Thursday, March 29, 2012

Blessings of Spring!

Crocuses sprouting from my front rain garden.
The birds are chirping, the trees are budding, and even some spring bulbs are shooting out of the ground.  That fresh earthy smell has returned of green grass and clean air.  From my kitchen window I watched two Cardinals perched in an Ash tree across the street.  Ahhh the wonders of spring, but hold on a minute I live in Minnesota!  What's going on?  This usually doesn't happen until mid to late April.  Up here in the north country, March is know for last minute spring snow storms, slushy icy streets, and muddy backyards from melting snow.  This past March has gone down in the record books as the warmest March in over 100 years.  Wow!  Considering last winter was the 3rd snowiest winter since records have been taken and we were only 2 inches away from the 2nd snowiest winter.

Blossoms from the tree across my street.
Someone like me who suffers from seasonal allergies, this means that I have been raiding my husband's stash of non-drowsy 24 hour relief allergy medicine.  Being able to breathe is taken advantage of way too much by me and my eyes being red, itchy, and dry is not fun either.  The sneezing, well let's just say that since I've had my son accidents happen sometimes when I sneeze and Poise has become my best friend right now. 

I digress, the other day I was checking out one of my rain gardens and noticed that my Crocus bulbs are in full bloom.  My son and I took a little walk around the house to check out all the gardens and my Daffodils are sprouting.  The neighbors down the street Daffodils are already in full bloom!  Across the street from my house is a park area that is designated for prairie land within the city and it is also bursting with life.  Within a small grove are a couple of trees that have beautiful white blossoms.  I have no clue what kind of trees these are, but they are always the first to bloom in the spring in my neighborhood.  I can't wait for the Lilac bushes to bloom and that sweet heavenly fragrance fills the air!  What a blessing this early spring has been, I think I'll start my gardening early this year.  Until next time...

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

I'm not natural?

My husband and I are both special education teachers and we both have paraprofessionals that we refer to as staff that work with us and the students.  The other day he was talking to a couple of his staff members who are women.  One is from Nigeria and the others are African American.  The ladies were talking about losing their hair in the front from wearing weaves and long extentions.  My wonderful husband approached them and asked them if they would ever consider going natural.  He then proceeded to show them my blog and after checking out my hair regimen one of then said "she's not natural, she uses a conditioner".  My dumbfounded husband responded "yes, but she is no longer using a relaxer to permanently straighten her hair".
My un-natural Aussie Moist curls.
So, after relaying this story to me I wasn't surprised since people in the past have assumed natural hair was telling them I was forsaking things like deodorant and soap.  Since this is ridiculous, I had him relay back to his staff members that my definition of going natural (hence my blog name) regarding my hair is that I will no longer use a chemical to permanently straighten my hair.

I just don't get it!  Water is technically a compound (made from two elements) and chemicals are created by mixing different compounds together.  I'm not going to stop using water that's just silly, so what's wrong with conditioner?  The term chemical is a generic term that is used to describe a mixture of compounds or anything that is chemically active.  A basic example of a chemically active compound is when vinegar and baking soda are mixed.  The reaction is that the substance becomes carbonic acid and the carbon dioxide escaping the solution that is left looks like bubbles. Carbon dioxide is heavier than air, so, it flows almost like water when it overflows the container.  This happens when you mix a base and acid.  Different chemical reactions happen when you use different conditioners.  Understanding ph and balancing out your bases and acids will give you a reaction that our hair will experience as many things from great slip to causing your hair to dry out or feel soft, silky and shiny ect...  All these things are basically chemical reactions.
Close up of my defined curls.

Sorry, I totally geek out on everyone there!  My point is that no one can be completely natural.  Even the people who say they are completely chemical free, that would mean they would forsake everything including water.  You can't be completely chemical free!  What you can say is that you are choosing to use more plant based (natural) products and or are choosing to use products that the chemicals don't permanently change the cell structure of your hair.  I'm the latter, I don't use 100% plant based natural products, but I'm not using anything that will permanently change my curl pattern including a force called heat (I had to get geeky one more time).  It's just easier to say I'm natural and most people in the natural world understand that natural means no relaxer.  I'm not saying that in the future I won't switch to 100% natural products.  Just not now!  I have a young family and I have to watch the bottom line very carefully.  So, for me I will continue to use my Aussie Moist at least until I finally break down and buy more Mop Top products.  Until next time...

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Hair wrap too hot!

