Posts tagged ‘Going Natural’

January 8, 2010

Hair Mistakes

There’s a pretty nifty new blog on the horizon for Naturalista’s and today they posted this video:

Natural Hair mistakes really do have a tendency to run a muck during the beginning of transitioning & sometimes even years later.  A handful of years after my first BC I still managed to complete all mistakes mentioned in the list, except for 1.  It’s damn near too easy to fall into these ways, but trusting in those who’ve been there, made the mistakes and have come back much better informed is a good thing.

These are their top five, anyone made any natural hair mistakes during transitioning or later?

Via:   The New Naturalista

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December 6, 2009

Transitioning Memories

*This post might come off a bit jilted, but it’s pretty much my best attempt at piecing together a strange puzzle dating back to my transition days. Forewarning…it’s a doozy.


ELLE January 2000

It’s funny the things that run through your mind on a lazy Sunday.  Especially when the weather takes another unusually cold turn and your covers and slippers are the most appealing thing next to a cup of hot tea.  Sunday for me is typically Hair day, wash day.  Begin the Process of styling the hair for the work/play week. Because I had ample time on my hands yesterday I thankfully started early & finished early, making today grocery/wash dishes/unpack from vacation type…day.

Somehow though my brain made a detour after checking a few emails, catching up on old blog posts in the natural sphere, and landing on this truly amazing site for natural hair gals. I’m still perusing, finding  just a TON  of cool inspirational information, but sporadically took a break after reading Ebony’s transition story. We hear and see countless stories of transition on a day to day basis.  If you frequent enough sights via curlynikki.com or bglhonline.com, you’re up to speed on just how important expelling these types of stories are, particularly for those just embarking on the natural hair journey.  Earlier this year I made an attempt at voicing my own transitional period, but honestly fell flat, barely touching the surface.

I don’t really have a ton of…great memories during my transition period. I can’t even recall good times after my BC to be quite honest. My mind is suspiciously fuzzy when it comes to taking a trip down memory lane, and I’m a bit miffed as to why.  I want to remember…I want to gold mine those memories and show them off proudly when given the chance…yet, I wouldn’t, or don’t know how it truly all went down.  Whatever, because it’s Sunday I’m headed down the road whether I like it or not…who knows what I’ll find.

First blip to come to mind is a documentary I tripped on waaaaay back in the day during my freshman year of college.  It was Black History Month…(AHH! so glad I remembered that!), and PBS was doing their best to remind those who cared by airing a handful of shows mentioning the African Diaspora.  Mid-month they aired a documentary by T. Nicole Atkinson titled, Lockin’ Up.  The film is short, 29 min long, yet the message was perfect timing.  *Let me press rewind though for a quick sec to mention what bought me to ‘perfect timing.’

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September 8, 2009

Shop Talk: Natural Ease

 

Is it really hard?  Honestly…I’m playing investigator Chai for one day, and I need to know…is it really THAT hard to care for natural hair?  Is the ‘pouf’ factor intimidating enough to steer most onto easy street…a.k.a., relaxer road?  I’ve never labeled myself as a natural pusha, or what’s been oddly called the “natural Nazis,” syndrome, but I am one of the only two women in my family who’s sporting her natural hair…the other is my proud Mum;-).  A conversation with a friend this afternoon got the wheels turning after she expressed to me that she’d be getting her hair done later in the week, it’d been several months since she’d last relaxed and felt it was time to touch up.  We’d both been down this road before, more so since I started blogging about my hair, yet the road is far from straight…it’s mostly circular.  I’d try to drop tiny hints about the WONDERS of being natural, and the misconceptions that are often thrown about when it comes to caring for a thicker texture, yet the fruits of my tiny labor typically bear zero.  It’s nothing I bemoan about, truthfully I’ve lived by the motto “DO YOU” for most of my adult life, and find it serves many purposes. So while I’m not a ‘pusher’ per se, I do not mind saying that I am a natural hair enthusiast…or informant.  In fact, I do have several friends who are relaxed… actually it’d be more fair to say I have just one friend who is natural and she’s only recently BC’d a month or two ago.  Over the years if one or two had questions about my hair, I was all up in there with an answer, explaining my routine and asking if this might be an avenue they’d like to explore.

