Monday, February 27, 2012

The International Natural.



I recently studied abroad in Costa Rica for 4 months. I knew I would witness many things, but I did not think my hair would be a variable in my experience.

For the first 2 months I wore a sew in. The last two months I sported my natural kinks and curls. Now, I had reserves about taking my sew in out because of the amount of questions I thought I would get by my peer group. I can get irritable very quickly when bombarded with questions. I was the only Black student out of 40. Not to mention, I was the only Black person in my area in Costa Rica. I later met some people from the Caribbean, but only a few. I stuck out like a sore thumb.

You can only imagine that when my hair went from this:

 To this:



I would get some different responses. To be honest, the feedback wasn't what I expected.


Cat-calling is normal in Central America. I talked to a few men and they said it was second nature to them, like a past time. They didn't care what the response from the women was. I know that seems like irrelevant information, but I'm getting to something. When I first arrived in Costa Rica the men would call me 'morena', which means dark skinned woman in Spanish, but it is usually a term for darker skinned women with either straight or curly hair, NOT kinky. I also traveled to Nicaragua during this time and I was also called 'morena'. After taking down my sew in, the next day when I walked to school I noticed the men were referring to me as 'negrita', which is an endearing form of Black woman. During the two months I had been there I had never been placed in juxtaposition with a Black woman, although it was clear that I had some form of African ancestry.

While wearing my natural hair, this label followed me through Central America. For those who don't know, there is a myth that Costa Rica is the 'whiter' Central American country. From what I witnessed, the people tend to place a higher value on North American culture than the rest of the region. The feedback I received from Costa Ricans was different, but I had another experience with the rest of Central America.


I had the chance to voyage through El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. I traveled with my beautiful Philippine friend. Black women are definitely exotic in these countries because I got cat-called and harassed the entire trip and she didn't.

 "Negrita, mi amor. Nunca he visto pelo como así. ¡Te amo!"- a random man from El Salvador.
"Black woman, my love. I've never seen hair like that. I love you!"

El Salvador was the most interesting. I had countless questions about what products I used in my hair. Photo opportunities followed the questions. Can you believe people wanted to take pictures with me just because they had never seen hair like mine? I was wearing two-strand twist, mind you. Beside the street harassment, the positive reinforcement was awesome.

Although I received different reactions to my hair, I never received a negative comment. It shows that not everyone places artificial beauty on a pedestal. I am grateful for that experience.

Song of The Day: 'I Choose' India Arie.



"Release the guilt about why things happened the way they did because life is gonna do what it do, but today I have the opportunity to choose. From this day forward every decision I make will be my own."

I choose love, happiness, joy and speaking life.

What do you choose today?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Easy Two-Strand Twist Styles.

Two-strand twists are my go-to protective style. They are easy to maintain and they last for at least a week. But if you're like me, you don't like to wear your two-strand twists down. My hair isn't long enough to wear them how I want to. Here's a few ways I style mine.


 High Bun.
This is a style I've had a few questions about. Here's what I used to achieve this look:

Marley braiding hair, bobby pins, a hair tie, and a few small rubber bands.

I start by putting my two strand twists in a high ponytail. If your hair is shorter, you may have to secure some of the twist with bobby pins to keep the hair in place. I use about 2/3 of the package of Marley Braid Hair. I attach the hair to the ponytail with a rubber band and twist it in one big twist. I tie a rubber band at the end to keep it together. I wrap the twist around the ponytail and secure the bun by putting bobby pins all around. Here is the finished product:



You can also make the ponytail a little lower for a more sophisticated look.



T-shirt trick.

Have a long sleeve tee? Put over your head and wrap into a low bun.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Regular Girl.


You've probably already painted a picture of yourself based off of another drawing. You've traced the lines and by the time you colored it in, it didn't really look like you at all. Why? You were deriving from a work that wasn't your own. When you create an image constructed from another hand you lose the work you could've generated by your own creativity. No one can paint a better picture of you than you. It may not be the perfect, but it is real.

Sometimes there is so much pressure to be a materialistic and sexualized woman in this world that we forget who we are. The 'road to riches and diamond rings' can erase our true identity. The image reality T.V. paints of African American women is disgusting. We are filling a mold that wasn't shaped by us. The original housewives were WHITE. The Bachelor came before Flavor of Love. Not to mention, we've reenacted the stereotypes plotted against us. These shows are pure coonery. There is never a show where there isn't a loud and obnoxious Black woman strutting around like her stuff doesn't stink. Well, roses really smell like boo boo. These women are living in a garden full of weeds. Race aside, we're growing the same type of plant.

