Love and Locks - This Week's Hair and Inspiration

Sunday, June 19, 2011 12:00 PM

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What makes you feel like your best self?  I feel most magnetic when I'm simply being myself.  I know I talk about that all the time, but after so many years of not realizing how simple it is, I still revel in it everyday.   When I feel out of sorts, I know I need to reconnect with everything that makes me who I am: my spirituality, my values, my creativity, and even my guilty pleasures.  It makes life so much easier to just accept things and flow.  Trying to be like everyone else or trying to meet people's expectations makes life suck, quite frankly.  Happiness is living and loving your truth.

What does that mean to you?  It might mean letting go of people in your life who pressure you to be something other than yourself.  Maybe you're living your truth by becoming responsible for yourself and not making yourself responsible for what other people do.  Maybe it means loving your hair and your body the way it is.  Becoming self-aware and giving up pretenses are both key to living your truth.  It's saying "This is me and I'm whole and loveable and acceptable just the way I am."   As hard as it may seem, don't worry about losing people.  Only cling to yourself. 

If you're looking for some inspiration to start your week, check out PLPT's posts from last week: Are You Awake? and 10 Ways to Get Your Happy Back.  Also, we're hosting a giveaway that closes on 6/30.  You can enter here.

Are you all doing anything special for Father's Day?  In keeping with "living your truth", I'm not big on holidays like Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, etc.   While I appreciate the sentiment, I could do without the consumerism of it all.  So, while we recognize it and do special things for and with each other, we don't feed into the pressure of expectations and spending a bunch of money.  However you choose to celebrate the holiday, I hope it's special for you and the fathers in your life!

As far as my hair goes, I've been using Infusium 23 Moisturizing Leave-In Treatment mixed with grapeseed oil as a mist,  Curl Junkie Smoothing Leave-In as a moisturizer, and Hot Six Oil as a sealer.  I've been sticking to this for awhile because it's working.  You may recall in this post, I talked about trying a line up for awhile so I can truly observe how my hair responds to it.  Using different products every time I styled my hair was making the results too unpredictable.  I've also started writing down (when I remember) what products I used and how I felt about the results.  Here are some styles I've worn over the last couple weeks:

Weekend Whimsy

8:45 AM

                       

"I have my own particular sorrows, loves, delights; and you have yours. But sorrow, gladness, yearning, hope, love, belong to all of us, in all times and in all places. Music is the only means whereby we feel these emotions in their universality."
~H.A. Overstreet





Love and Locks - This Week's Hair and Inspiration

Saturday, June 11, 2011 10:12 PM



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 I know you do.  So, I hope you enjoy this beautiful excerpt about love that I came across in my reading this week:

~excerpt from Care of the Soul, A Guide for Cultivating Depth and Sacredness in Everyday Life by Thomas Moore

"I suppose we do learn some things about love each time we experience it.  In the failure of a relationship we resolve never to make the same mistakes again.  We get toughened to some extent and perhaps become a little wiser.  But love itself is eternally young and always manifests some of the folly of youth.  So, maybe it is better not to become too jaded by love's suffering and dead ends, but rather to appreciate that emptiness is part of love's heritage and therefore its very nature.  It isn't necessary to make strong efforts to avoid past mistakes or to learn how to be clever about love.  The advance we make after we have been devastated by love may be to be able to simply enter it freely once again, in spite of our suspicions, to draw ever close to the darkness and hollowness that are mysteriously necessary in love.

It may be useful to consider love less as an aspect of relationship and more as an event of the soul.  This is the point of view taken in ancient handbooks.  There is no talk about making relationships work, although there is celebration of friendship and intimacy.  The emphasis is on what love does to the soul.  Does it bring broader vision?  Does it initiate the soul in some way?  Does it carry the lover away from earth to an awareness of divine things?"

Check out my current hair inspirations after the break...more buns and updos!

Memory Lane: Remembering Why I Gave Up Relaxers

8:00 AM

             
Lately, I've found myself admiring women who are transitioning from relaxed to natural or who have recently chopped all of their hair off (BC).  Why?  I think it was triggered by a good friend of mine who recently BC'd.  She'd had locs for over 10 years and while her locs were beautiful, she is absolutely exquisite with her new haircut!  I think she was ready for a change, and I can absolutely relate to that.

While I'm nowhere near wanting to cut all of my hair off right now, I definitely can see myself transitioning my hair in some way shape or form repeatedly throughout my life.  Hair is my favorite way to symbolize the changes within and I'm certain that as I go through different changes in life, it will always be reflected in how I wear my hair.  I enjoy reading all the stories of transition that I come across on the blogs I read.  I always find some morsel that reminds me of the physical and emotional adjustments I went through when I started my journey.

I grew out my relaxer gradually over a three year period. (You can catch up on my hair story here and here if you're a new reader.)  At first, I thought I'd want to wear my hair straight even once all the relaxed hair was gone.  I just wanted my hair to be fuller and thicker, and I wasn't thinking too much about wearing it curly. 

The pictures below are all from my transition at some point or another.  I loved how my hair became so much fuller as my new growth got longer and longer.  

