Evolving Naturally

Baggage

 

I’m pretty sure that everyone over the age of 18 carries around some sort of baggage (even younger in some cases). Baggage from previous life experiences or relationships, whether they be professional, personal, romantic or spiritual. After your life experience or your encounter with the baggage-forming agent, what happens? Does that experience or relationship alter the rest of your life?

I began thinking about my past life experiences. There have been many unfortunate situations that I’ve just swept under the rug and told myself, “well it happened and it’s over. No sense crying over spilled milk.” Because of that escapist mentality, I’ve never really dealt with some tough issues from my past. Now that I’m older, I wonder how those experiences have subconsciously affected my daily life and or relationships.

One situation in particular comes to mind. In my late teens/early college years, I met and started dating this not so young fellow (as I’d later find out) named Jo. Jo was a tall, well-dressed, well-spoken man who struggled with his own demons. He was a wee bit possessive, a wee bit controlling and every bit out of control himself. (I’d also later find out that he suffered from Bi-Polar Disorder.)

Jo liked for me to be under him at all times. If we were in his apartment, he’d want me to be in the same room, on the same couch and preferably on the same cushion. His moods were ever changing and as unpredictable as his next get rich quick scheme. His temper was just the icing on his cake of volatility.

On this particular Saturday night, I was completely over sitting in the house and staring at him, so I made up an excuse so I could go to a graduation party with one of my friends. Upon my return, all hell broke loose.

As soon as I walked in the door he started asking me what n*** had I just been with, although he clearly saw my home-girl drop me off. He told me not to bother coming back inside because he had already thrown all of my belongings, including my brand new laptop, in the dumpster outside. I believed him because he’d thrown my stuff out before. (Another story for another day).

I was accustomed to his explosive nature, but this night, for whatever reason, I was in no mood for it. His accusations and his slew of insults infuriated me. I lost it. I began tearing through the house looking for my laptop, car keys, clothes and all the other things that he said he’d thrown away. I found all my belongings hidden in a corner behind his bed. I threw my laptop bag over my shoulder, found my keys and attempted to make my way to the front door.

As I attempted to leave he pinned me behind the front door and started slamming my face into the wall telling me that I could never leave. He told me if I wanted to get out I’d have to get passed him. I managed to get from behind the door but every time I attempted to squeeze passed him and go out, he’d slam my body between the door and the door-frame.

I managed to make it outside his apartment, with him chasing behind me, still cursing, screaming and fussing. From that point it was all a blur.  I remember him grabbing me and me falling backwards. I’m not sure if I was knocked out after I hit my head on the extinguisher or on the concrete floor, but all I remember is feeling him dragging me back into his apartment and yelling at me to wake up. I actually remember being afraid NOT to wake up because I didn’t want to make him any more upset.

When I finally woke up, he was standing over me with fire in his eyes. Still as upset and as enraged as before. He brought me a glass of water and an Advil and demanded that take the medicine. The “Advil” was a small, white, circular pill with writing on it; clearly not Advil. After what seemed like an eternity of me fighting not to take the “Advil,” I took the pill, which ended up being Codeine, and the glass of water.

The rest of the night was a blur until I woke up the next morning to him cooking me breakfast and offering to take me shopping.

Baggage.

I don’t think I’ve ever spoken to anyone about this situation in depth, or considered how 4 years of this kind of abuse has affected my life.  It’s been almost ten years since Jo has been in my life and I don’t THINK I’m still affected by our relationship. I’m sure I was at one point but I never let myself sit and think about it long enough to dissect the issue in its entirety.

So, where does that baggage go? Does it drop off little by little as the years roll by? I feel like I’ve grown from such life experiences and while I know I don’t look at the world through rose colored lenses, I also don’t think of myself as a negative, jaded or bitter woman.

Usually, I pride myself on my transparency but for some reason this post has me feeling a certain way…

Cathartic.

My 12 month wash and go

I MADE IT TO A YEAR!!!!  *Thows Confetti*

August 2, 2011 I promised myself that I would commit to letting my hair grow out my head in its natural state, NO MATTER WHAT, and that I did.  No matter how I felt about it, no matter what feedback I got from others, NO MATTER WHAT. I did it!

