A Black Girls Guide to Haircare

“Is that all your hair?”, “Is that your real hair?”, “How do you do your hair?”, or  “What products do you use on your hair?” Are questions I get asked A LOT. I always stray away from talking about my hair or giving tips because hair is so unique to the individual. What works for my hair may not work for others. –Literally me and my mother can not even use the same products. Her hair is nothing like mine– I have gone to war trying to figure my hair out and what works for it. Sure, I’ve looked to youtubbers, like the Glamtwinz, and stylists to help, but ultimately it is trial and error.

As black women our hair is our crown. We hold a lot of pride in the way our hair looks. We spend hours to perfect it- or days cause lord know washing my hair is an all day process-. I used to be ashamed of my curls because growing up natural curls were the standard of beauty. I am a self proclaimed pseudo-natural, meaning, I’m completely natural, but use heat to manipulate my curl pattern to straight. I’ve always been natural, but I’ve been heat styled since the age of 8. Though my curl pattern has loosened since then, my curls are still intact and my hair is healthy. I love that our natural curls and coils are being more accepted now, however, the maintenance isn’t for me. I absolutely love the look of it, but I simply cant put the time and energy into maintaining my natural curls- more power to those that can I envy you!– I hate that its assumed that since my hair is straight that it must be a perm, I must be mixed or that my curl pattern is wiped because that simply isn’t true.

I’ve recently reconstructed my whole hair care routine because my hair started breaking off and wasn’t reacting in the way I was used to. I completely went down to the basics and started from there. 

Hair changes all the time depending on your age, your diet, your water intake, the medication you take, and the vitamins you consume. It’s really hard to pinpoint what may be causing your hair to thrive or fail. I have found that these basics are my necessity. I have found that whenever I skip these or remove them from my routine, my hair isn’t happy. 

1. The Products

It’s really important to know what your hair’s porosity is and the texture of your hair to find the right products. I have low porosity with a fine texture on one side and a course texture on the other. 

For my hair its a must that I prepoo with heat. I usually do a cocktail of oils, jojoba, olive, coconut, shea butter, tea tree, and argan oil, in a warm bath and massage that into my scalp. I let the prepoo sit on my hair either with a steam cap or under a hooded dryer for 20 mins to an hour ( an hour with the steam cap, 20 mins with the hooded dryer) 

I wash my hair every 2-3 weeks in the Summer or hotter months and every 3 to 4 weeks in the Winter or colder months. For shampoo and conditioner, I always use Joico Moisture shampoo and conditioner or Kpak shampoo and conditioner line. I don’t get too specific with the shampoo and conditioner. They aren’t in my hair long enough to do anything to it. I try to keep the shampoo and conditioner as simple as possible. Where I do get product happy is deep conditioners. I loveeeee deep conditioners. My holy grails are Shea Moisture Intensive Hydrating Manuka Honey deep conditioner, Joico Kpak intense hydration, Joico intense moisture, Cantu Intense deep conditioner 

Prior to blow drying using a spray leave-in conditioner is key. I use a spray over a cream because it doesn’t weigh the hair down while keeping the hair protected. The 2 I love are It’s A 10 and Aphrogee. Since I have thick hair, a blow drying spray that will cut down the time to dry is vital. The two I toggle between is OGX Blow dry spray and Kenra Blow dry spray. They both have many benefits and it’s an added layer of heat protectant for my hair while blow drying.  A heat protectant prior to flat ironing I like is Tresemme. I have been looking for other alternatives due to the chemicals that are in it, but honestly my hair loves it and I haven’t noticed any negative effects. I also use a light oil like argon or jojoba oil before the blow dry process and to finish and put back some moisture and shine.

2. The Base

 The key to get the perfect silk press is a solid bow dried foundation. I part my hair in 4 sections. In the section I’m getting ready to blow dry, I will apply my leave in,  blow drying spray and then I will detangle the section. I then blow dry that section on the lowest heat setting possible, starting from the bottom and working my way to the root with the fine comb attachment. After I have finished all 4 sections and they are 80% dry, I will add a small amount of light oil to my hair. I then blow dry on the highest setting possible to get it a little straighter for no more than 2 minutes. 

If I’m going for a silk press, I’ll part my hair in 4 sections, set my flat iron between 360-380 and use the chase method with a brush to flat iron. 

If i’m not silk pressing, but i want it to look uniformed and be easy to maintain, i’ll set my flat iron to 350 and curl large sections 

I try to get my hair trimmed every 3 months, it just curls better when it’s trimmed.  Due to medication I’m on I have to drink a lot of water or else my scalp gets really dry and looks like the before in the head and shoulders commercial.- and that ain’t sexy at all

I recently purchased 2 Babybliss flat irons. I use one for the silk press and the other for curling when I don’t do a silk press. The blow dryer I use is an Andis. I love this blow dryer. It’s easy to hold and gets the job done quickly- and the price point is the chefs kiss!

3. The Wrap

Protecting your hair at night and while doing sweaty activities is how to get your hair to last! It’s important for me to wrap my hair with a silk scarf. I use 2. One to hold my wrap in place and save my edges, and the other to contain the rest of my hair. I always lightly oil the ends of  my hair before I wrap it and I’ll spray it with a light oil once I have completed my wrap. 

If I am working out or participating in something that will most likely sweat my hair out -achem- I will pull it into a pony or a ballet bun and wrap the edges – if I’m trying to be sexy I will do this after said activity. This helps lay my hair back down. If it’s completely sweated out I will run the blow dryer through it on a low setting with the comb attachment. 

