Blogtober #24: Le Struggle.

It’s the constant back and forth: shall I keep growing out my hair? Or shall I chop it off (again)? Well, you’re going to help me make that decision, dear reader. There’s a poll after the photos below. Choose accordingly, won’t you?

Looking forward to seeing these results…

Bon Saturday, dear reader.

Blogtober #13: Do Your Thing.

Since returning to my natural texture almost eight years ago (naturalversary is in December yay), I’ve had many, many, many hairstyles. Natural hair opened an experimentation door for me, undoubtedly; from varying lengths to color changes to everything in between, I managed to diffuse any boredom with styling and not shock my mother too much with my changes. All that said: I made a ‘lil natural hair compilation video: from 2012-2020. Music: Do Your Thing, ‘*NSYNC.

Bon Tuesday.

Blogtober #9: Styled by Zoom

Bon Friday. Some Zoom lewks over the past month.

• Crochet passion twists are my newest protective style. My first time with passion twists and they’re pretty great.

• My makeup for these looks: other than the lippies you see, none at all. I only wear lipstick and I’m good to go. I’m sure the foundation and blush are lonely. But I don’t see the need.

• Those glasses have no prescription. I’m a lover of fashion lenses that make me look like your nice but still-stern English teacher.

• I’m amazed by my eyebrows. Seven months without visiting my waxologist (I know we don’t call them that 😬); by now I thought I’d look pretty wolffish. But the shape is there and they aren’t out of control. Sure, the gray hairs are coming in and things of that nature, but perhaps they’ve become quarantine-trained. Can’t say the same about my toenails, though. Yikes.

So, styling in the age of Zoom and video calls has been easy, low maintenance, and pretty great. Not that much different from before, actually, but that inborn desire to look “polished” has significantly diminished. You know what I mean?

Onwards and Friday-wards…

Blogtober #7: 14 Facts About Me. (that I haven’t already shared yet. I think.)

A mouthful of a title, no? But let’s go over fourteen facts about yours truly that I likely haven’t discussed on TSP. I should say that I don’t tell y’all everything, because the Internet, but these are fun and/or interesting factoids (to me, anyway) that I don’t mind sharing.

1. Naturalistas will know what this is referring to, but I don’t hair-type my strands. I have about three different textures on this head so I’d be three different hair types, for one, and two: I don’t see the point of categorizing my hair. Some say the hair types help determine what products to use but look: the hair journey is allll about finding the right products. Being 3A, 5Z, whatevs won’t change that. (And some folks assign a level of “difficulty” based on the hair type. I don’t care for that. All hair is good hair. Work with what ya got.)

2. Needles. But for why? The fear is real.

3. My kingdom for a bagel. I first experienced true bagels in New York City when I was a young TSP, and nothing will ever live up to NYC bagels, but there are close seconds. A longtime favorite.

4. She doesn’t know how to roller skate, ice skate, or ride a bike. Perhaps my parents knew that I would rally against the loss of being on solid ground. I love solid ground.

5. I speak in my characters’ voices when I’m writing a story. Helps craft them better. Plus it’s fun.

6. I will forever associate Harrison Ford with Han Solo and Indiana Jones, and for those reasons, I’m prepared to love him forever.

😍😍😍

7. Ocean life is so creepy to me. It just is. 😳

8. I watch reruns of Law and Order every single day. This is not an exaggeration. (The original, not SVU or CI.)

9. My obsession with ice cream sandwiches culminated when, in the 8th grade, my banker told me that I owed her $14 (14 shows up again) for borrowing the money to buy said sandwiches during lunch. I sadly informed her that my 13 year-old self had no money. What a moment. She dismissed the fee. *exhale*

10. Favorite superhero is Superman. I mean, can you blame me? (Christopher Reeve and Henry Cavill, in case you’re wondering.)

11. I once got locked in a restaurant bathroom. The door got stuck and I couldn’t get out. My sis and her friend had to jimmy the door. There may have been screaming.

12. Pinterest is literally serotonin for me, if you haven’t noticed. I adore pinning. I think the combination of bulletin boards and lovely inspo is what does it for me. Smiles galore.

13. I had to Google what “lol” meant when it became a popular abbreviation. I verbed (not a word) it at first. “Why are people lol-ing?”

14. Oxford comma? Yes, yes, and yes. (See what I did there?)

Thanks for stopping by Fun Fact-ville.

