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Articles on this Page
- 09/12/17--06:42: _Have This Kind of F...
- 09/12/17--07:25: _Why I Should Have T...
- 09/13/17--08:00: _Former 'The Apprent...
- 09/13/17--09:00: _DIY Hair Treatments...
- 09/13/17--09:20: _Undercuts & Natural...
- 09/14/17--06:11: _God Appearing as Ma...
- 09/14/17--10:30: _How To Protect Your...
- 09/14/17--11:38: _Why I Write Christi...
- 09/15/17--05:42: _Life-Changing Lesso...
- 09/15/17--05:52: _How Shaniqua And Sh...
- 09/15/17--06:00: _Is 'Black Love' The...
- 09/16/17--04:57: _Like It's Nineteen ...
- 09/17/17--08:04: _Living for Naps.
- 09/18/17--08:36: _Why I No Longer Sid...
- 09/18/17--12:22: _ULTIMATE Products f...
- 09/18/17--12:24: _Sidra Smith On Laun...
- 09/19/17--08:35: _Can A Relationship ...
- 09/19/17--09:36: _Esperanza Spalding ...
- 09/19/17--10:15: _Is It Okay To Let Y...
- 09/20/17--08:11: _How to Make Braids ...
- 09/12/17--06:42: Have This Kind of Faith
- 09/12/17--07:25: Why I Should Have Talked About My Miscarriages
- 09/13/17--09:00: DIY Hair Treatments To Avoid
- 09/13/17--09:20: Undercuts & Natural Hair
- 09/14/17--06:11: God Appearing as Magical Black Girl.
- 09/14/17--10:30: How To Protect Yourself From The Equifax Breach (& Others)
Keep a close watch over your finances. You should always keep track of what is moving in and out of your bank and credit card accounts. Match your receipts to your account ledgers daily and weekly; keep an eye out for oddities or discrepancies. Whether hackers are afoot or not, banks often make mistakes. You can even sign up for a credit or identity-monitoring service to make supervision easier.
Take inventory of what was stolen. If a breach has occurred, make sure you know exactly what was stolen.If it was a simple leak of names or mailing addresses then you have nothing to worry about. A stolen email address will likely result in increased spam. Birth dates and drivers’ license numbers can be sensitive if taken along with your name and other contact information. Stolen payment cards and/or social security numbers will definitely require more action and attention on your part.
Change/update your passwords. Any compromised account passwords should be changed immediately. Make sure you always create strong passwords which contain at least 15 characters and include all four types of characters (upper-case letters, lower-case letters, punctuation marks/special characters, numerals). Do not use names, birthdays or references to any personal interest that are potentially easy to guess. Never reuse passwords for multiple accounts.
Alert any relevant financial institutions. If your payment card information was stolen, contact the issuer and understand that you are not liable. More often than not, you will receive a call or notice from your card issuer if they notice suspicious activity first. Any fraudulent charges made against your card will be negated and you’ll be issued a new card. You’ll also want to contact credit reporting agencies to make sure your credit score is not adversely affected.
- Make any necessary reports to the proper authorities. If your social security number has been compromised, then you’ll want to notify Equifax, TransUnionand Experian(credit reporting agencies), the IRS, the Federal Trade Commission, your local police (if you want a new social security number), and the Internet Crime Complaint Center (who can alert all other law enforcement agencies).
- 09/14/17--11:38: Why I Write Christian Poetry By Kanisha Parks
- 09/15/17--05:52: How Shaniqua And Shikwanda Are Winning The Name Shaming Game
- 09/15/17--06:00: Is 'Black Love' The #RelationshipGoals We've Been Waiting For?
- 09/16/17--04:57: Like It's Nineteen Hundred and Ninety-Nine
- 09/17/17--08:04: Living for Naps.
- 09/18/17--08:36: Why I No Longer Side-Eye Women Who Wear Braids, Weaves And Wigs
- 09/18/17--12:22: ULTIMATE Products for Growing LONG/THICK Natural Hair By Zara
- 09/18/17--12:24: Sidra Smith On Launching Her LGBTQ Web Series Indiegogo Campaign
- 09/19/17--08:35: Can A Relationship Last When She Wants An Abortion And He Doesn't?
- 09/19/17--10:15: Is It Okay To Let Your Boyfriend Discipline Your Kids?
