Relaxed Hair I Don’t Care

Some of you may not fully appreciate this but read on anyway. In the African American/black community there has been a trend occurring for several years. I’m not sure when, where or why it started and frankly Scarlette… What I do know is it has become another reason to divide my already divided people. This migration, this movement, this trend, this evolution is all about hair. This is an excellent moment to gasp or scratch your head or even touch your own hair to appreciate the texture. 

It’s not anything new. Back in the day when James Brown proudly proclaimed, “I’m black and I’m proud” hot comb sales drastically decreased. Those who were down started proudly sporting their Afros. That lasted for a while then somebody decided, after an embarrassing stage of the Jeri curl, that it was okay to have straight hair again. Some went back to the hot comb and others went to the relaxer. 

Well, several years ago, someone decided that chemicals from relaxers were not healthy and that person started a movement to natural hair. It didn’t catch on immediately. But slowly more and more people turned from the creamy crack to natural is back. I’ve watched each of my friends go through the growing out phases. I’ve endured, entertained and glazed over the conversations with each person as they shared with me the benefits of natural hair and the detriments of using chemicals on my hair. Some where more militant in their approach as others presented it as something fun we could do together. Let’s grow our hair out and bond over creams, gels, and hot oil treatments. I’ve learned to smile politely as I declined the thoughtful offer. I like my hair relaxed. 

The reaction to my soft rebuttal is usually more coercion. At times I’ve wondered if there was a commission given on the number of people they could convert. Was this a multilevel marketing effort from the makers of natural hair care products?

Speaking of products, each person has different texture of hair. Finding the conditioner, shampoo or moisturizer that works for your hair is like trying to locate the Holy Grail. I know because I have four naturally curly haired children and we still haven’t found “the one” for them. It’s can be an expensive and and sometimes lengthy process. Shout out to Madam CJ Walker for showing us a better way to care for our hair. 

May I pause for a moment and go down a rabbit trail? Thanks. In this movement to become natural I have noticed that that quite a few people are still coloring, straightening, weaving, braiding, and wigging their hair. You would think that’s a violation in the code book of natural hair. But since I’m not in the club and I didn’t receive the list dos and don’ts. Just wondering. I guess the chemicals from hair coloring are not as harsh or detrimental to the hair. I suppose damage that weaves, braids and wigs do to the edges aren’t that bad either. Shrug. Okay. 

Where was I? Choices. I made the choice to keep relaxing my hair. I like it this way. You would think in this day and age that it’s okay for people to wear their hair in which ever style or fashion they choose. What we have learned over and over again is whenever people are divided insults abound. The YouTube videos, memes, and snarky comments are abundant. It’s hair people. It’s just hair. Why do you care? Why are we distracted and divided over such a minor issue? Get a cause. Get a life. 

Am I the only one who thinks of the Good and Bad hair song from Spike Lee’s movie School Daze? Only substitute natural and relaxed hair.

I can’t believe with all the things going on in the world we continue to allow menial things distract us from the important things. 

Whether your hair is natural, relaxed, braided, wigged, colored, twisted, locked, curled, shaved or some other style embrace that as well as the hair choices of others. 

After all, it’s just hair. 

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Are you hormonal?

How often are hormones blamed for a woman’s “attitudes”? How often do others mutter under their breathe, “she must be hormonal”? Depending on the stage of life our moods are attributed to PMS or the various stages of menopause. 

How often are men approach and asked if they’re hormonal? How often do you walk away from a conversation with them thinking, I’ll just avoid him for the next couple of days until the coast is clear? Never?!?! 

When a friend of mine decided we needed to have a heart to heart in which she danced around my new found freedom to speak my mind, her questions came back to, are you hormonally balanced? As I rolled my eyes and threw out some random justifications I reviewed the last five years of my life.

Divorced
Began working full-time after 10 years of being a stay at home mom
Moved twice
A year long custody battle
Incurred legal fees out of the wazoo
Although I’ve been working for the same company for five years I am in my third department
I have four active kids
Attended grad school for two years
I have a teenaged son (enough said)
My ex has been unemployed for about two of those five years (no financial support during that time)
I made some commitments to myself to become a better leader, mom and eventually partner. You see, I typically avoid confrontation but a few years ago I decided to stand my ground and express my opinions.

The answer to the question is maybe but why is that the first thing that comes to mind rather than reviewing my circumstances or just patting me on the back and saying, “congratulations on your personal growth and for not only surviving the last five years but excelling in school as well as work and coparenting four amazing children who are well rounded, funny, and intelligent, all while maintaining a healthy lifestyle and being a great friend to many”? 

I still wonder if I were a man would we have had the conversation at all?

