Rocco’s Still Going Strong

Finally, today I gave Rocco the attention he’d been missing for the past two weeks. Sundays are my wash days but last week was my boyfriend’s birthday and I didn’t leave enough time to get Rocco washed so I put him up in a high bun and there he stayed… for the next week.

Today I gave him a steam, did some major detangling, got rid of plenty of shed hair, and gave him a good scrub. He’s now moisturized and up in twists. I haven’t been blow drying my hair after washing it lately. I think it’s probably been a good 8 weeks since I’ve last blow dried my hair. It makes for longer twists, and fluffier twist outs but I don’t mind not using heat on my hair for a while and skipping the blow drying saves me quite a bit of time as well.

I really don’t think about Rocco and my hair that much anymore. It’s sort of been absorbed into my life. It’s no longer ‘new’. It’s definitely fun, but it’ now has its place in my life and I know how to make my hair shine and dance and it’s great. Actually, I realized I’ll be 3 years natural in two months. I’m smiling now that I think about it because I can see my face now sitting in that chair. I remember how I felt, I remember the uncertainty and anxiety of my hair falling to the floor and the buzz of the razor. I also remember loving the little curls as they sprouted from my scalp. I remember the ease of wash days and the way I checked my length at certain points, always surprised by its progress.

My hair is now well past my chin and past my collar bone. I know it’s time for a trim with the number of fairy knots I encounter but… at the same time… I’m so happy by how comfortable I am with my hair. With myself. I’ve come quite a ways from my days of buying hair relaxer at London Drugs, putting on my gloves and getting to it. I dreaded each occasion but was happy once it was done. But it never lasted. I’d be right back there 10 weeks later, my scalp burning, my hands covered to protect them from the chemicals and I know I’m in a better place now. I know my hair and scalp are thanking me and I know this is me. Unashamed, free, me.

Cheers Rocco!

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Kinky TRESSES: Meet Ndeshi

I’ve been featured on Black Zulu. Just wanted to say thanks to Nekisha for this great piece!

Black Zulu

As promised, this week’s Kinky TRESSES: takes us across the globe to meet fellow natural hair blogger – Ndeshi, who currently resides in Canada. She is a Zambian-born natural beauty who started her hair (re)discovery journey in early 2012.

Tell us a bit about yourself and the life of your hair before going natural.

I grew up in a small town in northern British Columbia, Canada. As a kid my mom would do my hair. I spent hours at her feet, head bent this way and that way as she hot combed, braided, twisted and cared for my hair. After my first relaxer at around 9 years old, I would relax my hair infrequently. Having a small black population they didn’t have very much available for our hair so when my dad went out of town we would get him to bring us hair products. When I moved away at…

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Two Years Tomorrow! Just Saying Hi

Things are happening!

I so wanted to have a video up for you by now but I have great news — I went for an interview yesterday and was offered a job! A full-time job! It pays really well but there’s a commute and it starts tomorrow! Well, orientation is tomorrow, but my job starts on Monday! So I’m really jumping feet first into the whole scheduling, lunches, meals, appropriate bedtime for a good nights sleep, hair styling that quick, easy and gentle on my hair. I would love to throw up a video right now… but I have to write my notice for my foundation job, do some housekeeping for them and get to the store for lunch/snack supplies. But I did manage to fit in a run today and dropped off a caramel macchiato for a friend at her work.

Ok so here it is! My video!

Why I’m Still Natural

I did my Big Chop March 2012 and my new short ‘do was completely new to me. While it was foreign having relatively no hair it was the change I needed after dealing with my previous broken, uneven hair. As my hair grew it formed its curls and coils and I kept up with its changing needs. Now, at nearly 19 months my hair has gone through a number of styles and products.

Do I ever have thoughts of returning to relaxing my hair? Yep. But they’re usually nightmares. Never have I thought of returning to relaxing my hair because honestly, I can achieve the straight look without slathering my hair in chemicals. If I get tired of dealing with my hair I’ll take some time to put it in mini-twists that will stay out of my way for a week. Or I’ll put some long-term twists in or box braids but what’s nice is that I have options.

The only time I get hair anxiety is on wash day. The process of actually washing my hair doesn’t take too long but it’s taking care of it afterwards that is critical and time consuming. I know better than to wash my hair too late or I won’t want to stay up and do it. I also like to leave time to deep condition so I give myself enough time to do it all. I know once I do my hair I’m setting myself up for a less tangled week which I will only thank myself for later on.

I stay natural because my hair is no longer something I have to ‘deal with’. My hair is something I nurture. I’m not going to pretend it’s all rainbows and sunshine. I have my share of tangles, single strand knots, multiple strand knots, dry, crunchy ends, but I am so equipped with knowledge, tools and products that help me get my hair to the best it can be.

I’m excited to see what my hair is capable of. I don’t have an ultimate goal but I like that strands that stopped above my eyebrows now reach my chin.

I get the occasional comment about how long my hair would be if I straightened it. I like that I have the option to wear my hair short and curly or long and straight. I really do.

Happy Rocco

If you don’t mind, I have some questions for you out there:
Do you ever feel the pull to return to chemically straightening your hair?

What keeps you natural?

The Second Big Chop

Would you do it?

I’ve been fascinated by stories from women who have Big Chopped, grown a full head of natural hair and Big Chopped a second time, third and more. I, personally, love that freedom. When I first did my BC it was to save myself and my hair from the never-ending cycling of burns and breakage. And I am aware that you can maintain relaxed hair without these side effects, but I a) Never enjoyed the process and b) wanted to return to my natural curls.

