Sacrificing Style for Strands

Tuesday, August 31, 2010 3:21 PM

I have struggled with money management for many years. Since I was 18 years old, basically. I didn't become aware of myself enough to try and change my ways until a few years ago. I was deep in the weeds of denial and blame back then. You know the routine. (or maybe you don't. if not, perhaps you can relate this to something other than finances.) I was an "immediate gratification junkie". I could not put off what I wanted in an impulsive moment, for what would benefit me in the long run. Even if the long run was just a few days away when rent was due. At the time, I favored the temporary exhilaration of a shopping spree over the servitude of turning over half of my paycheck to pay the rent. It was an endless cycle of spending money then feeling guilty about it. I was impatient and living outside of my means; slowly but surely sabotaging myself right out of the success I truly wanted. Deep down I didn't believe I'd ever truly be successful, so I told myself I'd better do what feels good right now. Living in the moment was my drug of choice.

My point in telling you my messy financial business is to point out that when we start to recognize our patterns, we can often see them at work in every aspect of our lives. So, what does this have to do with hair? After all, this is intended to be a hair post. Follow me.

Awhile ago, I shared with you all that I want to grow my hair down my back - waist length to be exact. Why? Because I love hair, and setting hair-related goals helps me to practice discipline and build confidence in my ability to make things happen. So, I joined Long Hair Care Forum to glean advice from other healthy hair growers and to share what I've learned from my years of hair recreation. I posted a question to the forum about how to get over the hump when your hair growth seems to plateau. I got many helpful responses. This is the one that finally hit a cord with me:

"I'm all about sacrificing style for strands these days, because what I've observed is that--with the exception a few--most ladies on here that are waist length and beyond protect their ends the majority of the time." - Curlyninjagirl

I don't know why this comment hit me more than the others. Other commentators said similar things. Being a girl who is drawn to catchy rhythms and lyrics, maybe it was the phrase "sacrificing style for strands" or something. Who knows. But all of a sudden it hit me. I already knew that I needed to protect my hair in order to retain length. Historically, my hair loves to be moisturized and put away. In the past, I learned that if I wear my hair in a bun the majority of the time, it will grow. Simple. All at once I realized that I just didn't want that solution. I wanted a quick fix that would require minimal discipline on my part. I wanted to find a solution that would allow me to still wear big, sexy twist outs most of the time. Because for me, wearing my hair in twist outs is to shopping sprees as buns are to paying the rent on time. Do you see the pattern yet?

No matter where I go or how much I think I've evolved, my stuff will always be my stuff. In other words, my vices and patterns have to be managed or they will pop right back up much like the bumps on my acne-prone skin. Thanks to Curlyninjagirl and many other helpful forum members, I finally recognized that in order to reach my goal there would have to be some sacrifice. As I've said many times, one of the keys to happiness is accepting that everything has a price. We think we are entitled to the desired result; so entitled that we think it is owed to us simply because we want it. We don't want to accept our circumstances, roll up our sleeves and do the necessary work, so we settle into complacency. Immediate gratification only gives you a temporary high, and then you spend the best of your energy chasing that high. Life keeps trying to teach me to be true to my priorities and experience the continual high of self-actualization. Eventually, I held myself accountable for my messy money meanderings. Likewise, I'm ready to sacrifice style for strands.

Tomorrow, I'll share my new bunning regimen and some pics documenting my current length for tracking purposes.

P.S. I know you know what self-actualization means but I wanted to share the definition because I dig it: the achievement of one's full potential through creativity, independence, spontaneity, and a grasp of the real world.

Right on.

It's Just Hair

Saturday, August 28, 2010 10:07 AM

Hello Lovelies!

I submitted this to one of my favorite hair blogs as a guest post. In the meantime, I thought I'd share it here as well. I've been working on guest posting/submitting articles on other sites so my posts here at home have decreased a bit lately. Coming up this week, I'll be sharing my fall hair regimen and some yummy inspiration and soul candy. Have a great weekend!

When I discovered the natural hair community online, I felt as if I'd been living under a rock. Where had I been?? With all of the resources and testimonials available online, I probably would have gone natural long ago had I discovered all of this information sooner. With that said, I'm glad that I didn't tune in until I was at the end of my transition. My decision was completely self-involved and uninfluenced. That is important to me because my journey was very personal and linked to a significant change in my outlook on life.