Lost Your Rhythm? Remember to Dance to the Beat of Your Own Drum

Monday, June 6, 2011 12:32 PM



Lauryn is looking so vibrant and beautiful in this picture! 
She recently announced that she's expecting her 6th child
 and she's all aglow about it.  Read the full article here.

I remember the first time I heard the song To Zion by Lauryn Hill, one of my best friends was pregnant with her first child. We were still in college and she received a lot of pressure from various people to not keep the child because "she'd be ruining her future". This song really spoke to her feelings at the time. "Oh, this crazy circumstance/I knew his life deserved a chance/but everyone told me to be smart. Look at your career they said/Lauryn, baby use your head/But instead I chose to use my heart." Well, my friend kept that beautiful baby and twelve years later, he is a brilliant, handsome, loving young man and I'm literally sitting on the edge of my seat waiting to see all of the amazing things he's going to do with his life. Good thing she made her own decision and wasn't bullied into anything to please other people, right? That's not to say that there hasn't been struggle along the way.  But I firmly believe that we make the decisions we do because we need to experience all that comes with them - the good and the bad. 

Similarly, Lauryn Hill has disillusioned many people with the changes she's gone through since starting her career with The Fugees in the 90's. How many of us have thought: "I want the old Lauryn back." It's counter intuitive really, to think that she would not change. I mean, she's an artist.  Of course she has evolved -- often in ways that we didn't understand.  Anyone who dares to create and share their art must accept that there's a fine line that exists between the love and the hate of the public.  Not everyone is going to understand your self-expression.  Lauryn Hill is a perfect example of a Rebel With a Cause.  She broke free of expectations and set her own course.  I don't need to understand the inner workings of her specific journey in order to be inspired by that.

Can't you think of changes you've gone through in your own life or decisions you've made where no one seemed to support you and people expected you to fail? When it's all said and done, you're the one who has to make peace with the way you've lived your life. Be sure you can look back on your life and say that you did it your way.


I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence. ~Frederick Douglass

To free us from the expectations of others, to give us back to ourselves - there lies the great, singular power of self-respect. ~Joan Didion

Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.~Cyril Connolly


They cannot take away our self-respect if we do not give it to them. ~Mahatma Gandhi

I care not so much what I am to others as what I am to myself. I will be rich by myself, and not by borrowing. ~Michel de Montaigne

Weekend Whimsy

Sunday, June 5, 2011 10:00 AM





Love and Locks - This Week's Hair and Inspiration

Saturday, June 4, 2011 10:00 AM



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Atleast twice a week, I go through an internal struggle about what's more important to me that day -- sleep or sex?

I don't think men understand how important it is for a woman to feel sexy.  If I don't feel sexy, then I don't want to do it.  Most nights I'm so tired that I feel anything but sexy.  For all of the married and committed women who are reading, I imagine that at one time or another you and your partner have had some type of issue over the frequency of your relations.   If you haven't, then please be so kind as to share with me how you've avoided it! 

Having a third child has definitely had an impact on our intimacy.  It hasn't negated it or anything, but honestly one or the other is always falling asleep.  I'll fall asleep while waiting for him to get out of the shower, or he'll fall asleep while I'm reading a story to one of the kids. Sometimes I'm sneakily relieved that he fell asleep because I was tired anyway.   C'est terrible!  Oh well.  It's a phase we're going through and it will pass.  I think quality is better than quantity anyway.   :)

Speaking of feeling sexy, you HAVE to read this post from Sex, Love and Liberation which reminds all of us how beautiful and perfect are bodies are JUST the way they are.   I read through it twice and realized that I still have some pretty unappreciative thoughts about my body circling through my head.  And yet, despite my lack of appreciation and some of the things I've put this body through, it hasn't failed me yet.  Why is it so easy to overlook the miracles that take place in our bodies everyday to keep us alive? 

I truly believe that what we think about our bodies, our hair, our lives, etc will directly affect how those things play out for us.  This week, Chai from Back to Curly said "To be validated by loved ones & friends is a wonderful blessing, but to love your inner beauty, to know for certain “I steer this ship,” and no one else…is when you’re in full control of your journey. To own it, you have to love it."  She could not have said it better.   No matter what you have, own it and treat it well and good things will come of it.  You must believe that. 

This weekend, let's awaken our inner goddesses.  I want you to feel smart, pretty, sexy, and comfortable with who you are and how you look and feel.  Maybe that means you need to spend some time with yourself to get centered.  Catch up on some sleep?  Have a beauty day?  Perhaps some quality time with your girls?  or alone with your man?   Do you have something to say to someone that you've been holding back?  Say it and empower yourself.   Whatever it takes to reconnect with your magic -- do it!

Here are a few pics of my hair this week:

Secrets (Part II)

Thursday, June 2, 2011 1:24 PM


Click here for Secrets (Part I)

What am I doing here?

I remember feeling out of place all the time. Our secrets can cause us to feel isolated because we think that no one else has them. Other than close friends, no one knew about my home life. And while they sympathized, they couldn't really understand.  I suppose all of us, at some point or another, have walked around pretending. Pretending to be happy. Pretending to be strong. Pretending to have it all figured out. I was successful at fooling everyone but myself.   I had no idea who the real me was.

