Friday, November 13, 2009

New Growth

Call it growing up or whatever! In April of this year, I decided to start the transformation into womanhood. Maybe this process started automatically for me, or perhaps I just finally acknowledged it was happening. I’m not quite sure which came first, but it just kinda happened all of a sudden. One day I woke up and all the lights were off. So I cut them all on and saw myself in a new light, and I started with my hair. I didn’t just decide to no longer relax my hair… no, I decided at that point I needed to groom myself. So I cut about 6 inches off into a funky fresh cut. Now, I am transitioning into a natural hairstyle, the hard way. Along with allowing my true natural curly coif free, I decided to unleash my spiritual side as well. Together, with my bible and my comb I have maneuvered through six months of growing my relaxer out, and pruning myself spiritually. And it has been crazy fun ever since!

It’s like swimming upstream or against the current. You have to use a lot of muscle and strength to get upstream with a downward flowing current. Well I decided to take the challenge and plan on continuing it through! Six more months to go and I shall be relaxer free! At six months, I am in the pseudo stage. Half relaxed and half curly. Kinda like where I am in life, half relaxed, and half jumping with excitement at the new possibilities. Not only did I let go off my fears and frustrations with keeping up with the ladies in the Dark and Lovely commercials, but I welcomed new challenges and some tough terrain in both my hair care and in my life. I didn’t actually plan my life changes to coincide with my hair changes, perhaps it’s a default factor, but whatever the case I decided to start with the stuff on top of my head. But just like with my spiritual growth, I am willing to go through the rough days in order to see the end result, which I know will be positive!

Everything ain't for everybody. Going natural can be a rollercoaster of hair emotion, and it takes patience to teach yourself how to work with your hair texture. I'm not even gonna front like it's a piece of cake. I've had major moments of hair frustration, especially since I am in my early days of transitioning. Spiritually, it's been wonderful. Growing in the Spirit has allowed a breath of fresh air into my life where staleness and stagnation was all around me. But it too has come with challenges. Friendships have been lost, relationships cut off, I can't always go where I once went, or do the things I once used to do. But there is joy in sacrifice! For I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me! I actually never left God. I just told him I would brb.... I am no stranger to his wonderful works, but now I allow Him to order my steps.

It’s been six months since that wonderful day in April. April 9, 2009. But nothing is without sacrifice. If it is something you love you are willing to give it up for a better reward. Healthier hair and healthier mind, body and spirit are my goals. To get there I have given up a lot of extracurricular activities that I thought would distract me from my goals. Now I have clearer thinking and able to make better decisions because my distractions are limited. A new me has arisen. I have grown mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally. Very few see me now adays, a very few people get to know the woman I have become. Like the kinks in my hair I am have an unruly side of me that continues to strengthen and lengthen day by day.

UPDATE: so this weekend, Saturday October 31, 2009 I decided to do my version of the big chop. I cut off all the permed/relaxed ends of my hair and now I have all new growth. My hair is soft and very curly. It's afro curly and I absolutely love it. Thanks to all the ladies and gents who supported me through this transition period. I truly feel liberated and free :) So anyone with tips, styles, or ideas feel free to hit me up!

To Love I Bid Thee Adieu

To Love, I Bid Thee Adieu,

I guessed I always assumed I would live life like a fairy tale. I would get swept up by prince charming and we would both fall passionately in love and live happily ever after in a beautiful house with 2.5 kids, a dog, two cars, and an in-house Jacuzzi. But on the cusp of 25, I am starting to realize that love is a journey of two souls and by no means a fairy tale! Matter of fact, if anything love is a tragic satire in which you are the victim and love gets the last laugh. So you may be thinking, sheesh shea, that is a negative way of looking at things, and perhaps in your perfect universe it may be. But from my own personal experiences with love, love don't live here anymore.

I don’t hate love. Or hate others in love. In fact I celebrate those who share something as special as love. It takes a strong soul to find love and keep love. However, I am unwelcoming to love at this time. To Love I Bid Thee Adieu.

I don’t particularly blame others for my lack-luster love life, I have enjoyed my 25 years so far and look forward to spending many more years getting to know myself but I often look back to my first love and wonder what would have happened if I could change it all? Do I regret the path I have chosen? I have some regrets, but for the most it's been great.

Love isn’t a game or something you can win on strategy alone. Love takes sacrifice and compassion. Love takes compromise and the willingness to accept someone just as they are. Perhaps I am not ready to accept others as they are. Perhaps I am not willing to accept myself as I am? But what can I bring to love's table? What am I willing to give up? Am I willing to learn compassion? Can I too give love! I love myself, God, and I love my community. I want to be reminded that I too am beautiful within. To Love I Bid Thee Adieu.

