Reflections on My Hair Story - Understanding Porosity

Sunday, February 27, 2011 10:00 AM

These pictures were taken in summer 2010.  I didn't realize it at the time, but my hair was not retaining moisture like it should, or maybe I should say "like I now know that it can."  I'll explain my theory on this.

I believe that I had porosity issues.  My hair was just dry and thirsty all the time. I might start out the day with it feeling moisturized but then it would feel like hay by the end of the day.  I thought that protein would dry out my hair, so I wasn't putting any protein in to balance all of the moisture I was putting in it.  If my theory is correct, then this moisture, moisture, moisture and no protein thing was probably making it weaker. I pulled some information from an article on Naturally Curly to explain the state my hair was in:

The Big Hair Dilemma: Volume or Length?

Saturday, February 26, 2011 10:00 AM

Confession: I'm addicted to hair porn.  I look at hair blogs and tumblrs alllll the time.  I adore big, huge, kinky, wavy, curly hair.  Unfortunately, I feel like I don't get my big hair rocks off as much as I would like to when styling my own hair. 

Why not?  Well, I can't wear it obnoxiously big to work everyday because I work in a conservative environment.  But even when I'm going out on weekends, I hesitate because the bigger my hairstyle, the more detangling and knotting I'm going to have to deal with afterwards.   I'm trying to retain length, so I have to consider this.  I don't think I'd care so much if I wasn't working towards a hair length goal.

I Stopped Playing the Victim. You Can Too.

Monday, February 21, 2011 10:00 AM

Remember Danielle from ANTM? 
This picture brings three words to mind:
Strength, Vulnerability, Beauty
 No one should feel powerless.  How can anyone maximize their potential and their contribution to the world when they don't know how to use their own power?  And yet, we give our power away everyday as if there is some type of reward for playing the victim. You see, no one can take your power - only you can give it away. When you do, the resulting self-pity and desperate behavior basically repel the things you really want. 

So many of us are unaware of how much we sabotage ourselves in this way.  Willfully, we play the role of the powerless victim as a defense mechanism.  Playing this role seems easier because we don't have to admit our weaknesses or take responsibility for ourselves.  And therein lies the problem.  There's no personal freedom in playing the victim.

I played the long-suffering victim for way too long before I realized that many of my self-esteem issues came from doing just that.  I didn't stand up for myself, so I didn't respect myself and I didn't expect others to respect me.  While I recognized this self-defeating quality in myself, I blamed it on my flawed nature and I didn't think I could change.

But I did. And if this sounds like you, then you can do it, too. 

Here are some basic, everybody-goes-through-this-stuff concepts to help you recognize ways in which you can take your power back:

*Don't take it personal.  Stop being so sensitive.  So, you didn't like that person's tone of voice or you think what they said is unfair.  So what?  That's their reality, not yours.  Allow people to express their truth without it impacting yours.  Maybe you didn't get invited to something.  If you think there's a misunderstanding, address it without bitterness.  Otherwise, let it go.  You can't control what other people think, say or do.

*Trust people to be who they are.  If you know someone to be a gossip, then don't be surprised when they gossip.  I've known people to have undesirable qualities, and yet I've continued to deal with them thinking that their behavior would never be directed at me.  Use your observations to empower yourself.  If you choose to stick around then realize that you may ultimately be negatively impacted.  If and when that day comes, remember that you chose to play with the fire.

*Get to know yourself intimately.  When people criticize or attack you, it hurts deeply when you aren't certain of who you are.  Sometimes we catch it right in the heart and find ourselves defenseless because someone has hit upon something we are already insecure about.  Am I really a bad person? A poor writer? lazy? selfish?  The only defense for this is self-awareness.  Know your strengths and weaknesses and be open to discovering new ones. 

* Exploit your weaknesses.  Getting comfortable with my weaknesses has put me in touch with a deeper level of self-expression and creativity.   We are taught that weaknesses are unpleasant and unpopular, but I disagree.  There's nothing more attractive than candor. One day, I started telling people about my bouts with depression and anxiety.   I started talking about my self-doubt.  Instead of feeling ashamed and letting it control me, I exploited it.  I put it to work.  Now, no one can use it against me because I'm not trying to hide it.