Once I came out of my cave and tapped into the network of natural hair resources online, I saw that I wasn't the only one experiencing this liberating change in perspective. I read stories about women like me who were becoming more self-aware and confident as they transitioned or big chopped. To my dismay, I also saw many women using the relaxed vs. natural debate as a way to cast judgement and label each other. At one extreme, some natural hair advocates believe that black women who relax their hair are unevolved and don't love themselves. At the other extreme, you have relaxed black women who view natural hair and the women who rock it as unsophisticated and unkempt.

School Daze, anyone?

Just like light skin vs dark skin, skinny vs full-figured, and the haves vs the have nots, we have let hate creep in to distract and divide us as if there is just one definition of beauty. It's just hair. It's just an accessory that God gave us to play with while we are in these bodies. We can use it to express ourselves or not. We can relax it, weave it, curl it, or not. In the big scheme of things, when we look back on how we lived our lives, whether we were relaxed or natural won't matter. We are all complex human beings whose experiences lead us in different directions. While I associate my journey to natural with my journey to personal enlightenment, this is not the case for everyone...and that's OK.

I don't intend to play down the significant impact of the hair debate on women in the black community. I am aware of the implications and deep rooted emotions. I know there's a need for discussion about the self-esteem issues, cultural stereotypes and pigeon holes. But we should all check ourselves for any degree of intolerance that may be influencing our attitudes in these discussions. Diversity of opinion benefits everyone and is necessary to avoid group thinking. As women of color, we are all shades, textures and sizes of beautiful and our capacity to be openminded with each other will only make us a stronger force in the world.

So, while I want my two daughters to feel beautiful with their hair in its natural state, I also want them to know that they have choices. They can wear their hair however they want and still be authentic and beautiful. I don't want them to define themselves by anything but character. All tangible things like hair, clothes, skin, shape - the things that define beauty for many people - are guaranteed to pass away. We should enjoy what we've been blessed with and have fun with it while we have it. Our preoccupation with the physical will only result in egotistical thinking which is counterintuitive to inner beauty and sisterhood.

How to find Peace of Mind...and Keep it

Thursday, August 12, 2010 11:50 PM

"The hero is a mind of such balance that no disturbances can shake his will."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Balance is everything. It's not optional because life requires it. Things fall down without balance. Balance is immortal, and no matter how much things fall down, it magically remains. The falling down is part of the balance. It's all like a dance in a way.

For me, everyday is a journey, where I am trying to maintain balance. The highs and the lows. The mistakes and the success. Excitement and boredom. Pleasure and pain. Balance. Accepting the necessity of it is freeing and life changing.

As we live through the extremes that create balance, we learn to ride the waves. To bend and not break. To appreciate life and not lose faith. What I now know is that, we don't choose balance - it's divinely a part of life. Our choice is whether we accept it or fight against it.

So, our peace of mind is our choice. When I'm restless, I remember that balance requires rest. When I lose something, I remember that I must lose in order to gain. When I experience setbacks, deep down I remind myself that the disappointment I feel is a temporary reaction to the effects of balance. I need to step back to move forward.

You will find and keep peace of mind when you let go and allow yourself to experience everything life has to offer - the good and the bad - without judgment. Embrace balance as an enlightening part of your life and have faith!

Blind Faith + Action = Success

Thursday, August 5, 2010 5:01 PM

"Getting an idea is step one. The rest of the steps are all about tricking your ego into shutting up so you can get stuff done." - Christina Kane, How to have unwavering faith in your own ideas

This quote is from a great post from Christina Kane's blog. This was right on time for me. Click here for the full article.

I believe that everything is possible if you have blind faith in your power to create. However, I don't always live my life as such. I'm working on it. For years, I allowed my fears to dictate what I did/didn't do and prevent me from taking risks. The fear of embarrassment and failure have always been at the forefront of my mind. I'm happy to say that I know better now. But habitually, I still have to really work at my self-talk and my focus to ensure that I'm not allowing doubt to guide my decisions.

As a working mom, I'm pulled in so many different directions on a daily basis. I worry that I'm not paying enough attention to everything and everyone as I should. Today, I'm reminded that I have to take time for me. I need quiet time to focus and refuel with positive "you can do it" affirmations and to silence the "you suck" whispers of my ego. I need to visualize myself doing the things I want to do instead of running myself ragged until my overworked mind can only produce images of failure and disaster.

