Lots on my mind; time to get it out...

This is a small piece of myself that I'm now willing to share. Handle with care; contents will break under pressure.

30 July 2010

9. When there are no words....

I just cut all my hair off...


Sure did.

Don't really know what to say yet.

My mom's gonna kill me.... lol.

I think it's cute....

It's really soft.... and healthy...

I don't know how I feel though.

That is all for now...

Wish me luck.

29 July 2010

8. A rose by any other name....

* Disclaimer: If you are easily offended by language... STOP READING NOW!

So if you don't know or you haven't talked to me recently or haven't seen me recently, I have become totally immersed in this natural hair thing.  Well one of the many things that keeps coming up is the word "nappy."  Well if you're English this doesn't mean a lot to you - you probably just look at a nappy as a baby diaper.  For the Black community in America, however, from what I know nappy is a word spoken with much contention.  It's a word spoken by Black women with much disdain.  Well... at least that's what I thought.  But as I stalk the natural hair blogs, natural hair forums, and YouTube channels more and more I hear women talking about embracing their naps, being nappy and happy, and what have you.

But it got me to thinking.  People talk about the re-appropriation of words all the time.  Some how in the last 40 years rappers have turned the derogatory use of the word nigger to everyday slang in the Black community.  I don't know how many times a day I hear, "What's up my nigga?" or "Nigga please..." or any phrase where you could use the word "guy" but in place of it choose "nigga" instead.  And the same goes for the word bitch.  In normal conversation, females of all races and ages repeating the phrase "That's my bitch!" and "Yeah, I'm a bad bitch..."

And in each case the affected party when asked why use such offensive terminology will reply, "We're just taking the word back.  Using it in regular conversation takes the power from it"

And to this I reply - "GET REAL!"
So you claim by using a word we take the power from it, huh? Well answer me this:

Regardless of how in touch with your nappy roots you are, when the girl with the long, loose silky, curly hair says your hair is nappy are you seriously not just a little incensed at what she may be implying?  Even if you call every one of your best friends your "main bitch," when that guy in the club calls you a stuck up bitch because you wouldn't give him any play, you aren't even the slightest bit offended?  No matter how long you've been using the word nigga, when the White guy across the street (who is clearly a skin head, adorned with a stars and bars vest) calls you a nigger you're telling me you aren't gonna be even a little pissed.  (And eff all that "-er" vs. "-a" we all know its the same...)

But don't mind me this is really just some food for thought.  I'll even play devil's advocate a little....

Remember when Snoop was trying to "do better" and claimed he's stopped banging and smoking weed, and in his songs he started using the word nephew instead of nigga.  I mean we all knew what he was doing, but since we knew what he meant did it even matter.  And on social networking sites I don't know how many times I've seen the words "ninja" and "bish" (which is totally made up by the way) being thrown around, in place of nigga and bitch respectively... but since it's clear what is meant does it matter what you say...?
If slave owners used the word flower instead of nigger, would we be calling them "flowas" in contemporary times...

But I could be totally off base... I mean in the end they are just words. Right?

7. Thoughts...

To be in love.
It is a thing only attainable in my dreams, I think.
In a space somewhere between fantasy and reality.
There is where love waits for me.

There it lies in a place I cannot go.
Life's funny like that.
In a place I cannot reach,
Love waits there beyond touch, taste, thought, or speech.

Beyond you and I.
Love lies in a space left unseen
There is nothing more that I can do
I can no longer chase love and no longer chase you.

And though the words are in my mind
They may never escape my lips.
Because "I love you"
Though said by many is understood by very few

And despite that I do
And I'm in way over my head
And want you and only you
It's simply better left unsaid.

26 July 2010

6. The List...

So every time someone makes a suggestion or I get really interested in something I say "I'll put it on my list."  Well there was never actually a hard copy list.  Until now.

  1. Write a book
  2. Find a job I enjoy.
  3. Enter a committed long term relationship
  4. Learn to drive a stick
  5. Buy a Jeep Wrangler
  6. Go to Africa
  7. Finish college
  8. Make something from a Food Network recipe
  9. Grow my hair long enough to donate it
  10. Understand my purpose in life

*I will be updating as things come up.

