Curls and WhatKnots

curl talk, mommy rants, foodie love, and homeschool adventures

Knowing When to Say NO

As hard as it may be sometimes you just have to know when to say “no”.  For me that was today.  It was one of the hardest things that I’ve had to do because it involved me saying no to my two wonderful children.  I know some of you may already be thinking that why would I have a hard time saying no?  I shouldn’t spoil them right?   I’m speaking about saying “no” in a different realm.

I homeschool my children which really keeps me going throughout the year.  I have lessons and then I take the kids out for other adventures.  Although this can be a lot of fun, it is also very draining for me.  So as our school year comes to a close (I do not homeschool year round), I am becoming a little more run down than usual.  Now there are some varying factors that come into play this year that were not there last year.  I know all of these things.   However, this day was just it for me.

So what did I say “no” to?   I said “No” to working myself into a frenzy trying to be Super MOM.  I feel as though I always go the extra mile.  I minimize screen time, I play games, I create games, I go to parks, I plan playdates, I do so many things for my children and I am not saying that to brag.  I’m just saying that I rejected all of that today.  I didn’t play games, I let them watch TV when they wanted, I went to the grocery store for MYSELF, I did not go to the park even though it was nice outside because I simply did not feel like it.  You know what? My day wasn’t so bad after that.

I’ve learned that just because I choose to stay home and I choose to homeschool doesn’t mean that I can’t make anymore choices.  A lot of SAHM (stay at home moms) who choose to stay home feel like once they do, their future choices are cut off.  I used to feel like because I chose to stay home, that I couldn’t be tired, I couldn’t be annoyed, that I had to play every game and be ready to do whatever was needed because I was the one with the “free time”.  HA!  For a long time, I went with it.  This not something my husband expressed.  In fact, he often times told me to relax, take a break, and not to put too much on myself.  I, being all knowing, did the opposite.  It didn’t really bother me though.  So after I put the children down for the night, I looked back on my choices for the day.  I know that I made the right ones.  I now know that I can choose myself over my kids and still be a good mom.  I think that’s a heavy lesson that all moms have to learn.  In fact I will go a step further and say that in order to excel in our role as moms, we have to put ourselves first sometimes.  Right?

 

Coming Out of the Homeschooling Closet

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Coming out of the homeschooling closet isn’t easy for a lot of people.  That would include me as well.  It’s not like I planned to do this, it just sort of happened.   There I was, minding my own business.  I was taking my lunch at work and I took the time to read a slew of articles.  In these articles I ran across several about homeschooling.  I had never even really heard of homeschooling.  I had run into an old classmate a few years back, in a Christian book store.  He had informed me that he would be homeschooling his children and he had went to take classes.  When I asked him what made him decide to do it, he stated that there were just too many gay people in the school system for him.  He didn’t want anyone gay to teach his children…

Don’t shoot the messenger, I’m just repeating what I was told.  Since then, I haven’t really thought much of homeschooling.  That was my first impression.  Kind of sucks actually when you think about it.  I understand there are so many reasons to homeschool, and so many parents are passionate about them.  However, I don’t think your hatred of people and their lifestyle choices should be one of them.  That is just my opinion.  I do understand the underlying problem there so I will just leave it at that.

Anyway, after reading all of the articles, my interest shot to the roof.  Could I?  Would I?  Should I?  I didn’t have any training or experience.  (I laugh so hard at those thoughts now, but they were there.)   Two years later…yes, I did two years of research first.  I was ready to begin my first year.  Nothing like an abrupt move from Texas to Minnesota to propel me into our first year.  It was exciting, tough, rewarding, frustrating, and just blah!   My ups couldn’t compete with my downs and I was seriously starting to doubt myself.  SERIOUSLY.  Then there was that moment.  The moment when something I had honestly spent weeks on, finally clicked.  They finally got it!  My faith was renewed and here I am again going into my second year.

I write this for the moms considering homeschooling, the seasoned moms who can share words of encouragement or advice, and for the moms who just want to vent right along with me.  No, my blog isn’t completely about homeschooling, but I plan to dedicate certain journals for this very big area in my life.  Anyone want to join me?  I don’t know if I would be the best one to give tips, but I will tell you what’s going on in our world and if it helps you out, then great!  If not, then I’m sure you’ll get a good laugh in and I’m totally cool with that.  Laughter heals the heart.  Peace and love y’all!  Don’t trip on my word “y’all”, it means you all and I’m from the south so give me a break.

