Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Where Are the Allies?

Due to many circumstances beyond my control, I'm not sure if I will ever get married AND have children.  I'm at a point in my life where I'm through with naming and claiming things just because I have a fleshly desire for them.  I simply want to be wherever and have whatever the Lord wants.

Anyway, if I do end up married with children, I know one thing for sure.  My children will be Black.  I'm not saying I'm not open to an interracial relationship; I'm saying that whether my children are bi-racial or not, society will view them as Black.  Obviously, if their father is also African-American, they will be counted as Black.  But if their father is of a different race, because I am African-American, society will view them as Black.

How can I make such accusations? Case in point, look at our President, Mr. Barack Obama.  He is just as much White as he is Black, yet EVERYONE seems to focus on the fact that he is Black.

All that to say, with my personality, if I do have children, I kind of hope to have boys.  Nothing against girls...I just think I'm better suited to raise boys.

However, in lieu of the George Zimmerman case, I have been thinking more about how much extra responsibility must be instilled in Black boys when raising them.  The case has heightened my awareness of the prevalence of racial profiling and its dangers. We as a nation have to work together to eradicate this as well as other forms of discrimination.  Social justice is not to be championed solely by Blacks and other minorities.  We need everyone to become allies for social justice.

A few weeks ago I looked on my Facebook timeline and saw people from all walks of life band together to put up red equal signs and demand rights for homosexuals: Evangelical, Jewish, Atheist, Straight, LBGTQ, Young, Middle-Aged, Elderly, Black, White, Asian, Arab, Latino, etc. These people wrote how they believed in equal rights and everyone deserved the same opportunities.

But on the evening of the GZ verdict and the Sunday that followed, I found that it was mostly my African-American friends on Facebook and Twitter that seemed to be turning their profiles black and/or talking about the injustice that had been served.  Slowly, I became saddened.

I was confused.  What happened to all of the people that were on the "civil rights" train just a few weeks ago?  What happened to all of these so-called "allies" for social justice?

Perhaps many people know someone who lives a homosexual lifestyle and can relate.  Perhaps fewer individuals have experienced what it is to be Black, particularly a Black male, and the challenges, stereotypes, and grief that can accompany it.  Or perhaps most just don't want to know what it is like; ignorance is bliss.

Many people seem to think that since in 2013 we are no longer (legally) segregated and have President Obama in the White House, the struggle is over.  Unfortunately, as shown by the outcomes of the GZ trial, that is not the case.  Racism persists, just not as blatantly as in the days of our parents and ancestors.

The work of social justice is not for fair-weather fans.  Racism is deeply rooted in the hearts of many Americans, and it will take ALL of us working together to eradicate it.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Play in the Mud: Pure Earth Hair Wash product review

One of my friends likes to try different hair products.  She often gives me the products that don't work out for her.  A few weeks ago I opened a bag from her and found a bottle of mud.  No.  But really.

As I am about trying new things, I was fairly skeptical, but decided to try and keep an open mind.  I mean, I didn't believe in co-washing a couple of years ago, but here I am a faithful co-washer.

So anyway, I tried the Terressentials Organic Pure Earth Hair Wash in the Cool Mint "flavor." (Yes, they are called flavors, not scents.)  This particular flavor REALLY defined my curls and helped me to rock a nice 'fro this week!  The only thing I did not like was that mud got over EVERYTHING!  Mud was dried up on my bathroom mirror, sink, and MY SHIRT!  Hopefully it will wash out easily from my shirt.  I plan to use it again...this time wearing an old shirt ;-)

Monday, June 17, 2013

Just Ask

"Oh I think I see one hiding back there!" I shouted to my friend.  I could see the top of its head peeking out from the back of the highest shelf of the drug store refrigerator.  I wasn't certain that it was the flavor of Faygo pop that I wanted (Red), but I figured it couldn't hurt to reach up there and pull it down just to see.

As I began to reach back in the cooler, I realized that the bottle of pop was a lot farther away than I expected.  I'm 5'9" and have EXTREMELY long arms that have assisted many a "vertically challenged" stranger in stores over the years.  But, here I was in need of getting something off a shelf and there was no one taller than me around.  So, since I couldn't reach it myself from where I was standing, I decided there was only one option:

Climb. In. The. Refrigerator.

Just as I was getting ready to hop on a shelf, a store clerk popped out of nowhere and asked my friend and I what was going on.  When we explained that I was trying to find out if the bottle back there was Faygo Red, he looked at me and said, "We have plenty more in the back.  All you have to do is ask and I can go back there and get it for you."  So I asked if he could get a Faygo Red and also a Rock & Rye, and within minutes he returned with both bottles especially for me.

In that little moment, I heard the Holy Spirit drop two words in my spirit: "just ask."

You see, as an only child and as a teacher, I have spent a lot of my life making things happen on my own.  Even as a kid, I can remember many a time after completing a task and beaming up to my parents, "I did it ALL BY MYSELF."

However, in this season of my life, the Lord is constantly showing me that I am not in this life alone.  I need community/the body.  More importantly, I need to realize that it is He who is the supreme "doer." There are many things that I can accomplish independently but without the Lord's help, there is great struggle.  I believe that this is a season where many of the things I need are already laid up for me; all I have to do is ASK if I want to receive them.  The struggle is over.  I serve a great High Priest and can come boldly before Him to ask for help in time of need.  As The Message Bible states,

Now that we know what we have—Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God—let’s not let it slip through our fingers. We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help.  ~ Heb. 4:14-16

Lord, make me not afraid to ask in Your Name.  I accept Your help in time of need.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

It's Springing Up-dos!