Here’s a contrast from my first few days after my big chop and 11 months after my big chop.

NOTHING has changed about the love hate relationship with my kinky coif.  Some days I love her, other days, not so much but what has changed however, is my understanding.  It took me almost a full year to LEARN my hair and learn what she likes and what works for us.  I’m still learning but it has been a growing process for us both.

The evolution of the twist out

I’ve learned is this as well: Progress Is a Process!!  What a difference a year makes!

Random styles I rocked this year

Variety is the spice of life.  I enjoy playing in my hair! (Above) I rocked twists and a fedora, my trusty puff, I FINALLY mastered my twist outs (that was the hardest thing for me)! Once I mastered my twist outs, I spiced em up a little with the flat twists on the side and then I learned how to extend the life of my style by pinning it up! (which makes a great protective style)

I wore the “nubian twist” for 2 weeks (Left) and the Waist length box braids for 3.5 weeks (Right)

This 5.5week break really helped my hair grow.  (If you cant tell I was feeling myself w/ the box braids)

11 months into my hair journey, I pressed my hair out for my sisters wedding

I’m really happy that I had an opportunity to get my hair professionally pressed and cut for my sisters wedding.  I hadn’t had my hair professionally treated since before I got scissor happy and big chopped on my own.  Regrettably I did get heat damage but it was fun being able to play in my hair for a week!

Spice it up a bit

So, I was completely bored with my twists out.. I was a little apprehensive about doing the flat twists on the side, I thought it might look juvenile, but I ended up loving it!

SN: My eyebrows tho??

My wash and go showcasing my heat damaged bangs!

Here’s a pic of my FAVORITE twist out

My 11 month twist out.. ahhh-mahh-zing (Used: Shea Moisture Curl  Enhancing Smoothie and IC Fantasia Olive oil Gel. Boom!)

PROGRESS IS A PROCESS!

YAYYY, I did it!!! A strong support system really helped me through my first 12 months of my Natural Hair Chronicles.  I suggest to any one who is trying to go down this journey to surround yourself of positive and realistic images of where you’d like to be.  It helped me immensely!

Anywho, 12 months down, and I’ve committed to another 12 months on this natural hair journey!  Whoop Whoop!

ps. I’m sorry I’ve neglected you all, but I’m back! I’ll catch you up soon

TU PAC BACK! Lolol

Gravity

Gravity is working against me
And gravity wants to bring me down
Oh gravity, stay the hell away from me
And gravity has taken better (wo)men than me
Just keep me where the light is

-John Mayer

Life has been keeping me busy these last few weeks.  My job is great, the people are awesome; I’m truly blessed. My whole family was together a few weekends ago in Alabama to visit my brother, my close friend is a couple of weeks (or days) away from giving birth to her baby girl  (I can’t wait to meet baby Livey).  I was able to see a close family friend get married, (they say love is better the 2nd time around!!) and she made a beautiful bride. (Pics coming soon.) There’s so much awesomeness going on, in and around my life…but something is missing.

Despite all the great things that I’ve been able to be a part of, I feel a certain emptiness and I don’t know where, why or how to fix it.  I’ve been desperately trying to get my thoughts together and pinpoint what has triggered this negative spirit.

I think somewhere along the line, I lost sight of the goal I set for myself and the fact that I’ve been derailed has just hit me like a ton of bricks.  I have a vision for myself but my vision is not matching up with my reality. Regrettably, I’ve made some of the same mistakes that I thought I’d already learned from, I’ve made some of the same decisions that I thought I wouldn’t make again and I’ve put myself in some of the same situations that I promised myself that I’d never put myself through again.

In the past, I’ve recognized that my desire for instant gratification and my impulsiveness usually produce a negative end result. Those negative results, more often than not, trickle down and leave a messy residue on every aspect of my reality. I’m not interested in going down that same path.

I find comfort in knowing that there’s no handbook to life and it’s not about how many times you get derailed or fall off, but it’s about recognizing when and where you’ve faltered, brushing yourself off and getting back on track.