Curls For Thought #CurlyCrew

Y’all…I have been away for a while.  I have a very good reason.  Actually, I don’t.  I have been taking some time to adjust to our new school semester with the babes (a post will be coming soon about that).  I have some news for you guys!!!!  My friend and I have created a You Tube channel.  I am so excited about this.  We launched on Monday and are so excited to share with everyone.  I have the link below.  Please watch and subscribe.  Let us know what you think!

 

Designing the Runway Naturally- Dominique Ansari

 

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I truly hope that you guys enjoyed part one of the Dominique Ansari interview.  Truly a powerful interview as she talked about what it was like growing up and a very important subject that a lot of kids face today, bullying.   I am so honored that Dominique chose to share those very raw feelings with us about her life.  It is important for women of all ethnicities, but especially women of color to know that not one us have the “easy” walk in life.

As promised I have the second part of her interview.  This will give us a more detailed look into her hair care and her beautiful designs.  Ready? Let’s Go!

What’s your hair routine?

Honestly, I don’t have a set routine. I do a wash and go pretty much on most days, and then do a deep condition and shampoo once a week. –D.A.

Do you have any favorite products?

I love kinky curl for my wash and go as a leave in, but sometimes if I need a break from products, I usually use organic virgin coconut oil. I occasionally use Shea moisture leave in when I need a little extra moisture. –D.A.

Are you looking for length or anything goes? (You could chop your hair off tomorrow and still be okay)

I would love to maintain my hair at this point and grow it out as long as I can, but I would also be ok if I decide to cut it. –D.A.

Do you have a favorite style for your hair?

I do a side part most of the time, but I noticed that when I wash and go and use the leave in, if I shake my hair while it’s still damp with, I get the best style and curl pattern. –D.A.

Current Style

Does your hair have a name? (A LOT of women name their hair)

This is my first time hearing of this, so yeah, no name for my hair, it’s attached to me, so yeah. –D.A.

Talk to me about your designs? (What’s the target age for buyers? Flirty? Fun?)

My designs are comfortable, flirty, colorful, and fun! I design for ages 18-35, and have sold my style all over the world. I love to use color blocking in my designs, and I use a lot of fabrics that are fluid in motion, so that it moves when you walk. I’ve had a lot of dancers, dance companies purchase styles from me, so it’s always fun to see them perform in my garments. –D.A.

How do you feel a about natural hair on the runway?

I love it and want to see more if it! I think it depends on the designer’s vision though and what story they are trying to tell with their collection. I noticed that sometimes, they will just leave the natural’s girl’s hair the way it is, and the other models will all have a coordinated hairstyle, so I think it depends on the vision whether it will work with the collection. If one model has a natural hairstyle, then the other model’s hair should be similar. It just makes for a more cohesive collection when you are doing a show. –D.A.

Speaking of runway, you recently premiered a new collection for N.O. Fashion Week, is that correct?  How did that go?

Yes, I did that show back in March, and it was great! The collection was well received, and it probably was one of the hardest collections I worked on so far. I had a lot of detail in the pieces, and they had to fit just right. It was probably, the most stressful, because I had to fit all the models the day before since I don’t live in the area any longer, but the end results of seeing your designs walk down the runway is always special. –D.A.

Are you working on anything new now? Or taking a break?

I’m working on the spring 2016 collection right now. I need to have it ready to shoot the lookbook before October, so I’ll be putting in a few extra hours every night. –D.A.

You are married with a 2 year old son.  How is it balancing all of those hats? (wife, mother, designer?)

It can be tough because I’m expected to do my wife duties and my mother duties, as well as trying to find time to balance promoting my brand, doing photoshoots, and runway shows. Sometimes I just have to say no to some opportunities because my family will always come first no matter what. I have been married for 10 years, and this is our first child, so it is very important for me to devote time to him and my husband, but as well keep my business afloat. I’ve been invited to NY Fashion week, Vancouver Fashion week, and many others in the time that I have had my son as well as been invited to audition for Project Runway, but have had to put it on hold until my son gets a little older. I’m a stay at home mom, full time, so he has been with me since birth, so I just don’t see me leaving him for any lengthy period of time until he is in school and older. –D.A.

Have you been inspired to work on a children’s line?