Last week and this week I decided to do something a little different from my usual two-strand twist styles and flat twists.  I had yarn braids from December-February, and my hair's curl pattern isn't back yet, so I've just washed and blow dried it.  This is the closest to straight my students have ever seen my hair, and they were VERY surprised as to how long it actually is.  It is very thick too; there was a section that I scratched out last winter (it got too dry), but it has grown back nicely.

Last week, I  was inspired by Teyonah Parris' natural updo that gained so much attention.

This week I just decided on going for a simple updo that will protect the ends and be low maintenance.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Natural Living

The longer I wear my hair natural, the more I desire to develop a natural lifestyle.  By this, I mean that being natural is much more than about twisting my hair, following Curly Nikki, and attending natural hair meetings.  It is about making healthy choices for my body that ultimately lead to healthy hair.

Last year, I went to a Naturally Flyy meetup and had a chance to hear Ms. Gwen Jimmere of speak about paying attention to the labels of the products we use.  Many items have parabens, which are carcinogenic.

I thought I was all good because the hair products I use, Shea Moisture, are paraben-free.  However, once home, I started reading the labels of my lotion and makeup and realized that they were not.  So in one swift heap, I rid myself of ALL of my precious makeup and lotions.

It was easy to find lotion.  Shea Moisture has many lotions and creams, and I also relied on tubs of shea butter.  The harder part was finding makeup.  Below is the what I found out on my journey.

Burt's Bees Super Glossy Lip Shine -- 2 out of 5 stars
While this product gave me the shine I needed, it didn't really moisturize.  It felt like vaseline or chicken grease on my lips.

Korres Lip Butter and Lip Butter Glaze -- 5 out of 5 stars
I found these products at Sephora and LOVE them!  They are made out of shea butter and rice wax.  My lips feel SO GOOD and soft after application.  And, it looks like "real" makeup!

Gabriel Color Eyeshadow -- 4 out of 5 stars
I purchased this from Whole Foods in the color Navy because they do not make Black.  I actually use a tiny brush and apply it as an eyeliner because it was hard for me to find an actual eyeliner that worked for me.  I like it a lot, just wish it was a little bit darker.

Crown's Royalties. -- 5+ out of 5 stars
Ok y'all, I saved the best for last.  Last year, I had a student in one of my classes whose mom I would run into at natural hair meetings.  It wasn't until halfway through the year that I connected that this lady selling makeup and jewelry at the hair meetings was the mother of my student.  Anyway, all of Ms. Crown's products are handmade and made with LOVE, do you hear me?!?!?  She sells out of her home, vends at different events, and has a website,  I purchased three eyeshadows from her and have thoroughly enjoyed them.  They last long and look GOOD!

 Getting ready to head out for the first time with my paraben-free makeup!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

And The Winner Is...

So, something totally cool & amazing happened to me the other day.  I WON a $1,000 technology grant for my classroom through a local corporation, Bosch.

The company had 15 grants available and picked 15 applicants from my school district.  Thankfully, I was selected!  We had a very nice acceptance ceremony at Bosch that included our superintendent, local congressmen, and the press.

I figured I'd be getting photographed that day, so I wanted a photo-worthy hairstyle.  After looking around Google Image, I decided to do a french roll with my twists.

To learn more about how I created this style, watch my very FIRST youtube tutorial!  I'm very excited.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

And Now You Know...

A wise man once said, "Knowing is half the battle."  Sure, that man was GI Joe...but those are still some words of wisdom.

Where have I been for the past 7 months?  Ending a horrific school year.  Planning a class reunion.  Looking for a house.  Starting a terrific new school year.

Although much time has passed, I'm here now.  The past year has taught me a lot, leaving me to feel more knowledgable and more prepared.  It makes me think of one of my former pastor's most quoted Scriptures, "The horse is prepared against the day of battle; but safety is of the Lord," Pro. 21:31.

So what do I know?

  • I remembered that the beginning of the school year can be hectic, so to cut down on stress, I made all of my copies and assignments for the start of the 12-13 school year at the end of last school year and just packed it up.  All I had to do at the beginning of this year was focus on the arrangement of my classroom and then take out my copies out of my file cabinet.
  • I have kept in mind that this time of year I tend to get overwhelmed, so I have devised some strategies to help me stay sane and at peace.
  • I learned that it is better to be single and content than to be in a relationship and unsettled in my spirit.
  • I realized that fellowship is important (even though I am introverted), so I joined a young adult women's small group at my mom's church.  I used to have a group of friends my age from my old church, but over time ppl got married and/or moved away.  My current church has a lack of young adults, so it is nice to get together with ppl who are going through some of the same things I am as a young adult woman.
  • I have come to understand that every hairstyle ain't for everybody!  My hair seems to do well with two strand twist styles and cornrows.  Bunning and bantu knots only seem to tangle my hair.
  • I know that my hair and scalp usually gets really dry in the fall, so I am trying to drink more water and make sure I eat enough fruits and vegetables.  Moisture is key in retaining length.
My cousin would like me to do video tutorials about my hairstyles.  It is a good idea, I just have to figure out where my videocamera will go when I'm trying to do my hair.  In the meantime, here are some pix of hairstyles from the past few months.

This is a braided hawk & pompadour


 With this style, I french braided two strand twists and then roll-tucked the front


My mother & I at a Mother's day luncheon/fashion show at her church

Back to School Style: Coiled front & cornrowed back