Twist Out Blues

You what I hate these days? I hate what Trump is doing to America; I hate driving in New York City and I hate doing a twist out and my style disappearing within two days. Honestly, it takes a lot for me to dislike or have anger towards anything. I find comfort in being cool about most things. But when you put time and energy into a style and it is gone…..it becomes increasingly challenging to maintain that zen like mood.

On Sunday night, I put my hair into twists. I sat in my bed while watching the Walking Dead and preceded to do my hair. My hands worked through my hair carefully parting each strand to the best of my ability. (I actually am very bad at parting, ha ha.) My hands put some time into each piece of hair treating it delicately. When I was done, I put a hair cap over it to preserve the look. My hair was left in the twists for about two days to continue the preservation of the look I wanted. On Wednesday, I took the twists out and the style did not look too bad. It had a mixture of perfect and lopsided curls that accentuated my style. It was not perfection, but it defined my look.

For some reason this morning, it looked even better. It had definition, volume and the curls were looking great. I was so excited. I went on to take a shower like I do every day. However when I was finished, the popping volume was GONE!!!! My hair had shrunk so much. It looked like how it normally does after a few days of a twist out. This has happened before after taking a steamy shower, but I am just so sick of it. It sucks when humidity ruins your hair. Venting here is making me feel a bit better, but it truly is frustrating when the warmth that actually puts you at so much ease into your routine destroys the time and effort put into your tresses.

However, I cannot help but love the diversity my hair naturally possesses. It changes when it feels best. I can only do so much to control it. I am loving my kinks but that love turns into frustration at times. It is like loving a child; you come into your once clean kitchen and find a tornado of a mess. Your anger rises quickly, but you find a way to swallow it and handle that situation like a champ (or try to) because in your heart you know the love you have for the sometimes wild one is unconditional. My wild mane will always have my heart. I will do my best to understand it one day at a time. So for today, I will put on my armor of chill and embrace the shrunken kinks my hair decided to morph into.

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This was after a successful twist out. =)

Gliding into 2017

Today, I am choosing to write a sort of reflective piece about the past year. I seriously do not want to write some cliché new year, new me garbage. Heck, it is cliché to even crap on people who do that. However, there is an innate desire for people to want to reflect on the ups and downs of the past year. We cannot help it as human beings as we fumble through this mess called life. Yes, I do it too. I wonder who will I be next year, how will I evolve or how will I stay the same. I personally feel in every second that we are breathing that distorted oxygen in and out of our lungs we are changing. You are never the same person the following day. But at the same time, you are not going to be completely transformed. It is more of a glide than a race to who you will become. 

This year has been an incredible year of growth, change and struggle for me. I got accepted into Hunter Silberman School of Social Work. In this grad school experience, I am learning so much about self-awareness, the social injustices that plague our society and about interventions on how we can assist those suffering from the many demons that haunt them. That whole experience deserves a level of it’s own and that is not the only level of growth I have experienced this year. I also had to fully embrace my natural hair. I learned and am still learning about what makes my kinky coils, how to take care of it and most importantly how to love it. Becoming natural was not easy, but I am thankful for every moment that I am experiencing this hair change. It was not just a change in hair texture; I feel like I am owning who I am and who I was always meant to be. As my hair transitioned, I transformed. I am finding myself becoming more health conscious. I am more invested in the world around me and want to do more in understanding the real truth about it. I no longer just accept what I hear and try to challenge what I hear on a regular basis. I smile but shake my inner fist at the world for not doing better. Ha, of course this is also school’s doing to opening up my mind to how everything works. I also find my style changing but at the same time it represents who I have always been. My growth is a representation of what I was always meant to become.

However, I am still trying to figure out who I am and what is it that I really want out of life. I know I do not want much but I do have the simple goal of being happy. In a way, I feel I have already accomplished my goal. There were some moments in 2016 that made it difficult for me to work my facial muscles into a smile even if frowning is more difficult. Trump winning was the biggest shock to many people this year. Even Trump seemed to be shocked. How could such a misogynist, racist bigot be our president? Especially against someone who was clearly more qualified. As I slowly understand a bit more about how the world works, I wonder if there is some outside force secretly laughing at the way the gears of society is turning. Of course, they must be pressing some buttons to cause those gears to turn. The continued rise in police brutality and injustices against my people only seem to grow while this man is getting closer to accepting his place at the white house. (If he ever leaves Trump tower of course). Many questions plague our minds as the shock settles into acknowledgment of a new era that our hearts truly cannot accept. However, there have been bands of unity across the country that is working against the hateful attacks that attempt to break us down. In these dark times, one thing I know for sure is that we will not be brought down. As a nation overflowing with so much beautiful diversity, we have come so far. Even as the laws may change, we have to start paying attention to the surprises to our liberties and fight it. We must continue to stay strong as a united front against these systems that work to destroy us. After all even with the negative back story to how this country was founded, it is still our home; let’s make it our home.