Our greatest glory is not in never falling but in rising every time we fall.
Confucius

This weekend I rocked a pretty great twist out that I achieved using my JojOba Monoi Hair milk coupled with Organic Root Stimulator Twist and Lock Gel for hold.  I wore my twist out to church on Saturday, and I must have had super touchable looking hair because it seemed like every other person was tampering with my tresses.  I stopped counting after six people…

Headed to Church

Later that evening, 5 of my girlfriends and I randomly ended up at Shout! restaurant and lounge in Atlanta and I had THE MOST fun that I’ve had in a while. Initially, my friend Tiffany and I were heading to the park, so we were dressed in causal day-time clothes; for me that was a plaid button-up, denim shorts and my oxfords.  We weren’t at all dressed to party but we went anyway and partied just the same.

Casual and cute and being silly

While at Shout! I ran into one of my guy friends that I haven’t seen in over a year, the first thing he did was grab not one but TWO fistfuls of my hair and say “OH MY GOD WHAT DID YOU DO TO YOUR HAIR” (mind you he has a death grip on my hair as he’s examining my head).  Once I managed to pry my hair from his fists he looked down at my clothes then says “OH MY GOD AND WHAT ARE YOU WEARING?? YOU LOOK LIKE YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO BE IN A BARN SOMEWHERE.”  …uhh, ok.  Nice to see you too… rudeness.

After that less than favorable exchange, I find myself talking and laughing with another group of friends and THIS really happened…

Please note the FISTFUL of MY hair in HIS hand

FYI: this is NOT the same guy friend from earlier. Luckily for me (and him) he’s not a complete stranger; I’ve met him twice before about a year and a half ago… I’m not quite sure what prompted this…and by the look of this, you’d think we were the best of friends. Luckily for me (and him again) I’m not the type of person who feels that my powers will escape me if ever anyone touches my hair. However, I know some women that would have serious issues with this, and rightfully so! Sadly, these two guys weren’t the only two who mangled my mane that evening! I’ve asked this question before and I’m going to ask this question again, WHAT makes people reach out and touch other people’s hair?  What is that about?? (I’m really going to be waiting for an answer this time).

Anyway, we had an amazing time. My natural hair is giving me life!!! Here are some of the other pics of the randomness…

randomness at its best

On Saturday March 24 I had the pleasure of attending a natural hair event.  I was invited to Eden Body Works “Brunch With EDEN’ to celebrate the launch of their new JojOba collection. The products will be available beginning in March 2012 online and at Walmart stores nationwide, with a price point ranging from $8.99 – $9.99. The new line consists of five moisture-rich offerings: JojOba Shampoo, JojOba Conditioner, JojOba Deep Conditioner, JojOba Hair Milk, and JojOba Hair Oil.

Founded by 13-year-old CEO Jasmine Lawrence, EDEN BodyWorks provides all natural hair and body care solutions that integrate wellness and beauty inspired by nature to restore and maintain the body's original design. (she's not 13y/o anymore of course)

The brunch was great as it was very intimate with delicious cocktails. YUM!!  All the women in attendance were down to earth and approachable.  I had the pleasure of meeting Cindy Primm, the owner of Sage Naturalcueticals, a boutique specializing in natural hair, skin care bath and body products and fragrant soy candles. Also I was able to meet Myleik Teele, Founder and CEO of CurlBox.  There were so many more dynamic women there and I was just honored to be in the presence of greatness!

They gave away a Huetiful steamer!!!

Me at the Eden Event

Anywho, on to the review!

Soooo, this event gave away gift bags of the ENTIRE JojOba Manoi line and I’m not talking about sample size!

THIS is was what was in our gift bags!!!

I mean, who gives away the full line and NOT sample sizes?!  I’m not at all complaining!!!  I’ll start with the Shampoo.

The last time I shampooed my hair was February 12th. Before you get all judgy and start giving me the side eye, I co-wash it every week so its not like I’m walking around with stinky dirty hair. I digress.

The shampoo is sulfate, paraben and mineral oil free and it REALLY cleaned my hair.  As I rinsed out the shampoo, my hair made the squeaky clean sound which surprised me, especially since I made sure to pre-poo .  I had never heard my hair actually make a squeaking sound, so I only shampooed once.

