Which hair resolution is most important for you this year?

Monday, January 18, 2010

New Year, New Us

Happy New Year to everyone at My Curly Baby! I am so excited about this new year. My goal this year is to make this one of the best years of my life. For one thing, I am turning 30 in June! I don't know how to officially feel about that, but I do know that I want to start my 30s proud of myself and what I have accomplished so far. This year promises to be filled with exciting opportunities of reaching families across America who are determined to be true to themselves. So let's make a toast to loving our true selves and nurturing those same good thoughts in our daughters as well.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

I DID IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I cut off my relaxed hair! I DID MY BIG CHOP! I am so proud of myself. I finally conquered that fear and my hair is beautiful. This is the healthiest it has been since my childhood. And I got a whole lot of hair on my head. Just enjoy the pictures with me.....

Here's my afro!!! This is the way it looked before the stylist did my coils. This woman is amazing. I have been teaching myself how to do certain styles, but I just wanted my first style as a natural to be awesome. That is why I went to a salon. Also I wanted a good first cut and I felt like if I did it, it would have been a hit and miss.

I've had so many people come up to me and complimenting me on my hair. I didn't think I would have such a response so soon. I was walking in the mall and about 5 people back to back stopped me to comment on my hair. This is just so exciting. NOW I"M A BONAFIDE NATURAL WOMAN!!!! (go me)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Why We Need to Love Our Curly Babies

Our society has convinced us women, especially our tightly-curled women, that we have to correct our curl pattern. And you know, truth be told, we literally did have to conform in order to look more like the majority during the last centuries. In the late 1800's and early 1900's one had to distinguish one's self from looking less like a slave and more like a citizen. So you can see a host of men and women who paved the way for minorities, but all of them, probably 99.9% had straightened hair. Then when you look in the yearbook of the 1940's and 1950's, pretty much every little girl had their blue magic grease and a straightening comb ran through her hair. And if we skip ahead to the babies of the 80's and 90's, we swore by the power of the perm, whether for a relaxer or a Jheri. I skipped the 60's and 70's intentionally because this was on most people a short lived outcry to go back to "your roots". It was connected to politics and movements and when the political wind changed, the hair changed right along with it. I remember growing up in the 80's (I was born 1980) and laughing at people wearing afros. That was a no no by the time I came around.

So here we are today. Many people feel freer than ever, and instead of thinking of their hair as an expression a political statement, they are free to experiment with endless supply of styles out of desire and curiosity. And since this is the information age, we are moving from just trusting manufacturers on empty promises they place on hair products and are actually reading for ourselves just what that chemical is doing to us. I wear gloves and vigorously wash my hands off after using Drano, but the same or similar chemicals are used in relaxers. I dare you to go to the salon and asked the beautician to put the relaxer on your arm and keep it there for 25 minutes. Would you do it? Of course not because of that potent, powerful chemical. I remember when I was a girl some of the perm splattered onto my cheek and the beautician almost fell over herself trying to wipe it off my face. But yet we did it for years on our scalp.

So nowadays we have access to information and we are smarter now. The same way we learn about good children's literature, good schools to keep our kids competitive, healthy foods for our children, I think it is important to learn about ways to keep their hair strong and vibrant. Our curly babies have been slighted way too long. They are not second class citizens. They are not to feel embarrassed about their hair. They don't have to apologize for their God-given looks. And with a little knowledge and a lot of patience, we mothers can make the difference. With that, I am committed to educate myself and others to love our curly babies - from hair to toe.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

My Natural Hair Journey

It's time for me to be real.

I am a mother of a 3 year old and it hit me today like a ton of bricks. I am the only mother she has and it is up to me to be the best example I can be for her. I don't want to show her how to "just get by", but how to live life to its fullest potential. I am a teacher and an author, but the greatest job I have is to be a mother. I have to be that example for her in all of my ways - how she should love God, how to treat other people, and how to love herself. The 2 most important commandments Jesus quoted in the bible are these: To love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength and the second - to love your neighbor as yourself. Now He said a mouthful with these being the 2 most important commandments. First, love God with the way you live, by being obedient to His word. Second, fall in love with the people around you.

