Daily Archives: December 14, 2011

I Am Not My Hair … Or Am I?

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by For His Glory Natural

I’ve always loved that song and what it stood for. I felt so empowered whenever I listened to it. It has such a great message.

But the more deeply invested I become in getting to know my hair, the more I am starting to feel that it does represent a large part of who I am. After all, it was only six months ago that I started wearing protective hairstyles. Before that, I never considered myself “that kind of person.” I was strictly sold-out to my straight hair. Anything that even slightly resembled an “Afro-centric” look was a turn-off to me because my self-image was so low that I didn’t take pride in the lovely locks that the Lord had blessed me with. Instead, I was ashamed of them, as if my curls were shouting for undeserved attention.

For years I struggled to “fit in” with my mostly white community, and as a result, I suppressed any and every aspect of myself that would make me stand out from the crowd, and the number one thing to go was my hair. Since I’d started getting relaxers from a young age, I didn’t even remember what my natural hair looked like. But I knew I had to avoid moisture at all costs, otherwise my artificially straight hair would turn into a mess. Somehow I’d convinced myself that, if I kept every hair in place, then no one would notice me and how different I was, and I wouldn’t have to deal with people pointing at my hair and asking me why it looked “like that.”

Now, what feels like eons later, I would answer that question with, “Like what?” because I know my hair is awesome! Recently I shared with my husband that when I was growing up I would always look at white girls’ straight, “perfect” hair and wish that I could have it. Now, whenever I’m out and about and I see straight-haired white women, I wish they could know what it’s like to have my hair texture, because I can do so much more with it! Is that arrogant? I don’t know. For me, it’s a huge VICTORY! My hair does deserve attention, and I am going to see to it that it gets it!

If you have yet to embrace your natural hair, I encourage you to ask yourself why. If your reasons for relaxing are all external, maybe you should consider going natural. Take it from me, a Black girl who turned a source of shame into a source of pride: if you can lay down the creamy chemical and commit to getting to know your hair, you’ll find that there is much more to this “natural thing” than you may think. 😉

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Pretty much sums it up, wouldn't you say?

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October/November GOC Update: Janay

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Here’s Janay, our full disclosure At-Home GOCer ;), with her two month update!

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Post-cut braid-out

I know, I know.  I’ve been slacking on my updates!  So let’s get started!

Hair:
I started off October flat-ironing my hair, then got a layered cut. No, not a trim, but a, I-was-solid-BSL-now-I’m-APL cut.

I was mad, but the cut was needed. I hadn’t trimmed properly since my HHJ (Healthy Hair Journey) began almost (gasp!) two years ago! I REALLY noticed the results. Detangling time cut in half, no broken hairs in the sink, hair is laying right. Wow.

I also decided to consolidate products. I came up with a spreadsheet of all the products I’ve used since late 2009 until present.  I’ll be honest, I wasn’t trying to curb PJ tendencies, but at least make smarter choices by purchasing products that fit general trends my hair likes. For example, my hair responds well to leave-ins with coconut oil. So I purchased Qhemet Moringa Tree Conditioning Ghee and Shea Moisture Curl and Style Milk. Both are now HG staples in rotation.

I’m working on protective styling options, but with this NC 60 degree fall we’re having, my hair won’t be tucked away until the end of December, most likely.

Fitness:
October was a knockout!  I started working with a trainer, stayed on top of my eating habits, drank water like it was kool aid, and worked out at least three times a week. The result? I lost a total of 7 ¾ inches off my body overall—2 of those inches off my waist alone!   Couldn’t tell me no-thang!

And then November came.

Dang you grandma with your sweet potato pies and homemade carrot cake with the cream cheese frosting. Dang you husband wining and dining me for our anniversary. And dang my Guyanese MIL for your delicious fried rice and pepper pot.  Dang you all! With all of this food and traveling, my gym attendance slipped as well.  I can probably count on one hand how many times I went in November *sigh*.  Needless to say, October’s progress was set back quite a bit. I’ll get it together though!

 

 

Pregnant, Tired and Natural

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Chandra asks:

Being in the first trimester of pregnancy has really taken a toll on my energy level. And, I did all that bad-mouthing about PMS?!! This is on a whole different level! So what do you do when you don’t feel like washing, detangling, conditioning, styling or even looking at your hair? I have been mistreating my strands terribly … not protecting it at night, sometimes not moisturizing because I AM DRAINED! Any tips on styles that will hold me over until I feel like dealing with my hair? Thank you!

Okay, I have ABSOLUTELY no direct experience in this regard. So, you may have to take my advice with a grain of salt and accept it as what it is, the well-meaning suggestions of a layman … or woman, to be more precise. That disclaimer aside, here are a few styling options that I think might help get you through this tough time with minimal effort, while still allowing you to maintain the health of your hair.

  • Medium to large twists or braids with extensions. Washing, conditioning and moisturizing will still be necessary, but with far less frequency and without the hassle of detangling. And, moisturizing is as simple as buying a leave-in conditioner or braid sheen spray to use every few days and then sealing with a light oil. This long-term protective style will make your day-to-day styling nominal. But, you still need to wear your satin bonnet or scarf at night and make certain that the braids/twists aren’t too tight or left in too long. Also, make certain to take a break between installs to give your scalp time to rest. This is always important to preserve one’s edges, but may be even more so during pregnancy as undue stress during this time may exacerbate postpartum shedding.
  • Mini or small twists on your own hair. These won’t last as long as the same style done with extensions. However, they still work as an option that can last a week to two and eliminate daily styling. In regard to care, all of the above still applies.
  • Wig it up! There are so many options and you can rock a different look every week if you like! You can cornrow your hair up for the week and rock a wig when out and about. Then, you release your cornrows once a week to every two weeks for wash day. Though you will have to detangle, the amount of time spent doing it will be far reduced as the cornrows will leave hair in a stretched state.

I also found this blog post, Natural Hair While Pregnant and on Bed Rest (ignore the picture! *lol*). The author outlines her regimen, which revolved around keeping her hair in six large braids the majority of the time, washing her hair once every two weeks and wearing a braid out when it was necessary to venture out in public. As you’re not on bed rest, the need to go out is probably far more frequent. So, you might be able to wear a neater version of the 6 braid updo that I detailed here and save the braid out for special occasions, like date night.

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What styles have you worn during pregnancy that were easy on time and effort, without sacrificing the health of your hair?