 

frooftheweek1Over the years, the only friend I’ve managed to convince was my own mother, who after 20+ years decided to abandon the relaxer because her hair was thinning excessively.  Bottom line, with the slight push from her doctor she finally decided to transition. My Mum has had her own struggles adjusting to being natural, yet to label her transition hard, or difficult…I’m still not sure.  Her frustrations clearly showed from time to time, most often when she’d complain about the actual thinness of her hair as compared to the thick mane she used to sport back in the 70’s during the fro revolution.  Her hair texture was different now, though still curly, it lacked fullness, a bit of luster and length.

 

Newly natural, my mother did experiment with a myriad of hair products, a lot that I’d personally recommended to her, others she’d pick up as pocketed suggestions from ladies & stylists at her hair salon.  Most gave her the ‘look’ she sought, but what she ultimately desired was to appear ‘acceptable’ with a sleek look that usually bordered on a post-texturized do.  She wanted to be natural without having to look natural. It might sound odd to say, but I’ve come to believe that in the early stages of my Mum’s BC, she was stuck in a state of transition.  There was no immediate ‘knowing’ of how to care for her hair, especially granted the 20+ years of being relaxed.  Products that she’d often use on her relaxed her, she could no longer apply to her new texture.  This was only part of her problem.  Guidance is a virtue in the natural hair community, yet the advice my Mum sought was from tired stylists who dared not take a comb to section or part.  The only answer was to texturize and pay the tip. 

 

It’s been several years now, and my Mum is still natural, and as far as I can tell has no plans on relaxing.  Over time, the thinness of her hair has waned, the familiar thickness of her hair has slowly come back. And while her length is no longer as she remembered it many years ago, her current short fro suits her personal style…it’s easier for her to get on with the day while washing and go’ing to and fro in the Florida heat. 

 

Was it hard..though? Similar to most other transitions in life, there were adjustments to be made and random advice to be thrown about…some discarded others tucked away for safe keeping.  Yet while transitioning has it’s hurdles…whatever you want to call ‘now,’ where a lot of naturals currently are…post natural…whathaveyou…I’d reference it to anything but hard.  The ‘ease’ that my friend is looking forward to later this week after getting her relaxer, is the same ease I wake up to every morning while taking down my silk scarf.  The once a week ‘Process’ I undergo is tedious at best…but let me pat myself on the back for a minute and say…I’ve had this ‘Process’ down pat for some time.  I jive to my own music in my own place, instead of waiting upwards of 1 hour – 3 hours for an ‘expert’ to dish on what she/he thinks looks good.

 

I was no fool though, the ‘ease’ did not come naturally, what I scramble through each Sunday has taken time, effort, patience but most importantly the knowledge of how to care for something that’s inherently delicate.  These days I do not solicit other relaxed women to join the natural team, but if you ask…or have mixed perceptions that turn my own experiences on their head, I can’t help but mumble something to a certain affect of… ‘here’s how it really is…’

 

I could be old school in my thinking, the first time I went natural was in 2001 long before brands such as Kinky Curly, Miss Jessie’s or Curl Junkie were as familiar as they are today.  But what I do have is my own experience, the years, sweat & $$ I’ve put into caring for this mop.  I’m rambling now because…well it does go that deep, it’s something I can’t help.  It is just hair… sometimes though it’s not, it really can’t be.

August 27, 2009

Natural Exploration

27skin190_3

“It’s just one of them days…that a girl goes through…”

The date is set, circled and highlighted on my calendar, both at work and at home.  October 9th, Chris Rock’s Documentary ‘Good Hair’ opens in select cities, October 28th nationwide, and I along with a handful of friends will be front and center.  This will probably be the first time in a loooong time I might actually consider buying popcorn at the theatre to enjoy, because the anticpation and excitement really has me going! I’m beyond thrilled to be one of the first group of ppl. to see this documentary & hopefully the world will speak up by going out and supporting the cause. 