This is just a small glimpse of how I care for my hair. Though the most important tip I can give you is to take care of yourself from the inside out. Make sure your body is getting what it needs to thrive. Make sure you are getting your water intake, enough rest and the right vitamins. If you’re on medication check with your doctor to see if that could be affecting your hair, skin and nails.

What are you hair care tips? Lets talk about it!

And remember,

dont be bitter,

Be better!

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

Dont be Bitter be Better: 3 Reasons Why I Chose to be Single

Reading the heading of this post, I know you’re wondering why would one choose to be single.-Let me explain.- I found myself in an odd place. I was in a situationship that ended on good terms, we even decided to still remain friends. Even after the romantic phase was over, we would meet up for drinks and still text as friends. One day, I found myself blocked and ignored. This was someone who I had a fifteen year friendship with so to be suddenly cut out of their life was odd. I would speak when I saw them and nothing, not even a hello back. The need to know why I was suddenly being treated this way was growing inside of me. The more it happened the angrier I became. –I know what your thinking why did you continue to speak?- A part of me was all kill them with kindness, but another part felt it was probably agitating them that I did– that was the petty part of me.

Privately, I was very hurt by losing the relationship and the friendship. – I was hurt hurt. Mariah Carey’s breakdown ft Bone-Thugs and Harmony has never made more sense than that moment in time

The guy a dated after that 5months into the dating phase –not relationship but casually dating– he got engaged to someone else. Yes, you read that right, engaged to another girl while we were dating, and to add insult to injury I found about it 2 weeks later from someone who didn’t even know I knew him, let alone was dating him.- the audacity, tuh!-

I felt myself becoming bitter. I didn’t want to shut love out, but at that moment I didn’t know how I could continue to be so open to something that was literally ripping my heart apart. I prayed to ease the pain and bring me understanding. In the past, I had taken a break from dating before and dated myself, but I was still open to invitations. Initially when I took the first break, I was a 20 something year old who was lost. My 20s were rough and flew by. I am now a 30 something who has experience. I’m more settled now, I feel wiser like I have a new lens on life. I don’t feel so desperate to get to a finish line of a goal, until I started comparing my life to where I thought I should be for my age. So this decision didn’t come lightly. This time I decided to decline any interests. No dates. I didn’t entertain someone who was interested in dating. If they weren’t pre-existing non-romantic friendships, I wasn’t available for it. I wanted to completely focus on me and pour into myself. My prayers were eventually answered, but in praying I realized a few things about myself and how I approached dating:

1. Relationships were the goal
My goal was to be in a relationship. That’s it. That’s all I wanted. I had no clue what I was going to do after I got into one, but as someone whos never been in one, that was my goal. Somewhere along the way I began to be desperate to be in one. To be claimed, chosen, picked from the bunch. The older I got the more important it became. Towards the end of my 20s dating began to feel more of a hassle than fun. Dating was supposed to be the time of your life, but for me it felt like a means to an end.

If you listen to society, being single will have you feeling worthless. You cant possibly be anyone of value if you’re not in a relationship or married, your advice is worthless, you don’t understand anything as it relates to relationships and you can’t hang around the couple crowd if you are single. I have lost so called friends for being the single one. To be deemed “worthy” by society, I needed to be in a relationship.

I started to look at every possible love interest as “the one”. After the initial contact, I daydreamed about our life together. -if I really found you attractive.- I had an unrealistic expectation for every man who entered my romantic life. I was never in the present moment. I never saw it for what it was until it was over, and I was heartbroken, more so by the possibilities than by missing out on the person. –cause lets be honest, if relationships weren’t my goal there is no way I would have been with some of the dudes I entertained. They were definitely “what were you thinking?” type of guys, especially the 2 mentioned at the opening- I focused very little on the person and more on the end result.

2. Dating with Intention.
I investigated my dating history and they were all pointless. There were no clear intentions or standards set in the beginning. They were all “I like you, you like me, lets see what happens”. – 4 words no woman should fall for-. There were no clear boundaries. No clear communication. It was all unhealthy. Not only were the relationships not clear, but neither was I. I had no clue what I wanted in a relationship. I didn’t understand the value of what I was bringing to a relationship and what I should be receiving from one. The more I thought about it, the more I realized I had no clue how relationships worked. Sure, I had examples, but they all seemed to be unhappy or settling for things that didn’t align with their morals or values. –and I did not want to be one of those people.- Even though I knew what I didn’t want, I still wasn’t clear on what I did want.

I’m a researcher, I have to have understanding. The “why” must be answered. So, I did what any researcher would do; I read. I read books, 4 specifically; The Conversation– Hill Harper, Relationship Goals– Michael Todd, Judge This Cover-Brittany Renner, and The Game of Desire– Shannon Boodram.

I have read The Conversation many years ago. I remember it being so packed with gems, that I wrote notes in the margins and highlighted sentences throughout the book. I decided to reread it. The gems were still valid. It is, however, geared more toward people already in a relationship, but it gave me insight.

I loved the Youtube series Relationship Goals so much! It was actually the first thing I watched while struggling through the pain of losing the friendship. I learned a lot by watching the series. So, when Michael Todd wrote a book, I brought it on preorder. The book was so different from the series, which I loved, no one wants to read something they’ve already heard verbatim. There were some parts of the book I disagreed with, but he does speak about all kinds of relationships as it relates to God. I had to keep reminding myself that the book isn’t just talking about romantic relationships. Also, every relationship doesn’t have to work according to someone else’s interpretation of the bible. Overall, I enjoyed the book and got a real grasp about faith in relationships.