- 09/20/17--08:11: How to Make Braids Last Longer
Mostly typical day yesterday. Had brunch with a friend, ran some errands and by the time I got home, found that Gene had relieved the nanny and was watching the Firestick.
He was deeply absorbed in what was clearly a pretty good movie. I still had some stuff to do so I didn't demand that he take it all the way back and re-watch it with me (haha), I just caught the end. But when I cut it back on later that night, I obviously had a completely different experience than Gene did earlier that day. He was probably up and down with the characters, probably nervous for them at times not knowing their fates and totally on the rollercoaster of emotions the writers wanted him to experience. Not me, though. I'd seen the end, so while I enjoyed the twists and turns of the plot, I was able to watch with a gentle detachment. Despite all the drama and tumultuous circumstances, I knew the characters would be happy in the end. You see where I'm going with this?
Let's say you have a goal to finally start your own business. Spoiler alert-- it's already yours! That's why you 'want it'. If you can see the desire as a promise from God, then you know it's already yours and you live in the feels of thanksgiving and appreciation (literally, ask yourself how it would feel if you had what you desired, right now... wait for the feeling to automatically bubble up and STAY THERE). That successful business is already yours. So it doesn't matter who says no, or how bleak the circumstances look or how many doors close in your face-- you know that's just the drama, the plot twists to keep things interesting! You know the ending, you can feel it, so you take inspired actions and walk in the confidence that all is well and working out for you. That's faith, y'all.
Brain Aneurysm Month
1. MayonnaiseThis is one of the most controversial DIY hair treatments to avoid because some people still swear by it. Mayo is reported to give hair a dose of protein and moisture once rinsed out. While mayonnaise can be super moisturizing for dry hair, there are a few reasons you may want to skip this one altogether. First of all, the protein from mayonnaise is a myth because the protein is too large to penetrate the cuticle of the shaft. The moisture may be a benefit, but the natural oiliness of mayonnaise can add too much grease to your hair and possibly disrupt the sebum balance of your scalp. If you really need the moisture of mayo, you would be better off using a lighter oil that is easier to rinse out.
2. ChampagneSince wine and beer have become a great way to rinse hair and add some extra nutrients, many people assume all alcoholic beverages might work for their hair, but this is wrong. Champagne doesn’t have the resveratrol found in wine or the hops in beer to help hair improve strength. It is also full of sugar which can be drying to hair. If you want a little champagne in your day, drink it and leave your hair out of it.
3. LemonThis one is similar to the mayonnaise debate. While it is true that lemon can be used to lighten hair temporarily and help deal with an overabundance of oil, it can be drying to the scalp and strands. If you don’t have an extra oily scalp, applying lemon directly to the scalp can be too harsh and lead to dryness. Use this one at your own risk, or dilute it with water to make sure it's not too strong.
4. SugarWhile using sugar for a skin exfoliant is usually considered a beauty treat that leaves skin soft and refreshed, using it on the scalp is too much. The sugar granules are much too large and abrasive for the sensitive area of your scalp and can lead to small scratches. In general, the scalp doesn’t need to be exfoliated with anything this tough since it should be self-regulated to remove dead skin cells and keep everything working properly.
Get it done by a professional. While there are a lot of hair care tasks you can do by yourself, an undercut isn’t one of them. If you are going to do this look, it’s best to let an experienced hand handle the clippers. Letting someone else do it is also practical because they can see the back of your head better than you would be able to with a mirror so they can ensure a clean, even cut along the hairline.
Know there will be ongoing maintenance. Many naturalistas mistakenly choose this look because they think it’s low maintenance. While it’s true that it’s less hair to deal with on a daily basis, there is still some upkeep to keep this look fresh. How often you will need to re-trim your undercut will depend on how fast your hair grows and also the closeness of the original cut. If you get an intricate pattern in your undercut that is no longer visible, it’s time for a touch-up. Most people have to have their undercut trimmed around every 2-4 weeks, depending on their growth.
You can either go bold with a full cut or choose a half side cut. A full undercut will be the entire bottom hairline whereas the half would be just one side of the hairline. The full is a great way to make a bold fashion statement while the half is perfect for those with long hair that may want to hide the undercut during certain situations. With a flip of their long hair, a half cut can be easily hidden from sight.