With a big name comedian such as Chris Rock frontlining this project, national publicity is the norm.  The whispers began when the film first premiered at Sundance several moons ago, and today….TODAY…the whispers are turning into leveled bouts of banter across the table.  The media is picking up steam as the film nears it’s release date, capitalizing on what’s often kept private and reclouse in the African American community.  The blogosphere has firmly weighed in, taking the conversation on natural tangents that, while uncomfortable, need to be discussed. 

The New York Times weighed in with the article, “Black Hair, Still Tangled in Politics.”  While the article does an adequate job in touching on the topic of the inner politics of natural hair within the black community, the stars of the show are the commenters, some taking sides…others willing to explore the deeper meanings behind the idea of “good hair.”

For some, the battle lines are drawn.

But in recent interviews, a number of people of color expressed a weariness with the debate. They asked, essentially: Why can’t hair just be hair? Must an Afro peg a woman as the political heir to Angela Davis? Is a fashionista who replicates the first lady’s clean-cut bob really being untrue to herself?

Defintely well worth the read!  Click here to read the full article.  And don’t forget to skim through the interactive feature with several black women giving their two cents!

 

Our fellow Bellla over @ Afrobella.com  highlights another pretty sensitive topic in hot debate over at the Racialicious blog, “Are curls the new straight hair?”  If you’re hip to a lot of the birth control commercials out their with the ‘token’ black girl or the face wash commercials with the fair skinned ladies washing their face and smiling for the camera…you may have a hint as to the root of this discussion. 

The writer’s perspective is that of a German born/raised woman, but her experiences are culturally relative to many others who’ve tackled issues of hair texture/type/curl. 

Over the next weeks everywhere I looked, be it the streets of my city or most of he few female black German TV-presenters – it really seemed that nowadays the fly mixed or black girl hast to have curls. Generous, semi-loose curls that is, tight enough to give you the volume but loose enough to be considered beautiful in a more mainstream way.

Head over to the the blog and join in on the chatter by clicking here.

Both articles are well worth the read for varying reasons,  yet it was Afrobella’s response, “A Curly Conundrum,” that spoke directly to me:

I love to see natural hair in all its diverse and beautiful forms, from loose spirals to tight z shaped kinks, dense and thick to silky and sproingy. Every time I’ve been told by a bella on the street “I love your hair! But I can’t go natural because my hair isn’t like that,” I take the time to let them know:

  1. I once thought the same of my hair and honestly didn’t know what my texture would be until I gave it time myself, and
  2. the point of going natural isn’t to achieve a certain look — or at least that SHOULDN’T be the point. The point is to embrace your hair as it grows from your head, to keep it healthy and strong, and to learn to work with it in a way that’s relatively stress free and enjoyable.

I think hair should be an extension of your personality. An expression of self. So I always want my hair to be happy, healthy, a little wild, and free. Just like I always want to be.

 

What I’m in love with at the moment is not necessarily the controversy surrounding these debates, but the actual discussion…the talk and sparks that sort of fuel the passion of women of ALL communities involved.  While skimming through all articles and blog posts at work today…the undenying factor that shouldn’t be ignored, is that people have a voice and it is important for that voice to be heard.  Whether you’re Asian/German/African American/Nigerian/Somalian/Caucasian…the boat takes us all to the same place, we’re all swimming in the same waters.  Our roots/heritage are undeniably different, and our struggles vary from person to person…yet collectively self acceptance is our main goal.

Whether you’re natural/relaxed your voice does count, let it be heard by speaking up;-)

July 23, 2009

BuZZzzz…

How to Be Fierce

How to Be Fierce

 

The blogs are a buzz….Twitter is over capacity (but what else is new), Michelle Obama’s new do has been pushed aside entirely because Solange Knowles decided to shed some pounds by using some shears.  If you don’t know what the big deal is, chances are you’ve never done it, are curious as to why someone would…or envious that she looks amazingly beautifully sans hair.  So, is hair really just…hair?  Obviously not.  For the love of all that is natural…refrain if you can from calling her, crazy, stupid, narcissistic, retarded, ugly, selfish, clueless, crying out for help…’bald is beautiful’ is hardly an argument,… it’s a given.  A better question to ask is…how does it feel to be so liberated?  Where can I get me some of that confidence?