5. Why can't I do this...?

It is at this time, that I, Alexx, officially admit that I have commitment issues.  Yep!  You heard it here first folks I currently find myself unable to commit - to my hair.

I've have never been in a place like this before.  When I was 15, like a week before starting my sophomore year I let, scratch that, I wanted my hairdresser to cut off half a head worth of hair from my head.  Everyone thought I was crazy.  I later realized that I was going through something, but that's a story I'll save for later.

Short hair was a true commitment, one that I thought I was ready for, and come to find out - I was.  I loved it; everybody else loved it; and it loved me.  Cutting my hair in that style forced me to take care of it.  There was no hiding behind ponytails on bad hair days.

But now I don't know what's going on with me...

I committed to going natural.  No relaxer 9 1/2 months strong.  But now, for some reason, I cant just cut my hair.  It's not that I don't want to - I do - EVERYDAY!  Every other day I tell my friend Weldon, "I'm gonna cut it all off tomorrow.  I can't take this!"  He just looks at me and laughs at this point, and I'm starting to understand why - because I DON'T, or can't (in the mental sense, that is).  The date goes from tomorrow, to October (my one year mark), to December/January as a New Year's type thing.

I look at it and the relaxed ends depress me.  I touch it and the fluffy center intrigues me.  I think about it and I the girl who's motto is "It's just hair; it'll grow back," is scared of the thought.  Sometimes I think it may just be the fact that I know it's going to go out and not down (clearly I'm qualifying my unfounded fear here).  Sometimes I think maybe I'm just scared of what's lying underneath.  Mostly, I'm pretty sure it is the fact that this haircut, like the last one, signifies something - didn't know what it was then, and I'm not completely sure what it is now, but I know it's something.  Or maybe I've just fallen in love with the really BIG puff I get to wear and I know that cutting my hair will make that option non existent for a few more months.

In any case, clearly I'm not mentally prepared for the change, but I'll admit does irk me.

24 July 2010

4. Life's funny like that.....

Today just may be the day that has made the last 9 1/2 months totally worth it.

I was awakened this morning by a phone call informing me that I was late for work (not my fault there was a time miscommunication, but I digress).  I didn't have time to do anything but brush my teeth.  Yesterday I wore my hair out all day to some compliments and some not-so-compliments, but you win some you lose some.  Last night I just kinda pineappled it all on top of my head to keep it out of my face while I slept.  Well that's also exactly how I walked out of the house this morning.  Not my most attractive moment in my eyes.

At work, I sit at a desk for countless hours making sure summer guests and residents are legit and happy.  Well in the last two hours I got two hair compliments!  They both kinda caught me off guard.  On a day that I feel mediocre, at best, two girls, on different occasions, asked me if I did my hair myself, and then proceeded to tell me it looked nice.  It was just one of those unexpected things that make make you feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside.

It reminded me of my former waitressing experiences.  Where I worked people tipped for two reasons - respect and attraction.  I worked as a waitress in a "topless dance club" I think is the PC term... lol.  In general, speedy service and physical appearance are what make you money in that environment.  But today I couldn't help but reminisce about the few times I felt much less that beautiful and some slightly less that sober middle aged man telling me I was the prettiest girl in the whole place.  Given the atmosphere I took all compliments (and criticisms) with a grain of salt, but when you feel like you're less that peek, its nice to have someone tell you otherwise, even if only halfheartedly (esp if you can't tell the  difference... lol).

Just one of those unexpected things that makes you feel good I guess...

22 July 2010

3. When bad things happen to good people...

Today I drove almost two hours for a doctor's appointment.

For the last 15 or so years of my life I've been dealing with chronic atopic dermatitis, a.k.a eczema.  I've been itchy for as long as I can remember.  I remember getting chicken pox at age 3, but the itch never really went away.  My mom just thought I had really dry skin so she'd load me down with lotion and hope for the best.  As I got older it just got worse.

Around age 8 my mom took me to one of those modeling talent searches.  I got "picked" if that's what you'd call it took some classes and occasionally booked a job.  My mom knew how much I enjoyed it but the cost of modeling and acting classes and the hour long ride once or twice a week was beginning to take it's toll.  She got me signed up for a local agency and I actually booked a few more things.
(That's me on the left!)