Growing hair out can be a journey. One of the most important things to know about undercuts and natural hair is that growing it out can lead to hair that sticks straight out instead of falling flat. Obviously, this will depend on your hair type more than anything, but you should still consider this factor before taking the plunge. If your hair has a harder time staying flat and hanging, an undercut grow out phase will require a lot more gel to keep things smooth.
Let me let you in on a little secret--
There's a part of you that has never aged. Never changed. It was with you on your first day of kindergarten, your first day of college and is with you, witnessing the reading of these very words right now. It will be present at the birth of your first child. It will be there when your body dies. It's always here, and always now. And you're intimately familiar with it, you just forget sometimes.
It's faceless. It's formless. It's who and what you really are. This presence is your awareness of being. It's your 'I am-ness'. It's consciousness and it's not 'yours', it's absolutely universal. My sense of 'I am', the simple and super apparent way that I know that I'm alive... is the same as yours and the same as your mothers and the same as Beyonce's! There's only ONE, but it appears as the many. It appears as absolutely everything! It's what man calls God. We are God appearing as humans... God appearing as magical Black girls and our main task is to become transparent enough to let God work through us to serve each other. You came here to experience and play and forget your power in order to remember and become it once more. And you tasked your other selves to remind you from time to time. I'm one of your other selves. And this is a wake up call. You've been dreaming that your only this girl, sitting here reading these words, wondering what Nikki is going on about. God has been dreaming he's you. But you're so much more. Don't go back to sleep.
Before you were aware of being you, you were just aware. There was just awareness of being. Period. And you can become aware of that unconditioned presence right now by stopping and listening for a sound that you can't hear. Alternatively, you can ask yourself silently, 'I wonder what my next thought will be?' and wait in gentle anticipation, listening for it (a la Eckhart Tolle), like a cat watching a mouse hole. When the next thought comes, ask the question again and wait. Listen. The silence you experienced waiting for the next thought is always there and it's not empty-- it's absolutely full. It's the source of everything and is experienced subjectively by you as a feeling of peace and joy. Stay there. You're becoming aware of yourself.
So let's take this one step further. If you're God appearing as Lorie or Nadeira, then what could you possibly fear? What could you want or ask for? It's already yours. You created it! God is appearing as you and knows and fulfills your wants and needs before your conscious mind can attempt to beg or pray for them. He knows what you need more than you do. God is source. Which means your abundance, your health and wealth is already here, right now. So again, your only task is to stay connected to the presence by staying consciously aware of the peaceful, loving silence. And that awareness will take the form of the outer things you need to live and rock in this world-- be it a plane ticket, a new job or a 6 bedroom house. Note--you can never actually lose your connection, you are THAT... there's not two-- there's not you and God, there's really just God appearing as you... you just need to be consciously aware. Think of it like electricity. It's powerful and everywhere but absolutely useless unless you're plugged in. So when seeming problems arise, turn to that presence. Love it. Appreciate it. Feel those feels. When everything is all good, turn to the presence. Thank it, appreciate it, love it, become even more familiar with it. Pretty soon, you'll come to realize that you're not aware of the presence. You are the presence. And everything is you.
Marinate on that for the rest of the day.
Your Other Self, also known as Nik
|By Kanisha Parks|
If we’re going to talk about poetry, we have to go back—to Harlem, the 1920’s. Back to Langston Hughes and his weary blues, back to Claude McKay and his black man rage. I’m talking about rhyme and rhythm, music and tone; brokenness, hopelessness, sorrow, and pain. I’m talking about the Harlem Renaissance, which is (arguably) one the most essential movements of American poetry. In all honesty, if it weren’t for the Harlem Renaissance, I’m not sure I’d be a poet today.
The Harlem Renaissance was, "A period of musical, literary, and cultural proliferation that began in New York's African-American community during the 1920's and early 1930's. I first learned about the movement in middle school and had the opportunity to study it more in-depth during college. I fell in love with these poets, their plight, and their determination to make their voices heard despite the deplorable conditions they were living in at the time. One of my favorite poems of the era is Countee Cullen’s “Incident:”
Once riding in old Baltimore,
Heart-filled, head-filled with glee,
I saw a Baltimorean
Keep looking straight at me.