Twenty sixteen was also an end to some relationships I thought would never end. I do not want to waste too much time writing about this, but it was something I definitely was surprised had terminated. I did fight very hard to make it work. I learned so much about myself in what I did wrong and how I could work to do better in the future. I thought about ways that I could have rectified the situation. I constantly berated myself for the stupid mistakes that I made that could have made it work. However, through time I learned that in all my effort, both of our effort, it was not meant to last. The pains we carry with us our embedded in our spirits as a push, a lesson, a means of strength into conquering tomorrow. I would not be the person that I am today if I was still in that place struggling to make it with that person. My growth happened because of the pains I endured while in that space. The age old saying that everything happens for a reason is always on constant repeat in my mind. But it is there as a reminder that all of the crappy, uncomfortable, pains to my spirit are there to build me up into the phenomenal human being that I am becoming. It is obviously working because I am usually way more humble. Believe me, I love being modest. There is still so much more work to my character that will come to place as I get older. But I think it is OK for everyone to sometimes acknowledge how fantastic they are. As long as you are also aware that you are never done becoming awesome.

Anyway, I am mostly content with the way 2016 played out. I have accomplished so much, grown in ways that I did not expect and now I am excited to see where my growth will take me in 2017. For those of you reading this, I know you are some pretty incredible specimens on this Earth. Please remember to honor your growth however big or small they may be; each moment is responsible for making you into who you are destined to be. Every morsel of pleasure, pain and comfort are the necessary ingredients to being. Laugh, smile, cry, scream; do whatever feels comfortable to you in your moment. Let us go into 2017 like stars and keep on shining. Have a wonderful New Year! 

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Trimming the Tresses

UPDATE: When I originally wrote the following, it was back in May. I finally cut off those insipid ends. My hair now looks….alive. It is a rebirth from the conformed nature I put it through for so many years. Don’t get me wrong, permed hair is awesome; ALL hair types are incredible depending on the style of the individual. However, sometimes your hair just needs to breathe even for just a little while. I personally think I will always let my hair do it’s thing the way it was meant to. Not sure I would ever go back, but let’s see how I evolve over the next few years.

Here is the current state of my hair. I have a struggle dealing with my two type hair. One is growing quite vibrantly as it would showcase it’s tight coils like a beautiful garden of tulips. The other is trying desperately to outshine what’s naturally meant for my head so it shoots out at the front blocking my natural tresses from blossoming to truth.

There was a time when I started this journey that I couldn’t even think of cutting off my permed ends. It had become a part of me for so long that it was difficult to fully watch it go. I knew that going natural would mean eventually getting rid of my chemically straightened mane. At the start, however, I didn’t want to rush into it; taking my time was part of the process.

Now after about a year of going natural, I’m ready to cut off what was a part of who I was. In the past year, I’ve evolved so much from who I used to be. As a twenty-seven year old woman, I’m ready to shed off my old layers and become more of the woman I am meant to be; this includes cutting off my perm. Like a flower shedding off dead petals to make room for the new, I’m ready to blossom into the new me.

 

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My hair blown out and completely natural.

 

The Tool Kit

To put in my hair or to not put in my hair? That is the question. Choosing the right hair product is like going to a new restaurant. Everything looks divine. You read the ingredients, check out the pictures, even the smells masking the venue will have your taste buds bouncing around in a frenzy. The combination of it all makes it difficult to make a choice. This is how I feel when I’m in the hair product section. Everything looks so enticing in terms of what can be put in my hair. Think about the language they use to write about each product.

“This soothing lather seeps into your scalp leaving your hair rich with volume and shine.”

“Tame those tresses while keeping your mane fresh with our shine and frizz control.”

How do I choose? It’s a tough decision, but the best way to pick what belongs in my hair tool kit is that magic place that lives in our hands, in our laps and in our homes. The internet introduces me to a bountiful amount of opinions made from all types of women with different hair issues. It’s always so reassuring to find a related hair issue to mine there.

Through all of the various products that I read about (Dr. Miracles, Mixed Chicks, Carol’s Daughter, Cantu, etc), there’s one that always seems to be at the top of the list: Shea Moisture. Without even realizing it, my Shea Moisture collection has grown. Throughout this process, Shea Moisture has held it down in making me feel more at ease and comfortable in transitioning. My tool kit will lead me to the natural hair glory that I’ve been waiting for. I’m so excited!!!!

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Hair Half and Half

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Hair in natural style on my birthday last year.