I have been inspired to work on children’s line, but when that will commence, I am not sure. Right now, my focus is on my women’s Ready-to-Wear line. In the future, I may experiment on other aspects of design. –D.A.

I am so thankful for this opportunity to speak with Dominique Ansari and I hope that you enjoyed this interview as much as I did.  By the way, did you click the link yesterday to see the exciting news?  Our new favorite designer is heading to Vancouver Fashion Week!  Woot-Woot!

It’s definitely an exciting time in her life, and one I think we should all support.  If you didn’t get a chance to click the link yesterday, I have it for you again.  Dominique will be spilling ALL THE TEA about her upcoming trip to Vancouver and giving you a sneak peak of her new collection!

Click the link!

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/southern-designer-to-international-fashion-week#/

 

Dominique Ansari: Natural Hair and Fierce Fashion

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Man oh man, do I have a treat for you.  I had the opportunity to interview one of my favorite up and coming designers, Dominique Ansari.   She is part of our natural hair community and spoke to me very candidly about her return to natural hair, the difficulties she’s faced in her own community, and the things she’s learned on the way.  Dominique even gave me some exciting news about her new collection.

First let me give you some background information on our designer.  She started her company, Dominique Ansari, after relocating to San Francisco in 2009.  This powerhouse mogul first began sketching at the tender age of 13.  Taking a small break from sketching, she began modeling at age 16.  However, this wasn’t enough for our future entrepreneur.   By 2006, Dominique Ansari (age 19) and her husband had relocated from Mississippi to California where she then began to study Fashion Design at the Art Institute of California-Hollywood.  She was afforded the unique opportunity to study abroad throughout Europe which enriched her creativity as a designer.   Since obtaining her Bachelor’s degree with honors in 2008, Dominique Ansari has hit the ground running.  Her designs have graced many a runway.  Back in 2011, she was a featured headliner at Los Angeles Fashion Week for Project Ethos and this became a turning point in her brand.   She most recently debuted her collection in March of this year at the New Orleans Fashion Week.  I’m so excited for you guys to read this interview, I will be sharing it in two parts.  Enjoy!

How long have you been natural?

I’ve been Natural since October of 2013. -D.A.

Was it an easy transition for you (mentally/emotionally)?   Did you big chop?

It took me a long time to make the decision at first. I started thinking about it when I was pregnant with my son, and had not used a relaxer while I was pregnant, and I was just going to slowly transition out until my hair grew out of the perm, but styling and maintaining my hair became difficult, so after I had my son, two months later, I went to the salon and just had them cut it really short; probably the shortest I’ve ever had my hair. -D.A.

Big Chop

What did your family / friends think or say about your change?  What did your husband say?

My sister loved it and later went natural.  She is still natural and my husband loved it! I think I had some issues with it at first because it was so short and I had no idea what to do with it, and I guess, I had a hard time feeling “beautiful” at first especially after just having a baby. My husband was really encouraging with me having the short hair and the decision to go natural, so it helped to adjust and finally feel like I wanted to feel about myself. -D.A.

Right after chop family photo

Do you feel a connection to the natural hair community?

I guess I would say yes and no. I feel connected because I can find so many products, hair tutorials, and so many woman wear their hair natural these days, that it makes it easier to search for ways to wear it, and style in different ways. I don’t feel as connected because I do live in a new area, and I just don’t know a lot of people, but that’s pretty much because I don’t really go to any of the natural hair events or anything. I have a few friends that are natural and we talk about products, how maintain and wear our hair. I’ve found a really good stylist where I live, so that has been a blessing. -D.A.

Speaking of community, while growing up did you always feel a connection with your community?

I did and I didn’t. Growing up and having fairer skin in the south and growing up in a predominately black community, going to a predominately black school was difficult for me until I got to high school. I got picked on a lot, called names referring to my skin color and the texture of my hair. I often was asked, and I’m still asked, “What am I?” “What’s my background?” “Am I mixed”. It was very frustrating to me, because I was immediately placed in a category of how people perceived me based upon the color of my skin and my hair texture. I felt as though the Black community did not accept me when I younger because I did not appear to be Black enough. As I got older, things changed, the world changed; I became more confident in who I was, but I still get asked those questions from time to time. -D.A.

Did you identify with the Caucasian or African American race more?

I always identified with the African American community because I was not really exposed to the Caucasian community as much. -D.A.