I have been wrapping my hair every night in a silk scarf that my husband gave me when I went digging around the house looking for a silk scarf last spring.  I've gone to bed every night wearing this scarf around my head because I'm too cheap to buy satin pillow cases.  Anyway, It's been unseasonable warm here in Minnesota and I've been getting really hot at night.  I'm foreseeing a long hot summer wearing this silk scarf. 
In the picture to the left I know that I look like Aunt Jemima.  This is me right before bed with no make up on and looking tired.  Check out the sexy pink PJ's (lol)!  Notice the red eyes from my allergies starting a month early this year.  Sigh... the joys of an early spring ruined by itchy watery red eyes, sneezing, and a runny nose.

Does anyone have any suggestions on something affordable and protective for me to wear at night that is cool?  I really want something cool!  I know I'm being kinda picky but, I'm prone to get headaches so I like to be able to adjust the tightness.  I also like the ease of something that can be thrown in the washing machine.  I know, I know I'm so demanding! Maybe I should just bite the bullet and get satin pillow cases?  Until next time...

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Fairy knots! Frustrating!

This past week when I did my wash n go I was finger combing my hair in the shower and noticed that some of the strands felt bumpy.  With a closer examination I realized that they are really single strand knots also known as fairy knots.  Ugh!

My hair has been growing out nicely and I'm really starting to enjoy my length and then POW!  I'm hit with these knots that can't be combed out, they can only be cut out!  Now, I don't believe I have a lot of fairy knots, but I have had to trim a few out every day this past week.

I have been using my jojoba oil mixture every night and maybe I need to revisit my night routine and tweak somethings.  Does anyone have some suggestions?  What do you do to prevent fairy knots?  Until next time...

Monday, March 19, 2012

What does nappy mean?

This past Sunday I had lunch after church with some friends.  One of my friends has an adult daughter who is biracial like me.  She commented about how much she liked my corkscrew curls and that her daughter use to have hair like mine when she was younger.  I told her that she probably still does.
6th month fro.
She looked at me and said "no, her hair is nappy".  She then pulled out her phone and showed me a picture of her daughter's hair.  Yes, it was big and picked out, but I consider my hair and her hair nappy and that's not a bad thing in my opinion.  I was told "no, you don't have nappy hair because it's curly and shiny".  I then said "oh, her hair was picked out, it's just a style".  She then said "yeah, and it's nappy".  At this point, I'm really confused because I'm proud of my nappy hair and through this conversation I'm been told several times that my hair isn't "nappy" and that "nappy" hair is something not to be proud of.  I then grab my husband's tablet and show her several pictures of my hair including my fro from my 6th month anniversary post.  She said that in that picture I had nappy hair.  She then asked "you didn't go out in public looking like that?".  At this point I realized that it doesn't matter what I say to her.  To her big, picked out, afro, kinky hair that ia not flat ironed or set in neat curls was "nappy" and that "nappy" is very undesirable.  She then went on to tell me that she will "never color her daughter's nappy hair again unless it was flat ironed first".  Oh my!  Why would you use a flat iron that can damage hair horribly and then use a chemical to dye hair?  I was surprised to see a picture of her daughter's hair with a lot of length.  My assumption is that it is only a matter of time before her hair starts to break, thin out, or split.

Wow!  Here I'm learning to really love and embrace my hair and still many people think that wearing a big fro is "nappy" and that "nappy" needs to be flat ironed to be manageable.  What are your thoughts?  What does nappy mean to you? Until next time...

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

One year after my last relaxer ... random thoughts with a point

One year ago this month I gave myself my last relaxer.  After rinsing the perm out of my hair I ran my fingers through my hair and had a Kim Cattrall moment from "Sex in the City".  You know that scene, the moment when Samantha finds out that she has cancer then the scene where she runs her hands through her hair and she comes away with hundreds of strands caught threaded in her fingers.  The moment she realizes that she is losing her hair.  I had that moment as pure crippling fear took a hold of me and panic set in and gripped my heart, but I didn't have cancer, I had a bad perm!  How could this happen to me?  Yes, in the past I had some burns and over processed hair, but I had never suffered mass amounts of hair loss.

Look at how healthy my hair looks!
So, just like any reasonable women would do I started to do some research and of course I confirmed through my research that yes, relaxers can cause hair loss.  To put the cherry on top of the sundae, relaxers can cause permanent hair loss.  Right then I made a promise to myself that I would never relax my hair again!  My mistake was telling others.  I should of just keep my decision between myself and my husband,  but no I had to blab to everyone.  So, when I officially started my transition in May 2011 I was told by many, including family that I was either crazy or that I would be back to relaxing my hair in just a few months.  Well at the time I had no memory of my natural curls and I wasn't completely sure if I would like my curls, so this was to me a big leap of faith.  So, I closed my eyes leaned back and prayed that the dear Lord would not let me fall.