Many women have become dependent on a 'prince charming', most who aren't really charming at all, to come save them while they live the life they've always dreamed. The shows Basketball Wives and Love & Hiphop show nothing but women going through Hell to strive to reach Heaven. That paradise of living a dream life with a wealthy man is few and far between. Has our self esteem diminished so low that we are willing to endure cheating and disrespect for money and a man? Mo' money, mo' problems, right?

Every episode of a reality series is overflowing with conflict. Women just can't seem to agree on anything except how narcissistic they are. Most women say: "I don't run with many girls because they talk too much." Women don't have to be catty. If your world is that miserable where you need to put people down to help you feel better, it's time for a change. Can't we all just get along?

Women might be able to trade in the drama for knitting needles and tea if they would be more self aware. Knowing yourself is the key to living a happy and prosperous life. Who you are and what you stand for should be an easy question to answer. "If you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything." Have we fell so low that we can't be ourselves?

I can only be me. I have been blessed with great friends, the most DIVERSE group you can imagine. I've had minimal drama in my days. I am a Black woman studying Business, Spanish, and Italian. I love trying new things and I am not afraid of change. I'm just a regular girl.

Create your own masterpiece.

Straightening


I usually wash my hair and roll with while wet to decrease the amount of heat I put on my hair. When dry, I take the rollers out and straighten. This time I blow dried first and then straightened.

My hair blow dried before straightening:
I parted in rows, adding heat protectant to each row. I used a flat iron to straighten.

This process took way longer than expected and will not be doing it this way again. It didn't turn out how I expected. My straight hair did last for a week and a half, but I couldn't wait to go back to my kinks and curls. I admit, it was nice being able to throw my hair in a ponytail when I didn't have much time. Next time, I will roll first and then straighten.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

My True Journey.

"The queen with the nappy hair raising a fist." -Jill Scott

When I first stated 'natural hair journey', I only thought I would be going on a journey through my hair at it's different lengths and stages. That was a falsity. I have stopped at many places along the way. I've also ventured into things I wouldn't dare before. I never knew I would be going on a journey through my social, political, and health standpoints. 

Socially, I've learned that the world is far behind in embracing true self. By that I mean, most people are lost. Yes, I have struggled with self esteem and awareness. Being around certain people made me feel more insecure. People responded to me differently when I adhered to the societal definition of a beautiful woman. I felt I had to have a head full of hair and a face full of makeup to be beautiful. Now that is far from the case. You should never try to impress other insecure people. You attract what you are. You do not want to attract misguided beliefs and people who think that Remy and M.A.C. make you beautiful. It doesn't take hair down to my knees and a pound of foundation to show I'm gorgeous. While dis-configuring these social misconceptions, I learned more about my political views.

I was never much of a 'politics person'. Society and politics go together, so it was only natural for me to explore my stance on political issues (pun intended). Naturally, I would also examine my food choices.

I've always been a moderately healthy eater, but I didn't go out of my way to make healthy food choices. Let's be honest, health food comes with a price tag. When you realize that the processed food you are eating can be more chemicals than food, paying the price doesn't seem as bad. I take more time to look at labels and try to buy fresh food. It does go bad faster, but you find creative ways to use your food before it spoils. My body thanks me for this decision. 

My mind, body, and soul are much healthier. I encourage everyone to explore yourself and you will gain much more than you thought possible.

"If you are never lost, there is a change you may never be found."

Blow-out.

This is the first time I tried blowing out my hair. I used a Gold 'N Hot blow dryer with a comb. I started by oiling my scalp, then oiling my strands, emphasizing on the ends. I applied a GENEROUS amount of heat protectant and blow-dried in about 15-20 sections. I LOVED the way it turned out.

Wash 'N Gos.


I don't usually wear wash 'n gos. I thought I'd share my routine for wash 'n gos. I started with two strand twists that I wore in a ponytail for about a week- Shown in the second picture. (I used Marley Braiding Hair to add bulk to my high ponytail)

After taking down the stretched two-strand twists, I co-washed with Shea Moisture Reconstructive Conditioner. I then added some of the Shea Moisture Curl Souffle and clear gel. I twirled some pieces of hair around my finger to stretch a little more. For people that enjoy body, I suggest this method for wash 'n gos.

No time?

4 flat twist and a beanie can save the day! Very simple and cute style if you need a quick fix for a crazy natural hair day. Believe me, we all have them.

Maintaing Twist-Outs.

This is literally the same hair from the previous twist out post and my January update video. I twisted it in about 6-10 flat twist, depending on the day, to maintain my hair. It grew bigger as the days passed. It lasted over a week.

January Update.

video
A little late, but I'm BACKKKKKKKKKK!