Do you feel a bigger connection the community now that you are an adult?  What about now that you are natural?

As an adult, I have a connection with people from all walks of life. I’ve the opportunity to travel a bit, so it has opened a perspective of the world that I have not had before. I think I can relate more with people of my own background because they understand our hair and what it takes to maintain it. As a natural curly girl, I think I am more accepted now than before by my community and fellow peers. -D.A.

Your hair is beautiful by the way, do you receive many compliments on it?

Thank you! I have received a few compliments here and there on it, especially when I am dressed up. I’m still learning about new ways to wear it and learning new techniques of styling it, but usually I just do a wash and go. -D.A.

I’m curious, did you maintain a relaxer throughout your entire childhood or was there a period when you wore your natural hair?

I pretty much had a relaxer from a very young age up until I decided to become natural, but I do have one photo where my hair was an afro, so I’m not sure it was natural then, or it was just styled that way.

You have a Two year old son, do you think it’s important for you to talk to him about natural hair? Why/ why not?

I’m not sure it’s that important to talk to him about it now. He will grow up and see how I wear my hair, and he touches now, and maybe he will ask me in the future, why it looks like that and at that point I will explain it to him. If I have a girl in the future, I don’t plan to relax her hair, and would explain to her why, but if she should choose to do anything different, I would support her either way, same for my son. -D.A.

I’ve spoken to a few biracial women and they have some interesting things to say about their natural hair journey.  They have said that some women in the natural hair community actually shun them because of their texture.  They state that their curls have been accepted in society a lot easier than other naturals and for that reason, some women don’t like them.  They are not considered “truly natural” because they have what society accepts as “good hair”.  Is this something you can relate to?

I guess I can relate to that in a way because some people will say, “Oh, you have “good hair, you can do that with yours”. Being raised in the south, the term “good hair” is thrown around a lot and you get used to hearing it, and I have even found myself using it before, because it was what I was taught, but hair is neither good or bad, it’s just hair! There are different textures, different lengths, and everyone has those days where your hair doesn’t want to do what you want it to. You can’t please everyone, so if someone is not accepting you because your hair texture is a bit finer than their hair texture, then I would say move on and look for a group that is accepting of everyone. -D.A.

Have you ever felt like even though, you are natural, that your curls or your fro isn’t enough for the natural hair community?

I think people judge me a bit more since I’ve been natural, but I don’t feel as though other naturals think that my fro needs to be more of a “fro”! I often have family members ask me if that is my real hair, and my mom still pushes me to get a perm every chance she can get. I still feel that it is unaccepted by some people. My husband loves it, my son loves me how I am, and I love my hair, so that is pretty much all that matters to me. -D.A.

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Do you, as an adult, still feel the need to prove who you are (race-wise)?

Yes, sometimes, because I still get asked the questions of “What am I?”, I feel like I have to explain my background to people at lot. It’s not just from the Black community, but from other races as well; they want to know what category to place me in and I’m sure my son will get the same treatment. -D.A.

What would you say to those women who are shunned and who do feel the need to prove themselves to the natural hair community?

When I became natural, I did not do it to fit into a group or community. I did it for me, because I wanted to see what my hair would be like without the chemicals. I didn’t do it to be pro-black, or make a political statement; I did it because I wanted my hair to be healthier. To those that feel the need to be a part of the natural hair community; if you are not being accepted as a natural in a community that is supposed to support naturals and all that they stand for, then maybe that community is not for you. Start your own community; don’t let anyone segregate you from being you. The natural communities are supposed to unite people with natural hair from all walks of life, so how is it a community when some naturals are excluded because their hair texture is different? Hair in its natural state is different; it takes on different shapes and forms. Some curls are tighter, some looser. To say that one is more natural than the other to be a part of a community is kind of hypocritical and therefore degrades the term “Community”. -D.A.

Wow, just wow!  I will be posting part two of Dominique Ansari’s interview tomorrow.  I did say she gave me some exciting news about her new collection right?  Well, I won’t wait to spill this tea, please click the link below to see what our new favorite designer is up to.

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/southern-designer-to-international-fashion-week#/

If you have any questions  for either Dominique Ansari or myself, please comment below.

 

 

 

That Surface Level Love

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Why am I not enough? That is the question that I often times ask to my natural hair community. Let me start by saying that I do not feel this way about the entire natural hair community, but there are some areas where you are just not accepted in their community.

