You forget, or don’t even think that while you’re growing up and drifting further from your high school experiences, so is everyone else.
  2. People will connect with each other when they need to (or perhaps, “when it’s meant to be”). I know this sounds a little cheesy, but I think there’s a lot of truth there. It was my mom who said that Bréa and I were probably meant to connect when we did. Although we grew up with many similarities that could have had us being friends or at least creating more of a connection through our teenage years, no one could have forced us to do so. I don’t know about for her, but for me, our meet up seemed to happen at a perfect time. It hugely solidified where I wanted to take my blog. I want to make it less about me, and more about others and their journeys, and it wasn’t until I voiced that to her, that I realized how true this was. Something tells me that if I had reached out to her two weeks into starting my blog, I probably wouldn’t have had such a realization.
  3. And finally: Hating small talk can be a beautiful thing. I think this is one of the reasons why our time together extended for so long, and why conversation spanned to so many different topics. Maybe it was because we weren’t complete strangers, or maybe we’re just open people, but at the end of the day, we both seemed to prefer good conversation over light banter. I think that more good than harm can come from opening up to others, and I think that’s a lesson I’m going to consciously carry forward.

And that is all I have to share. Stay tuned for the interview to hear Bréa’s Journey from relaxing her hair to the Big Chop, to where she is now  (I am finally done typing out the transcript, and just need to assemble it!)

~Comfy Girl With Curls

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