Though good things were happening the itching hadn't stopped.  All the lotion in the world wouldn't help my dry skin.  And it gets worse.  When you scratch your nails make tiny cuts in the skin.  Overtime these little cuts turn into scars and dark spots.  My mother started noticing the marks being left and knew this wasn't just dry skin and I went to one of the best dermatologists in the state.  She prescribed pills and ointments that were supposed to make the itch go away, and in the beginning they did.  I took that little orange pill every night; I slathered on creams and ointments morning and night; I even slept with socks on my hands so I couldn't scratch at night.  My mother even tried wrapping me in saran wrap at night, to no avail.
I became more and more self conscious as I got older.

The creams would work for a short period, but after 2-4 weeks they seemed to stop taking effect and the itching would come back in full force.  The scars got bigger and darker, mostly on the backs of my knees and the insides of my elbows.  I wore shorts less and less as I got older and completely eliminated them from my wardrobe around 12.  If I didn't live in SC I'm pretty sure I would have given up tees and tanks too, but it was simply too hot for that here, so I just tried to keep my arms crossed.  I pretty much stopped with the modeling and acting at 13. I decided to focus on volleyball and rollerskating.  Honestly, I just didn't want anyone to see my skin.  It was bad enough at school.  I felt like a leper.  I have fair skin so the scars were extremely visible.  Middle school is hard enough considering puberty and being taller that everyone without having to worry about people asking if "that thing on your arms is contagious?"  I was awkward enough without having to answer questions that embarrassing.

Then I started having emotional breakdowns.  I would look at myself and wonder what I'd done to deserve this.  When I turned 13 the eczema spread to my neck.  It was always in the back so I couldn't see it, but it itched - so i couldn't forget.  I would scratch constantly to the point that I had large open gashes in my neck.  I'll never forget the time I had to excuse myself from class to go dress my wounds as I cried in the bathroom of pain and embarrassment.

At some point I just decided it was just one of those things.  Something I couldn't control; something I'd probably deal with forever.  When I turned 16 I started going out with my older "sister."  Whenever I was with her and her friends I felt so pretty.  It was those nights that I'd walk into a room and all eyes were on us. The first few times I got away with wearing jeans, but eventually she asked why, and I told her it was because of my skin.  "It's dark in clubs, no one can tell" was her reply, and slowly but surely, I eased myself back into wearing shorts.  It was actually quite liberating, but strictly a nighttime thing (well other than games, but that was the uniform and no one was paying me any attention as far as I was concerned anyway).

Fast forward to senior year.  Things were looking up.  Graduation and college on the horizon, there were guys that actually liked me, and my skin finally wasn't so bad.  There were still scars and marks, but not nearly as bad as they'd been before.  I'd finally started wearing shorts again, and in the daylight, sparingly.

I started college and things were still going good.  I'd become much less self conscious about my skin and it was actually clearing up - no itching, no marks, nothing.  I could wear shorts when I wanted, go to the beach with my friends, and not once did I worry about looking like some kind of liberating.  It was the best year and a half of my life.

Fast Forward again.  Mid April, great weather, but I'm a little itchy.  I get some new lotion, no big.  But by mid summer I'm the sobbing 8th grader in the bathroom all over again.  In the years prior I've had flares. But it'd just be one area.  I haven't had all of it break out like this in years.  I'm miserable.  So my mom made me an appointment with the same doctor I went to 11 years ago.

So the moral of this LONG story.  Bad things happen to good people.  I'd like to think I'm a good person, really.  I'm kind and inviting.  Little kids love me.  And I always give lost tourists the right directions (as far as I know [Kanye shrug]).  And I'm a firm believer in the principal of Karma.  Problem is I can't figure out for the life of me what I'm being punished for!  Eczema made me hate myself for a long time.  I would always wonder in silence or through tears, why me?  Well, I've yet to receive an answer to that question, but I must admit, it's nice to get this monkey off my back.

20 July 2010

2. The Hair Story...

So as my first official post I decided to start with my initial reason for even coming across blogs in the first place - my hair.  I'd never read an actual blog until I decided to go from relaxed to natural hair.  Well I should probably start at the beginning.  I was born on a warm spring day in May...