When I first returned natural, I was in a city where most women I talked to were natural, but rarely showed their natural hair. Rather, they wore protective styles A LOT. It was fine with me, it didn’t really bother me. It’s their hair. I always encourage women to let their natural hair breathe, but it’s up to them in the end. However, I have run into those beautiful naturals who just have a problem with everything “new age naturals” are doing. The naturals I’m referring to have been natural all of their life, never had a relaxer. They are deep into their ancestral roots (which I applaud and encourage everyone to research their history) and they oppose anyone who isn’t on their level. Now, I sense some offense in the air, but I don’t mean to offend. I just want to speak my truth.

Some women who fully embrace their natural hair down to their roots (literally) have become a little more judgmental than I would like. For instance, I am natural and I love my hair, but then some would say that is “surface level” love. If I truly loved my skin and loved my black community, then why do I still have my slave name? Okay, I understand. I know my history, but I like my name. My mom gave me that name and I appreciate it. “What about your clothing?” Well, I like jeans and gray pencil skirts. “Okay what about your activity in the community? Why aren’t you fighting the system for your enslaved sisters and brothers?” I choose to fight differently than you. I know my place and my purpose and it may not involve me doing the same things that you do. After they digest my answers, they simply decide that I am just a sham. Another black woman following trends, but not willing to set them. That’s not fair. Which is why I ask, why am I not enough?

Many people who know me understand why I returned natural. Yes, I did it for my daughter and son, but I also did it for black women. I wanted to stand with them and let them know that I support them. I wanted people to know that I believe black is beautiful in every aspect. Yes, you that changed your name. I think it’s a beautiful name and I think you’re beautiful. Yes, you who quit your 9-5 because you had a greater calling to be the voice of a broken community, I think you’re beautiful. I am doing my part just as much as you are and so are many other women. I am where I am supposed to be at this particular stage in my life. If you think I should be doing something else, encourage me. Talk to me and teach me what I don’t know. However, you cannot build a community by kicking out those who you don’t feel are worthy to be included.

I said earlier, this is not everyone. There are some people that are deep into their roots like my sister-in-law and are willing to share information in a nice way. She will openly talk to you about what she believes and the future of the black community through her eyes, but not in a forceful way. She returned natural over a decade ago, she dons African attire on occasion, and has given her son the most beautiful African name I have ever heard. Even in my ignorance while making statements like, “I could never go natural” or “I like my hair to move” (yes, I was one of them) she did not judge me or write me off. Instead, she planted little seeds and with the help of others, they grew. There are many women out there like this and I applaud you for standing firm in your beliefs and encouraging others to live their truth even if that means they are not where you are. Furthermore, I would like to take time to encourage those women who may be thinking of returning natural to continue on with the journey. I understand it can be scary, the unknown. We are here for you. There are some scary naturals out there, but chances are you will meet the non-scary ones. Like me! What I’m trying to say is accept your truth and live in that space. If your truth means returning natural, then embrace it fully. There are resources and others out there just waiting to help. Love and light y’all.

Have questions or comments, please let me know

MyNatural Hair Journey: The Male Chronicles

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I know a lot of naturals, who are not married, can be concerned if men will be attracted to them.  There are also a lot of women who want to return natural, but aren’t sure what their boyfriends will think about it.  What about the married women?  Are we just to assume that our husbands love our hair because it’s us?   I mean they married us right?  For better or for worse?  In sickness and in health?  Through relaxed or natural?

Well…you’d be surprised what a lot of married men have to say about the natural hair movement and the effect is has on them as husbands.  Not all are for it, but not all are against it either.  I’ve decided to start a series of interviews.  These interviews will reflect the views of men who are either married to a fully natural woman, a woman who is transitioning, or a woman who is thinking of returning natural.  Not all men think alike ladies and they hold nothing back.  First up…okay, so I won’t reveal their names because part of the deal with them being completely honest with me is that I don’t.  I will give out initials though.  This first married man is named T.B.O. (the blunt one!) Are you ready?

 

I’m sure you’ve noticed an overwhelming increase in African American/black women returning natural.  Why do you think that is? I think it’s a fad.  Everything comes and goes in cycles. Hope the Jheri curl never comes back. –T.B.O.

Do you have any friends or family that have returned natural? Yes. My wife, sister, and sister-in-law. –T.B.O.