Well the beauty of transitioning is that you have this time to mentally rewire your thoughts.  I have been reading a blog Slimwavy and Jazz Wife (whom I consider a friend) and I have been engaged in several dialogues lately about how beauty is tied so much to our thoughts and not based on logic and healthy practices.  Basically, I had to convince myself that I was beautiful and that my beauty is not defined by long flowing straight damaged hair that broke off every time I brushed it, washed it, and or simply touched it.  My transitioning and these past several months post my Big Chop have forced me to learn to care for my hair and to build self confidence in myself by shedding old myths I took as gospel truth.  The reason why this was hard for me was because I was told by many love ones (not my husband) that beauty was to NOT have nappy hair.  I was told over and over again that I was pretty with that damaged relaxed hair, so I thought that was what I had to do to be beautiful.

I transitioned without the aid of a wig, weave, braids, and or extensions.  I did it the old fashioned way.  I grew out my hair until I got tired of the two textures and made an appointment to cut it all off five months after my last relaxer.  I told myself that it's just hair and that it would eventually grow back.  Why was I hanging onto something I planned to cut off anyway?  Basically, I had to convince myself to let go of something that was bad for me, but it was familiar and it had been with me for so long I didn't know how to live without it.  It was like asking a smoker to simply quit and even without the addiction of the nicotine you have to learn new habits, you have to change your thinking.  That's what my transition was like and especially wearing my TWA.  My TWA forced me to learn so much about my hair and who I am.  There's no hiding when you wear a TWA!  A TWA is a commitment.  A statement to the world.  For me wearing my TWA was the best way to break free from everything that I thought was beautiful and reshape my thoughts by embracing who I have always been, but hid with a bad habit for decades.

I had to get a picture of the pin in my hair.
 I have a point, I really do!  Basically this journey I am on is simply that a journey.  When you plan a trip to a tourist trap like Mt. Rushmore you have to enjoy the journey because once you see those presidents faces for several minutes you're ready to do something else.  I am now out of my TWA phase and entering a new phase and I'm loving this journey.  Some days are better than others, but everyday I wake up to my beautiful son and devoted husband who loves me regardless of what I look like.  I think to myself how blessed I am!  Make goals, move forward, but don't forget to enjoy where you are right now.  Until next time...

Monday, March 12, 2012

Oh Happy Day!

Great news!  Several of you in the past couple of weeks have asked me about an update on my father since my birthday post were he ended up going to the emergency room with  blood clots.  I thank you all for the prayers my way and especially prayers for my father.  Well I have held off writing because my father was in the process of seeing several doctors and specialists.  The wait is over and the results came back today, my father got the clear today of being cancer free!  Praise the Lord!  I had no idea what I was carrying around with me until I spoke to my mother about this great news.  I felt such a relief at this news I had to excuse myself from a meeting to cry in the corner.  I'm so blessed and I give all the glory to the Alpha, Omega, and the Great I Am!  God is good all the time!
Thanksgiving 2011 with cousins and grandparents.
This picture was taken at Thanksgiving with my son (next to my father), my niece and nephew from my brother.  These are my parents only grandchildren.  As you can see my niece loves wearing her hair big.  I love it!  Remember that God is always working in your life and you never know when your miracle is around the corner.  Stay faithful!  Until next time...

Friday, March 9, 2012

7 Month Anniversary of Big Chop!

Hello!  Yesterday was my 7  month anniversary of my big chop!  This month I retained some growth and now in the front I have 5.5 inches of hair.
Wash n go with a little Mop Top gel.

My hair is now curling around the tip of my nose.

My hair in the back is inching closer to my collarbone.
Don't mind my tired expressions.  I'm bone tired because my son has another ear infection, which means sleepless nights and very tired parents.  By the way, I have nothing in my hair in the bottom 3 pictures.  The top picture I have my Aussie Moist and a little Mop Top gel.  This is my go to style when I'm tired (which seems to be most days lately) because It's so easy and the curls always pop so nicely.  Until next time...

Monday, March 5, 2012

Church Hair

This past Sunday I wore one of my new headbands.  I got several compliments at church and my son said that I was pretty.

Close up of my texture and the headband.
I'm really loving my curls!  All I have in my hair is my Aussie Moist and my jojoba oil mixture.  My hubby said to me that he always thought my hair would look like this and then he kissed me full on the month!  Whew, right before church I was buzzing on my compliment high.  I love that man of mine, he knows what to say to me to make me love him more.  Until next time...