I am jealous

I have finally decided to admit to myself and anybody who cares to read this, I am jealous of men. I’m not jealous enough to try to become one but I am jealous enough to be a bit envious and well, jealous. Why you ask? Why am I jealous of men? I will tell you it has nothing to do with salaries. It does have everything to do with almost everything else.
First of all, they get to carry wallets. I know they sometimes stuff them full of things but all in all, it’s a wallet. Not the big satchels the stores make for women. Yes, I know there are small handbags and I have started carrying those. But even that begins to weigh down my shoulder. So just go get a wallet then, you might be thinking. Most of my pants and skirts don’t have pockets. Even the clothing industry is in on me not carrying a wallet.
Men don’t ever have to worry whether or not a pair of jeans or a dress makes their butt look big. You will never hear them ask if this swimsuit makes their thighs look big or if the shirt makes them look five months pregnant. Never! Beer bellies are fashionable for men.
Men don’t have girdles, push up bras, corsets or any of those other gadgets women squeeze in to hide their perceived flaws in their bodies. They don’t walk around sucking in their stomachs and clinching their gluteus maxiumus to give the illusion of smallness or tautness.
Men don’t look at and then judge other men. If you walk into a room of women, you will be scoped from head to toe and back up. Somebody will comment on your hair, clothes or shoes. Men don’t say look how his pants fit or can you believe he wore that shirt with those shoes? Women make it hard on other women.
Speaking of shoes, a man’s shoes will last for years, you really can’t go wrong with a pair of loafers. The quality of men’s shoes is better. Women are provided impractical shoes that will only last a couple of fashion seasons. But then, who would dare wear the same shoe for more than one season? I do but hey I have four kids and will only allow the pressures of the fashion industry control me to a point.
Men can sit down on the weekend and zone out watching or participating in their favorite activity. Women are still working on the weekends. We don’t get off the clock until we go to sleep.
Men don’t have to worry about their hair. Now I know there are some exceptions but for the most part, their morning routines don’t include curlers, flat irons, rollers, scarves, shower caps, gels, hair sprays or moisturizer.
Speaking of morning routines, men don’t feel the need to wear makeup. How did they get off not wearing makeup? Do you know what some people pay for lipstick and eyeliner? Who invented makeup anyway. Why is a man’s natural handsomeness fine but a woman’s natural beauty needs tweaking? I don’t understand.
Yes, I am jealous. I wish I could get away with a beer belly, no make up, a buzz cut and shoes that don’t coordinate with my outfit. But if I did that, a gaggle of women would cut me down and make me feel like nothing or worse.

The Break

Spring break
Summer break
Break your fall
Break a leg
Break dancing on a broken table
You are calling for another break
Break this down for me
I’m not so sure I have a good understanding
What is the meaning of this break?
You had one last week
You had three last month
You had more than 12 last year
Every time we take a break you break a part of us
Now that we are broken there are no words to be spoken
In your silence I will continue to live
Give me a break
Or maybe I should give you a break that lasts until infinity
The break of all breaks
No backsies allowed
Break the cycle
Breaking it down, I’m tired of all the breaks
Since I am a broken creature I will get past this break too
The story of my life is on a broken record that keeps playing the same tune

Dating Advice

* Make sure his or her dream is bigger than your reality.
* Clingy may be cute early on but not so much years later.
* Love is a four letter word that deserves its own category.
* If you are making excuses for their behavior early on, back away slowly then run.
* Take your time to get to know each other.
* Chemistry is a class you take.
* Believe what they say and do.
* Expectations are not a bad thing.
* Show the day to day you early on.

Welcome New Year

New Year

Welcome New Year. I understand that you have here less than 24 hours but you have a lot of work to do. As a new year, you have the opportunity to make history. Depending on what you do, people will remember you forever. Now, you have to decide whether you want to be known forever to the masses or just to individuals. Not every year has been able to have a huge impact on the lives of all of the people here on Earth. But you are empowered to do just that. Or you can sit back like a several of the other years and go by unnoticed, which is not always a bad thing. You have a choice to make. You don’t have to make it now, you can wait until 12/31/13 to make the choice. You can impact the world at the last minute. We do want you to enjoy yourself in the process. We believe in work life balance around here. Have fun but work hard.
Let me introduce you to some of your cohorts. Over here, we have the New Seconds. The decisions they make are quick. There is no time to contemplate. They are expected to produce constantly. The good thing is, there are a whole lot of them. We call them frontline employees. They tend to get the least amount of attention or credit unless there is an athletic event or the count down for the new New Year. There are other reasons they are called upon but for the most part, they don’t receive much attention. Actually, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1 get the most attention and are called on the most.
Over here we have the New Minutes. Most of their work comes from the New Seconds. They are charged with taking every 60 seconds and packaging them up into a minute. It’s not easy. Factory work is always difficult and can be redundant but it too is important. The minutes count as much as the seconds. They tend to be more popular than the seconds. People count the minutes on a daily basis. When they are anticipating something that doesn’t require precisions, they are called upon. I see a lot of people counting the minutes until they leave work or arrive at a destination. We see minutes working together with hours and days to determine the exact date and time of a birth or a death. They can also make a difference in whether people are late or early to events. You wouldn’t believe the fallouts than can occur due to minutes.
Then we have New Hours, New Days, New Weeks, and New Months. They are all here to help you achieve your goals. Only you know your goals and only you can direct the other News. Please understand that once you make a decision, you can’t take it back. That decision will forever be ingrained in at least one person’s memory. Your legacy depends on all of the News. Ultimately, you will receive the credit or blame for how you work with seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, and months.
Now, there is a huge number of expectations, resolutions, hopes, dreams and desires that are in your e-mail. We are going green you know. Although we did accept paper submissions we don’t encourage them. If I didn’t already say so, we are glad to have you on board.
While I personally didn’t have a problem with 2012 as a whole, a lot of people didn’t care for it. I read through some of the submissions we already received, you have your work cutout for you. People are depending on you to make a positive impact on their lives. If 2012 was not good to them, they have high expectations for you to turn things around.
Best of luck to you or as we say around here, Cheers, Jeers and Tears!