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Monday Morning Confessions

It’s not a juicy as you think.

But here we go. There’s loads on my mind.

I’m still reeling from the reunion I had with my ex last weekend, and noticing his increasing reluctance to have the post weekend “talk” about our feelings and where we are with everything.

He’s dragging his feet.

Confession. So am I. I’m not sure how any of this is supposed to work out. No matter what road is taken, I feel like it’s going to be an emotional challenge that I’m not quite prepared for.

I still don’t regret the weekend or how it went or what happened. I feel like it was necessary for us to either move on with or without each other going forward.

The second thing I’m struggling with is I took out my fabulous braids. Well it was time. But I kind of realized that being a natural hair girl, having those long braids and minimal upkeep gave me a lot of time to sleep in longer and it gave me a real confidence boost. I really liked how I looked in them and now, I’m kind of having to readjust to my own hair.

I’m even thinking what used to be the unthinkable… getting a weave.

Taking the braids out and having to face my own thick, tightly coiled hair again, reminded me of the daily work I had to do to affirm myself and my own beauty. Sometimes, I really dig the fluff. It makes me seem artsy and confident in my own skin, but I had no idea that taking the braids out was going to have such a psychological effect on me. As I stood in my bathroom mirror trying to decide if I felt like sitting under my dryer for an hour, or just slapping gel in it to make a bun, I suddenly felt overwhelmed, tired and unpretty.

I can’t go to work like this by Monday…

No, my hair wasn’t straight in the braids, but it was long. And easy.

I was getting more attention from men. And, super big confession, I was actually happy my ex got to see me in all of my Poetic Justice glory and not with my fro. He doesn’t like natural hair and has said so in the past and said it’s difficult to imagine me with it. So I felt like when he saw me, I was at my best. I had enough to worry about and thank God it wasn’t my hair.

So has this reunion made me shrink back into an insecure person wanting validation?

Has the ending of my braid hairstyle made me regress back to the days of wanting my hair to flow in the wind?

Not necessarily. But it all has been making me think about the way I see myself. First of all, some might say, if the braids make you feel good, then just keep redoing them. That was a thought that crossed my mind. I mean what is 7 hours every other month?

Then I thought about going to the Dominican salons and getting blow outs from time to time.

Then I thought about the weave.

Really not sure what to do next about all of these feelings surrounding my hair, or my ex.

A Tale of Two Photos

The formal season is in high gear in the D.C. area and it’s just about to heat up with the second inauguration of President Barack Obama is just around the corner.

Get your tickets while they are still around $100, because you are about to pay way out the butt if you wait any longer.

Anyway, the point of this post is to address something that was really bothering me.

In one week, I’ve been to two formal events and I posted a few quick pictures on Facebook to show off my fabulousness.

Well, in the first photo, from New Year’s eve, where my hair is slicked down and I’m wearing  an exaggerated bun, I got so many positive responses from all sorts of people.

It made me feel really great about myself.

Then, I posted a couple of pics with my hair in it’s kinky, curly state with a fab dress and great make up, and only a small handful of people responded with the lovely compliments and with such enthusiasm.

It hurt.

I had purposely posted the pics from this second formal to see people’s reactions to the “natural” hair style would be similar to the previous formal. I had a feeling folks wouldn’t be as into it, but I posted it in hopes that I would be wrong.

I wasn’t.

It upset me that people weren’t seeing what I had started seeing in myself. I really liked my hair that night, I really thought that I looked pretty. I thought I looked awesome in both photos. Soooo…

Why wasn’t everyone else jumping on board?

I was really bothered.

I talked to a friend about it and she reminded me that my going natural was still fairly new and so even after two more trips home, my family and friends were finally getting used to it, so expecting people on Facebook who never see me to accept it too, is a stretch. I didn’t think about it that way, but it still upset me. Like what is it about hair? What is it?

I mean, according to public opinion, it seems I am more attractive with less, big, poufy hair. Even when I’ve posted other photos with my new hair, I’ve been getting crickets in terms of responses.

I’m tempted to do a study or something where women wear wigs and weaves, post pics on Facebook, then the same women take off the wigs and weaves and wear their natural hair.

I’ve been wondering if I’ve been subliminally telling myself that natural hair is gorgeous because I’ve been watching videos like mad, and looking at pinterest, and I’ve been seeing women wear their hair all kinds of ways and I just think they are so beautiful.

So is it me? Am I crazy? Am I delusional? I think I look great. I’m proud of myself for accepting my new hair and seeing the beauty in it. Do I really have to wait for folks to catch up and see it too?

