Saturday, February 26, 2011

Growth requires honesty and commitment

Yesterday, as I talked to my friend Crystal about the current state of her hair, I realized a few things through her hair journey.

Crystal has been natural for over 10 years. So she came into the game before it was a "trend" or movement. Since her first big chop she has worn Afros, twist outs, braids, head wraps, had other big chops and other styles. For much of the past 10 yrs her relationship and treatment of her hair resembled the flow and movement of her life's experiences.  One day, I'm sure you will read about some of those in a book OR maybe even a guest post on my blog. (Wink wink).

However, a few yrs ago she moved back home to care for her mother who was in kidney failure (last October she was blessed with a kidney transplant).  Well, the verdict is still out on the reason why she experienced it but Crystal found herself in a situation where she was losing hair. Her hair was breaking off and shedding in an unhealthy way. She knew she needed to focus on it and get it to grow again but she was honest with herself. She knew that the combo of everything going on in her life and her lack of desire to actually commit to the work of cultivating her hair was not a good one. So she made the decision to get her first sew-in. She was committed to growth but she was honest with herself about her comfort level of involvement in the process.
Since making that decision last year, she has been wearing sew-ins and making sure her hair and scalp stays clean, moisturized and conditioned. Recently, she got a "fresh" sew-in and she reported to me that her hair has grown and is much healthier.
SN: I was a lil perturbed because she didn't let me see it...
But she said that she's happy about the progress she's made with her hair.

I think her process resembles the process of many of us who want growth. We sometimes see the damage or breakage in certain areas of our lives and we know something must be done. But, we are not honest with ourselves about the level of commitment or involvement we are comfortable with.  If we were more honest with ourselves and came up with alternate ideas about how to achieve our desired outcome, we would probably succeed.

I believe Crystal experienced some personal growth from this process as well because she made a point to tell me that in years prior she had not been upfront with herself about her willingness to work with her hair. She would do different things to it and sometimes would just cut it off and start over. But, this time she did something different. She had a goal in mind and she knew what she would and wouldn't do; so she aligned her actions and choices with that.  I believe that her expectancy was different this time as well because she knew she was doing something she had never done before.

I have learned a lot from her story of growth and as I continue on my journey I'll be mindful that growth requires honesty and commitment.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Men are Allowed...

Yesterday, I was talking to two male friends (De'Von and Jaymar) about their hair.
The topic came up because when I said hello to Jaymar, the very first thing I noticed was his growing hair and facial hair. I asked him about his "bush" and he said that he is going to grow out his hair (scalp and facial) throughout 2011.

When asked why he made that choice, he said he's on some "new things" and when I asked him to elaborate, he mentioned that his hair was becoming a symbol of strength and that he wants to grow it out. I immediately thought about Samson, in the Bible, who's great spiritual and physical strength was because of his vow to never cut his hair. I became excited for Jaymar because I know that if he is looking at his hair in that way, he's going to experience something awesome from the commitment to grow his hair.

So, then De'Von, who is my close friend, jokingly told him that he should contribute to my blog. However, as he thought about what he was saying, he mentioned that he, too, is growing out his hair and he mentioned two reasons that stood out to me, as I reflected on my personal hair journey.

1. He is growing out his hair in order to change the texture of his hair. He wants to bring out his natural curls. He said he feels more like himself when his hair is longer than when he has a short haircut.

2. He feels like he IS on a hair journey because if his hair is growing, he thinks he should be growing, too.

This made me start to think about my hair journey and how much I could relate to what he said. As my hair grew out, I remember working hard to train my hair and cultivate a new texture. As my hair grew, the texture began to change and my natural curl pattern grew out. This was so symbolic of my spiritual transformation at the time as well, because as my hair was changing, so was I. I was changing "back" to my natural state/personality, that I had lost (or relinquished) throughout my marriage.

I was so excited when De'Von mentioned that he feels like maybe he is on a hair journey. His statement about hair growth = personal growth was so awesome because growth has definitely been a benefit of my hair journey. I have grown personally in so many ways and I can attribute much of that to the connection between my spirit and my hair. As my hair grows and changes, so does my character, professionalism, purpose, friendships, relationships, etc.