Now I was eight and very small,
And he was no whit bigger,
And so I smiled, but he poked out
His tongue, and called me, 'Nigger.'
I saw the whole of Baltimore
From May until December;
Of all the things that happened there
That's all that I remember.
I remember feeling amazed at how in just a few short lines, I went from feeling hopeful to helpless, just like the writer and I thought to myself, “Wow. This is so incredibly moving.” His poetry didn’t tell me how to feel but it made me feel something. I learned so much from studying the poets and poems of the Harlem Renaissance, which cemented my love for poetry and its ability to inspire and promote change.
I wrote my first poem when I was ten years old and it was about how much I truly loved God. From then on, I started writing Christian poetry, which is simply poetry that explores various topics of Christianity—God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, faith, love, and anything discussed in the Bible. Most of my poems center around what it means to be a Christian and how to make it in this world, while some come from God’s perspective, revealing how much He truly loves and cares about us.
I write poems that can accompany you through every season of this faith journey that is the Christian life. Yet it’s amazing how, at a time when we have much more creative freedom than the Harlem Renaissance poets, it appears that poetry has “died.” Although this is a sentiment that I wholeheartedly disagree with, I must recognize the truth about the current state of poetry. And realistically, poetry has become one of those art forms that a lot of people appreciate—from a distance. It’s like, “Yeah, poetry sounds nice and all, but do I really want to buy an entire book of it? Nah."
So that leaves the question—why do I write Christian poetry?
Just like Harlem Renaissance poetry, Christian poetry has meaning and purpose. Similar to many of the Psalms and encouraging verses of the Bible, Christian poetry has the unique ability to lift you up out of your current circumstance and redirect your attentions upon God, so reading and writing poetry helps me keep my mind on God. I also write poetry because I know it pleases God, and it helps me see the good in any and every situation, like Paul suggests in Philippians 4:8:
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
We often count the days, weeks and months since we lost the ones we love, but it always feels like it just happened yesterday.
Have you ever been through a storm and could feel the sun, just for the clouds and rain to swiftly cover its glory? Have you ever felt like you were just starting to “feel normal," then another crush to your heart brings you deeper into despair?
This is what it felt like on May 3, 2016, when my Uncle Nell passed. He wasn’t the first family member to go, but he was the one I was closest to. On a Tuesday evening, my mom and I were walking back to her house after exercising when my grandma called. I can still feel the moment she told me that Nell passed; the angst that rushed out of my throat as I yelled “No!” The river of pain that flowed from my eyes; the morning after that felt like it was all a dream.
Nell was one of my best friends. I could be myself and talk to him on the phone for hours without being bored. I could share my doubts, fears, and insecurities. He never judged me, but loved and uplifted me.
Between February and June of 2016, a member of my family died each month – five people. My husband’s grandmother lost her battle with cancer, our nephew passed due to complications from an asthma attack, and my uncle died due to blocked arteries.
Each of these losses – individually and collectively – were a reality check, revealing the healing I needed from a lifetime of pain.
I hadn’t spoken to my uncle in several months, maybe a year, before he died. To be honest, I don’t even know exactly how long it was, but the wedge between us began as his mental illness got worse. He became paranoid, verbally aggressive and erratic. One evening, when my husband and I were at the grocery store, he called me. As I was having a conversation with him, my husband and I laughed about something going on in the store. He thought that my husband was talking about him, so he threatened to beat him up. The moment before this was the last time I felt safe around him.
As his casket was being lowered into the grave during the burial, I became trapped in a net of guilt and regret. I felt awful that I let Nell’s mental illness separate us instead of forgiving his episodes for the sake of our relationship.
For weeks, I struggled to get “back on track," although I had no idea how to get there. I worked as a business manager at a counseling center and couldn’t focus on my tasks. It was also difficult for me to do the things I wanted and planned to do before Nell died. I was depressed, lost and anxious. A few days later, I started weekly counseling sessions.
During therapy, we started with the grief from my losses and worked backwards. It was easier than I thought, and I began to believe that it was okay for me to release the guilt I felt about disconnecting from Nell, in addition to the hurt and disappointment from the way he treated me and the love of my life.
