Friday, April 29, 2011

Identity - Not 100% Anything

With my natural hair journey comes a lot of research. What products to use, the proper hair routine for bed, different protective styles for gaining length, how to prevent shrinkage on a wash and go, etc. With lots of research comes lots of images. Images of African-American and African beauties with large Africa earrings on, wooden bangles, head wraps and the such.

I have to admit, I'm falling in love with a part of me all over again that I was introduced to in my former days as an Essence of Africa program graduate. I love the eclectic nature and the boldness of what I'm seeing. So much so that I actually got the guts to wear a head wrap today. I haven't worn one since I graduated from Essence of Africa at the age of 13.

When I came home from the movies today with my head wrap on, my husband and I had a conversation about 'the look' that I was going with today. While he's okay with 'the look', he let me know that he doesn't want me to go all the way to the left and turn into a different woman than who he married. I'm actually not mad at that at all. I think it would be a shock if I started wearing head wraps, wooden earrings and African inspired clothing all the time. It was an interesting conversation in which I ended by saying that I'm not 100% anything. In fact, I am all about different styles. I love Hollywood glam. I love bohemian. I love Jackie O conservative. And I love the dark cutting edge Rihanna look just as much as the romantic girlie one. I need it all.

That leads me to say, it's amazing how much a hair style can dictate who we are. I've kinda talked about this in my previous 'going natural' blog, but it's interesting how naturalness automatically becomes associated with Afrocentric things. I know this doesn't have to be the case, but in all of the images I've seen over the past month, (and this bugs me a little) not often do I find a naturally curly African-American wearing a Jackie O or Audrey Hepburn style shift dress with pearls around her neck. And because of what I'm taking in, it's hard to think to match my curly bush with Michael Kors stilettos and diamonds studs. To be honest, it can be a challenge to take in these images and remember to stay true to who I am. But having the conversation with my husband made me remember that who I am is a little bit of everything.

When I take on a style, whether it be American sweetheart or hard core rocker, I like to go all in. Hair and everything. Since I don't know my naturally curly hair that well, transforming it to be what I need it to be is difficult right now. I feel like I'm ruled by my hair and not by my mood for the day. Hair is supposed to be an accessory and not who I am.

I say all this to say that hair and identity are two words that I'm fighting to keep separate during this phase in my life. But now that I've identified this issue, I'm sure I'll work it out. One thing is's the greatest thing to know who you are and own it. That's individuality at its best.

Here's a thought written by Moptop Maven... It applies perfectly.
"In a world that will seemingly forever pit curves vs. thin, light skin vs. dark skin, relaxed vs. natural, blondes vs. brunettes and black vs white; we must always hold on to our individuality. Staying true to our individual value system fosters a deeper sense of self-confidence that holds more weight than the praise received from trying to fit the mold. 

We must remain separate from thoughts of insecurity, inadequacy, and any fear we may experience; or else we risk the consequence of being consumed by these momentary feelings. We can separate ourselves from these feelings by developing a stronger "center" that always reflects our "true" selves, and remains undisturbed in the face of adversity. - Don't be afraid to be you. Let your love for yourself flow freely; let it feed your soul, let it carry you down the path of conscious freedom. 

To be content with your true self is to live in richness, truth and love. Whether you are dark skinned, light skinned, or completely lacking melanin; you were created in Divine Perfection."

I Have A New Site! (or Two)

I started two new sites!! I'll release the second on a little later one (I'm still editing it). But here's the first!

As for the purpose of this site... here's what I wrote in the about section on tumbr.

welcome to my digital inspiration board

my little part of the computerized world where i compile images and words that inspire and drive me towards reaching my goals. this site will serve to keep me focused, keep me organized, and make me happy.

it's a two dimensional art project that I create. there are no rules, guidelines or limits!

While this is true, I really started it because this blog is entirely too personal to share. There are times when I've been dying to share my blogs with the world and with my friends on facebook and through other avenues, but then I quickly remember that I have years and years of history on this thing. I've been pissed, I've been hurt, I've been embarrassed and I've been happy for reasons that I shouldn't necessarily share with people who don't already know about this site. People who don't know my progression and my heart....

Sooooo... introducing jendayi asha! follow me here as I show you all the things I love and more...

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Curly Hair Regimen

I'm still on my grind regarding this natural hair process. The support in the curly community is great so there are tons of blogs, articles, videos and product review sites. Today, I came across Moptop Haven's site that I'm actually quite impressed with it. She's very detailed and knowledgeable with her posts. Not to mention that her hair looks healthy, so she must be doing something right.

