From my heart to yours

Archive for February 2011

Starting at the end of last year, I really started thinking about what I consider my definition of beauty for me. I wanted to start working on changing the things about myself that I feel need to changed and enhancing the things about myself that I like. Some of the things on my list included my skin, weight and hair. I actually love my skin so I have started exploring new makeups and things to enhance it. My weight is always a work in progress, but I have been working with a trainer regularly to help me toward my goals. As far as my hair is concerned, I decided to go natural.

Now for anybody who may be reading this who is unaware of what “going natural” means, the shortest explanation is that I will not longer be chemically straightening my hair. I am making this decision for several reasons, first, because my hair was extremely damaged. Second, because I was sooooo tired of gettin those disgusting scabs on my scalp after every relaxer and finally because deep down I’ve always envied girls who were able to meet the mental challenge of being natural.

Natural vs Relaxed (and vs weaves)

Some people don’t understand how going natural can be mentally challenging, but I assure you it is. I’ll explain: I’ve had long, thick hair for literally my entire life. I was born with a head full of hair. I have a picture of me when I was three with an afro that would make most grown women jealous. I was forced to get my first relaxer when I was 7 because my hairdresser refused to deal with my thick curls. Before relaxers we used the dreaded hot comb to straighten my hair. I was constantly asked if my hair was a weave/wig. I took pride in my hair because it was beautiful and made other girl jealous. In high school I wanted to change it, but was scared  to cut it because of how my family would feel, so instead I just got highlights and kept it long and straight. It wasn’t until my second semester of my senior year of college that I got up the nerve to cut my hair. And when I say cut I mean chopped. And I got mixed reviews. My best friend didn’t want me to cut it (although she’ll admit now that she thought it was a good look for me) and a couple of friends (mostly males) wouldn’t even compliment the change. 1 friend ran his fingers through the back of my hair and said “you can’t even put it in a ponytail” before walking out of the office. My male boss told me that if his wife ever cut her hair off it would be a huge problem. I had other reactions like this.

Multitasking gone wrong, smh

Long, straight hair has always represented beauty to many members of my family, and therefore to me. To this day, when my nana introduces me to a church friend of hers she says, “this is my granddaughter ____, she’s Frank’s daughter. She used to have long pretty hair that went down her back and then she cut it all off.” Every single time, this is what I hear. When I told her I was getting braids last year, she yelled at me. She freaked out completely about how she doesn’t understand why I want to put something so ugly in my hair. And when I told her I was going natural I received no support. When I got my second weave (that’s how I’m transitioning) she said “oh that’s beautiful, you should grow your hair out and dye it just like that. You just need a good hairdresser to give you a good relaxer. I’ll ask one of my church friend’s for her hairdresser’s number.” And today I got a new weave and she told me that it was nice. Then a couple of hours later, I overheard he talking about me to someone on the phone, she’s never been a good whisperer. She told that person that “I got that “mess” in my hair again and she doesn’t understand why I cut it to begin with. If I would just leave it alone it would grow long again. She doesn’t understand why I’m paying to have hair like what I naturally have.”  The funny part about all that is, my hair is not naturally straight the way she loves it. It is forced that way in a torturous manner that is uncomfortable and sometimes painful for me. She’s not the only person I have met resistance from. The problem of black women hating their natural hair goes way back in history. Don’t worry, I’m not gonna give a history lesson here. I just want you to understand that I, like so many other black women, have been trained to hate a part of me.

So I am going natural, with the support of my friends and somewhat of my mom. I am trying to accept that the hair that I was God given is good enough and beautiful enough. I am tired of forcing a part of me to be something different. I know it’s gonna take some work for me to change my thinking, which is why I’m making this a gradual process. But I look forward to the freedom of not being tied down by a certain perception of what is beautiful. Because let’s face it, at the end of the day hair matters are small matters in this life.

And in the meantime, I am enjoying the fun of being able to play with different hairstyles along the way!

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Today and tomorrow are my grandparents birthdays. Today my nana is 78 years old. Tomorrow my granddaddy will be 80 years old. They have been married for 62 years.

I’ll say that again…

THEY HAVE BEEN MARRIED FOR 62 YEARS!

Now I don’t know if it’s because of my age or because a lot of my classmates have recently gotten married or engaged or are talking about getting engaged, but my grandparents birthday’s are causing me to think about my future a lot. Not to say that I’m lookin to get married anytime soon, cause there are a lot of things I want to get accomplished before I’m ready for that. And besides I don’t have any potential future husbands lined up anyway. But when I think about the fact that my grandparents have been marriend for over 75% of their lives I can’t help but wonder in amazement. With the divorce rate so high now-a-days and with people just not gettin married, I think it’s safe to say that most of us don’t know couples who have been together for extended amounts of time or who do not have a divorce or two under their belts.

It would be irresponsible of me to pretend like their marriage was perfect. I’m sure that you can imagine that 62 years of marriage is quite a rollercoaster ride. I don’t know all of the details of the downs and the ones that I do know I’m not gonna share. What’s important is that no matter how many lows they hit, they always survived. And 62 years, 4 children, 7 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren later they are still perfectly meant for each other. They bicker all the time, my granddaddy loves pickin at my nana because she makes it so easy. My nana can often be heard sayin “oh shut up Ed!” But at the end of the day they don’t even have to say “I love you” to each other because it is always seen in their actions toward each other. On a flight that the three of us took this summer they sat next to each other. Nana looped her arm through granddaddy’s and held his hand. Her head was on his shoulder as they fell asleep. I looked over and thought to myself, “that is what love looks like.” When nana fell and I had to take her to the hospital, granddaddy came and stood by her side. He just looked at her, held her hand and didn’t have to say a word. Again, I thought to myself “this is what love looks like, even after 62 years.”

I can only hope to have a fraction of what they have. 62 years is a long time and at the rate I am going, it’s not something that I can easily obtain. But what I do hope to obtain is having a man that looks at me the way my granddaddy looks at nana. I want a man to love me as much as I love him. I want a man that I can build a strong family with. I want to break the current cycle that my mom and I have of fatherless daughters. I can say that I’m enjoying bein single and enjoying the freedom that comes with being able to travel and learn more about myself.  But a part of me is still lookin forward to bein courted (old fashioned, yes I am a bit, lol).  No, I am not in any rush to get married, but I am excited to think about the possibility of that being in my future.

And hey, maybe for now, I can get my cute boy to take me out on a date ;-p

This...I Love!