By the same way you.....get this...... LOVE YOURSELF. But here is the dilemma. We are incapable of fulfilling that last commandment if we cannot, do not, will not love ourselves. What do we do to show we love us for us? Why do we do what we do to ourselves? Our children, especially our girls, are looking at the way we love ourselves. How many times do we look in the mirror, lift up our hair, get a peek at "ourselves", our hair the way God gave us, our naps, kinks, curls, and scream that we hate our hair. It's time for a relaxer because whatever God gave me on my head was not good enough and not acceptable to be seen. It's time to "correct" our curl pattern because obviously God was incorrect in His design. Now how does that sound? Believe me, I believed in the relaxer since age 9. I went through the ritual about every month - the burning and the bruises and the pus and those weird flakes you could pull off your scalp the next day - and I went through it happily. I always thought is was my rite of passage as a black woman. We're supposed to do this, right? We don't want to scare away the other part of America by our naturalness. Nobody wants to run their fingers through naps. Up until my 26th birthday I was convinced that the only way I could be presentable is to do what I've been told to do all my life. I had me some good, thick hair,too. You can see my picture here.
But, when I turned 26 something happened.

I had a girl.

I had a baby girl.

She has changed my life in so many ways. If you have a baby, you know what I'm talking about. Well, I kept getting my perms, and all of a sudden I started asking myself why? Why am I getting a relaxer and when is it time to start giving her one? Black girls are supposed to only wear their God given hair but for so long, right? But why is that? Why do we, African American women, why are we the only people in the entire world required to change our hair? Are we afraid of offending others? Are we worried about them accepting us? Do we feel we are not pretty unless we can swing our hair like the next girl? When is my baby supposed to feel ugly and undesirable? NEVER, I scream to myself, but why do I have to relax her hair? You don't, says the same voice. So then why do I relax my OWN hair?

Here is the raw truth. I did it for 2 reasons
1. Because I'm scared of what others may think of me.
2. Because I don't know what to do with natural hair since I've never had to deal with it.

The latter reason can be dealt with by education. The first reason I had to dig deeper and face my fear. So my honest to goodness reason for relaxing my hair was because I allowed other people's thoughts to control me. I attached my acceptance on other's acceptance. So it hit me like a ton of bricks that I don't like myself (my hair) because of a fear. That is not fair. And now I have a little girl looking up at me with her beautiful brown eyes who will follow after her mother's lead. Excuse me, but I don't want to be a punk. (I don't like that word but that is the full translation of what I am feeling.) I don't want to be a scaredy cat while my daughter is waiting for me to show her the way to true living. So that brings me to my new mindset and my new year. I refuse to live in fear and in ignorance and I choose to love what God gave me and I choose to celebrate my new found strength. My baby is my inspiration. For my 28th birthday I went natural. My daughter was 2 then. I've been going through transition for this past year. Today, 11 days before my 29th birthday, I stand here more alive than I ever was before. I am going to cut the rest of my relaxed hair off for my 1 year nappiversary for my birthday.

I shared my entire story so that you can know where I'm coming from. I DO NOT frown upon women who choose to relax their hair. I did it for 20 years, so it's still a part of me. My whole life was wrapped around my hair, like when I could get in the pool, how much I could exercise so I won't sweat out my new do, sleeping pretty and waking up with kinks in my neck for a whole week or 2, swinging my hair in front of others to prove I could be as beautiful as them, everything. So believe me I know it is hard not to want that perm. But after all the hormonal changes my body went through with having the baby and after the front of my scalp literally went bald, I started to think there must be a better way. I'm not joking, I was pulling entire candy curls out of my freshly permed style and I ended up with a huge bald front half of my head. I could feel the breeze on my scalp. I wish I took a picture because I am for real.

So, if you can't possibly go natural, do not do it. This is a decision that you commit to on so many levels. It took me 2 years to do it after my first fleeting thought about going natural. BUT what ever you do, give your baby girls a fighting chance. It breaks my heart in the school where I work at to see our girls with alopecia and bald spots and horrible breakage all before the age of 7 all because of these harsh chemicals on their innocent skin. Let's teach our babies that they are beautiful just as they are. Let's educate ourselves on how to do their hair instead of using the excuse that it's impossible to deal with naps. Hair that grows IS good hair. If your baby's hair grows, she has good hair.

So this blog was to share my story, and share my passion, and to say that I found my voice.
And this is me in Transition and my baby girl :)

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