Ill admit, I was a little reluctant to read Judge This Cover by Brittany Renner. Brittany Renner is a social media star who is best known for her sexy photos and fitness on Instagram. She has made a name for herself by posting workout videos and promoting fitness products. Brittany has been known to date some very famous people. It is said that most of the relationships she refers to in her book are about those famous people, although the names have been changed in the book. I was really shocked by how insightful this book was. I related to her and her struggles with dating. Though she was a little more free in her sexuality, I admired her willingness to bare it all in the book. She also gave a different perspective and some great advice. Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone. Most people I know that did read it, did so to be nosy about her life, but ended up loving the book for her insight. I’m telling you it was a great read!

Lastly, I read The Game of Desire. I was pleasantly surprised by this book. If you’re not familiar with Shannon Boodram, she is a certified intimacy educator who teaches people to be more competent and confident as it relates sexology. My judgement of the book pre-reading it was that it was going to be mostly about sex. While there is, of course, sex talk in the book, the book is mostly about you. Discovering who you are, your love language, your personality traits, your intimacy language etc, and how to use that to be present in your dating life. There is a workbook you can fill out prior to reading which I highly recommend. I learned more about who I am as a person reading this book, than I did about dating. I honestly wished I would have read this book first. This is a book I highly recommend everyone read.

Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change and the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.”

3. Self-Love
You knew we were going to end up here! I preach this. Every time I think I have finally obtained the highest level of loving yourself, I find something that could use extra work, a little extra love. When it came to intimacy and body positivity, I lacked majorly. I noticed in the bedroom or times of vulnerability; I was very mean to myself. –You know the talk “suck it in don’t let them see you have a gut, eww” “wear something to cover your arms no one needs to see those Hammocks” “ you want to wear shorts, have you seen your thighs??” “Make sure it’s dark when you take your pants off gotta hide those stretch marks, that’ll be a major turn off”.– Being sexual with some one may have felt good, physically, but mentally I was beating myself up with negative talk the entire time and after was worse.

I have struggled with my weight ever since I took the depo shot. My body has been through a lot. I have gotten trainers, changed my diet, taken weight loss pills, different diet fads all to try to lose weight. I cant remember a time in my adult life that I actually loved my body. There were certain things about myself I wanted to change, and I would, only to gain it back. Doctors would tell me to change my diet or to eat smaller meals more frequently and if I got sick they would say it was just a stomach flu. It wasn’t until I landed in the ER twice with the same doctor that pointed out that something wasn’t right; did I really start to find answers.

After getting diagnosed and getting a treatment plan together, I really began to focus on my health as a whole. I began to make the correct changes and my body actually responded. I began to look more and more like the person I saw in my mind. My self-talk became positive. Sure, there are still somethings I’m a little self-conscious about, but the positive outweighs the negative. The negative is what I strive to give the most love to. Constant reminders that we are regular people and look like real people. We don’t have tiny waists and giant asses. Our breast will have a little sag to them. Stretch marks are a part of growth your body is constantly changing, and facial hair is a thing, almost everyone has it. Society and social media will have you out here changing who you are to fit their standards of beauty rather than loving the way God created you. No knock to plastic surgery, if that’s a path you want or need to take to love who you are, more power to you, go forth and do that, but make sure it’s for you and not for the world. “Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change and the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.”

I have been purposely single for a year. Every now and again I’ll feel alone, but I’m not lonely. I have found less of a desire to be in a relationship and more of a desire to be comfortable with who I am before inviting someone into my space; my peace. I’m more understanding about my love life and what I need and require to continue to flourish and grow. I’m no longer feeling bitter…. I’m better.-does my tagline make more sense to you now?-

Would you take a year off from dating to learn yourself? Let me know in the comments below!

As always, remember,

Don’t be Bitter,

Be Better!!

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

What’s going on?!

 


This week’s blog was originally going to be about my break from social media, but in light of recent events, who would I be if I didn’t use my platform to talk about something that affects my community and my heritage? I am sadden that I do not see many brands speaking out on the recent killings, but I am happy to see certain celebrities in the streets doing the marches and making an effort to see change to fruition.

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice every where.-Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

This is bigger than all of us.  This change needs to happen for the children. It feels like between Martin Luther King’s assassination and President Obama being elected the change that was taking place just fell stagnant. The hate began to grow and became something that has been brewing beneath the surface for a while now.

Black-Lives-Matter-quotesI see a lack of understanding and empathy. The one thing every human being goes through is struggle. My struggle may not look like yours, but we have all struggled at one point or another. We all have the ability to empathize with each other over our different struggles. At this moment in time, why is it so hard to empathize that one particular group is hurting and struggling and needs help? America can acknowledge that when it comes to world hunger, disease, or even allying with nations to take down Hitler, but when a particular group is being slowly eradicated in their homeland, America turns a blind eye.  We scream till we have no voice that #BlackLivesMatter only to be negated and told ‘no, you’re wrong #AllLivesMatter.’ Do they? Because the group that is being harmed is an obvious sign that they don’t all matter. I wouldn’t go to a breast cancer march and yell #ProstateCancerMatters! no only would that be disrespectful, but it would interrupt the cause at hand. Yes, we know it needs help, but right now breast cancer is taking women down at an alarming rate, lets heal this first and then we can help you. So, yes Duh #AllLivesMatter but until Black Lives are included in All Lives, lets heal that wound first. What is most frustrating about this statement is the refusal to see that there is a problem.