I'm so excited for De'Von and Jaymar and I plan to check in with them from time to time. Maybe they will even contribute to the blog and share their journeys with some of the men!!!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A weekend dedicated to Hair and Friendship!!!

this journey is amazing!
Sometimes, we need a refreshing and a little boost in order to remain encouraged as we press towards our destiny.

I just had the best weekend!
I traveled to Atlanta to visit my friend Naja and attend the Bronner Brothers hair show.
Friday evening, Naja and I attended a natural hair meet-up sponsored by CurlyNikki

We were so inspired and encouraged when we saw the widespread diversity within the natural hair community. Truly, natural hair divas has become a culture and there's so much versatility and diversity with styles and personal "swag" options!

My natural hair choice is all about my life's journey and to see so many women embracing the freedom and joy that comes from this choice was EXCITING!

The Bronner Brothers hair show was also a great experience and I have a greater and deeper level of respect for hair stylists. They invest a lot of energy, training and money into making people feel and look good about themselves, and for that I'm appreciative!

One of the best parts about this visit, though, was some great quality time between my friend and I. We've been friends for almost 19 years and we've been through alot with each other. As we get older, it's important for us to maintain and continue to develop our friendship. We're both adults now living very different lives in two different cities, but the bond of friendship goes beyond state borders and marital status.

Naja, this blog post is dedicated to you!
I look forward to continuing our friendship in hopes that we will strengthen, encourage, develop, grow and experience each other in new and different ways!
I love you my sisterfriend!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

these are my confessions...

So, I have a CONFESSION!!

WOW...that was more difficult than I thought it would be!
I am admitting to everyone (ok, whoever will read this), that I deal with fear!

Why in the world would I be afraid?

I didn't really know how to describe my fear until TODAY after a conversation with a friend and mentor who guided me to this conclusion:

I'm afraid of myself!
I know that doesn't make much sense, but this is what I'm saying...

I'm afraid of the power that is within me!
I'm afraid of the consequences AND responsibilities that come with who I am and who God made me.
I'm afraid of doing the things that I am purposed to do because of what will happen as a result (in my life and the lives of others)...change, growth, empowerment, increased knowledge, new life, joy, wealth, etc.

I'm afraid of myself!

As soon as I started writing this post, I thought about the famous quote by Franklin Roosevelt where he said the "only thing to fear is fear itself" but what in the world does that mean to me?

It means that when I fear I LOSE my power.
So, I should actually fear being afraid because it leaves me powerless.
It keeps me from moving into my purpose and destiny and keeps me in a place of uncertainty, doubt, lack, and despair.

Well, TODAY, I am making the decision to acknowledge the fear and walk away from it.
- I am determined to have the power, love and sound mind that Paul spoke about in the Bible.
- I am determined to stop negative thoughts that keep me from being able to will God's blessings into my life.

Life is a challenging journey...but one assurance that we all have is that it will end.
I don't want to live a life of fear and doubt. I want to leave my mark on this world by living out my purpose and knowing that who I was made a difference to someone.

I will continue this discussion as I fight, pray, and live through it.

If you deal with fear (of anything) and it's holding you back (I'm pretty sure it is) in any way, then I'd challenge you to acknowledge it, name it, then make a decision to either continue to let it follow/lead you or to walk away from it!


Friday, February 11, 2011

My Faith Confessions...

I read this on the Purpose Driven Connection today and I wanted to post it on my blog...I drafted a note on Facebook a couple of years ago about knowing what God says and this is a reminder that sometimes we need to try to wrap our minds around how God thinks. The only way we can do that is to be in tune with what He says through His word. Not our twisted up, human nature interpretation of what He says but standing on the inspired word of God as it is.

My Faith Confessions

I am crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. (Galatians 2:20)

The Son has set me free. I am free indeed! (John 8:36)

My body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. (1 Corinthians 6:19)

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13)

He who began a good work in me will be faithful to complete it. (Philippians 1:6)

There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1)

Nothing can ever separate me from the love of God in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:38-39)

In all things God works for the good of those who love him. (Romans 8:28)

God is faithful. He will not let me be tempted beyond what I can bear. (1 Corinthians 10:13)

God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7)

My light and momentary troubles are achieving for me an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. (2 Corinthians 4:17)

He is able to do immeasurably more than all I ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within me. (Ephesians 3:20)

God is for me! Who can be against me? (Romans 8:31)

Monday, February 7, 2011

I'm gonna let it SHINE!!!