*Always start back at one.   Be accountable.  Remember that you are happening to the world and it is not happening to you.  Don't look at life as a blame game, see it as a huge classroom.  Confidently admit when you are wrong or when you don't know something.   Remember that when you blame others, you only block your own growth.  Know where you've come from, where you are and where you would like to go and find meaning in everything.

Despite my declaration that my days of playing the victim are over, I still feel ignored, misunderstood and mistreated sometimes.  Who doesn't?  The difference is that now I don't dwell on these feelings for long.  I find the lesson and keep it moving.

Do you have a pattern of playing the victim or know someone else who does?  Let's compare stories. 

Truly Madly Deeply

Friday, February 18, 2011 10:00 AM


Just in case you didn't notice, I dedicated all of my posts this week to love. I'm not much into the cheesy aspects of Valentine's Day, but I figured that it's not the worst thing in the world if you use it as an opportunity to celebrate love in every sense of the word. So, I celebrated by sharing perspectives on love to which we can all relate.

Remember, love is a way of life. I love the Iyanla Vanzant idea of thinking of yourself as "love in motion". Because of your presence and your movement through this world, it is a better place. You shine and sparkle and attract beautiful things. Because of your decision to live in love with life and yourself, it means that you accept your journey and put your best foot forward every day. You accept responsibility for your own growth and peace of mind. It means you set the standard for how you want to be treated. You realize that love is an all-encompassing essence that surpasses romance and companionship. When love is the driving and sustaining force in every aspect of your life, there are no limits to what you can experience.

I hope that you reflect on all of the posts from this week and fall in love with your life all over again. xoxo

"Love is a symbol of eternity. It wipes out all sense of time, destroying all memory of a beginning and all fear of an end."

Thursday, February 17, 2011 10:00 AM


"Where your treasure is there your heart shall be. Your heart is a place of silence and communion. Your heart houses the secrets of your soul; the path of your destiny. Your heart covets your desires and places them strongly in your mind.

It is the key of all you want to be. You must have faith in your heart and trust in all that it says to you. Never betray your own heart or you will find yourself lost. Your heart is the gatekeeper to your soul. It will never judge you, never doubt you, for your heart knows exactly who you are. Keep your heart light from grief. Let it guide you in all your ways. When things are not as you know they should be, retreat quietly to the resources of your heart.

You make your heart a mystery. You fail to ask its advice. When your heart is heavy about a matter, you believe others can lift you up. If you really knew your heart you would never doubt its value to you. God speaks to us through our hearts because all that God is, is love. God is in the midst of you. Where you are, God is."

~Author Unknown

"Don't ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that."

Wednesday, February 16, 2011 10:00 AM


"Have you ever watched people who love what they do?

They work with a smile on their faces or a song in their hearts. They move with grace and ease. They attend carefully and lovingly to every little detail. They never tire of what they do. They do it willingly, joyously for themselves, for you and for everyone else who shows the slightest bit of interest. They talk about what they do, they read about it, staying up on the latest trends, teaching it or some part of it to newcomers and converts.

When you love your work, it's like a love affair. You do it with a passion. The lust for it rises up within your soul and makes you giddy. You want to do it all the time, in as many ways as possible. Wherever you go, whomever you're with, you want to do what you love because it feels so good.   Always love what you do and do it with a passion.

~Author Unknown

"Love is my religion - I could die for it."

Tuesday, February 15, 2011 12:00 PM


"Deep within our being is a place of peace, joy and knowing.

It is a place called love.

We are not taught to live from that place for ourselves. We are taught to shower it on others. We do for others what we will not do for ourselves. We give to others what we think we do not deserve. We turn to others for the very feelings that comes from the self. We are love from the core of our being. It is the energy by which we were born.

We breathe love. We see love. We have our being in love.