Anyway, she has this healthy hair regimen for curly sistas that I'm going to try. I haven't yet mastered how often I should wash, co-wash, detangle and moisturize my hair, so I'ma try her plan out. What you see below is a copy and paste of her blog. I'm going to try this today along with a method I'm learning about called pineappling! They say that the pineapple method will prevent me from having matted hair in the morning. Check out this video if you've never heard of it before. This is for short hair like mine.

Detangling prior to wetting hair: This is essential in reducing the amount of hair lost, and more importantly increasing the amount of length retained. Detangling prior to wetting the hair is easier on the hair shaft [as hair is in it's most fragile state when wet], which means no more splits, knots and breakage from detangling. Always detangle with a seamless wide-tooth comb. If you're on a budget, you can pick up the Jilbere shower comb which is a favorite of mine. They retail for under $2 at Sally's

Pre-Shampoo conditioning treatment: Sulfates in shampoos, and synthetic ingredients found in many hair care products can really take a toll on highly textured hair, leaving it brittle, dry, and lifeless. Pre-conditioning involves conditioning the hair prior to shampooing it. What this does is re-hydrate thirsty hair, helping it to retain more moisture after shampooing, and throughout the styling process. 

Shampoo hair in sections: It may take an additional 5-10 minutes, but you will definitely appreciate the benefits. Shampooing hair in sections ensures you get your scalp clean, and keeps your hair neat which prevents knots, matting and excessive tangles. 

Deep Condition: Deep conditioning the hair weekly prevents breakage from dryness, corrects issues with elasticity, nourishes the hair follicles and promotes hair growth. Keeping highly textured hair moisturized is key for maintaining, thick, healthy hair. - You can choose to deep condition with heat [using one of those inexpensive soft bonnet dryers], or by using your own body heat generated from your scalp [just cover your head with a plastic cap].

Moisturize your hair: Replenishing moisture levels throughout the week makes for happy, healthy, soft, touchable, manageable hair throughout the entire week. Often, when hair is stiff, brittle, or excessively dry before weeks end, it is due to the lack of moisture. - Keeping hair moisturized also helps prevent breakage from dryness and keeps your strands lubricated which helps keep the tips of your strands from forming knots/tangles. 

Seal in the moisture: Beat moisture loss by sealing in the moisture after hydrating your hair. To lock the moisture in your hair, add a dime size amount of oil to your hands, rub hands together to distribute oil, then apply to the entire length of the hair paying special attention to the tips/ends. 

Sleep in a stain bonnet or on a satin pillowcase: Cotton is not your friend. In fact cotton can cause split ends, breakage, and chronic dryness. Avoid setbacks by sleeping in a satin bonnet, or on a satin pillowcase. Your hair will thank you!

Every month consider the following:
Scalp Treatments: Scalp treatments are effective in removing bacteria and exfoliating dead skin cells [accumulation of dead skin cells and bacteria can lead to hair loss/thinning]!
Every six to eight weeks consider the following:
Protein Treatments: Protein treatments work to keep your hair healthy and strong by preventing or correcting breakage, filling in gaps along the hair shaft [which helps your hair retain more moisture] and correcting issues with elasticity.

For those that plan on wearing their hair "out" in it's natural state [like twist outs or braid outs], I recommend shampooing and deep conditioning once weekly. Use this sample regimen as a starting point when making your own:
  • Sunday: Detangle hair + Condition hair with a pre-shampoo treatment + Shampoo Hair + Deep Condition + Lightly detangle + Style

  • Monday:

  • Tuesday: Moisturize hair as needed + Seal in the moisture + Re-twist/Re-braid hair as needed

  • Wedensday:

  • Thursday: Moisturize hair as needed + Seal in the moisture + Re-twist/Re-braid hair as needed

  • Friday:

  • Saturday: Moisturize hair as needed + Seal in the moisture + Re-twist/Re-braid hair as needed
The regimen listed is the framework for length retention, thickness, and body. As I discuss various regimens, I will go into depth on scalp treatments, pre shampoo treatments, protein treatments, oils to seal in moisture, etc.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Hair: Product and More Product

Shea Moisture
Jane Carter
Cantu Shea Butter
Hair Pieces
Renutrients Slick Stick
Flower Accessory
Wig Caps

I think I'm ready...

Hair: My Natural Versus Your Natural

I think this secret, natural hair group that I'm in on facebook is doing me more harm than good. Every time I read the posts, comments and tips, I have the HARDEST time finding myself within the experiences.