“If you stick a knife nine inches into my back and pull it out three inches, that is not progress. Even if you pull it all the way out, that is not progress. Progress is healing the wound, and America hasn’t even begun to pull out the knife.”-Malcolm X

It’s no secret that police brutality on blacks is very common, dating further back than Rodney King’s violent and excessive beating by police that caused the Watts Riots to the hanging of black men in the public for even looking at a white woman. Justice has never really been served for the black community.  But how can it in a system, or world that has set us up to fail from the beginning?

marvin-gayes-quotes-6Let’s give a real history lesson and not the one they make look real pretty in the education system.-if they even still teach that, but I digress that’s a completely different blog post-
Being slaves for over 4oo years was damaging enough- Let’s not get into the effects that can have on a people- Only to get freedom and that’s it. Now the slaves where free with no food, no home, and no money.  What were they going to do to survive? Sharecropping! This worked 3 ways-

  1. Workers can rent plots of land from the owner for a certain sum and keep the whole crop.
  2. Workers work on the land and earn a fixed wage from the land owner but keep some of the crop.
  3. No money changes hands but the worker and land owner each keep a share of the crop.

This sounds like a good idea until you throw in the bitterness the slave owner felt for now having to form some sort of agreement with his slaves and the fact that the terms were completely left in the hands of the slave owner for most of these slaves had no education and were not business savvy. Essentially, they became more in debt than actually being able to earn a living –sound familiar? Somehow the newly free slaves managed to get by living on very little, but now segregation and Jim Crow laws are in effect and well we all know that story. Tack on over 60 years of segregation, the civil rights movement and earning the right to vote in 1965- my mother was born in 1966, is this hitting home yet?- and now we are here. People want to throw up how slavery was so long ago, and it was but what about segregation? There are people still alive and well who can remember in detail the civil rights movement. That can remember in detail the first black kids to go to am all white school. who can remember in detail not being able to vote.

1539b773805ba541ec8465e93f949057On paper, it does seem like that was long ago. In reality it was not that long ago. My generation would be the first to grow up with a fully integrated society and racism not so in your face- but trust and believe it is there- which is why I think it’s a little harder for people to grasp that there is a problem because we’ve been walking around blind to it.
So what can we do to see this change to fruition?
I’m so glad you asked! We have been systematically taught one way. In order to begin a change we have to restructure the systems way of teaching. Or in the words of Jesse Williams “Restructure the function”. I wish there was a right or wrong answer for this, but unfortunately there is not a manual we can pull out that tells us how to fix the machine. Here are some things that would be a great start:

“It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality”-Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

  1. Voting.
    In 1965 African Americans were given the right to vote. Our ancestor lost their lives for this right so how dare you not exercise your right?! Here the gag though, I was never taught how to vote. I will be the first to admit, I only voted for the president and blindly clicked on whatever name sounded good for the House and the Senate. – Actually the first time I went to vote for the president I didn’t even know we had to vote for the house and senate. – Educate yourself on what elections are going on within your community. This is very important. Not only does the presidential election matter, but your local elections matter even more. These are the elections that directly affect your day to day life. Make sure you know who you are voting for. This is huge! Remember a leader is nothing without the right team and vice versa.

 

2. Getting our officers to know the community.
If you saw your local police officers out of uniform would you know them? Do you only see them when you’re getting pulled over or needing emergency help? This is like the child that only gets disciplined hard by one parent, eventually they will begin to resent that parent. I think it’s crucial to know who is protecting us. I realize some cities are bigger than others and it may be a little harder to do so but I think –dare I say this- it’s a major key to breaking down that barrier. Also, we need officers to break the mold and stand up when they know an officer is wrong or when a situation should have been handled different. They never admit their fault. Any good leader will tell you in order to lead, you have to admit when there was a mistake made and how you are going to rectify the mistake. If you cannot do that, no one will ever trust the system. Kudos to the governor of Minnesota for publicly admitting the situation could have been handled better.

 

Black-Business-Statistics

3. Building and uplifting black owned businesses.
Why are we so hell bent on not helping each other? I see it so often in other cultures. Asians, Indians, Hispanics hell even white people will band together and help their families, but black people FORGET IT! You are on your own. We make fun of the Hispanics and the Asians for being huddle in a small house but who is coming out on top? We need to learn to build each other up and not tear each other down. We are told by too many people that we will never amount to anything, let’s not do that to each other. Get out and support black owned businesses. Maybe if we can raise enough awareness, those that can’t seem to get a job because of their background and begin to make money the legal way.

 

Graduates stand for the anthem "Lift Every Voice and Sing" during 2014 commencement ceremonies at Howard University in Washington May 10, 2014. Entertainer Sean Combs delivered the commencement address and received an honorary degree in Humanities during the ceremony. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES - Tags: EDUCATION ENTERTAINMENT SOCIETY) - RTR3OLDN

  1. Educate yourself
    I cannot preach this enough. KNOWLEDGE IS POWER! Be a sponge absorb everything! you may not need education to be in the field you’re in? So what! Learn anyway it helps you grow as a person. Learn culture. You don’t necessarily have to be in a classroom to learn. Stop relying on these facebook articles to teach you –and teach you the wrong thing- do your research. Stop spreading propaganda. Pick up a book and let your imagination grow. Hate reading? Listen to audible. It’s too many resources out here to not educate yourself. Give a HBCU a try. –I recommend doing your research before just trying ANY HBCU- however our colleges are becoming a thing of the past because we are losing the resources to keep them open due to attendance. Educate yourself on current legislator and laws being passed. KNOW YOUR RIGHTS! A fool can be easily lead and manipulated. Trust people count on that.