Why can't we learn to love ourselves the same way we love others? If we can live from our being of love, we can't help but attract more of what we are. Love is what we are. When we know that and live through it, we can live "in love" with ourselves.

I Am love."

~ Author Unknown

"Love is, above all, the gift of oneself."

Monday, February 14, 2011 5:54 PM

To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance.
~ Oscar Wilde

Today, celebrate your love for yourself!   Happy Valentine's Day!  xoxo

So you've decided to go natural...

Saturday, February 12, 2011 10:00 AM

November 2010
This post is for all the lovely ladies who over the past year have asked me questions about transitioning. There are so many resources online from bloggers who have done way more research and been at it way longer than me, so I never thought it would be helpful to anyone for me to do a "Transitioning 101" type of post. And yet, I still get questions and I really want to help. So, this post is my attempt to pull together my favorite resources from around the web and add in some of my personal thoughts from my own experiences without recreating the wheel.  I hope it proves to be helpful.

Relaxed - Fall 2005 (Preggers!)
I decided to grow out my relaxer because my hair was damaged and thin, and it seemed like a logical way to achieve thicker, stronger hair.   You can click here for my hair story.  Once you decide to stop relaxing your hair, the first thing you must do is prepare yourself for an emotional roller coaster.  Treasured locks gives a great, high level overview here.  Many things that you know about caring for your relaxed hair won't apply to your natural hair.  It's so helpful to connect with other women who are going through the same changes.  Curly Nikki shares transition stories from her readers here

By the time I found all the natural hair and transitioning websites online, I'd already been growing my hair out for almost three years.  I was using the same products and methods that I always had when I was relaxed.  Despite the fact that I didn't know what I was doing, I didn't have a great deal of breakage.  I mostly wore my hair pressed straight throughout my transition.   I encourage you to stick with what works for you, even if you read that it's not "good" or that others with your hair type don't do it.  Of course feel free to experiment, but don't abandon methods or products that work for you without good reason.  For example, if Blue Magic keeps your hair moisturized, keep using it.  But at the same time, be open to trying new things and you might discover that there are other options that do a better job.

Insert Man Here: Do You Want a Partner or a Placeholder?

Thursday, February 10, 2011 12:00 PM


Let's face it: Sometimes we want the relationship more than we want the man. We want someone to buy us a ring, put us on a pedestal and be our "plus one". We think that we need someone to save us from the doom and gloom of being the last one of our friends to settle down. It's no wonder that we get so frantic! I've heard guys say that there's something wrong with a woman over a certain age that has never been married. I have heard that the pickings are so slim that if you don't get yours now, there won't be any good men left. Nonsense, right? Maybe so, but many of us conduct ourselves as if these things were true.

Thanks to this culturally induced sense of urgency, women naturally begin to lose sight of what a meaningful relationship is really about and why it's worth the wait. So, I ask you the question: Do you want a partner or a placeholder? Of course most of us would say we want a partner. But our actions don't necessarily align with what our mouths say.

If you have a list of prerequisites, you are seeking a placeholder. If you have a certain type and won't date outside of that type, you are seeking a placeholder. If you are more concerned about the size of your wedding ring than your partner's hopes and dreams, then you don't really want a partner. You want a placeholder.

Our unrealistic beliefs about relationships set us up for disappointment and downright misery. Too often we think that personal fulfillment should come as a result of our relationships instead of being a foundation upon which to build them. Even if you are fortunate enough to find a man who fits your requirements and wants to be with you; happiness will still elude you if you are more concerned with the surface qualities of your union than the honesty and intimacy that is necessary to sustain it.

And what about how he feels? Is he supposed to be content with just showing up, picking up the script that you've written and delivering passionate lines of devotion to you on cue? He's a human being with needs, fears, strengths and weaknesses; not a faceless, dreamlike image that goes through the motions of loving you without any complexity or surprises. A healthy relationship is not about playing roles and meeting expectations, but about finding a middle ground on which both people feel respected and treasured as individuals.

