Hola fellow bloggers, writers, readers and authors! I hope that all has been well on your end. I have not been feeling good lately because my heart has been giving me trouble again. For those of you who do not know, I was born with a bad valve so from time to time my heart gives me problems. Defective and abnormal hearts run in my family, but you would never know by our determined spirit.
I will be honest with you, it can be a struggle at times (like now for instance), but I always focus on the good in my life and not so much the bad. Yeah, it sucks now, but in a few more days it will be all over; at least I hope.
Moving past all of that, I have some good news I will be able to share about my writing in the coming weeks. Man, let me tell you, I have struggled like you would not believe to get my writing noticed and out there. Now, it seems my hard work is getting closer and closer to paying off.
For all the struggling writers and bloggers out there, let me just say this: Stick with it! People will doubt you, some may even try to discourage you. When they do, just smile and let that go through one ear and out the other. What is meant for you will be for you. Trust and believe that.
Here’s a BIG thumbs up to all the writers, authors, poets and bloggers! Writing can be a bit daunting and even frustrating sometimes, but we stick with it because it is a worthwhile profession. Here’s to sticking to your dreams and never giving up no matter what! You are doing the #write thing!
On a side note, I seriously wish my left thumb went all the way up.
Alright, listen up! I was asked to blog about why I love being “natural” and what I like the least about being natural. Are you ready? C’mon, you know how I roll. Let’s do this!
First things first, before I delve into my reasons why I love being “natural”, I am going to break down what “natural” means in the African American community for those of you who are unfamiliar. In the African American community, being “natural” simply means that an individual’s hair is not chemically altered. Relaxers make African textured hair straight and Texturizers softens the curl pattern of African textured hair. Now that we got that out of the way, here are a few reasons why I love being natural.
(Please keep in mind that this is my opinion and not law. Whether your hair is chemically processed or natural, wear your crown of glory the way you see fit).
I love my different textures of hair. I have curly hair, wavy hair, straight hair and kinky hair. I got the whole shebang LOL! Unlike my parents and siblings, I have more than one texture of hair. It is truly a sight to see when wet!
I love the versatility. With natural hair, the number of different styles you can rock with natural hair is endless.
I love shocking people with my hair. I usually keep my hair in a high puff or low bun; many people assume that I have short hair, but that is not the case. My hair currently hangs to my elbows when it is wet and stretched. Whenever I press my hair straight, I am amazed at the number of people who ask me where I bought my hair weave. Nothing is wrong with wearing weaves, but I do find it funny that most people who come up to me after I pressed my hair straight automatically assumes that I am wearing a weave. Hammercy!
I love how healthy my hair is. My hair does so much on its own without any extra prodding. I pretty much let it do its own thing and it seems to work well for me. The growth rate of my hair is UNREAL!!!
What I Like the Least About Being Natural
Honestly, I like everything about being natural. There are a few inconveniences for me that I will list below.
The time it takes to do my hair. Because I have so much of hair and many hair textures, it takes me anywhere from 2-4 hours to wash, detangle, deep condition and style my hair.
The weight of my hair. My hair is really thick and the weight of it when it hangs tends to create slight dents in my scalp which is why I rarely wear my hair down or straight. Even when I wear my hair in a high puff, I have to wrap it a few times, tuck it and pin it into place. Nobody knows the different tricks I have to do to make my hair look less massive. Mannn…..
My hair in the back grows super fast compared to my hair on the sides. A lot of people assume that I cut my hair in layers but I do not. My hair in the back reaches my elbows and my hair on the sides reaches my armpits. See what I mean when I say I let my hair do its own thing? Why mess up a good thing if it is working for you? Ha!
So, there you have it. As requested, I have posted a few pictures below of the different ways I have worn my hair.
For the past couple of months, I have been working on a number of writing projects. There is one project in particular that stands out from the rest because it is a project that is near and dear to my heart. This writing project means the world to me because it is centered around my second oldest sister Tanika. If you have been following my blog for a while you know that my sister has Tourette’s Syndromeand that I am extremely protective of her. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Tourette’s Syndrome or TS, it is a neurological disorder that consists of involuntary tics. These tics can be verbal or motor in nature and it can often be a source of embarrassment for the individual with Tourette’s Syndrome. Generally it is controlled with medication and other forms of therapy, nevertheless many individuals with Tourette’s Syndrome go on to live very healthy and productive lives.
Seeing how I am passionate about spreading more awareness about this neurological disorder, I was given the wonderful opportunity to discuss Tourette’s Syndrome in a diseases and disorders anthology that will be published next year. To be able to tell my sister’s story along with a number of other authors and be a part of something that will help bring awareness to misunderstood diseases and disorders is such an honor. Believe me when I say that I am very grateful for this opportunity. My sister inspires me each and every day with her optimism, her strength and her zest for life. I could not have asked for a better sister and I cannot wait to share her amazing story.
With all of that being said….
Thank you Tanika for showing me what it means to be brave and how to live this thing we call life to the fullest. You are not only my big sister, but you are my GREATEST friend. I am so glad to have you as my sibling and I want to thank you again for allowing me to tell your story. I sincerely hope it will make you proud. You already know this, I LOVE YOU LOTS!!!