Perhaps I am still waiting for my knight on horseback to come along and sweep me off my feet and together we will share passionate kisses, 2.5 kids, a 2-car garage, a house with a picket fence, and a dog. Perhaps I am waiting for my king to ask for my hand in marriage and he already have a castle waiting for me, complete with a crown of gold awaiting my head. I will get ballroom dancing lessons and lessons in other languages, because to him money is no option. Perhaps I am waiting for my carpenter who will fashion for me a quiet house in the country and together we will live happily ever after just the two of us. Perhaps I am waiting on myself to get myself together so I will know it is him whenever he walks into my life. I dream of us together, of his kisses and of his touch. I dream of all the things that would make me fall in love. I dream of his scent and his smile and hopes that one day he will recognize all that I desire to share with him. I dream for so long that I fantasize about it. Then I tell myself not to dream anymore because dreams aren’t reality but only the desires of the mind. My heart weeps for the love I desire. I dream during the day and late into the night that… but time and time again I wake up to nothing so To Love I Bid Thee Adieu.


Dear Black Man: Part Two, Mythical Creatures and so on...

The truth of the matter is that women are from Venus and men are from Mars, and the world would be a better place if it wasn’t for some of you. Now, I am not going to point fingers or call anyone out, but some of you men need to grow up. Some of you men have a superficial superiority complex. In laymens terms, you think you are all that in a bag of chips. But just as easily as I thanked you, Ima let you know I am still as disappointed.... in all of you.

I am specifically talking today to the group of men who I like to call mythical creatures, black men. Long gone are the days when most black men cherished, appreciated, and valued and independent strong black woman. Here to stay it seems like we have an influx of black men who undervalue and who are unappreciative of a strong black woman or as I like to state, there are mythical creatures amongst us.

I can’t tell a black man how to be a black man in today’s society. But I can tell you how I feel about our black men in our society. Guys, I am disappointed. I am flat out disappointed in the fact that you not only have let your children and your families down, but you have let yourself down! This goes for all black men from the executive level on down to young boys. You all continue to let us women down! EVERY LAST ONE OF YOU! Because what you fail to realize is that all it takes is one, JUST ONE, and ALL OF YOUR REPUTATIONS ARE FINITO.

And you have the nerve to wonder why we black women are so angry at you all the time? How about you mythical creatures start acting like a real man and take care of your responsibilities and actions.

Many of you all have no clue what you are supposed to do as a man because you don’t have a father or a father-figure around to show you. Your father was just as less of a man as you are today, and unfortunately he passed those genes down to you. Perhaps if he had stuck around instead of sowing his seeds around town you would have turned out to be a better person. Yeah, I said it. I said it because I am super frustrated at these soft-ass ‘homo’ guys wearing super tight jeans, these weak minded men who want women to do everything for them, these wanna-be controlling MFers trying to compensate for lack of self esteem by “putting women in their place,” and these super hard dudes that expect a woman to cater to his every need. This is 2009 son! Ima get mine and I expect you to get yours! I am coming to the table with my ish together, why shouldn’t you? As a woman I expect more from my black brothers than anyone else and you continue to let us down.

Fellas, the ones who are doing good, why don’t you reach back into your community more often and help those ignorant MFers you call your friends to become a man. You know who they are. They hang out with you on the regular. I am sure every guy on FB knows at least one guy who isn’t taking care of his responsibilities, yet you continue to hang with him. Why is it a problem that you are so busy being executive vice president and chasing a glass ceiling that you forget it’s a buncha boys who look like you on the corner selling crack. I’m talking to the suburban guys who never set foot in the hood and those who rough it on the streets. Have a conversation with each other and stop tryna be so daggone hard. The root word in gentleman is gentle. Have you all forgotten how to love? How to be respectful to women? How to converse?

NO wonder it’s a bunch of confused little boys running around now adays. With so many black men incarserated and so many black men ignoring these young boys crying out for help, its no wonder we aren't raising better sons. Perhaps if some of you were there for the delivery of yoru child or to establish joint parental guidence we wouldn't have such an issue wayward kids. These kids you are making are our future generations. A future that is your duty to help raise them! Instead you’d rather play Madden or chase your own personal dreams. Madden doesn’t put food on the table and Madden doesn’t pay the doctor bills. What I am saying is that it’s not about you, per say but its about the bigger picture. These boys out here need examples of what real men say and do. Maybe there should be some real men to show them. If not, those are going to be the men your daughters and sisters are going to date one day.

My point is men, you are not a mythical creature. You are a black man living in a society that is designed for you to fail. Instead of seeking higher aspirations many of you flunder and you fail. Those of you who are successful often turn a blind eye when you too could help out our future generations. You say you are looking for real women, but when you have one, you let her go. You have no respect for yourself, your women, nor your community. When are you going to stop allowing society to make an example out of you? The system is designed to set you up, so why even set yourself up to be caught? When are you going to grow up and start making better decisions? Can you stop acting like boys and be men?

Now I must say perhaps you all could do us all a favor and do something good and positive and stay out of trouble. Thanks!