I get excited when I see a hair journey that includes multiple BCs. Some ladies do it because they get tired of the haircare process, some do it because they want to switch it up and some miss their short ‘do. I feel like the TWA was a process of getting to know yourself again. What do you do when you have all the time in the world? Well, what would you do if your haircare routine went from however many hours a week to 5 minutes each day?

So to answer my initial question: Would I do it? Yeah. Totally. When? Whenever it felt good to me. I am enjoying my hair and I want to see what’s it capable of. I can’t see it happening in the near future but I wouldn’t rule it out either.

A Reflection—9 Months Natural

So I’ve been natural for 9 months today. What a journey!

Here are some stages of my natural hair.

First 3 Months.
My hair was easy as pie. I was still getting used to seeing myself in the mirror with hair like my brother’s. A good scalp massage was all I needed and I just had to make sure it was moisturized. I didn’t need a shower cap and although I didn’t co-wash every day, I did let it get wet in the shower. Wash and Go’s were my best friend. If I didn’t shower that day, I just spritzed with water, massaged my scalp and allowed what little curls I had to spring up. No biggie. I slept with a satin cap to keep my ends safe and that was pretty much all I needed. I didn’t bother wearing headbands, clips or anything. I recognized how simple my hair routine was, realized that point was the easiest it would probably ever be and I took advantage of that fact.

3-6 Months
What’s this I see? Now I was sporting a not-so-teeny-weeny afro. It was long enough to twist and I did have to work some tangles out with my fingers. I was now wearing headbands, bows and other accessories. It mostly stayed out of my way and I didn’t feel the need to have it constantly stretched. I still rocked a mean Wash and Go. I did notice though, that if I rocked WnG’s without combing through my conditioner-covered strands in the shower I would get these little thick coils. Mostly on my right side for some reason. But those little coils were just itchin’ to make their own locs and since that wasn’t the direction I was going in I made sure to comb through those curls and separate them. At this point I noticed my curl patterns were most distinguishable. Twist-outs were still fun to do when I had time but otherwise I left my curls alone.

6-9 Months
My hair is now at the length that if I have it in a twist/braid-out or otherwise have it stretched I can feel it resting on my ears and my neck. I hadn’t felt that in forever. One of the things I had to get used to after my Big Chop was having bare ears/neck. But now my hair is finding its way back. It’s great but it does take more thinking and planning. I prefer having it in a stretched style. So I will often sleep in twists or braids. At the 8.5 month mark I noticed I was dealing with too many tangles and I didn’t want that so I trimmed my ends. Exactly what it needed. I can run my fingers through a section and they’re not getting caught or tangled up.
Also with my hair gaining length I find myself able to wear actual styles. I can twist and pins my bangs and wear my hair ‘down’ or ‘up’. It’s pretty exciting. I can’t wait til I can wear a bun!

Some things that have changed are:
1) Wash and go’s are not my best friend anymore—Feeling my hair in its completely shrunken state means a) I will need to detangle and braid my hair at some point and b) this is one day hair. I don’t find myself wearing W&G’s for more than a day. My hair gets flat in the night and then bringing back the curls the next morning? Pass.

2) I find myself scheduling my hair-time and considering styles or washes days in advance—I need to wash my hair this week? Maybe Saturday or Sunday morning? Then I can braid it and have it dry for work in the afternoon. Oh, I have to ride my bike to work.. not wearing a twist-out fro because I have to fit a helmet on that… hm…

3) I prefer having my hair separated and taken care of before bed—I don’t like going to sleep with my hair out. I feel like it’s protected and also resting when its twisted or braided up. I just oil and moisturize my hair and put about 9 braids in, put my cap on go to sleep. Next morning I feel like I have more options with my hair.

One thing I have in mind for 2013? Protective styles. Hopefully January or February I will be able to purchase and install Havana Twists. I like the way they look, I like that my hair is put away and I feel like I could install them on my own.

This natural hair journey has been a great learning experience. I have made mistakes and learned from them. I have watched others and learned from them. I’ve really learned to listen to myself though. I do my hair up at night before I’m too tired and want to ignore them. I trim my ends and notice how much healthier and less tangled they are.

It will always be a process but it’s fun, what more can I ask for? 🙂

Stay inspired and happy Friday!

Natural Beauties!

I love love love reading about girls’ and their big chop! I feel like mine was so long ago (not really) but I remember that day, how I felt, how I looked, my thoughts, my insecurities, my pride. If you’ve recently big chopped I would like to introduce you to a couple of others.

Nov 29/12, The Agrarian Bard – The Big Chop

Nov 20/12, Natural Vibe – The Big Chop

Nov 20/12, JoyYouCantTake – The Big Chop

Oct 12/12, Finding Kayy – Big Chop!

Sept 30/12, Sincerely, Jess – New

Dec 8/12, Sisi Yemmie – I Big Chopped (video)

It’s also interesting to think how many others out there share my big chop anniversary… Any other March 14 Big Choppers out there? 😉 I’m sure I’m one of many!

It’s a great community out there of naturalistas. If you have questions or concerns, surf the web, engage with others whether it’s email, twitter, through blogs. Don’t be shy, introduce yourself, ask questions, share your pet peeves, share your joys! You’re a beauty!

Happy Sunday!