Eventually, I found that forgiveness is possible without receiving an apology from the person or people who hurt me. It is a decision to release what someone did to me and focus on how I can use the hurt to grow. We never know when someone will take their last breath, so it’s best to let things go. Most times, what people do to us has everything to do with them and little to do with us.
The next thing to work through was being molested when I was around 10, and groped during school and walking home from school in junior high. So many times, I felt like I betrayed myself because I didn’t yell for help when I was being abused or tell my family what happened. I wondered how someone could love me when I didn’t love myself enough to speak up. I felt weak, and like I deserved everything that happened to me.
Each time I spoke of my pain though, healing filled my wounds. I felt strength rise from within me, my voice becoming a tool for me to heal myself.
Journaling was another way I found healing. Every day, I wrote to God, being honest about my emotions and thoughts, just like the scriptures in the book of Psalms. The more open I was, the more comfort, peace and love I felt wash over me. God quickly became more real and accessible to me, and now I know what it feels like to have a relationship with the One who created me.
Since then, I’ve been blogging, sharing my journey to wholeness, of self-love, faith and growth. Through the pain, I discovered one of my purposes.
Loss has taught me a lot about life. The main things are that God is a healer; life isn’t promised and every moment we breathe is a gift; don’t live life passively, but intentionally; forgiveness frees the heart, soul and mind to love; pain can open the door to freedom from what holds us back; and I have a choice regarding what I do with my pain. I can either let it destroy me or use it to restore me.
By Erickka Sy Savané“My name is Shaniqua,” said a blogger I met at a luncheon in mid-town Manhattan. Shaniqua? I did a double take. She gave me her card. As soon as I got home, I was all over my computer, genuinely curious to see what a “ghetto” website looked like. Hmm…it was nice…and there was even a picture of her and Oprah Winfrey...
A few weeks later, I’m on the phone with my old roommate from college. We hadn’t spoken for a few months so it was time to catch up. She told me she was launching a dessert business and I was thrilled. But there was an underlying anxiety in her voice.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
“I’m stuck. I don’t know whether to use my name or my initials for my business,” she responded.
“I’d go for your name all day,” I answered. “People with initials seem shady. Look at O.J. Simpson, and who is T.I., really? 10 reality shows later, and I'm still lost.”
“Yea, but my name is Shi-kwan-da.”
“Okay, I get it,” I say, suddenly remembering Shaniqua, and how quick I was to throw her under the ghetto bus…only to find out that she’s doing better than a lot of us.
“Wait, I think I have an answer,” I say, telling her about Shaniqua and how she's embracing her name, and using it for her business. It's really smart too, because people are curious enough to go to her website to learn more, and by that time she's already got you. There's no better advertising than a unique name!
“I never thought about it like that,” says Shikwanda.
And we know why. There’s no denying that distinctly Black names get a bad rap. Just last year Raven-Symone publicly apologized for saying on 'The View' that she wouldn’t hire someone with a “ghetto name” and who can forget the famous study that found when applying for jobs, names that sound white receive 50 percent more callbacks than names that sound distinctly African American. But at the same time, a Black man with a Muslim name became President of the United States. Twice. If 69 million Americans can get over any hangups they might’ve had regarding the name Barack Hussein Obama, surely Shaniqua and Shikwanda can carve out a space for themselves in their respective industries.
“I went with Shikwanda,” she tells me, with a smile in her voice so bright I can see it through the phone. “ I realized that Shikwanda is who I am, take it or leave it, and I needed to stop focusing so much energy on my name, and put it into my business. At the end of the day, your name doesn't make you, you make your name.”
Amen to that.
This article first appeared on Madamenoire.com
With the hashtag relationship goals bombarding us daily on social media, giving us little more than cute pictures and even cuter captions to aspire to, 'Black Love' gives us the behind-the-scenes on #RelationshipGoals and leaves no stone unturned. This series covers love from the amazing times, financial crisis, incarceration, and the loss of a child. So if you are not already watching 'Black Love' here are 5 gems dropped in the series that could give your marriage longevity.
Your Life Gets Better with the Right Partner
Oscar winner Viola Davis didn’t call her husband Julius for a month after getting his number. She had a lot going on including bad credit and wanted to work on herself before she started a relationship. After some convincing from her friends, she called him and her life changed. Viola recalls, “After my first date with Julius my life got better in every way; anxiety went away, fear went away, he just made my life better.”