Dear Black Man: Part One, Thank You

Dear Black Man,

Today I want to take the time to appreciate the black men in my life. Thank you so much for being positive representations of strong black men. Even when you all get on my everlasting nerves there is nothing like a black men. I love black men and everything they represent. Even though many of you get a bad rep (some of you deserve it), I still think there is nothing more special than a black man who is going places!! For those of you who are making something of yourselves, not subjecting yourself to stereotypes, educating yourself, uplifting your fellow black sisters, and are making business moves this note is for you. Thank you for encouraging me and always being in my corner.

The Way You Walk! Sleepy Brown sang “I Like the Way You Move” on the OutKast Speakerboxx album. Even though he was referring to us ladies, the same holds true to black men. There is nothing like a confident, swaggerific (yeah I had to say it) stroll to make a woman turn her head. Mix that with some (non-overpowering) cologne and you got black women all over you like an axe commercial. Just make sure you pull your pants up. And talk about dancing. Ladies I know you know you are checking out his footwork from his two step to his poppin and locking.

That Smile. Ladies, am I wrong in saying this, but when a brotha cracks a smile, we kinda get caught off guard? Is it just me? C'mon, when a black man smiles you cannot help but enjoy it! There’s something about most black men and those dimples and how his eyes light up when he’s smiling or laughing. WHOOOO girl! I know it just about does it for me. There’s something about that boyish devilish grin that will melt your heart and have you out of your panties by the time those eyes work its way down and around your curves. You ladies know what I am talking about! And those lips. Wait let me regain my composure. I am at work :)

The Way It Is. You know ladies we could take a lesson from these brothas and just tell it like it is. We should adopt a no nonsense approach to life. For those who grew up with daddies in the house, for most of us what daddy said was the law! He may be wrong, but he has you hanging onto every word and you believe in him. That was just the way it was. Still even today I appreciate it when a man's word is his bond. What you see is what you get. Ain't no flippin scrips or game changing in the ninth inning.

I love a brother’s ability to infuse a few terms from around the way along with Webster’s finest. When street smarts meet book smarts and common sense, now that’s real education. When a black man speaks he is able to capture the attention of many. They don’t speak often so when they do take heed and listen.

Loves himself some black women. You know, this may not only be an attribute but a flaw as well. But there is nothing like a black man that loves a black woman and doesn’t mind showing her off from time to time. Yup. I said it! He knows what he has is worth more weight than gold and can’t wait to enjoy himself with an equal black sista like himself. He is proud of his heritage and his legacy. I know I don’t mind if a Black man takes another woman’s call in front of us, as long as it ends with “Love you too, mama.” The way a man treats his mother is definitely a sign on how he views women, and Black men have a sweet spot when it comes to their moms. What’s sexier than that?

Man In the Mirror. What other group of people you know can rock a fade, a shape up, an afro, a s-curl, a Jerri curl, a press n curl, some designs cut into their head, Shirley temple curls, a texturizer, a moisturizer, or some oil sheen like a black man? Now I know many of those styles have past their prime for many of our black men, but the swagger is inevitable. No one can wear their hat cocked to the side just so like a Black man can. Whether 18 or 81, on Saville Row in London or on South Street in Philly, sporting a Yankee fitted real low or a fedora— it just doesn’t look the same on anyone else. I love how that bronzed skin glistens with sweat at the gym, or those rock hard abs pressed up against your backside grooving to a 70s kinda love. Those big strong cocoa arms wrapped around you feeling like you are protected from all the evils of the world. Whether you are in corporate America or hitting the school yard. The way you carry yourself is like none other. The sense of fashion can be seen from the boardroom to the bedroom.

His Way With Words. I know you wanna leave me. But I refuse to let you go. If I have to beg and plead for your sympathy I don’t mind kuz you mean that much to me! “Times like this I wish that raindrops would fall.” Forget Shakespeare and Sinatra. There is nothing better than being with a Black man and not having to explain your favorite movie and TV quotes—from Eddie King, Jr. to Shug Avery, Joe Clark and Martin Payne. Only a black man can rhyme over beats just so and have you in tears on Sunday morning SAAAAANNNGing HIS MIGHTY PRAISES to the Lord! Ladies, we can sang ourselves read good, but ain’t nothing like a singing brother!

Built Ford Tough. Black men realize that being a strong Black woman is for survival and one part of our multidimensional personalities. You being strong allows us to be soft and let our hair down (in all its hues and textures). And we’ll do the same when your soft and loving side wants company. We understand that the world is designed for you to fail and we struggle everyday for our freedom and justice standing beside our black men.

Natural Man. No preservatives added. We age beautifully and so do you! No artificial enhancements or extra preservatives. The brothers we love understand our hair history and know to admire our tresses from afar, unless told otherwise. Black men also realize they’ve made it to a new level of intimacy when we pull out that scarf that keeps things fresh. And many black men love us naturally curvy women!