 

I’m used to having hair of one. solid. texture. It iis either permed or natural. Hair, pick a side already. The problem I have right now is not knowing what to do with it. When I look in the mirror, I don’t see the same person anymore. No more straight locks. No more bounce. No more stability. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had plenty of days where my hair was out of control when I had the perm. If I did not go to the salon and did it myself, it would make this tent formation. My hand would fly into my hair every so often to erratically comb down the tent into something somewhat pleasant. Of course, my hair had its own plans. It was not going to stay down for nothing.

Now my hair is shorter and mixed: half natural and half permed. Natural hair has an authentic wonder radiating from the truth residing in all of us. Permed hair shows a different transition our hair can go through in bringing out a unique look to our overall character. Both have their definitions of beauty. For the past few years, black women have started to embrace their true locks rather than depending on this chemical tool for straightened hair. I am finally now on this path too. It is just difficult dealing with the two textures at the same time. Before my hair gets to the point of where it was meant to go, it is imperative to take care of the new growth and what is left behind. This means I must learn to embrace both textures. Hair, I am ready to do all that I can for you to be at your best. Even if it means going half and half for the time being.

 

 

Salon a Changing

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Hair done. No perm.

For years, I’ve embraced the routine that is going to the Dominican Salon.

Step 1: Show up

Step 2: Tell the stylist what you want (usually a perm or wash and set)

Step 3: Wait for them to call you to wash your hair.

Step 4: Get your hair done which includes *drum roll please* washing your hair, getting it conditioned (if they ask), hair dryer for 15 minutes, washing out the conditioner, roller set, sitting under the dryer for 45 mins and then finally the style or wrap.

This is a process I have been doing more or less every two weeks for years. It’s part of the ritual for looking fly. Having a fierce bob to rock is heaven for me. All of you women can relate (or maybe even some men can too) on receiving a nice glow once you get your hair done. Everything and everyone is just wonderful once your locks are looking tight. Sometimes, my style changes a bit but this process has never really changed.

However, since I decided to go natural things are a bit different. Of course, I’m abstaining to putting the relaxer in my hair. So this process, as I learned the other day, will be a bit different. The hair magicians who do my hair for the most part are pretty awesome. But I feel like every time I make a trip to the salon lately, they react to my locks as if my growing truth is an insult to their optics.

Stylist:  Since your hair is not permed, what am I supposed to do?

Me: I don’t know. You can blow it out.

Stylist 2: That’s what I said.

The attitude and shade is enough to keep me away. My hair is different now and I know it’s something they’re not all too used to. But it’s hair. Please just take care of it the best way you know how. It’s difficult enough going through this journey when discovering the “terror spot,” the breakage and the fact that the oh-so-wonderful cream I’ve been using is oh-so-deadly in damaging my scalp. The least I could get is some positive vibes and work ethic. As I go along this journey, I hope to find more people who could bring great energy to me. The shade and attitude package can stay outside. In all, let the new year be more filled with uplifting hair experiences (possibly at natural hair friendly salons?)

Happy New Year! =) =) =)

 

 

 

Hair Scare!

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Ryuk from Death Note

It is crazy how something you practically pushed into non-existence can become such a scary problem. This thing is like a grotesque reminder of why it is never good to let some things slide. It even reminds me of this anime character Ryuk from Death Note – it is always there some how reminding me of my impending doom. Alright, I’m going to pull it back because I’m getting a bit carried away. However, this “terror spot” is no joke and it must be taken seriously.

My best friend Gabby, who has amazing hair styling skills, (Seriously, if you ever need your hair done hit her up.) helped me untangle my hair when I took out my marley twists. She taught me that when taking out transitioning hair it is good to place the hair in a conditioner and to comb through it in order to soften the hair. It is better to do so to also limit how much damage caused to your mane. She saved me from making a terrible mistake. I almost just combed through it without the necessary precautions. When she was helping me out, there was still some breakage to my hair. For any woman who wants to swear they do not let their hair bother them, I’m sure none of them can stand on a soap box and say hair breakage does not have any effect to them. For certain, it woke me up. Then if that was not enough, the “terror spot” had gotten bigger. Gabby informed me that I had to cut more of the permed hair because basically the two textures cannot function together. It is like they are fighting against each other and the natural hair is winning. I have to take more steps to help my hair get from weak to strong. Through all of this, I’m so grateful to have a person like Gabby to be by my side during this process. Me, my hair and my scalp are being reacquainted. The little follicles on my head are desperate to meet me again. Believe me, I’m eager to meet them again too.

In the spirit of this holiday season, I hope to give myself the treat of taking better care of my tresses. Anyone out there who has the gift of advice, support, or whatever you have to offer, it would be greatly appreciated. We could become a part of a community of sisters helping each other out in any hair journey. To all out there, happy holidays. Wishing you all the best to you and your family during this season.