“Ghettoizing and demeaning our creations, then stealing them, gentrifying our genius, then trying us on like costumes before discarding our bodies like rinds of strange fruit. The thing is though, just because we’re magic doesn’t mean we’re not real.” -Jesse Williams

  1. The media
    If there is one thing I could change within my own power it would be the media and its carelessness for the families of the slain. The coverage the media provides does more harm than good in some cases. Following the 2 shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, there was very little national media coverage on it UNTIL the shooting in Dallas took place and all of a sudden it was around the clock coverage. They were more concerned with Hilary Clintons email-which were important but all day coverage? ALL DAY?!- Than they were about the developments of the two shootings that were clearly affecting communities. The way African Americans are portrayed in the media is disgusting. African Americans are instantly labeled as thugs and criminals. They will put up a mug shot and dispel their criminal history- or allege they have one- before they offer condolences, while Caucasians are depicted as mentally unstable and shown as a model citizen after a mass shooting. This is another form of systematic racism. And it needs to change today!

image

Lastly, divided we fall united we stand. Gain some understanding for one another. There’s people out here trying to understand and asking what may seem like dumb question, but some people really are that blind. For some people they see only sunshine and rainbows, while others see thunderstorms and rain. Don’t tear them down listen to understand and not just to reply- Gosh that’s my biggest pet peeve- get out of your own agenda and listen for a second. We truly have to be able to have a dialog in order to come together. If we can’t have an open honest dialog with one another if we can’t put to use the basic function of conversation we will never get anywhere. Break down that barrier.

“There really can be no peace without justice. There can be no justice without truth. And there can be no truth, unless someone rises up to tell you the truth.”- Louis Farrakhan

I would love to hear from you. These were just things I think could be done to move forward, but I’m sure there are many more. Let’s open a dialog and discuss. Please note I will delete hateful comments.

 

The Blacker The Berry…

black is be    Growing up we are all self conscience of something. Some of these things we eventual grow out of and some things we hold on to. We may bury it and carry it with us wherever we go, or we choose to let it out and try to overcome it and work through it. I wrote a blog not too long ago titled flaws and all- if you haven’t, stop reading and go check that blog out.- I talk about how my flaws are my beauty. It’s what makes me unique; it’s what makes me different. What I failed to mention was the flaw that took me the longest to overcome.

I love who I am. It took me so long to become comfortable and unapologetic with whom I am. It also took me a long time to figure out who I was, who I wanted to be and who I aspired to become. We all go through situations that shape and mold us to whom we are presently and who we will become. My main purpose was to talk about those situations that may be difficult to talk about, but people could relate to. To use my voice to expose deep issue that we I go through in life. I’ve been through a lot. More than meets the eye. To understand it we have to go to the beginning.

beautiful“Being a dark skinned black girl is a part of me. It’s something that I can never change, but I always wanted to.

I grew up in a neighborhood where it wasn’t exactly the hood, but it wasn’t middle class either. It was where they would put the elderly or disabled and every now and again, if you were lucky enough, they would place the people who didn’t seem like “hood rats”. Every now and again a select few slipped through the cracks. For the most part, it was a quiet neighborhood, but it was still the hood.

I went to a predominately white school. Sometimes I would be the only black kid in the class. If I got lucky there would be two of us, but I would be the only one that was aware.- I was very much aware that I came from a different background.-

My grandmother and mother always made it a point to teach me and my brother how to be proper, to have manners, and to never be a product of your environment. –be of the world, but not in it.

This made the kids in my neighborhood treat me as an outsider. Not only did I carry myself like I was above the hood, but I was pretty …for a dark-skinned girl. It’s funny; I always thought that phrase was a compliment. For a dark-skinned girl. Like the color of my skin somehow tarnished my beauty. Like I was less than. Like lighter skin was inferior to mine. The color of my skin somehow made me the scum. I was the blackest, or the darkest they had seen, so I must be the lowest of individuals. Forget my intellect, or my wisdom, or even my contributions to the world. Forget my degrees, my etiquette, or my beauty. No I’m dark skinned, I am not worthy of such status or accomplishments or education.

6a7d11960e9bb92d83727a4ecc737f24The white kids from school they accepted me until they became aware. I remember it like yesterday. It was my birthday and like any little girl in elementary school, I wanted to have a big birthday party and a sleepover. My mother worked her ass off to make sure I had it. After the party was over it was time to go back to my house for the sleepover. It was me and my 3 best friends, who all happened to be white.

In my neighborhood all the houses looked the exact same. Red brick one the outside with heavy metal doors. The inside had cylinder bricking all painted ivory. My mother was a great decorated, one of her many trades, and she always had the places hooked up. You never felt like you were in project housing when you were in our house, at least if you were from there.

My friends noticed right away. They each one by one started to feel scared. Before night fell they had each called their parents to pick them up, some even crying.

I hated myself even more. I began even harder to conform, to blend in, and to fit in. I knew if I could just get rid of my dark skin that they would love me.

it-isnt-a-matter-of-black-is-beautiful-as-much-as-it-is-white-is-not-all-thats-beautiful-quote-1The teachers picked on me. And when my mother would have my classes moved, the teachers would talk to each other and it would get even worse. My mother eventually withdrew me from the school and I went to stay in Texas with my grandmother.

This school was more diverse. My teacher was a young petite lady. My best friend was Asian and I wasn’t the only black kid in class, in fact if memory serves me right there were more black kids than white.

The kids there didn’t care about your skin color. I loved it there. I began to discover who I was beyond my skin color.

My days there were numbered. My grandmother could no longer care for me, she had a lot going on and was about to move to go back to school for another degree. I hated to leave. I felt so free there. It felt like where I should be.