What is the first thing you notice when you meet someone for the first time? Their gender? Their race? Their economic and social status? Or all of the above? Most people notice race first and gender second whereas I myself pay particular attention to a person’s character more than anything else. I could care less what color you are let alone your gender. What matters most to me is the type of person that you are because there is much more to a person than what meets the eye. The inside of a person is what should really matter and not so much as the outer shell of a person. Besides, looks fade.
Speaking of looks and beauty, I decided to use my Sunday blog to share a personal story of mine to encourage one young reader that follows my blog. This is something that she is currently dealing with and it is something that I myself encounter every time I get dressed up to go out or whenever I straighten my hair. It is something that irks me every time it happens, but I hope by sharing my own story she will be encouraged and realize that she is not alone. Hopefully, those who make these types of comments or find themselves wanting to make these types of comments will think twice before saying it.
Some of the worst back handed comments I receive are as follows:
“You are pretty for a Black girl.”
“You have such long pretty hair for a Black girl. Are you part Dominican or is one of your parents Mixed?”
“You are smart to be a Black girl.”
“You speak so well to be Black.”
Lord have mercy! Can you see the problem with comments like those mentioned above? I do not refer to those as compliments because they are far from being a compliment. Comments like that are not only disrespectful, but they are also ignorant. For some, it can even be hurtful. Yes I am Black and yes I am a female, but I am also a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a writer, a blogger and so much more. Being Black and female is only part of who I am and it is not something that I want people to constantly dwell on. See me for who I am and not so much as my color. To my young reader and the many young readers to follow, know that who you are on the outside is just a part of who you are. Who you are on the inside defines you; not so much as to what others have to say about you.
I pride myself on being an honest person and an honest writer. Why? Because when you are true to yourself and to everyone else, it makes life less complicated. I see no need to emulate anyone nor do I see the need to pretend to be something that I am not. Besides, it is not that serious. I was raised to march to the beat of my own drum and I am going to keep living my life that way. Does that make me a bad person? I would say no. Stubborn? Maybe. Different? Absolutely! Am I ashamed of that fact? You already know the answer to that…
Over the course of a year, I have built up a nice following of wonderful readers, amazing writers and awesome bloggers who appreciate my barefaced honesty for what it is. I am a shameless writer who is not afraid to write about the good, the bad and the downright ugly. I write what most people are afraid to write and I say what most people are too afraid to say; in real life and in the stories that I write. It is not about being defiant or rebellious, it is about discussing the obvious no matter how upsetting, how uncomfortable or how embarrassing it may be.
For those of you who have been following my blog since the beginning, you already know that sugarcoating is not my thing, but I do take the power of the pen seriously. I use these small copper brown hands of mine to speak for those who can no longer speak for themselves and for those who are too afraid to speak for themselves. Now ask yourself, “Why on earth would I be ashamed of that?” Do not let my profile picture fool you.
The Civil Rights Movement can be a very touchy subject for most individuals to examine and consider. Some find it difficult to discuss because the Civil Rights era is littered with racial injustices, horrendous crimes and countless murders. If you are African American you have no doubt heard of stories involving your own relatives who may have been treated unfairly, degraded or even murdered. I know within my own family I have had a lot of family members falsely accused of certain crimes and they had to pay a terrible price for somebody else’s lie. A good number of them had to pay with their own life. My maternal Grandfather who looked White had to fight most of his young life because he was accused of taking up with a Black woman, my Grandmother, even though he himself was considered Black according to the one drop rule. My paternal Grandmother who was a thoroughbred American Indian from the Blackfeet tribe was hounded most of her young life for taking up with a Black man, my Grandfather. As I sit here typing this blog post, the blood inside of me is beginning to boil because I know the pain and heartache it caused them and so many other minorities during that time. It is hard not to get angry when you sit and think about all the things they had to go through.
I cannot imagine the horror, fear and pain most African Americans felt day in and day out. Their frustrations due to the injustices that mounted up against them day after day must have been a tough and a bitter pill to swallow. I had a lot of family members lynched and burned because they refused to be treated like animals. I guess that is where I get my stubborn, fighting spirit. My own family history just like your own family history can vary, but if you are African American just like me, the one thing we all have in common is the racial injustice our families endured during slavery and during the Civil Rights era. That is one thread we all share.
That brings me to a priceless jewel that is residing here in the city of Birmingham and that is The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute is a museum full of artifacts and authentic pieces of American history that shows the raw truth of what went on before, during and after the Civil Rights Movement. Two things that stood out to me and touched my soul was the stained glass from the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing that killed four little girls in 1963 and the front part of the bus from the Freedom Riders bus bombing in 1961. Chills ran up and down my spine at the sight of it and tears began to well up in my eyes. It was a breathtaking sight to see and tourists that come each and every day relay those very same feelings. It is hard not to get choked up when you see something as powerful and resonating as the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. It makes you stop, think and appreciate what the Civil Rights era did and what it largely accomplished.
If you have never visited the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, you are really missing out on some tangible pieces of American History. It is not about living in the past, it is about learning from it, growing from it and appreciating those who fought so hard for equal rights, racial equality and justice. Ask yourself, “Am I living my life in a way that pays homage to those who suffered at a great cost so I can have the life that I now have?” Only you can answer that question.