The conditioner: After my hair was squeaky clean, I saturated my hair with the JojOba Monoi natural conditioner. It took a few applications before I felt like my hair was completely covered in the product. (I felt like I used a lot of condish, but when I looked the bottle still was very full.)  I wasn’t getting enough slip in my hair and usually when I apply conditioner, I’m instantly able to run my fingers thru my hair so I put on a shower cap on then finished with my normal shower activities.  About 10 minutes later I removed the shower cap and rinsed out the conditioner.

The deep conditioner went on smooth and I prepared myself under the steamer.  This experience was the WORST, not because of the products, but because for the first time, the steaming water burned me.  I burned my scalp so bad that I jumped from under the steamer, which caused me to knock it over, which then caused steaming hot water to splash all over my arm and hand…

After barely escaping with my life, noticed that I had a perfectly petite afro, my friend who attended the event with me described her coils  after using the steamer and deep condish as “boingy boing” (lol),  and I too had boingy boing coils.  The elasticity and integrity of my coils were amazing, my hair looked and felt extremely healthy.

The Hair Milk was next in line.  After locking in the moisture with some knot today and EVOO, I started twisting my hair for my twist-out style.  On every section that I twisted I’d first smooth in the hair milk followed by Organic Root Stimulator Twist and Lock Gel (oh I love that product). I sat under the dryer for an hour then went to bed.  The next morning I had a bomb twist-out.

Hello perfect twist out, glad you could join us!
You can't see the definition but each strand of hair was perfectly defined

The Natural Hair Oil is the last product in the collection.  The oil is nice and thick, I really don’t have anything bad to say except that when you spray the oil it comes out in a pretty powerful stream rather that a light mist. I’d prefer it more if I could use it as a mist instead of being concentrated in one place.

It’s evident that these products were designed to be used together.  In the beginning my hair was feeling squeaky clean and kind of stiff but once I used each product, the end result was soft springy and healthy looking and feeling hair. Because I do have the entire line I can say I am pleased with this product.

Pros

  • Sulfate free
  • Paraben free
  • No mineral oils
  • Affordable
  • Easily accessible
  • Thick so you don’t have to use too much
  • Left my hair feeling soft

Cons

  • Smell (I personally don’t like the monoi scent)
  • Not being able to use the products individually
  • The stiff and squeaky feeling after the shampoo
  • The spray stream of the oil

I will be using these products again, as I said earlier, I am pleased with the results!!

So, I had a Nightmare…

When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet.
Proverbs3:24 KJV

Have you ever had one of those dreams that scare you to death while you’re sleeping, but when you wake up, you’re more confused than scared because nothing in the dream really made sense? Well that was me, and I’ve been trying to make sense of this bad dream for 2 days now.

The sequence of events was so sporadic and random that I kinda feel strange even sharing, but hang on, cuz this is as eerie as it gets…

Background: Ok for starters, my mother really wants a small breed puppy and before I went to bed on Tuesday night she asked me to look into it for her…

My Dream:  In my dream, I finally found a small breed puppy for my mother.  I put the puppy’s bed in her room, I wrapped the puppy in a blanket, (kind of how you swaddle a baby) and placed the puppy in his puppy bed. In actuality, it was not a puppy, it was a baby dinosaur. A baby Tyrannosaurus Rex to be specific.  (I know I know… this gets weird.)  I don’t know when I realized that my puppy was a dinosaur, but when I did, I proceeded to cut its claws with my nail clip so that when he grew up, he wouldn’t eat us. (??) As I am cutting the claws, he starts to bleed all over the carpet. Because I still have the fear of my mother in me, I immediately get a cloth and some carpet cleaner and begin scrubbing the blood stains off the carpet.  (..??)

OK. Scene change. So now I’m in my boss’s husband’s coffee shop (Check out the Coffee Loft on Peters St…shameless plug I know.) I’m not sure what I’m doing, but there’s a guy that keeps checking me out. He approaches me and starts talking, but I don’t give him any play.  He’s tall, dressed in all black and he has on a black baseball hat. His hair is protruding from under his hat and it’s naaaaappppyyyyy, there’s lint in it, and it’s kind of dirty looking.  I play him to the left and kept doing what I was doing until he walked away.  Maybe 10 mins later the guy comes back to talk and I’m still throwing him shade. He removes his hat, and when he takes his hat off, the nappy hair comes off with it (kind of like those bob marley beanies that have the dread locks attached to it).  When he takes off the nappy hair hat, this dude is FINE, like Boris Kudjo fine!!  I perk up and start talking to him and start batting my eyes and smiling with him. Then, as clear as day, with a sweet smile on his face he says: I. Am. Evil.