This is why it's so important to constantly feed your spirit. Surround yourself with positive affirmations. Read the Bible or other spiritual books. Repeat positive affirmations. How many times have you gone to church and felt like the sermon was directed right at you?? Strategically position yourself and pay attention - you are certain to hear the messages that you need to hear. I love it when I hear or read something that really touches me in a way that maybe I didn't even know I needed. Or reminds me of something that I didn't realize I'd forgotten. I keep uplifting messages around me at all times.

Take one part Faith and combine it with one part Deliberate Action and eventually this combination will result in Success. You CANNOT fail when you honor yourself and the desires of your heart enough to pursue them. No matter what the outcome, you will reap the benefits of being courageous and relentless in the pursuit of the life you want.

Tweets and Thangs

Tuesday, August 3, 2010 6:20 PM

OK, so I went ahead and got a twitter account. I don't know what I'm doing yet. Further, I'm not sure that I really need another reason to be glued to my computer/phone, but I signed up because I started feeling like I was missing out on something... We'll see! :-P

If you're on twitter, follow me @TheWrite Curl.

In other news, I tried a new wash and go technique this weekend and I'm loving the results. The earliest wash and gos on my hair journey were done with products that really defined my curls - like Curls and Kinky Curly. While the products did what they were supposed to, I felt that my curls were TOO defined and looked a bit jheri curl-ish. Furthermore, my hair felt dry and sometimes crunchy which is no good. Later, I tried wash and gos with just a leave-in conditioner or deep conditioner left on my hair. This worked OK, but I preferred this method only for ponytails because I couldn't get it to lay right when I tried to wear it all out.

I think there are four key elements to why my latest wash and go attempt turned out much better: Sectioning, Sealing, Drying and Baggying.

Sectioning. After cowashing my hair (in sections), I got out of the shower and applied more conditioner to each of the six sections as a leave-in. I made sure my hair was parted how I want to wear it so it would lay right when it dried. I was very thorough and made sure the product covered my hair from root to tip. I used my current cowash conditioner - Tresemme Naturals Nourishing Moisture.

Sealing. After applying the conditioner, I sealed each section thoroughly with Bee Mine Bee Loved Hair and Scalp Moisturizer. This product is like melted buttery goodness. Ingredients include shea butter, coconut oil, EEOO and other essential oils. I smoothed this through each section from root to tip paying close attention to my ends and to my frizzy crown area.

Drying. Once I was done applying the product to each section, I left it alone until it was pretty much completely dry. I didn't scrunch it or manipulate it. (I let it air dry. Sat in front of the fan. Took a couple hours.) Once it was dry, I used my fingers to shape it - which was just a matter of pulling at it gently and stretching it out so it wouldn't look like a helmet. I had just enough definition without the crunchiness AND it felt moisturized without feeling greasy.

Baggying. That night, I moistened my hair all over with Bee Mine Juicy Spray and added some of the Bee Loved Moisturizer. I didn't stick to the original six sections at this point, I just tried to focus the application of the Moisturizer to my ends, edges and crown area. I put on a plastic cap and then my satin bonnet over that (to make sure the plastic cap wouldn't come off). I got second and third day hair with this process. I know it wouldn't be in my best interest to take it further than three days, because I'll just get a bunch of single strand knots.

Ironically, about a year ago to the day when I first started the blog, I did a post on wash and gos. One of the reasons I started this blog was to be able to look back and see how I've changed and what I've learned about myself. Anyway, the curls may look the same to you, but instead of feeling crunchy it feels soft and moisturized. Secondly, I've learned how to make my hair lay how I want it to. Well, at least most of the time!

Attitude - Check Yourself

Monday, August 2, 2010 1:18 PM

"The sun shines and warms and lights us and we have no curiosity to know why this is so; but we ask the reason of all evil, of pain, and hunger, and mosquitoes and silly people."

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

There are things that consistently bother me, annoy me, put me in a foul mood. There are certain realities outside of my control that I allow to drain my energy and distract me from all the blessings in my life. I ask myself...why? It's time for me to let go, so I can focus more energy on love and abundance. It's MY choice. Instead of blaming whatever that irritant is for being what it is and waiting for it to change, I choose to be the change.

Is it just me?

Join me in asking yourself why - and take back control of your attitude and peace of mind.