People · Things

2 years Natural – How I got here

First of all…YAY! As most of us know, going “natural” isn’t the easiest of journeys but like all journeys it is incredibly rewarding. Some people are blessed to have the “it’s no big deal, it’s just hair” outlook but for other people, especially in the black community, hair means an awful lot. For a lot of us, our hair is a telltale sign of how we are feeling.  We dedicate hours of time, pounds of product and hundreds of our hard-earned dollars to coax our mane to whatever styles we feel represent our moods at the time. Either way I suppose should probably just speak for myself because I know that when my hair wasn’t right, my day was sure to follow. It’s been that way as long as I can remember. And THAT goes back to the very beginning of my love/hate relationship with my hair.  My story starts, when I begged my mom for a relaxer and she finally said, “Yes.”

I was the only black girl in an all white and very wealthy neighborhood with a little latino sprinkled in (shout out to my childhood bestie Carolina!). I wanted to fit in. I had no issue with my skin tone but specifically with my hair.  The “problem” or so I thought, was always my hair. I wanted bangs and hang time (a long thick a** high a** ponytail). I wanted to be able to take my hair out of the ponytail my mom slaved over and have hair that flowed down my back and graced my bum. I wanted to have hair that blew in the wind the way my friends’ hair did but had a hard time accepting that simply wasn’t an option. My mother was in beauty school at the time or perhaps just starting. I knew about relaxers because she was relaxing her hair at the time and man was it gorgeous! My mom was just everything. She dressed well and accessorized just right. Her makeup was light yet striking and her relaxed strands were glossy and ever-flowing.  All the while, in my baby mind I thought, “How come you can do it to your hair and I can’t!?”  We all know that old story.  A short time later she permed it and I was over the moon! Even had bangs in my second grade school photo. I was PUMPED. Soon after that I found out that not only do relaxers permanently change the texture of your hair but they also burned. And when I say burned we are talking about chemical burns that left my scalp tender to the touch.  A few times the burns were so bad, they would scab over and take days to heal. During which my newly relaxed hair would get caught in the scab as they healed causing tangles and breakage.  The pain was almost unbearable but the feeling of cool water running through my newly stick straight strands always made the pain a distant memory.

This continued for years. Every month like clockwork, I’d pull a chair to kneel on from the kitchen table, we touched up my perm at our kitchen sink until I was old enough to begin doing them on my own.  In my mid-twenties is when I started to notice my hair is was just kind of…there.  My hair was very fine to begin with but years of relaxing and heat-styling made my hair thin and very fragile.  I was wearing protective styles occasionally as they fit in my budget but outside of that I was chemically straightening then heat-styling way too often. Then suddenly the natural hair movement hit! It was everywhere! All these brown girls that had very similar stories to mine where jumping the creamy-crack ship!  For hours, I would lose myself watching video after video as these women of all ages transitioned over time or took the leap and big chopped their chemically damaged ends right there ON CAMERA. I was instantly inspired. I started to research relaxers and the damage they caused and tried to remember what my “real” hair was even like.  Why you ask? Because in my relaxed hair days, the very second I noticed what we called ‘new-growth’ I’d drop everything and head to my local beauty supply store to buy another at-home relaxer kit before anyone laid eyes on my non-laid non-slayed edges. Before I knew it, this whole “going natural” thing began taking up a large percentage of my daily thoughts. I kept hemming and hawing about whether or not this movement was for me.  Would my natural be too hard to manage? Or what if I looked ugly? After all, I couldn’t remember a time where my hair hadn’t been straight and frankly the thought of chopping my hair off no matter what the length or amount of damage was more than a bit overwhelming to say the least.  As time went by, I felt like all signs were pointing to newly natural me.  I started to respond to all those questions I was asking myself.

Q: What if I big chop and hate it?

A:  You don’t even have to big chop! You can transition for as long as you’d like. The chances of you hating it are slim-to-none. There is so much freedom that comes with cutting off those damaged ends. It may be startling initially like with anything else that is new, you will get used to it with time.  You also have the option of going to professional hair stylist and working with them to help you transition or find the right cropped cut to help you rock your big chop with pride! For those days where you just can’t seem to manage, protective styles are here to save the day! Wigs, weaves, braid and more are all available for whenever we need a break. Rest easy.

Q: What if I look ugly?

A: Umm wut?  The hair that grows from your scalp is perfect just the way it is and you can do whatever you want with it as long you remember that your follicles are yours and nobody else’s! I hadn’t realized that for whatever reason (ie: society enforced norms) I felt like my hair, black hair, kinky-curly-nappy hair was “ugly” which is RIDICULOUS! Our hair can stretch, shrink, bend and tuck into whatever shape and/or texture we chose. If that ain’t a blessing, I don’t know what is.