Scene change: I’m back in my parents’ room with the clawless baby dinosaur and I’m scared because of what just happened (in real life I feel my body breaking out into a cold sweat). In the dream I’m scrambling to get into the bed with my mother so she can protect me.  I’m trying with all my might but she would NOT let me in the bed with her.  FINALLY, I make it into the bed, I’m scared so I begin to sing the words to my favorite Hymn, “I’ve Found a Friend.”

Ok this is where it get weird … well weirder.  I’m asleep but I’m trying to wake up and I’m praying well actually begging Jesus to wake me up. I have chills all over my body and it feels like I’m conscious but unable to physically wake up. All of a sudden, my cell phone starts vibrating and I open my eyes (thank you Jesus).  I look at my clock and its 6:47am and my friend Tiffany is calling (??)  I answer the phone and no one is on the line…?  I hang up and call her back and it goes to voicemail.  At this point I’m just happy to be awake.

Later that morning, as I’m on the way to work around 8:30 or so, Tiffany calls back and asked why I called her so early. HUH!!!  I remind her that she called me first to which she replied “no I didn’t, I wasn’t even near my phone because I was at my boot camp classes.” IS THAT SCARY OR WHAT!!!!

I don’t know what that dream means from the bloody baby dinosaur to the charming yet evil man dressed in all black. I can’t with my subconscious right now!  I don’t know what’s going on but before bed last night I made sure to say an extra long prayer!

Just thought I’d share… it was so strange and vivid… I dunno maaaan…

I have had dreams and I have had nightmares, but I have conquered my nigthmares because of my dreams.
-Jonas Salk

Rally at the Capitol

I’ve never been to a rally before but I must say I was thrilled to be a part of the rally for Trayvon Martin in front of the Georgia State Capitol on Monday March 26th.

The crowd of thousands of people held hands in support and brother(sister)hood. Powerful.

On the steps of the capitol, there was a sea of brown faces and not so brown faces alike, all with one common call for justice.  I’ve seen rallies on television, but for the first time in my life I was one of the faces in the crowd chanting emphatically: What do we want? JUSTICE, and when do we want it? NOW!!”

A sea of faces and hoodies

It was hot, we were standing shoulder to shoulder with strangers, about 5 people passed out (I’m assuming because it was 78degrees and people’s bodies were overheating in those hoodies!!) They announced that there was a child that was separated from his mother, and every other person either had an Arizona Iced Tea and skittles in tote. There was hustle and bustle all around, but something about knowing that the stranger next to me shared my desire for justice was soothing.  Little children were hanging on to their parents, blissfully ignorant of the magnitude of this; not  quite understanding what their mommy and daddy’s presence represent.

One of the speakers challenged everyone under the sound of his voice not to let the situation just fade away once it is not “popular” or “trending” anymore.  Too often we jump on the band wagon and get all gungho on a subject but then once the hype is gone it goes back to business as usual. Once George Zimmerman is arrested (or not) and once Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton get called away to something else, what will we do?  There will still be a mother and a father living with the same ill fated reality.

I was talking to my best guy friend and he said:

“What people are missing is not JUST what happened, but WHY it happened. It’s because everyone in the country is raised to fear black men, until that issue is resolved, we’re not going to solve anything.”

What can we change to ensure that something like this doesn’t happen again.  We can not let Trayvon Martin’s death go in vain.

Justice for Trayvon

Food for thought

Truth

Standing up for Justice

Do you all remember General Larry Platt from American Idol, the one who sang "pants on the ground, pants on the ground. Looking like a fool with your pants on the ground!" No..? Well that's him!

My boss and Founding Partner of  F2  Communications made a PSA for Trayvon Martin, check it out:

My friend Stefanie and I filmed some raw footage behind the scenes as well: 

Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.