How do you feel about the natural hair movement in general? Honestly, I feel like it’s a good thing.  Because we, as black people, have been taught to shame everything that is natural or the way we have been created.  We’re geared toward more of the European style…from the way we dress to the way we wear our hair.  It exposes a beauty that black people have long forgotten that we had. –T.B.O.

Do you believe, as many others do, that this movement is just a fad? Yes, although it may not be gone in a couple years.  After the older generations pass, the younger ones might say “hey we don’t do it anymore” –T.B.O.

What do you think about the overall appearance of natural hair?  It can look nice.  If hair is properly washed and you apply the right maintenance.  I like the stuff used to make it soft and smell nice.  I like people who take pride in their appearance.  The big chop is not an attractive act for me though.  I don’t like that, but I do understand that it is part of the process. –T.B.O.

Do you believe natural hair should be limited to those with “good hair”? We all have good hair. –T.B.O.  (My favorite question and answer!)

Do you believe “good hair” is relevant in terms of African American/black hair?  Why or why not? Good hair is something that people thought mainly related to white people hair. –T.B.O.

Do you feel, as a black male, that you have an influence on the natural hair community? No, I don’t.  If I talk to other men who are also in the same situation (with their wives going natural) I would let them know that it will be okay and the process is beautiful.  (****** insert wife’s name) doesn’t think I notice.  I notice all of the things that my wife does to her hair, all the time she takes to make it look nice and smell nice. –T.B.O.

So if you and your wife have a little girl, would you allow her to wear her natural hair or would you prefer her to have relaxed hair?  My daughter’s hair would depend on what my wife does with her hair.  I wouldn’t force her to get a relaxer though. –T.B.O.

Do you like the natural style of hair or the natural state of hair? Most women I see that are natural have nice looking hair.  There is nappy vs. natural though. –T.B.O.

 

Well…y’all still here?  I don’t think this interview could have gone any better.  I appreciate this man’s honesty.  The other interviews will be on the way and it’s so important to value their opinion as men.  Let’s all be nice.  Send your comments or questions my way.  Anything you want me to ask, just let me know.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And…I’m Over It

dreamstime_l_58147581Ladies, there comes a point in your life when you are just completely over it. Sometimes you’re so over working that 9 to 5, relationship statuses, and even your natural hair. Yes, it can happen. It happened to me. Let me explain. I started out with so much excitement and energy for my natural hair. I had a new style that I wanted to try every day. Then the day came where I was just over it. Basically, life happened. I am a mother of two and the day to day life was starting to wear on me. I didn’t want to spend so much time on my hair anymore. I was tired and I was just done. Has that happened to you? Well, good thing you’re not alone in this. I have a few tips for you that can help you during this rough patch.
Tip #1: Remember why you returned natural. Whenever you decide to make a lifestyle change there will be times when you just don’t want to do it anymore. It can seem like you may not ever get used to that hair routine you desire. I encourage you to take a step back and really examine the reason you even started your journey. Going down memory lane could help boost your attitude towards natural hair. My daily reminder will always be my children. The way my daughter gushes at the sight of her curls, makes me smile. The way my son rubs his tiny hands through my hair because he loves the texture, completely melts my heart. So, this helps me stay focused on what I set out to do.

Tip #2: YouTube it. Hey, you remember all those tutorials you looked through when deciding if you even wanted to return natural? There were some sleepless nights for me. I can easily remember watching 6 or 7 tutorials in a row. It was the inspiration I needed. I felt the sense of community watching all of these beautiful ladies try this style or use that product. I can honestly say that I don’t watch them as much as I used to, but whenever I need a bit of inspiration I will pull up a tutorial. Often times we get busy with life (sooo normal) and we just forget about the websites, bloggers, or vloggers. My suggestion is just to pull up a quick tutorial. I guarantee there is a new style you will want to try. Get inspired!

Tip #3: Weave or wig it. Okay, so I officially have my own personal stance on weaves and wigs, but for the sake of your natural journey, I will set them aside (this one time). Well, really I’m just going to talk about protective styling. Okay, I don’t know all the rules for protective styling, like seasons to use them or the best way to protect your hair. What I am going to say is just give yourself a break. I twist and braid my hair all the time and even though I’m used to it, it still wears me out. For those who “just can’t” anymore, put you a protective style up girl. You deserve a break. Natural hair is wonderful, but in no means less time consuming like people claim. I clearly remember wrapping my relaxed hair in under 2 minutes and going to bed. Now for the ladies who have no problems with weaves or wigs, please take advantage. You will give yourself a much needed break, protect your hair, and hopefully renew your love for natural hair.