When I came back home I had a “take no shit from no one” attitude. I went back to the same school with the same issues as a different person. I wasn’t afraid to speak my mind for fear I wouldn’t be accepted. My new best friend was black, and he was unapologetically black. He helped me develop what my mom liked to call “the black girl attitude.” I was going to need it; the next chapter of my life was middle school and if I thought things were bad before. Well they were about to get worse.”

naturalblackwomanThats from something special I’m working on. Looking back now, I wish I would’ve told myself you are fine, you are beautiful, your black is beautiful! I wish I would’ve loved myself more. And realized that God knew exactly what he was doing when he decided to make me dark-skinned. I wish I could have told myself its them not me. I wish I could’ve learned sooner that its ok not to fit in and to stand out means more than I could ever know. I wish I would’ve realized sooner that the whole world would be trying to obtain this coco butter brown skin. I wish I had a crystal ball that I could see this day and age trying to obtain all the features I was naturally born with.

I’m glad I know now. I’m proud to wake up every morning and have this gorgeous shade of brown skin. And I hope anyone reading this knows too. We were not made to be put in a box and considered the same. We were not made to feel inferior to others. We were not made to conform.

We were made beautifully flawed. We were made beautifully

#BlackLivesMatter                                #MyBlackIsBeautiful5dc2d0c77ba94b147ae8a55df7b5d743
P.S Go check out my last video –
The Downside to Social Media

P.S.S go check the video out for this blog here! The Blacker the Berry

I Know What He Likes

So I was interested to know what men are attracted to, what things stand out the most. For me, most of my blogs are lately I have been written from my point of view, with some input from my circle of friends. This time I wanted to get my males opinion. I asked them series of questions and gathered a good idea of what the typical established male is looking for.

What feature they found attractive to the opposite sex?
dsfghjkNow I’m not going to lie, I thought I would get the typical answers like she gotta have a fat ass, big titties, small waist etc., but oh I was reassured that there is hope for us grown females that are still searching for that grown man! The top answers I got were that men want someone who carries themselves well. Size really didn’t matter to them as long as you could carry yourself well with that size, clothes that fit be put together. My favorite answer was realness. In a world where everything is becoming so fake some men still value realness. I’m not talking the personality trait, but rather the hair and nails. The other answers I got were approachable down to earth and nice teeth.

Next I asked if they prefer a specific race?
vghjkNow I did this for a couple reasons. I as a dark skinned African American woman seem to sometimes get over looked if I’m standing next to someone of light color. I have always had friends that are of the yellow bone complexion and although I didn’t find a couple of them more attractive than me – TIMEOUT- let’s not sit here and pretend that we don’t compare ourselves to the next chick even our friends. We don’t like our friend cause they’re extra fine it’s their personality, but you can bet your bottom dollar if you had to go up against her in looks you knew if you would fail or win in that category SOMEBODY gotta be the ugly friend,-TIME IN- but they always seemed to win even with jacked up teeth! So imagine my shock when I asked the question and got… NO SPECIFIC TYPE. Wait what?!?! Now maybe this has to do with the grown man putting away his childish ways, because lets be real to only date a certain type of skin color and not give other women a chance is very childish, because to love a person has nothing to do with their skin color- if only America could learn that-
imagesasdfgNow being the single woman that I am, I asked if there were any tips or advice they had on getting chose., for a relationship/wife. And by far the best answer I got I have to share verbatim “A woman shouldn’t wasn’t to be chose, she should was to be cherished. Being chose is like saying you are being selected off a shelf with others which in turns devalues woman’s worth.” Now I completely agree with this answer. We as women should demand to be cherished. However, for us single ones you often wonder is there something I’m doing wrong that I could do different to change my outcome? Another answer that I liked was “Men will treat you how you come off as you want to be treated”. In oher words, post a thirsty picture, you know the one half naked, showing that ass off, and a dog will surely pant in heat. The best way to be on your way to a relationship is to be yourself and to be open. It’s as simple as that.

imagesweNow ladies listen up, because this may help you change your ways! More than anything males hate an attention whore. That was my number one answer to turn offs. Don’t be that female in the club loud as hell for no reason; no one likes that female, she just good for entertainment. You heard it here first. Secondly, being closed- minded, gossipy, lack of confidence and argumentative. Let’s be honest, I can’t be around anybody with these traits, energy level is so negative it has to be hard to have to come home to someone like that.

Lastly I asked what were personality traits that were turn ons, and turn offs. I found that what it boils down to his someone who shares the same interest they have. I think this goes without saying, but I’m going to say it anyway, if you don’t share the same interest but forth some effort to. If that fails lord help you! Pick up the slack in other areas like having good convo, fashionable, goal oriented etc.

I learned a lot just from these simple questions, Did you?
I would like to give a HUGE thank you to the men that participated in this blog it absolutely means the world to me to have your support! To my ladies, if you get nothing else out of this blog, take this away; be you! He who is for you will accept you as you are even your weird little corks that you think no one finds interesting. Be open and always be independent, in the sense that you have some business about yourself, and remember the bible says he who FINDS a wife FINDS a good thing. Men are the hunters for a reason, don’t be desperate boo it’ll happen on Gods time. In the meantime, stay you and be beautiful!

What Attracts You

What attracts you to the opposite-or same if you’re into that kind of thing-sex? For me it’s a couple of things that catch my eye when I first meet a guy. Just the same they’re a couple things that can quickly turn me off. I’m very selective and I’m slightly picky but my standards are what some may consider high. –Mostly to those that can’t meet them- now I won’t completely dismiss you if you don’t meet all of my standards but you have to be seriously pulling weight in other areas for me to forgive the areas you don’t meet. Without words spoken, what initially attracts you?