We're already a week into it me or is this year moving at light speed?

I heard a message yesterday and I wanted to blog about it because it stuck with me...
I visited some friends' church yesterday and the pastor preached about The Responsibility of Letting Your Light Shine.
Generally, the message centered around discipleship and being followers of Christ and as we follow Christ our lights will shine for the world to see God in us.

He started out by singing the familiar song, "This Little Light of Mine."
He then proceeded to bring out his points about the parable Jesus used in Matthew about us being lights of the world.

The pastor talked about the science behind light and how light moves in a straight line. He used this as an analogy to say that as children of God, we should live our lives on the straight and narrow and not bend with every problem, discouragement, disappointment, etc.
Also, light exposes darkness and where there is light, there cannot be darkness.
The two cannot exist together. So, when our lights shine in the world, it will expose darkness and there won't be darkness in those places. We show forth God's glory and are able to bring God into places that would otherwise be without Him.

He also talked about how manufactured light has to have a power source in order to operate. Therefore, since we were created by God, then we can only shine with our power source, which is Jesus Christ.
One of the comments that was most memorable during his message was how he used different types of lights to describe the way some of us "shine."
He used and explained the following:

1. Some of us are like Christmas lights...once a year (or a short set period of time), we shine brightly for the whole world to see and then as soon as that time is up, we put our lights away and continue on until the next time.

2. Some of us are like candle lights in that during storms, our lights shine for a time, then when other lights come on, we blow ours out. Or, just like candle light, some of our lights will flicker and waver and easily go out if someone does or says something to put it out.

3. Finally, he compared some of us to flashlights who only allow our lights to shine in emergency situations or someone is in control of how bright our light shines.

He mentioned that, sometimes, insecurity, fear, guilt and shame will cause us to not allow our lights to shine. He said that God is able to restore your "power connection" and cause your light to shine again if only you would reach out to Him.

He challenged and encouraged congregants to be like reflective lights which reflect the glory of God and show Him to a dying world.

While this message was a very familiar theme of encouragement and discipleship, it was still powerful in its simplicity. We often need to be reminded that we are children of God and that we do carry His light within us. Sometimes, people see God in us when we don't see Him ourselves.

I will strive to let my light shine more and allow God to use me in the areas He wants to!
This little light of mine...I'm gonna let it shine!!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


So, ever since I started posting pics on facebook of my hair transition, I've received messages and emails asking me about various styles and the actual transitioning process.
I'd like to utilize my blog to answer some of those questions...

Q: What did I do to transition from my relaxer to my natural hair?

A: When I decided to transition, I was about 4 months into my last relaxer. So I had quite a bit of new growth. At first, I was getting it straightened with a flat iron. I did that off and on for about 4-5 more months. When I didn't get it straightened, I would get roller sets or rod sets.

Then, I began experimenting with twist-outs.
I started two strand twisting my hair and rolling it on the ends (because remember the ends were still relaxed).
I liked the texture of the two strand twist out as opposed to the braid out.

Then, I began to try different products and what I've determined is that you really must see what the texture is of your natural hair and use the appropriate products.
Also, keeping the hair moisturized is very important during transitioning.
Because with 2 different textures of hair on your head, the natural hair can become very dry. Once I had 3 inches of relaxed hair left, I cut it off and got my hair twisted in two strand twists. I wore it like that for a couple of weeks then started my new fully natural journey.

Paying attention to your hair and trying out various products to support the look you want is very helpful.
Do a little research online about products that support growth and moisture during the transition process.
Also, I've heard of people getting braids or weaves as their hair grows out.
Just make sure that you allow the hair to shed because this is a normal part of hair growth.
Your hair must shed in order to make room for the new hair growing in.

Also, your hair grows about 1/2 inch each month. The more you work with your hair and "train" your hair, the more you support normal growth.

Feel free to email me with any questions about specific products or techniques!