Straight Vs.’Natural’: I’m Neutral

*When I say natural hair, I use that term in quotes, because all black women do not have naturally coarse hair. It ranges. Natural to me is what grows out of your head. But I generally mean coarse, non-chemically straightened hair. I have friends who get their hair blown out and pressed straight and they are still considered natural, because they didn’t use chemicals to straighten it.

One of my favorite singer/songwriters India. Arie has a popular and lovely song called, “I Am Not My Hair.”

It was an anthem for black women encouraging them to stop obsessing over our hair, although the connection to our hair and what it means in terms of beauty and self-esteem is very real and it’s serious.

*I don’t even feel like going into the history of black women their hair and their psyche. Chris Rock did a decent job in the movie “Good Hair.” Just know it’s deep. It’s not just hair. It is beauty, it’s how others see us and how we see ourselves. We are affected and we are working on it.

Since the age of 12, I have been putting a chemical relaxer in my hair. My mother fought against it for as long as possible. I could see why.

Because since then, there’s been battles with breakage, regrowth, dramatic cuts, and a little color, more breakage, ruined in the rain, comb-breaking, burnt… I could go on for days.

But fortunately times have changed. Somehow in recent times, “natural” hair (not chemically straightened) has finally been more widely accepted as beautiful. I think this is great for younger black girls because it is way more visible in the media than when I was a kid. Basically it was straight is great, and natural hair and fros and such needed to stay in the 70s.

So now, I want both passionate factions to declare peace. We all have choices, and grown women especially have figured out what works best for their lifestyle and what’s most flattering to them, so let’s let each other be.

If you are “natural”, don’t look down on your chemically straight-haired sister, assuming she wants to look European (a “wannabe” as Spike Lee nailed it in his classic “School Daze”) or is trying to fit into a certain culture or attract “shallow” men who prefer that look.

Straight-haired sister, please, stop calling your more kinky-coiffed sister nappy headed, mother Africa and all of that other stuff.

I feel like as women we need to lift one another up. Whether it’s straight or kinky, if you have gorgeous hair, I compliment it. I think women with natural hair are almost shocked if another black woman with straight hair gives them an honest compliment. It often seems like you can’t cross that line and give one another props. How you wear your hair seems like an unspoken declaration that you clearly approve one choice over the other. It’s terribly wrong.

Even if I go to a poetry event or something where it is stereotypical for people with “natural” hair to go to, I get looks sometimes like I don’t belong there. Get real. What does poetry or positive hip hop have to do with the texture of my hair?? I like what I like.

We are now in an era of choice. I do not think women with “natural” hair these days face the same amount of hostility they did 20 years ago. So I’m glad we’ve all evolved.

A number of artists and celebrities that I love go back and forth and they look amazing whether weaved out, with a fro or damn near bald (shout out to the lovely Chrisette Michele who did rock a near baldy).

Right now, I’m someplace in the middle. I don’t really like wearing my hair completely bone straight anymore. I like more body and fluff. I’ve been spacing out my chemical relaxers longer and longer because I hate how straight it is the first week or so now.

I do think with the success of hair care brands like Miss Jessie’s and others, women of color have become way more comfortable wearing their hair all kinds of ways.

I used to hate on women who wore weaves and called them fake. I don’t any more.

I have friends who love them, who may have difficulty maintaining their own hair and they feel good about how their weave makes them look. So it’s silly and stupid for me to look at another woman on the street and take her choice so personally. Now if it’s a bad weave, that’s another story!

Men were another problem. The men I liked and loved (including my father), liked seeing my straight, long hair blowing in the wind. It was the ultimate sign of beauty.

Occasionally to give my hair a break, I would wear it in tight curls a few times a year. My ex wasn’t a fan. Before we went out for a major occasion, I’d calm him down and say, “I’m getting my relaxer this week, don’t worry, it will be straight.” And then his face would relax.

I’ve come to the conclusion that I may want to only relax my hair twice a year and then get a really good blow out and press in between.

I’ve been on a big hair kick lately and I have a few inspirations. I love the new artist Elle Varner and I’ve already said I think my natural hair texture twin is probably Leela James.

I tried out my “Leela James” when I went on vacation alone, because no one knew me there and I loved it. After being on the beach and in the water, I didn’t feel like straightening my hair after I washed and blow dried it. So I didn’t. My hair was huge, and I thought I looked quite exotic. My father and my ex would have probably said I looked like I had my finger in a socket, but I was on vacation and I didn’t care. It was cute. I may have the courage to do it again in my own back yard.

I won’t abandon straight styles altogether, but I won’t wear it that way all the time anymore either.

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