Tip #4: Weigh the pros and cons. This is old school, but this is a method I had to use when I first decided to return natural. Returning natural, can be a big decision for a lot of women. If you’ve just reached the point where you feel yourself about to break, pull out that notepad. Go back and weigh your options. Everyone’s list will not look the same. I personally didn’t have too many cons on my list, but the main one I had was the emotional trauma. The need of social acceptance and society’s view of beauty weighed heavily on my mind. That is the reason I started to blog about the emotional journey, because I know I’m not alone. Neither are you.

Tip #5: Find your place. What I mean is find your place in the natural hair community. There are so many people that you can connect with and talk to. Having that sense of community will keep you motivated. If you have a story to tell, just write about. Somebody needs to hear it. You may be able to help other women returning natural or encourage those who are transitioning. Either way, you won’t be alone.

Straight Talk

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Are you going to straighten your hair?

I wanted to take the time to address this. A lot of people have asked me this very question and I’ll admit, I struggled with my answer. There is this great thought that after returning natural, your hair will become healthier and stronger. Now you can do all these different styles with you hair like straighten it. Yes, that was sarcasm. No, I will not apologize. This is an opinion piece (my opinion), not fact.

I am not bothered by the fact that a lot of naturals straighten their hair. That is what they choose to do. What can be bothersome is when women tell me that I should straighten my hair for variety or a different style. No ma’am. This is not a true statement for me and let me tell you why. When people say straightening your hair is a different look or style, I agree. It is a style and it is different, but not for me. In the 30 years that I’ve been on this earth, my hair has been straight for about 25 of them. This is not a new style for me and there is no variety in that. I believe there is much more variety with my natural hair. There are so many styles with curly hair that I simply have not tried yet. Have you seen all the YouTube tutorials? I want to explore with my hair. I am only 3 years in with my natural hair journey and it truly has been a journey.

The truth is, it’s more than a style for me. It goes back to the reason I returned natural. I returned natural because I wanted my daughter to appreciate her hair. I wanted her to look in the mirror and be proud of the crown on her head. A lot of people may believe your hair doesn’t have to be curly for that. I respectfully disagree. In a country where the picture of beauty is viewed as someone who usually has a lighter complexion and straightened hair, it’s hard for me to believe that my daughter wouldn’t be swayed by that as well. Although, I am sure she will see many women who have that style, her constant support and ultimately her mirror will be me. I don’t plan on letting her down. When I was younger, I had my hair straightened. I never wore my hair curly. For me, my hair returning to its natural state was a disaster or a bad hair day. I eventually got tired of having bad hair days and had my hair relaxed. That is a mindset I never want to return to. My daughter will grow to make her own choices, but if one of those choices is to remain natural then I will be happy. I understand that beauty is not embodied in your texture or style of hair alone, but it weighs heavily on the mind of young black girls. Let’s stop pretending that it doesn’t. That is what I am aiming to change.

Another reason I refuse to straighten my hair is through the belief that my curls are just for fun. Many women believe they need to slick their hair back or straighten their hair if they want to achieve a sophisticated look. If they desire to be taken seriously, they choose to straighten their hair. Why? I know why. They’ve been sucked into the belief that curly hair, frizzy hair, kinky hair, nappy hair is unkempt. Therefore it is not appropriate for business. Who told them that? Maybe it’s something they just believe on their own accord. Well, how did that come to be? Perhaps it came to be through the realization that most women of color had adapted the straightened look. We all know why that is. Back in the day, it was the only way we could get jobs and it has simply been passed down to the other generations. What if I told you, it will continue to be a problem in the workforce if you continue to succumb to their standard of beauty? Would you believe me? Would you be willing to change? The truth is, it will never change unless you do. It’s time for us to stand up and change the course for the next generation. It was done for us, or have you forgotten that?

I don’t mean to rant, but it’s the truth I believe in. Whether you do or not is all up to you. However, one thing I refuse to do is tell my daughter that the way she was designed is not acceptable in society. Which, in my opinion, is what you say every time you choose to straighten your daughter’s hair.