Issue #1

You see, I've been natural most of my life. Well for a little over half of it actually. The last perm I got was at age 16. But since the age of 16 *dun dun dun!!!*, I have been pressing my hair. *BIG GASP*

Before joining the natural hair group, I thought I was a natural lady. I reasoned that since I didn't use creamy crack, I was in the mix. But apparently, I am disillusioned. I, JJ, am not a part of the cool kids. *tear* I mean, I totally get the whole heat damage thing, but what about this? What if...pause for effect...there is no heat damage?! What if the natural chemical bonds that can suffer under excessive heat are perfectly fine? If that can be possible, should the hot comb still be shunned like the plague? Should heat be so hated?

Well guess what. I have no heat damage. Yeah I said it.

I'm sure the natural hair enthusiasts within my secret group would beg to differ that my hair MUST have SOME sort of heat damage, but I assure you that it does not. Since I've joined the group, I've done research on heat damage and I know all the characteristics of the catastrophe. Thankfully, my hair has none of the systems. At least it doesn't based on the amount of curl that attacks my head when my hair is washed.

You see, I wear my hair short. A la Meaghan Good

and pre-shaved Rihanna such as pictured below.

I transition from the curly, wet TWA to a sleek, short cut with a hot comb. And if anyone knows about maintaining a short cut, you would know that it requires frequent cuts. Being that my hair grows like a a weed, I have to get my hair cut monthly. Otherwise, the style grows out and doesn't look as sharp and sleek as it's supposed to. So for real, for real, my hair doesn't have any time to become heat damaged! It's gone before it has a chance! Hence, scissors are my savior.

So now you might be saying, well if you're convinced that you have no heat damage, what's your issue? Just keep pressing and cutting your hair and live your life!

Well...I've been wearing my hair short for some years now and I'm ready for a change. You see this beautiful, young lady right here.

I want her hair. I want to migrate to a new place and actually see what my hair can do if I put the scissors and hot comb down.

Here lies Issue #2

Since joining my secret natural hair group, I've been researching how to transitioning my already natural self (yes, I'm still claiming natural even though I don't fit the look every other natural lady has) into a different kind of natural self. And what I'm understanding is that moisture and protecting your ends (the oldest parts of your hair) is the key to success. I thought that sounded easy enough until I started looking into how to protect my ends.

Protective hair styles...Bantu knots, cornrows, braids, twists... Huh? So in order to get long, flowy, big, curly hair I have to go back to Africa first? Not that I have an issue with African hair styles. It's just that I wore them as a child and absolutely HATE them on me now.

My girlfriend commented on my fb wall that "Whether it's natural or relaxed, straightened or curly, it's really about finding what you makes you feel like a beautiful woman...The best hair is the hair that works best for you." I totally agree with her! Do you know how miserable I would be wearing hairstyles that I don't feel beautiful in?! Even if they're for the sake of a beautiful result? I just can't. I can't go through years of being embarrassed to leave my house for a future hair style that may or may not work for me.

But I really really really want big, curly hair! =(

AND I've noticed within the secret group that most of the chicks braid, twist and cornrow their own hair!  ...which leads me to believe that you need to have some serious hairstyling skills in order to make this work. Not only do I have none, at least not in this new territory that I may or may not tread on, but who has time to sit and twist or curl tiny little sections of my hair? Talk about torture! Someone suggested that I find a natural hair stylist and stick with them through my journey, but what difference will that make if I am against the African hair style options that will be presented to me?

SIGH. I don't know what to do. And I promise you that worrying about this is going to be the death of me. This issue seriously leaves me up in the morning. Yes in the morning...when my husband leaves for work and I have two more hours of sleep left. I just can't seem to stop thinking about it! It haunts me every single day!

What to do... What to do...

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Music Video: Kelly Rowland ft Lil Wayne "Motivation"


The idea of having one has been swirling in my head like a hawk... and all the more so within the last few days. Not only did one of my closest male friends just have a baby (and I had no idea until I saw a post on facebook which kinda upset me, but whatever), but I spent considerable time with my nephew who was sick most of the time. The waking up in the middle of the night, the considerable spit and wet food all over the place, the crying for no reason... Just when I get close to deciding to have one, I get scared all over again. Not to mention that hubby and I don't agree on a few things about raising a child. He was raised a JW and I wasn't. He went to public school and I went to private. Our backgrounds are so different which directly play into what each of us thinks is best for a child. Yes, having varying backgrounds can be good when it comes to covering more baby-raising territory, but I kinda wish we had somewhat similar backgrounds. Things would be so much easier in the beginning. So... what are the blessings of having a child again? I've heard them before, but I can't remember not one. To have a baby or not to have a baby...
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