Let’s set the scene.
You’re at a laid back type of lounge, sipping your drink with your girls or the fellas and you look up at the table across from yours filled with a group of guys/girls, what is the first thing you notice about the “attractive” one?
For me, I imagessanotice the smile and the eyes. I have always been a sucker for a charming smile. Straight white teeth swoons among the list of things I look at that is the top of the list. If you’re a person that doesn’t smile a lot, I assume you don’t know how to let loose. I like a man that’s full of life. A man that likes to laugh and joke, but not take it too far – it can go from real funny to I will cut you real swift like! It’s all good till it isn’t right?- a smile can tell me that, if I look at you and you smile your polite, if your always smiling/laughing you enjoy having a good time, you probably have a good energy about you. Now when it comes to your eyes, I’m looking for eye contact when your talking to me. Plus your eyes can be a dead give away to wait your really looking for.. and at

Next, my eyes go directly to the shoes. Let’s be real, if you don’t own at least ONE pair of decent going out shoes, what are you doing with your life? This is an essential that can be used over and over, an investment! The shoes a person wears can tell a story about them, make sure it’s the right one. Now I’m not saying they have to be the hottest latest shoes on the block, but some nice quality can go a long way.

Next I travel to the build of a man. The way his clothes fit him, if he looks fit or how muscular he is. Now I can be a bit of a hypocrite in thistrey-songz-shirtless-in-cancun area. I’ve always heard a man is a reflection of yourself. Now I’m not the fittest woman. There are some areas I need to work on – I’ll be honest- I’m not a gym junkie but I don’t completely neglect it either. However, I like my man to look fit. A person that looks like they take care of themselves, is probably more upbeat, has their stuff together, and is more ambitious or focused. I go for more of an athletic build. Trey Songz, Michael B. Jordon – both have already been established as bae in previous post- a basketball players build. Defines, toned arms, six pack-honestly I think that goes without saying- a defined back, toned shoulder and the pecks to match are all lovely features. I think working out says a lot about a person mentally and is good for overall health. There’s really no excuse not to workout 30 mins. out your day and it can be completely free. I also want to know if the zombie eclipse should come I have a standing chance with you –lol-

Finally, I look at the way you carry yourself. Now this above all else has to be in place. Are you nails clean, are your lips chapped, are you well dressed, do you smell good, is your hair cut?, are you ashy?-lol- seriously though small things I noticed wayyy faster than the big things, odd I know. I personally don’t know any woman/man that would want/be attracted to a man/woman that were lacking in this area. Especially, if you knowingly go out looking a mess. To me that says either you really didn’t want to go out or you are seriously lacking some home training, and I don’t want to even think about what your place looks like eeeeekk. Even if you are struggling financially these are simple inexpensive, things you could do on your own to improve your chances.

david-beckham--zNow for me, these are just the things I quickly check out, while looking through a crowd or see gentlemen sitting at a table. It gets way deeper once a man opens his mouth and I’ll get into that on the next blog. Until then, I’d like to know what attracts you?

Love and your Best Friend

Doefriendzones anyone remember the mtv show about the friend that was in love with their best friend and mtv helped them confess their love? I think that’s 99% of us out here. I think it’s a natural thing to be in love with your best friend. It’s someone you confide in, they practically know everything about you and you spend a great amount of time with them. Sounds a whole lot like what a relationship should be doesn’t it? Now lets be clear I’m talking about friends of different sexes, but hey if you float the other way I guess that can apply here too.

Are you actually in love with your best friend or do you love them because they are the closest thing you got to a relationship? That’s a heavy question. It’s a question that can often get blurred. I believe to be in love with someone is forever. You are giving them a piece of yourself that you are saying its ok if you don’t give this back. T
o love someone is the most unselfish thing you can do. You are loving them and not looking for something in return. At least that’s how I interpret love.

I can’t make a decision to save my life. And when I know my decision, I struggle with “Is

this the choice I shotumblr_mv0cwly6E81qk08n1o3_500uld be making?”. I try to find every way possible to rebute the decision, the hard ones anyway. So when the question came about loving my best friend, I fought and shunned and made every excuse in the book. Because saying it out loud made it real, right? Then comes the good old cross road, do I want to potentially mess up this friendship if a relationship with them doesn’t workout. There’s only one real answer to that; you wont know until you try. WHHHHATTTTTT??? You mean I actually have
to test this thing out before I can know for sure?? Unfortunately. When posed with this question my indecisiveness kicked in overdrive. You can imagine the many different scenarios one can come up with in their head.

Now lets be clear, there are certain things that have to transpire in order for you to develop these feelings. the Tug-a-war was real! And more than a friendship did begin to develop at one point in time. Of Course I’m not going to go into details, cause thats none of the worlds business. However, the ball was placed in both parties court.

I decided to be quiet and push my feelings aside. I’m the type of person who believes if it’s meant to be it will find its way of working out naturally.

imagesm Although it hurt very very very much to see him move on with someone else and watch our friendship drift into oblivion (you know once people get into serious relationships they tend to forget about the single people and their friends in the world, all that exist is their little bubble with their kids and their careers and other married couples, because single people certainl
y cant possibly know about that life, or help you out, or hang around with you because we just don’t get it… I’m not mad though achem) I had to be at peace with the decision I made. And it took a while. Especially when
they’re with someone you don’t necessarily approve of, but it’s not your life to have an opinion over. And to see the person happy above everything else should be your number one goal.