If you are a woman looking for love, I challenge you to take a step back and evaluate your search criteria. Get into the habit of partnering with yourself and loving yourself unconditionally first. We cannot live in true happiness, single or not, when we entertain false assumptions and fail to value the things that really matter.

What do you think? We all have boundaries right?  So, how do we find a balance between honoring those boundaries and still learning to love unconditionally?

This Moment for Life

Wednesday, February 9, 2011 5:00 PM


Happy Wednesday Lovelies! Need a boost to get you to the weekend?  Reflect on this:

It is never a good idea to bank on what you may have tomorrow. It makes even less sense to dwell on what we had yesterday. The only thing that really matters is what we can do right now. One of the greatest stress inducers in our lives is tomorrow, for it is the unknown. We worry if "it" will happen, if "it" would happen, what if "it" does happen. Then we spend time planning for what may never come. We do that because we think we know the past. We remember it so well, particularly the pain, the dark days, the unpleasantness we've seen. We spend our present time and energy protecting the future from the past. We fail to realize one is over and the other is yet to come. What we know is now and we have complete, control over it - now. Nothing can be promised, nor can we own what is no longer. If we do our best in this moment, we have no time to worry about what may come or has gone.

~Author Unknown

Are you giving your best to this moment?

Winter Hair and Skin Update

Thursday, February 3, 2011 9:00 AM

Back in September, I decided that I would adopt a bunning regimen for most of the cold months, and I also laid out a routine here for maintaining my "glow" in the in the midst of my busy, working mama schedule. 

So far, I've stuck to the convenience of protective styling for the most part.  I decided this past summer that I intend to grow my hair to waist length in 2011.  More specifically, I want my hair to be somewhere around APL/BSL when unstretched in a twist or braid out.  This is the primary reason that I decided to keep my hair up for most of the winter.  In addition to that, I have a lot on my plate with a new baby and all, and bunning is a great low maintenance styling option. 

My hair and beauty routines are always evolving through trial and error and of course, as the demands on my time change.  My intention is to spend less time on my outer pretty and more time on my inner pretty.  With that said, I don't want it to LOOK like I spend less time on my outer pretty!  Make sense?   Can you relate?

I'm sure one could argue that I'm not exactly making things easier on myself by wanting to grow my hair down my back.  While that could definitely be the case, I feel that my routines are indeed getting simpler.  I'm learning so much about my hair and what works for me.  I think this is the key - learn what works, listen to your hair's needs and adjust.  Your hair is going to grow, but it takes time and sacrifice to learn how to retain that growth.

What Makes Me Different Makes Me Write

Wednesday, February 2, 2011 8:00 AM


I love to write.  If I never got paid for writing ever in life, it wouldn't matter.  I used to think that if no one ever read a word that I've written, that wouldn't matter either.

But I realize that's not true. 

If I don't care about people reading what I write, then why do I blog?  Why do I promote my blog?  Why do I check to see how many subscribers I have?  Why am I so pleased when someone comments telling me that they get it?  they feel it?  It seems that I not only love writing as a means of release and healing for myself; I also love it as a means of communication and spreading love. 

It's not just about me, as I once thought.  This is why almost everything I write in my journal ends up in a blog post.   I'm always thinking that someone else can relate to what I'm saying and I should share it.  I guess it  is important to me to be heard, after all.   Once you realize that you have something to say, it's very hard not to say it.   You know what else?

I love that I'm not able to be dishonest when I write.  I can't try to fit in or be anyone but who I really am. 

While I strive to be always be honest in my verbal communication, I'm human.   I avoid the truth sometimes.  I convince myself that the convenient truth is the real truth even when deep down, I know it's not.  Sometimes.   But when I write, I'm raw and honest.  Perhaps this is why there are certain things that I have yet to write about.   Because I'm not ready to go into my locked up places and speak those truths.  Not yet. 

I write to capture my unique and personal perspective of the human experience.  I'd rather share it than keep it to myself.  It's easier to sing out loud when someone else is singing with you, right?  So maybe hearing my voice will encourage someone else to sing, too.