Q: What if I can’t take care of it? I have no idea how.

A:  Ok. You have a point. However, if you think about it, everyone walking this Earth starts learning everything with a knowledge base of practically zero.  We can read about things and soak up as much info as possible which is a phenomenal place to start but until we put the knowledge into practice it is all speculation. Practice people! Bring your tablet/phone into the bathroom, start your favorite show or movie and take your time getting to know your hair in a new way!

If you’re still doubting whether you can learn how to handle your own hair or anything else new in life for that matter, keep in mind that we all had to learn how to do things we probably never thought we would be able to do with ease now.  You will learn what your hair likes, loves and what it sure as hell doesn’t like.  It may take time, some longer than others with a few setbacks to be expected, but after a few months it’s not so scary.


Here I am, two years into my journey and looking forward to what may come. As of right now, I have no desire to go back to relaxing no matter how frustrating my hair is being that day.  Being able to say that alone is a win in my book.

 

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People · Things · Thoughts

Rolling with the…punches?

It takes me so long to get over things and it’s incredibly frustrating. It’s like my own mind wants me to be unhappy even though I want to move on. I know I don’t enjoy feeling this way. I shut down and can’t focus on anything but how terrible I’m feeling and the way it’s affecting the people around me.

Before you know it…I’m so quiet I can barely stand myself. I just want to scream or cry or talk. ANYTHING but sit there in silence like a child. But it’s totally out of my control.

I’m uncomfortable.  So uncomfortable. I want to go home and be like this alone. Being this way with other people just makes me feel worse. I don’t want anyone to have to be witness to this side of my personality. It’s not fair to them and it’s killing me. That’s why I always opt to just go home when those feelings come around.

I wish I could just shake it off.

I feel like I’ve been saying this is something I’d like to fix about myself for a really long time.

I’ve made no forward movement. It’s exhausting disappointing.  Why does this keep happening? Why can’t I figure out the tools to be better?

Why can’t I just roll with the punches?

 

People · Thoughts

Macro Madness: Day 1

My super awesome new bestie human is entering a fitness bikini competition and it’s the coolest thing I have ever witnessed. This chick lady girl woman  has completely changed her diet and life for the last 5 or 6 months to transform into what she has so lovingly called a “graceful sexy hairless porpoise.” Remind me to tell you guys about the time we Nair’ed her entire body later.

All these changes have inspired me. I have been struggling with my weight for the last 10 years of my life. Around 21, I woke up chubby and unhappy. None of my clothes fit right and I felt super lazy. I honestly never put the two together until years later when another good friend  got on the gluten-free train (along with every other female human and their squad.)  Believe it or not, it worked. I cut out gluten and most sugars/processed foods, working out daily and I looked GREAT! But honestly, I wasn’t very happy. This new diet made it really hard to eat. I wasn’t enjoying food so I feel sometimes i wouldn’t even bother. Just the thought of going out to eat with friends or family was such a process and people would eye-roll me so hard when I, in the least snotty way possible, tried to explain I was, “Just trying to eat better and avoid that icky feeling I get after bread.”

Let’s back track for a moment, shall we? Shortly before I decided to go all-in on this thing, I was already having some gastro-tummy tissues. Lots of indigestion and vurping. It was a very sexy time in my life.  Naturally, I avoided all my symptoms like a normal adult human until I almost lost my lunch while driving.  After that I went to the tummy doctor in my hometown. I requested whatever tests they do to try and figure out why I was vurping after everything I ingested (water included) and why nothing was coming out the other end (if ya know what I mean *wink wink.*)  The results came back, and guess what? I’m fine. The radioactive egg salad sandwich they fed me went through my system at a normal rate. They saw nothing alarming on my endoscopy, of which I was really hoping to get a front row seat but they put you under for that.  But yes, after all that, it turns out I’m totally fine. No celiac. No intolerance to note.  All I knew is that when I ate bread, my stomach would expand to the point where I would have to button my pants just to be able to sit comfortably and do my damn job! So after my friend said she has had some of those same feels, we went on that journey together.