Fast forward a few years.... I was a happy child with the exception of the never ending battle with my grandmother.... Grr.  But that's another post... lol.  As I got older I HATED getting my hair done.  It seemed like an all day affair.  The washing. The braiding.  The placement of underwear atop my head, because my grandmother said it would help my hair dry faster... (Thinking back on that me and my lil sister probably looked like some damn fools!)  But perms at that time were not something I thought of.  My grandmother being extremely Afrocentric didn't believe in straightening hair chemically or otherwise (she doesn't even own a blow dryer), and this was before the time when mothers were slapping relaxers in their 3 and 4 year old daughters heads.  I knew my older cousins had straight hair but I figured it was a part of getting older and my time would come.
By the time I was about 10 which means my younger sister was 8 when we were introduced to the press and curl.  She got it done first, my mother was having a harder time dealing with our hair and having a full-time job.  Hers was thicker and she was tender headed so naturally she was first.  She came home that afternoon flaunting her hot combed tresses, much to my envy.  So it was only natural that I go too.  3 hours in a hair salon that smelled of burning hair every two weeks. for about 3 years.  I personally grew weary of the hot comb.  The press and curl never lasted more than 2 days and I was very active with volleyball and skating so it just ended up in a ponytail or a bun anyways.  These are the last pictures i can remember of my hair in its natural state.  Its a braid out before I knew what a braid out was.  I was 12 it was summer, post swimming...

These are the oldest unstraightened photos I can find.  Then I learned how to straighten my own hair with a curling iron... I would get my whole head to this poofy straight mess and then I would put the front into single braids and leave out the back in a big puffy ponytail or bun it.  In the 8th grade I decided that I wanted a hair cut like TBoz from TLC and I knew I would need a relaxer to do it.  I talked to my mom about it and eventually she said I could, my little sister already had so she really had no reason to tell me no.  I got my first hit of the creamy crack at 13.  For the first 1.5 years I wasn't much of an addict I would go three or even four months without a touch up.  And then there was the cut.  I wasn't quite TBoz but I loved my angled bob.
But to keep up with it I needed touch ups more frequently to keep the back laid flat (she'd taken the back half  of my head down with the 1 blade on the clippers....) I LOVED my short hair and it really became a life saver as far as keeping my eczema on my neck from flaring up.

But then came senior year and it was time to let it grow... So I did.  By graduation it was back around my shoulders.

And then there was college.  With college came new experiences and new people.  For the purpose of this exercise, new people included one of my new suitemates, Sabrina.  She was in the process of growing out a botched texturizer.  I watched for a year as she snipped and braided and snipped and braided and then lightly weaved (it was short, no one could tell).  By the summer she was totally natural, but constantly flat ironing.  But still I was intrigued.  It was October, just getting cold and I got yet another relaxer. 6 years strong.  Then came Christmas Break.  I was already flirting with the idea of forever forgoing relaxers.  I walked into the mall on Christmas Eve hoping my hairdresser would be there - she wasn't.  I had places to go and people to see.  I did my hair myself that night and it came out just fine. I took this as the first sign.  And then came Good Hair and Chris Rock was on Oprah and the Tyra Show.  I hadn't seen the movie yet but that demonstration with the can should really be enough to convert anyone.  And that's all she wrote.  I've been relaxer free for nine months now and couldn't be happier.  Well.... I mean unless my hair just started growing an inch a week... I aint gon lie.  That would make me happier.

1. Introductions are in order...

This is my first attempt at sharing with the world.  Depending on how it goes I might just right that book I've been thinking about.  (It's in development... but its REALLY good... lol)  There are so many things I think between walking to classes, sitting at work and doing nothing, and battling bouts of insomnia.  I'm the Google queen and using a search engine is the only way I'll believe someone when they tell me I'm wrong... lol.

The idea for this blog came about well about an hour ago when I started.  I hadn't really considered it until yeah about an hour ago.  I mean how pretentious can you be? What makes me so special that people would give a flying flip about the things going on in my head? Well the answer - absolutely nothing! Lol.  Luckily vanity isn't my strong suit.  This is simply an outlet.  A means of getting things off my chest, and if someone else gains from it score for me!

I've been stalking fashion blogs and natural hair blogs for about two months and now I guess it's my turn.  I've got opinions - time to use em.

This is way better than the diary days of old already!

That's Me!

Oh yeah.... Follow me on Twitter where the madness never stops.... Seriously, I say some profound stuff...