Black and Red. (And Other Updates.)

So, as you know, I’ve been growing out Le Fro since mid-2019. This was yours truly before She (my hair) went into protective style mode.

Since then, in between braids and all that, my excellent stylist has ensured that I receive my trims and deep conditions. Recently (a few weeks ago), we 1. removed the blonde hair and dyed it back to black, 2. did a blow-out.

Talk about frowth. I’m certainly pleased with how it’s all going. Of course, after this month, my stylist already knows that we’re returning to braids/protective styling. It’s a pandemic, y’all, and I have way more on my plate than doing my hair. Nevertheless, during this month, I’ve been reminded of just how much black hair and red lipstick gives me life.

Right? Right. There’s nothing like it. Incidentally, my go-to’s for red lips are MAC’s matte Ruby Woo and Sephora’s Always Red lip stain that goes on creamy and dries matte. (Clearly, I’m a fan of matte; a little lip balm before helps prevent cracking for me.)

Anyway, despite my enduring love for short hair that requires no work (lazy naturalista over here 🙋🏾‍♀️), my plan is to just keep going and see how long my hair gets. Because my love for short hair is equal to my love for big, giant hair. Which will require time and patience and twisting but we shall cross that bridge when we get there.

The Frowth Chronicles continue…

A Black Woman and Her Hair.

***This post was inspired by a video I watched last night on YouTube from Whitney White, a natural hair influencer that I took note of years ago when I began my natural hair journey. See the video here. While watching the video, I felt the deeper implications of the joy Whitney felt when she cut her waist-length hair. Whitney’s subsequent Instagram post about said haircut really got me thinking: as Black women, our relationship with our hair is so, so deep. And I wanted to talk about that. So here we go.***

My relationship with my hair began when I was about 12 years old, when I received my first relaxer. Prior to that seminal moment, I was an energetic kid; not really focused on pic2pic1my messy pigtails and all of that. I really had no concept of those things. In the adult world, however, my mom was hearing from some relatives that my hair, along with my sister’s hair, looked “wild”. Peer pressure is powerful, and it certainly doesn’t wane when we grow taller. My mom responded to this “wild” talk by taking us to our very first salon visit, where I received my first relaxer. Yep, it burned. Yep, I said nothing as it burned because I wasn’t one of those kids that spoke up. (Whew.) Born from that was something I had never known before: straight pic3hair.

Unbeknownst to me, also being born was the direct tie between my self-image, my sense of beauty, and my hair. This is universal, by the way. All women go through this at one point or another. But when it comes to us as Black women, Black girls, the path is altogether different and far more complex. The kinky and curly hair we’re born with, when it’s straightened and “relaxed”, now becomes largely acceptable, malleable, presentable. Westernized ideals of beauty become us. I remember feeling a sense of anticipation before I walked into the school the weekend after the relaxer. My long hair hung down my back. I felt pretty. And needless to say, I was the center of attention that day. “Look at your hair!” I heard more than once from a variety of girls. It was amazing.

From then on, I would beg my mother for a relaxer when the straight hair reverted back to its curly texture. If you know anything about my mother, you know that this begging typically fell on deaf ears. Despite her now knowing how to apply the creamy stuff, relaxers would be saved for specials occasions (like our annual worship meetings) and nothing more. Once in a while, once, she’d give in to a random relaxer request, but overall, it was usually a no. Needless to say, when I finally started making money and working for myself, I took myself to various salons for my touch-ups and things of that nature. Again: the state of my hair was wrapped up in how I felt I was being exposed to the world. I’ve mentioned the long struggles I had with my self-esteem and self-image. I can honestly say that when my hair was straight, I felt valuable. There was power in those strands.

bob6But as I got older, something started happening. I wanted to experiment more with my hair. Straight, long hair wasn’t enough for me. When I turned 30, I cut it all off and opted for a chic (still straight) bob. My mother nearly passed out. I think she thought I’d shave my head. (That came later.) bob1From there came more experiments: an even shorter bob. An asymmetrical cut with one side shaved and the other side long. Weaves. My hair now became a canvas, a tool for expression. Black women: for many of us, our hair is our art. It certainly became that for me. Still holding its power, yes, but also very much mine. I still had a bob2relaxer, though. Because it was all I knew. Remember: my hair journey began with it being straight. Prior to that time, I didn’t even care or notice.