Devon Franklin feels the same way about marrying Megan Good. Devon says, “As a single man I was good but as a married man, I’m great. Get the right woman and you can conquer the world.”
Differences are meant to Teach You
There is nothing more frustrating than living with someone and finding out that they’re messy and you’re clean, that they leave 3 sips of orange juice in the container in the fridge instead of finishing it up, and my personal favorite, that they leave trash on the counter NEXT to the trash can!
Tia Mowry was raised in a military family and knows structure very well. Her husband Cory Hardrict was not. They decided to learn from each other instead of getting frustrated. Corey reflects, “I have learned structure and how to pay bills on time from Tia and I have taught Tia how to dream, have no fear and take risks in life.”
Fix the relationship and not the person. Fix Yourself and then Come Together
Danielle and Hasan fell in love and enjoyed their courtship. Danielle grew up with brothers and felt like a Princess in her home. After their marriage, Danielle began to feel criticized and became jaded and cold. The couple was disconnected. Danielle felt like Hasan was trying to fix HER and not the relationship. Hasan notes, “When we began to look internally all of a sudden there was an emotional connection, sex was more frequent and pleasurable and we bonded.”
Allow Yourselves to Step Back from a Challenge
Sean Patrick Thomas and Aonika Laurent had a whirlwind romance and an amazing marriage until their hardest tribulation came. Aonika knew Sean wanted to be a Father and they were excited when they first got pregnant. She describes them being so ecstatic and literally skipping to the ultrasound. There they heard the worst news; they lost the baby. They had multiple miscarriages and each time Aonika felt like she was letting Sean down and even considered divorcing him. The thought never crossed his mind.
It wasn’t until they decided to stop trying and step away completely from IVF treatment just so they could concentrate on what was going right in their lives that they got pregnant again immediately. They are now parents to a daughter and a son.
Be Willing to Accept Love in a Different Package Other Than the One You Imagined
Ashley always imagined that her Prince Charming would have chocolate skin and dreadlocks down his back. She imagined them reciting hip hop rhymes and being the real life Brown Sugar couple. She met Chea from Cambodia and kept him in the friend zone. The more time they spent together made Ashley realize something very crucial as she explains on Black Love, “I stopped paying attention to what he was. I couldn’t pass him up just because he wasn’t packaged how I wanted.” The couple has been married since 2015 and has 2 children.
So about 3 months ago I deleted all of the social media apps from my phone and it was probably one of the best decisions I've made in my whole damn life. I obviously still have to log on because money, but it's nice using the internet like it's nineteen hundred and ninety-nine. I actually have to sit down at my computer, cut it on and log in... or if I want to post to IG (which ain't often), I have to take the time to re-download the app and then proceed to post. I promptly re-delete it too, haha.
It not only freed up my mornings, allowing for an excellent pre-mommy duties meditation session but not checking my feed and emails first thing also keeps me in my chosen frequency or vibe. After my morning meditation and before my feet hit the floor, I choose how I want to feel that day and I do my best to stay there no matter what shakes or pops off. It's been working, especially on the days where I can make it past breakfast. Speaking of breakfast, I'm still mostly doing my intermittent fasting. It's worked great to help me get back down to pre-Max weight! I was 103 pounds when I got pregnant with him and I'm 105 now (7 months later). I got up to 150 with both of them. I'm still not working out like I should, but carrying his 18 pound self around the house is plenty. What else... I'm taking aloe vera gel caps to prevent aging. We have a nanny and I spend a ton of time on the roof, in the sun and although I rock sunscreen daily (cetaphil), I wanted to take extra steps. There was a study done a while back and they found that aloe vera gel, even in small amounts helps to increase collagen production which is what you need to keep your skin gorgeous. I think that concludes my rambling... off to the roof to dive into an old favorite, Mooji's book, 'Before I Am'.
I was pin curling it for a while, then bantu-knotting, trying to get some texture in it, but my hair falls fast. Wrapping it is quick and keeps the volume on deck. Thanks @enigmatic_styles!
Are you taking any extra precautions to maintain your sexy?
When you wear a blow-out, how do you maintain it? Any wrappers?