Flash forward 3 years – I’m back on the gluten boat and so is every frickin’ mother loving pound I lost…and then some. I’m currently weighing in 5’2” 150lbs and feeling like a should have taken up sumo wrestling. I went to visit my dad the other day and his first words to me were, with a smile on his face might I add, “Hey girl, long time no see! You’re getting broad” ::insert straight faced emoji here::  My family is Jamaican. Jamaican aren’t good with feelings. Expressing them or otherwise. Over the years, I’ve learned that when a family member or any Jamaican for that matter insults you, it was probably meant to be a compliment but for whatever reason we do everything backwards. Either way, that comment mixed with new bestie’s awesomeness coupled with some downtime I have now has made me want to start taking my health more seriously. Of course, I’d like to look good but feeling good is where I really want to be.

Today will be day one. I’ve had many day ones like this but maybe this blog thing can hold me responsible. I want to feel better. So why not today?

Macro Goals according to MyFitnesspal and IIFYM:

Calories: 1333
Carbohydrates: 33 % or 109 g
Fat: 36% or 53 g
Protein: 32% or 105 g

 

Things · Thoughts

Dream.1.22.15

Part One:

 

I was in an unfamiliar high school filled with students who were all walking from class to class. I stop by an empty classroom and meet with a male teacher that I’ve never met before. Instantly, there are sparks. He smiles and I melt. There is definitely a sense of forbidding as we talk but neither of us walk away.  Together, we make our way down the hall. We stop and he turns to me and makes his desires very…ahem…clear. It’s aggressive and passionate. Of course, that is all I remember from this night. Part two was later that very same night…

 

 

Part Two:

 

The sky is gloomy and roads are wet from rain. In the courtyard of my local mall, I walk with a friend. Every square inch of the courtyard is bubbling over with people going from here to there and back again. A marble pool, sits in the back of the courtyard.  It is appears deep and dark but surrounded by sunlit grass spots and marble tiles along the perimeter.  I notice there are people over there. Fully clothed. Laughing and hanging out. Suddenly, everyone is fighting. Men and women a like. As I watch, I spot a familiar face in the crowd. She gets caught up in the fight and pulled to the very bottom of the pool. Without hesitation, I run full sprint into the pool, nearly jumping on top of her. She’s unconscious but otherwise unharmed. With every ounce of strength I can muster, I swim our bodies to the surface and help get her to a clearing. As she comes to, I begin to notice everyone’s eyes one me. Staring at me like I was some sort of masked superhero. But all I could think is, why didn’t anyone else notice her? Why didn’t anyone else jump in to save her?

 

Dreams.

 

People · Places · Things · Thoughts

ping-pong

Have you ever wondered about what people think about you? I don’t mean physically. What I mean is, have you ever just thought about the way you come off? The way your words may have come out? The way your overall personality is perceived? I know I shouldn’t. Everyone always says I shouldn’t. We shouldn’t. No one should. I know damn well that I shouldn’t. But…I do.

Every night, or what feels like every night now, my mind starts to wonder. I’m here in my apartment…alone and I start to wonder. I start to replay every conversation I’ve had that day. Questioning my responses and the receiving end’s reactions to them. Tonight, I sat in my kitchen while dinner was in the oven and for whatever reason I was caught in this weird state of paranoia. I asked myself, “What if the reality of my world is that everyone I interact with can’t fucking stand me!?”

I began to replay conversations with my coworkers and look for flaws. I looked for jokes that could have be taken the wrong way. I replayed texts I sent to friends and and family members.

This could just me, right? This could very easily be me just over thinking everything as I sometimes have a tendency to do. My Monday night rant to start off the week. Or is this some strange reflection of my lack of self-love. Is this just all my insecurities about what makes me “me” boiling over and revealing itself as sarcastic, insensitive, cold uber-bitch. Or MAYBE I’m just frickin’ paranoid.

I think I need a Donna. Donna is a character that was just introduced on a show I’ve been binge watching. Donna has been thru some shit. Her voice was scratchy like she’s smoked a pack a day since she was 15. Her hair is curly and frizzy over-dyed bleach blonde with ashy brown roots. She wore tie-die dresses and oversized sunglasses on her head. Probably about 47 years old and stood about 5’6 and half with clear blues eyes and freckles all over her face and neck. She had just beaten a battle with cancer with both boobs in tow. She was seeing life a bit differently now. Donna’s character is there as a friend of the main character’s husband. She ends up giving the main character, Val, some sage advice. Donna tells Val that she needs to let her bad feelings out. She tells her to let them out or else they were make her sick.

I need a Donna. I need someone to tell me that my feelings, negative, poise, happy or sad are okay.

And of course, I KNOW they are okay. I know somewhere deep inside me I don’t need another person to validate my feelings. But for fucks sake it would be nice for someone to come out and SAY to me, “You’re not half bad.”

Apparently, my inner voice isn’t loud enough. Or perhaps its too loud? ping-pong.

I hate ping-pong

That’s all.