Whitney says this on her Instagram post: This was more than a hair cut to me. I NEEDED THIS. I NEEDED to see myself as I felt inside.

Reader. Those words hit me. Because after years and years of experimentation and yet maintaining the straight look that still felt acceptable to me and to the world, I woke up one day and didn’t want straight hair anymore. Can’t explain it. I remember being in that revert/touch-up time and feeling the roots on my scalp and loving how those curls and coils felt against my fingers. And like Whitney said, something was happening inside of me. That prison of low self-esteem and feeling like a zero was losing its hold on me, and somehow, my hair was following along. I wanted to be myself. And I wanted the hair on my head to reflect that. When I told my mother I was returning to mybigchop2 roots, to my natural hair, her excitement was indescribable. “Your natural hair was so beautiful,” she said. “I’m so glad you’re going to see it again.” It reminded me that hearing that her children’s hair was “wild” hit her hard. She had no intention of straightening our hair. But such is life. She was happy the choice became mine.

Says Whitney on IG: It was suffocating and I was no longer someone who needed the extra length, the extra baggage to define her. I DEFINE ME by BEING ME. And just like I no longer wanted to carry MY extra baggage with me into the future, the hair could kick it too. Those words describe my Big Chop in 2012. Shaving my head in 2018. And all the styles and haircuts in between. Women: some of us, a lot of us, hold emotion in our hair. I certainly did. And I continue to do so. It’s no surprise that, while in reflection, I realized that a lot of heartache and disappointments in my life preceded my hairstyles and/or the reduction of length.

Whitney: Also, while yes – it IS just hair, it will always simultaneously be MORE. It’s more than “just hair”. It’s a lot. Art. Emotions. Power. Wherever you are, whoever you are and whatever hairstyle or texture you maintain (because I’m not a guerrilla girl; I returned to natural on my own accord, so do you do you do you):

shine.

That’s the bottom line.

In Review…2019 Style

My tried-and-true chicelegant (spell check nearly imploded with this nonexistent word, but whatevs) aesthetic didn’t change much in 2019. Here are some of my favorite looks from this year, with a bit of commentary.

When it comes to jeans and pants, I’m your typical pull-your-pants-up-every-ten-seconds kind of gal, because I tend to pull sizes a bit bigger than I should. (Le sigh.) But this year was a marked improvement. I went for more jeggings and leggings this time around, which resulted in better fits and just looked way nicer.

Dresses and skirts are my favorite things to wear. They just are.

I wasn’t kidding.

The collaged photo in the middle is from our annual worship convention this year and my theme was skirts. (Anyone else theme their outfits for events? I love doing that.) All those skirts came from Ross–all to the shock and awe of my Mom, who thinks I should be shopping at Nordstrom at my age. If I can score chic and lovely clothes for a lesser price, I’ll be staying at Ross. After loving everything I wore this summer, she agrees with me.

The Blonde Ambition Tour.

And finally, these three. The last photo is from last weekend at one of our worship events. I played around with color and combinations here and I was really pleased with the results. Woo hoo…

 

‘Twas a good year for personal style and fashion. My goals are to continue to dress for my body and accentuate better, remain chicelegant, and experiment more. As for the revolving door of hair styles and colors: of course.

What are your personal style staples?

hair things.

I decided to change up the ‘do again. No surprise there. As I mentioned to a friend who remarked about the merry-go-round of styles we as Black women are happy to explore, hair is one of the few things in this crazy life that I can control. (Although I’ve long believed that my hair, known as She, controls me.) As you know, I visited the lighter side of the hair color spectrum in January. And I’m very happy there. Which is why, two weeks ago, I decided to go bolder, brighter, and much, much blonder.

Popular questions/statements I’ve received since:

Are you having fun yet? 
Do you like it?
Whoa, you’re brave.
Something new for the summer, huh?
Wow, you’re always changing your hair!

My responses:

Um, yes?
I love it.
Sure.
Not just for the summer, no.
Indeed I am.

Here’s to the merry-go-round.

And before I go: leaving you with my favorite song this month. You know how I feel about Emeli Sande (or maybe you didn’t, but the link is yours to see). Here’s her recent single, which I have on repeat. I love it not only for the melody, and her soaring voice, but for the simple message: we’re all extraordinary. Something to keep in mind–for me, for you, for all of us.