Over the years, my mother essentially alienated herself from everyone in her life -- her own parents, siblings, friends, church family and extended family. She thought they were all literally out to get her. Not long after I went to college, my parents divorced. They'd been unoffically separated for years. (My dad was basically living in the basement and my mom upstairs). Dad moved out and Mom eventually moved to New York. I think she moved during my junior year. She got a job and her own place, and seemed to be doing well at first. I guess she started having some issues at work because after several months, the job let her go and advised her that she should get a psychological evaluation. My mother refused at first, but then agreed when she found out that if she was diagnosed with something, she would be able to get disability benefits. She was eventually diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. She lost her apartment, and got a spot in some sort of rehabilitation shelter for women with similar issues. She lived in the shelter until they placed her in an income-adjusted apartment.

I was not this informed while all of this was going on. I never knew where she was staying or what was going on with her. I was always worried about her and simultaneously relieved to be away from her. I partied and smoked and drank and obsessed over boys -- and studied occasionally. I kept my mind occupied as much as possible. All the while, the self-loathing built up inside of me. I felt that I would never be normal or be able to understand people who seemed too normal. I was attracted to dysfunction because it was all that I knew.

I had to learn to love her from a distance; which is an art that I still have not mastered.  I still feel guilty.  I still feel resentful.  I still feel helpless when it comes to her.  I feel that she and I have failed each other in some way.  She was supposed to fight her mental illness, so that she could raise me and be my mom.  I was supposed to be able to get through to her and make her want to be better, but I could never speak her language.  I guess I feel that I couldn't save her and no one took the time to see what was happening and  save me from her.  I didn't think that anyone cared.

Do you know what it feels like to think you're not good enough? People have always told me that I have a light. A positive energy that feels good to be around. But my self-view was quite different. I figured I had everyone fooled.  The reality was that I wanted to be high all the time, so that I could escape my sober mind that was so sad and self-defeating. I was ashamed of my life and had low self-esteem. I was jealous of people who had "normal" mothers and happy families. I thought it was just a matter of time before I started to lose my mind like she did. I did one self-destructive thing after another because I expected life to always disappoint me.

Again the question was always there, what am I doing here? Why does it seem like I'm always suffering?  If I'm so full of light, then why do I feel so dark?

I came to realize that there's no magical answer to these questions.  I began to see my light by simply turning towards it.  Whatever you have been through in life, please realize that challenges aren't meant to punish us.  They are meant to make us more loving, more faithful and and more aware that there is more going on than what meets the eye.   How could we ever appreciate beauty if we never saw pain?  Or how could we empathize with anyone, if we have never felt sorry for ourselves?  We'd all be sitting around feeling smug and saying what we'd never do and casting judgment on each other, wouldn't we? 

Are you keeping secrets?  Please realize that you are only truly hiding from yourself.  Within those locked away secrets, is the key to your freedom.  Don't be afraid to unlock yourself and be free!

***

How adventurous would life be, if you were "challenge free"?
If you had the perfect body, perfect self-esteem, everyone adored you, and you
won the lottery every Sunday?

Not.

Now what if, painful as they may temporarily be, you could choose a life
during which challenges might arise whenever your thinking needed expansion,
on the sole condition that every one of them could be overcome no matter how
daunting they may at first seem?

Everything makes you more,
The Universe

"Act as if what you do makes a difference. Because it does."

Wednesday, June 1, 2011 1:24 PM


  
*title quote by William James*

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 Thanks so much to all of you who left comments or emailed me about this post.  One of the things I've realized very recently in my life is that I'm NOT destined to continue the cycle of mental illness and emotional instability that shaped my childhood.  I'm simply not.  For years, I was terrified that it was simply my birthright and that I'd never be able to escape it. 

But the cycle stops now.  For whatever reason, I've been blessed with this awareness that my mother could never grasp.  I can choose to wallow in pain and confusion or I can seek understanding through self-reflection, sharing my testimony and communing with others.  Sometimes we feel so cursed and alone because we don't realize that every soul in the world has a cross to bear.  What differentiates us is how we carry it.  The following excerpt affirms my belief that my purpose is to heal - myself and others - through my writing.  Today, I encourage you to consider how you can make something beautiful out of your pain.   Don't judge the impact of what you do.  Remember that if you bring joy to just one person, then you are creating a ripple effect that will spread far beyond your reach. 

We must realize that the healing power of spirit is within each and every one of us. We each have the power to heal not only ourselves, but our world and all those around us . Spirit expressing through us as a kind word, a caring touch or a simple smile may be all it takes. When we realize who we are, the blessings we have been given, the power we embody, we have tapped into the source of our healing ability. Everyday we have at least one opportunity to help a friend, a loved one or even a stranger. Regardless of the color of our skin, our economic status, our social or political philosophy, it is our responsibility to do what we can, when we can, to assure that someone else does better. Today, let us become aware of the healing power within and dedicate ourselves to uplifting those we touch.
~Author Unknown