The same peace that a Sunday morning offers can be found in the whirlwind of action and responsibility that a Monday morning brings. God is equally present on Sunday and Monday. You just have to look a little harder, but it’s always there, waiting for you to come home. And once you begin to practice this presence and become more consciously aware of this always-on, always-here peace, you’ll see that each and every moment is perfect and as it should be—even the ones where baby has pooped up his back. God is there, too.
Your other self,
|By Tee Elle|
I was midstride towards the register when the cashier greeted me, not with a “Did you find everything okay?” but with a flippant statement that was based purely on assumption rather than fact: The hair that tickled the middle of my back as lightly as a lover’s hand couldn’t have grown out of my scalp. “This is not a weave,” I retorted, appalled.
It wasn’t that I actually turned my nose up at fake hair. I neither viewed it as “ghetto and ratchet” like those who automatically judge vivid and towering updos nor “distracting” to my peers like principals and senior managers who often use it as discriminatory grounds for suspensions and terminations. Braids and weaves aren’t indicators of incapability.
But I did feel it was unnecessary except in the cases of extreme hair loss. I didn’t fully understand why anyone would willingly cover the hair that’s growing out of her own head with something that often didn’t look real.
Of course this judgment came from someone who never quite mastered doing her own hair. My roller sets always looked like I did them myself, as in “Um, who did your hair?” instead of “Oooh, who did your hair!” When I moved 200+ miles away from my trusted stylist, my hair’s health severely declined. I decided to go natural without realizing the transition process would require more maintenance than a relaxed one, and my hair went from bad to worse. Recently I found myself back in a hair predicament, this time in the form of the dreaded in-between stage where it’s too short to slick into a pony but too long to be considered edgy. My hair has refused to grow at the speed it once did when it was maintained by a professional, and I’ve worn the same part-on-the-left-side look for nearly four years. Needless to say, I was ready for something else.
One day I received a picture text from my cousin.
“Who dis?” I thought, staring at the long, jet black, crinkled, faux locs on the screen. I grew so intrigued by the look that I dragged another cousin who was familiar with box braids to a nearby beauty outlet and we picked up some hair based off of a YouTube video tutorial.
At home, my cousin sectioned my hair into 399 tiny plaits and crocheted a loc adjacent to each one. The problem arose when it was time to work the individual plait into its adjoining loc: It wouldn’t slide in as effortlessly as the young woman in the video made it seem. When the latch of the crochet needle wasn’t scraping my scalp, it was poking through the loc, snagging it.
“Maybe it’s the needle,” I suggested. We got a new one. Same result.
“Nah, the plait is still too fat,” my cousin countered.
So I unraveled all 399 with the intent to divide them into 798 pieces, but something told me to test a few. It still didn’t work, so I Googled a few more videos, determined to keep the locs. The next night my cousin and I followed the cornrow method, and I endured the scalp-digging a second time. Part of me wanted to yell, “Forget it!” But what was the alternative? To apply relaxer to a raw and wounded scalp?
Oddly the pain was more bearable than the intense itching that I experienced at night. I was so unprepared. No one warned me that the hair would launch an aggressive assault on my scalp whenever I was near sleep like a six-alarm fire.
Yet, surprisingly, I grew to like the results – all 18 voluminous inches. I liked the way the tendrils framed my face, the way they snatched my edges, and the way they draped my head when I moved them around. By the fourth or fifth day – after some mango and lime oil and rosemary spray to quell the scalp burn – I loved them.
I was glamorous.
I was empowered.
I was transformed.
I was converted.
I was free.
I finally got it. The decision to enhance our hair really isn’t based on laziness or some desire to be someone else. It isn’t always about insecurity or shame, either. It’s about discovery, ease, independence, and versatility. And in my case, the intent was to add as much hair as reasonably possible. I wasn’t going to leave any question as to whether my hair was real or not; it was going to be fairly obvious.
Last week I noticed my 6-year old cousin periodically glancing at me in the middle of Walmart.
