Sunday, December 26, 2010

My Suggestions for Natural Hair Newbees & Transitioners

I recently realized how many people are in their first year of being natural or are seriously thinking about transitioning.  Personally, I think that first year is the most difficult - at least it was for me.  Also, I know others who have struggled a lot during their first year, so I thought I would put together a list of suggestions that should help you during that first year of your natural hair journey.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

My Stretch Marks Are My Badges of HONOR

With my friend at her 70s party.  I had to make the picture extra
large so you could see the stretch marks my friend was referring to

This has nothing to do with natural hair, but it has a LOT to do with loving yourself naturally.  We, as women, often put unrealistic expectation on ourselves or allow others to put unrealistic expectations on us.  If you haven't done so yet, then it's time for you to let go of the unrealistic expectations you put on yourself and/or tell others where they can put their expectations.

Monday, December 20, 2010

3 Years Natural - Time to Reflect!

Today marks three years of being natural.  Time to reflect!  In honor of my 3 year anniversary (BC Date 12/20/2007), I am sharing some of the ways I have changed since being natural.  I hope you enjoy my moment of reflection.

I should start by saying, that the picture above shows the very last time I wore extension and the last time I went to a hairstylist (she damaged my hair, but that another story for another day).  I was natural in this picture, but not ready to learn how to style my hair.  This picture was taken January 2008.  I took the extension out a month later and that's when the fun and learning pains began!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Nails, Hair & TLC

When I was in 7th grade, I started growing my nails.  I grew them so long, that most people could not believe they were mine.  They would literally perform an inspection to confirm that I was being truthful when I said they were not fake.  I don't wear my nails as long now as I did then, but I still have long nails and even now, some people do not believe they are mine.  Why?  Because we have grown accustomed to people wearing fake nails and most of the time when you see someone with long nails, they're acrylic.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Ending the Product Junkie Cycle

Soon, I'll be officially congratulating myself on 3 years being natural, so while reflecting on the journey, I thought about the best hair advice I ever received.  Believe it or not, it was from a natural brother during my first natural year and maybe if I did a better job of listening, I would've never became a product junkie. 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Finally at Peace with Me - All of Me

I think most women deal with some insecurities. However, I'm sure I had more than my fair share. It probably started when I was in grammar school and I found out that the pretty girls were light skin and had "good hair" and of course none of those descriptors applied to me. To add insult to injury, I was tall. So when we got together for our classroom pictures, I had to stand in the back row even though I thought it was really cute to sit in the front row, fold your hands and cross your legs, but those spaces were reserved for the shorter girls. They were cute and petite and I was long and lanky.

As we got older, the girls got curvy . . . but not me. Nope! Straight as a stick! In fact, my mother called me "sticky legs" cuz my legs looked like long sticks.

Also, I loved school and enjoyed a challenge, so I did very well academically, which earned me the unpopular title - nerd.

Why am I sharing this?

Because I am finally at peace with me - all of me.

I'm grateful that I did well academically and it was a blessing to be the kind of person who enjoyed a challenge. That is what got me through being a teen-age mom, graduating from college with honors, getting my Certified Public Accountant license and getting my Certified Fraud Examiners certification and that is what continues to get me through life's daily challenges.

Now, I love all 5'10" of my stature, 6'2" when I'm wearing heels (which is often) and 6'5" when I'm wearing heels and an afro puff :-)

Now, I adore my golden brown complexion and I see the beauty in my head full of kinky hair that I failed to see when I was younger.

Additionally, I embrace my slender body and the outfits it allows me to wear. What an overlooked blessing!

Ultimately, what I've learned is there was never a problem with me. Some of my insecurities were self-imposed and others were imposed upon me based on other people's perception or concept of beauty.

Why did I use their concept of beauty to define me?

Why did I look at other women as a gauge to measure against?

Who made them the standards of beauty?

Why did I accept that?

When I finally dismissed those images and accepted myself, the complete package, that's when I realized I spent years trying to fit in when I was intended to stand out.

There are still some people who tell me they think I looked better when my hair was straight. That's okay. That doesn't matter to me because when I look in the mirror, I see a beautiful reflection. Not just the outer shell, but an inner beauty and strength that I never saw or felt before. It is so powerful that people who do not personally know me can see it too.

Why am I sharing this? Because too many women deal with unnecessary insecurities.

When you change your perception, you change your life.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

"Poor Thang - Ain't Gon Never Have No Hair!"

My mother laughs when she tells me that story now, but when I was younger, I wanted my hair to hang down my back, or at least around my shoulders, and I wanted it to blow in the wind . . . wonder where I got that from??? Anyway, my hair was nowhere near my shoulders and hair loaded down with grease may shine, but it doesn't blow. Additionally, I didn't have "good hair", so my mother would think "poor thang - ain't gon never have no hair."

Thankfully, she was wrong and somewhere around my teen-age years, my hair finally reached my shoulders and I minimized how much oil I used in my hair so my hair would blow in the wind :-). The above picture was taken when I was in my early 20s.

Now my mother now laughs because I have more hair than either one of us ever thought I would have and I'm happy as a lark even though my hair doesn't hang down my back and these thick mounds of hair won't blow in the wind . . . although a strong wind might cause a ripple. Lol

It's another misconception that only hair classified as "good hair" grows. The fact is healthy hair grows and retains length. Since it took so long for my hair to reach shoulder length when I was younger, I am shocked that it only took 2 years to see tremendous growth with my hair in its natural state.

Below are pictures of the same hairstyle shown at different points in time. The first was taken during my first year of being natural. The second was taken 2 years later. So, have patience and take good care of your hair. It will grow!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Either Love Me or Leave Me Alone

I have a friend who feels the need to let me know that he believes I looked better when my hair was straight. This friend also looked through my profile pictures on facebook and told me that the one he liked most was the one where I was wearing a fake pony.

Of course the comments annoyed me and he heard an ear full from me for his remarks, but then I thought about it and realized that whatever issues he has with natural hair are his issues to deal with and I decided not to let them affect me. I felt no anger. I felt no hard-feelings towards him or his lack of knowledge. I decided 3 years ago, when I began wearing my hair naturally and receiving negative comments, that I wasn't going to let anyone's negative reactions affect the way I feel about me.

At this moment in my life, I feel beautiful. I feel self-fulfilled and complete. I feel independent and free. I don't worry about running from the rain or sweating at the gym. I embrace humidity, steamy showers and steam rooms.

So I decided to remove all pictures on FB that showed me with fake hair. In fact, the only straight picture I kept was the picture that shows my hair after my final chop and that was also the last time my hair was straight. I am firmly committed to wearing my hair naturally and doing whatever I can to support my fellow natural sistas and transitioners. I think most people are supportive, but you will always have a few that will try to bring you down. When that happens, you have to see your own beauty and represent you regardless of their thoughts.

I have fully embraced me and I allow my hair to do what it does best and that is command attention and respect. When I walk into a room, my natural crown announces my presence and my attitude clearly states either love me or leave me alone.