Now if you find yourself on the side offense, please don’t be. I understand there are many reasons women straighten their hair. Some women just like their hair straight, but prefer not have chemicals in it. I understand that. Some women really just want that one style they can’t achieve with their curls popping out of place. I understand that. That’s not what I am talking about. Please refer to the first three paragraphs. The point is, I don’t have a desire to return to my straightened hair days. Especially if it’s for variety or sophistication purposes. It’s not needed. Some people may be skeptical about me choosing to not straighten my hair. I can honestly tell you that I don’t see it in my future anytime soon. Peace and love y’all.

What He Doesn’t Know, Can Hurt Us

dreamstime_l_37510990Here’s the thing, often times when women return natural, they do it for many reasons. Most of them, however, don’t always include the education of young black boys. I understand one of our goals is to accept ourselves first. The next thing we do is move on to inform other women, our community, and then our little girls. What about our sons? The men that don’t like natural hair or don’t understand why it’s a big deal in our community were once little boys.

Let’s take it back to the beginning. Do you think hate is inherent or do you think it’s taught? We have all seen those memes on social media. The one where there is a black child and a white child (or if you prefer: African American/Caucasian) playing at a park and holding hands. At the top, it reads: No One is Born Racist. I believe that, do you? For the sake of this post, we will say that you do. So, if hate isn’t something you are born with then we can agree that it is something that’s taught. How is it possible for our men to adore straight hair and shun curly, kinky, natural hair? Come on now, don’t act like that. I know many men want to deny this and say it’s just what they prefer. I actually understand that and believe that may be the case for some men. What I don’t believe, however, is that black women were conditioned into thinking the European hair texture was superior to that of our own, but the men were not. For all of my men readers, I want to take this time to tell you that I think you are great. I believe that you can be wonderful leaders in the community and can be excellent providers for your family. However, not all of you escaped the conditioning of the mind, not even half.

You must take time and think back to the images that plagued your mind while growing up. They were, no doubt, some of the same ones I had. I never saw natural, curly hair around me. I only saw straight hair. If a woman didn’t have a relaxer then she used, what we called back in the day, a “straightening comb”. There were not too many women on television that looked like me, but when I did find them they had straight hair. Now you tell me, how am I not supposed to grow up thinking that my hair had to be straight? The only curly haired individuals I saw walking around were biracial and by that time our community had taken to calling their hair “good”. They were the elected few that were allowed to have curly hair. In fact, the very texture of their hair masked itself like that of the European texture (through no fault of their own). Many people viewed this as “curly” because let’s face it, African Americans are not the only people who are born with curly hair. Many people already had their idea of what “curls” looked like. The problem was that if your hair didn’t have a specific curl pattern, then it wasn’t curly. It was nappy. So you didn’t grow go up thinking you had curly hair because it didn’t fit the silky curl pattern that you were shown. You were brought up thinking, your hair needed fixing.

Men, the same thing happened to you and some of you still don’t believe. A lot of you will disagree with me and that’s fine. I just wanted to let you know, that they played you. Let me be clear, I’m not talking to the men who understand the true nature of our hair, see it for all its beauty, and appreciate those who choose to rock it. No, I truly understand that some men just HAVE A PREFERENCE. I am trying to reach the men who still just don’t see what’s going on. They are willingly degrading our culture, our community, our women, and our little girls (who will become women). They do this because they truly, believe that our hair is nappy and needs to be put in place. Little boys are just soaking this up and repeating what they hear and see. I don’t desire to see my son go down this path and that is why I educate him now. Does this mean that he will marry a woman with natural hair? Nope, he may not even marry a woman of his own race (I’m fine with that, btw). However, my son will know that his mom has hair like him and his sister has hair like him. He will grow to understand that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and not the “molder”. He will be an encourager to the women of his culture and will help unify this broken community. He will help raise up future kings and queens just as I hope you would do the same. Division amongst our people may not be the current agenda, but I can tell you it was the previous agenda and it’s messing up our future plans. We need to teach our young boys and help them see the truth about the little girls they see in their neighborhood. We are raising future CEOs, lawmakers, world travelers and you would have them believe what about their community? That we are a lost cause? That our women do not possess classic beauty? That our culture is of no importance and bears no weight to the way the very country we live has been shaped? Come again? Ladies, I know it’s important for your little girl to know her worth and understand her hair, but it is equally important for your son to know the same about himself and about women. Your move.

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