 

he_loves_me__he_loves_me_not__by_bigcitydreams__x3Now I know many of you ware wondering, how in he heck did that work out? Simply put it wasn’t meant to be. Theres one thing that i have learned in life and its that there are forces we simply can not control. I read the book The Alchemist, and that man got side tracked so many times but when it came down to what he rely wanted at heart nothing stood in his way. *Spoiler Alert. My favorite part of the book was when he met a girl whom he fell in love with very much. he was willing to give up his journey to stay with her, But she being a woman of the desert knew he would always question and regret not following through with his journey and so she says to him you must go if you love me you will come back, and i will be here, but if he did not return then it was not love. this also mirrors the saying ” If you love someone you’ve got to let them go, and they come back it means so much more, but if they never come at least you will know that it was something you had to hold on to grow.”

And so I’ve grown. and i have faith that the right person will reveal themselves at the right time. because God’s plan never fails, and nothing anybody can do to stop it.
photo thehills_lauren

Dating and the Single Black Female

love-jones-romance

I know it may have come as a shock to many of you guys that I’ve been single my whole life. Yes I have been in love twice, but that’s a post soon to come. Watching movies, I never knew how truly hard dating was. The movies make it seem like the men just come, but I guess that’s the point of the movie right? In the real world dating is sooooo difficult! Not only is it difficult to do, but now I have to fight with a generation where women have lessened their value and men feel like you’re supposed to be doing wife duties before they even make you a girlfriend! Being the old soul that I am, and being raised -actually raised where my parent and grandparents actually put in work and attention to make sure I turned out decent, with moral and values and knowing my worth- is probably the single most reason why I am single.

images

I know what I want in life and I know what i deserve and that is a dangerous combo for a man. My grandfather, brother, and stepfather have instilled in me the way a man should treat a lady. I like to think of myself from the old school. I’ve never been of my generation. I love listening to older music and older movies. When men weren’t afraid to express their feelings and a house party actually meant a party with dancing and not standing around too cool to mingle with the ladies. I’m not sure when it all became “it aint nothing to cut that B*** off “and “f*** n** get money”. Don’t get me wrong though I still turn up to it. But is that really what we want to do for the rest of our lives??

Now I’m not saying the men don’t come, though far and few in-between, I’m just not willing to waste my time on something I don’t believe is going to hold something of substance. I would rather be single than waste time on someone I know is only after one thing. And sure after they get what they want they may stay around, but what are you building on? Why are men so interested in getting the cookie first, and then if the cookie is good they want to see how the person is. That’s a lil backwards to me. I mean if the girl gets pregnant or gives you a disease well how happy are you going to be about either of those situations??

Now I’m not going to sit here and bash the whole generation like my dating life is their problem, I have some faults too, but add that to a generation that’s not willing to commit and well you have a seriously doomed situation. To combat that situation, because let’s be honest no one wants to be single forever, I’ve began to date myself. I take myself out and do things by myself, how are you ever going to know who you are and what you like if you don’t actually spent time with yourself? You have to be able to love yourself before you can love someone else. Some naturally love themselves others have to work at it. You have to be patient and perfectly ok with being alone until someone comes along deserving of your time. People may say I’m lame or how sad is she sitting at the bar by herself, but at least I’m not begging for a man’s attention or whoring for attention because I can’t fathom being alone. Maybe if people stopped worrying what others thought we would be a much heathier generation.
tumblr_mr95owJICm1s7pipjo1_500

Dating Outside Your Race

colorless loveRecently I ran into a brother of a girl I had to fill in on a play for, real sweet real intellectual guy. However, at the table my friends and I were discussing dating older people vs. dating younger people. Me, myself personally I have only dated older men. I have found more stability, more understanding, and more of the qualities I’m attracted to in older men than in younger or my age. My friend, however, has found that she seeks comfort in younger men. Our young waiter asked what our convo was and I told him.

He then went on to ask how old was the oldest gut I’ve dated. The oldest man I have dated was at the time 35. He inquired why I ended and I told him because he saw now problem with using the N* word. Our waiter then, began to suggest that I needed financial stability or that I had daddy issues when I told him I didn’t see color when I dated someone.

To understand why I don’t see the color issue you would have to understand that I grew up in a predomently white school and I also was raised with the morals that reached beyond color. As for daddy issues I would say I have a few, BUT they are being worked on as a result of patching things up with my father. -Any who back to the subject-, what upset me the most is that someone truly thought I was not appreciating the black male and that I was “upgrading” because the black male couldn’t provide what I needed. WRONG!tumblr_miwal6Pjoy1qfpilno1_500

He suggested that I didn’t date black men because I: A. had daddy issues, B. I need money C. that some black male from my past had hurt me. Now this to me sounded like ignorance and every black male couldn’t feel like this…. could they? However, it did bring a question to mind… Are men truly intimidated by the color of other men you have dated?

The young man went on to tell a story about how his sister dated or married (can’t remember) a white man and said that it was the best thing for her to do at that time in her life. Which brought me to my next question. Why do we as a race feel like it’s an upgrade to be with a white man? I know and have seen plenty of men be a downgrade of both colors, it all depends on the MAN! It’s sad to know that in 2015 we all still see the status of someone by the color of his or her skin.

tumblr_lrzew4AN3E1qkomroo2_r1_500

Love is love. I know damn well you don’t love a black male/female any different if its light skin vs. dark skinned, you love them both the same. Why is it any different if they are of a different race? Maybe I’m just a different breed of human. To love someone simply because of what color his or her skin is utterly ridiculous to me and your not truly in love if that’s the main reason you’re with the person. Now being attracted to someone and being in love with someone is completely different. I have been attracted to males who were straight assholes and there was no way I could love them, and I have been in love with males who were lacking on the looks, but their personally was bomb.

At the end of the day, if you are going to love them, love them for who they are, not for what they can offer you or what they look like. You are doing yourself a major disservice and missing out on the best thing life has to offer…. love.  b43d16fa913797ee9d6775f5f87d64c7