"Is that your hair?" she asked curiously, to which I proudly replied, "Nope, it's fake.”
|Wrap party for 'A Luv Tale' 1999, (left to right) Tichina Arnold, MC Lyte, Holly Joy, Tisha Campbell-Martin, Gina Ravera, and Sidra Smith|
Things started off smooth between the two of us. Back then, I was an associate designer for a young men's clothing brand. She worked for the city. Our work schedules were opposite of one another, but we made it work. I worked during the day and she worked the night shift. She would stay at my place three to four times out the week. I enjoyed that. When I came home after the gym in the evenings, I would cook dinner. I made sure I cooked enough for her to eat and for her to have for lunch at work. I did my best for her to feel comfortable around me. Even down to her head wraps to bed. I didn't have any issue with her. She had my best interest at heart. When a man knows a woman has his back no matter what (excluding his mother) it changes him for the better. He finds himself looking forward to doing activities with this woman. In short, building a future with this woman.
|Stripped down & ready to go, Esperanza introduces Facebook fans to her studio for the next 77 hrs.|
“I foresee that creating before a live audience will add excitement and extra inspiration and energy. Knowing someone is watching and listening to what you’re making seems to conjure up a sort of “can’t fail” energy. Having such limited time to write and record 10 songs will also force us to rely on improvisation and first instinct. Not allowing us to judge, second guess, guess, or alter the initial hits of inspiration that drive the creation of each song.”
“So never again will a song just be a song. It’s an imprint of a whole process of give and take, refinement, and how being on the edge – tired at times, and the urgency of the deadline gets the ego out of the way and lets you stand there and scream your heart out.”
To watch footage, go to Esperanza Spalding's facebook page.
I’m heading out for drinks with my cousin when she turns to her man and says, “If he gets out of hand, go ahead and spank him.” She’s referring to her 4-year-old son. I’m a little surprised because she’s been dating this guy less than a year. When I ask her if she thinks it’s a good idea to let him spank her kid she doesn’t see the problem. “If I’m gone, my son needs to know that he’s got to listen or he’s going to get popped,” she says, a little defensively. I leave it alone. But later, I’m definitely thinking about it.
On one hand, I see what she means. It’s kinda old school in the sense that people used to take responsibility for other people’s kids. Family members had the right to pop you if they saw you getting out of hand, and even neighbors could snatch you up, and drag you home to mama. Teachers had, and in many places still do, have the right to take physical action. Corporal punishment is alive and well, especially in the South. Let’s face it, not everyone was mad when the Spring Valley High police officer flung the young female student to the ground last year. “Kids today have a problem with authority,” they say.
But the flip side of that is you’re putting a lot of trust in a person, in this case, a boyfriend. How long have you known him? Does he have a temper? What’s his experience with kids? And what if you break up and get a new man, is he going to be able to hit him too?
Sadly, it doesn’t always end well. Tragic stories surface everyday about boyfriends who injure, and sometimes kill, a woman’s kid. Men can have a heavy hand, and when it’s not their child, they may lack patience or feel they have to over compensate to show that they have the upper hand. Kids are quick to scream, “I don’t have to listen to you; you’re not my daddy!”
So what’s an acceptable way to discipline that won’t create bigger problems?
I call up Dr. Jane Fort, one of my go-to psychologists, to see what advice she may have because I want to make sure my cousin is doing the right thing.
She says, “The real question is what is being communicated to the child in a spanking no matter who does it?
We want to teach children what to do and what not to do, but too many times, we open ourselves to the possibility of venting our anger and frustration on a child because we’re bigger and can get away with it and not because we are actually communicating the message we want the child to grasp.
So, time out with an explanation may be a better option.
Loss of a privilege or benefit for a brief period of time – but not so long that everyone forgets what it was all about in the first place.
We also have to know what limits should be made evident in supervision of our children. Determine what discipline best communicates the lesson to the child.”
Seriously, that’s a good one because what one adult sees as a reason to spank another might not. Do you want your kid being bopped upside the head for not eating his peas or failing to do his homework?
Okay. She’s saying that spanking may not be the best way to discipline. Period. And I agree. I swore I wouldn’t do it to my own kids, and then I did. It feels awful every time. I can’t imagine doing it to someone else’s child, even with permission. It just feels messy.
1. Modify Routines
If anyone ever tries to tell you that you don’t need to wash your braids, ignore their ill advice. You should still keep up with your wash routine when you have braids in to avoid an accumulation of dirt, oil, fungi growth, and other unpleasant scenarios which can play out on your scalp. The key is to modify the routine so you aren’t washing as often. A good rule of thumb is to wash your braids every two weeks.