My Hair Is Not A Trend

-Image credited Google

-Image credited Google

Before it was trendy, before it became this “new phenomenon” it was and still is, who I am. My natural hair is so much more than a breakthrough in chemically processed and damaged hair. My natural hair is so much more than just a liberating experience from the monotony of long body wave weaves and sleek flat ironed hair. My natural hair is a composition of my life’s journey on redefining the value of spiritual beauty.

For many, the process of becoming natural is new and exciting! There are so many communities that are ready and willing to embrace these newbies.

Having been natural almost my entire life, I can openly admit that being natural was just as apart of me as the pigment of my skin. There was no separation between the texture of my hair and the skin on my bones. We just were. It wasn’t until I underwent two big chops involuntarily that I hit an emotional bottom. I can clearly remember looking at myself in the mirror and feeling so displeased with my reflection. I was no longer a beautiful conventional commercial/print model. I had absolutely no idea how to view myself. I spent three years repairing my thoughts on beauty and my spiritual connection to authentic happiness. It was in this bottom that many young men and women whom had relatable testimonies carried me. I received emails, text messages, and phone calls from people who had walked this journey of finding joy from deep down in an untouchable place called soul. This small community saved me from drowning in the world’s -and my own- ancient perception of beauty. I cannot thank them enough.

Finally, mainstream is recognizing vast ideals of beauty. We no longer have to suffer in front of our television as hundreds of un-relatable characters prance in front of us. Now more than ever, people with stories similar to ours are more accessible. In the midst of this enormous change, it is so important to distinguish evolution from fickle trends. Trends come as quickly as they go. It would be counterproductive to have educated and dissected our transformation in front of so many just to have it floating in the wind two years from now.  In honor of all the young men and women who were isolated and made fun of back in the day’ because their hair swiveled and swirled from their scalp, we owe it to them to enlighten others on how beautiful and self satisfying it is to enjoy one’s authentic being. The journey of becoming natural without ulterior motive is something like a spiritual awakening; it is a remarkable discovery without a destination. When the media is on to the next, I encourage you to stay strong and remember why you started in the first place.

With pure hearts and open mindedness, I am beyond grateful of the times we are living in. May we protect and nurture this evolution to the next.

Enjoy your natural journey!

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Let It Go

Photo Credited Google

Photo Credited Google

Forgiveness…

This word is complicated and for a long time I truly could not comprehend how it was done. Here is my journey on the humility and healing that I have come to acquire through the once powerless phrases of “I apologize” and “I forgive “.

I remember when an apology never satisfied me. Ever. It was thoughtless and inauthentic. I thought people used apologies as a last resort tactic rather than a sincere chance to admit wrongdoing.  Clearly, my expectations for what an apology should mean were let down. Forgiving others never seemed to release me from my feelings of sadness, or disappointment. I had never heard of forgiveness reversing time loss or retracting actions. For me, an apology was just an empty word. When people would mouth an apology around me, I would cringe.

Years went by and I held on to my disbelief in forgiving. I wish I could say that it was one particular event that snapped me into clear thinking but there were too many stints to distinguish which one did me in. What I do know is this. One day I needed to be forgiven. Everything I had depended on it. I had spent years dismissing apologies and here I was begging for a clean slate. Needless to say, my point of view on forgiveness changed.

When I look at being apologetic and forgiving others, I think maybe I would have forgiven more frequently if there were an instant gratification of some sort at the end of it. Maybe if the clouds parted and God reached out and high fived me, maybe, just maybe I would have opted to forgive and ask forgiveness more often.

To say “I’m sorry” or to forgive someone is much like faith; life appears brighter when we surrender to it. Although the true works of being apologetic is unseen, the wholeness of our soul desperately depends on it.  After many years of never allowing people the dignity to admit fault in their actions, I realized that I was denying them their right to be human. I was indirectly saying to them and to myself that I was above flaw. I was perfect. Over time, I have learned that forgiving others, I in turn offer forgiveness to myself for holding on to harm done to me. Listen, from an ex bag lady; believe me when I say, the more you harbor, the deeper you will sink. Forgiveness allows us to be free, light weight, and truly happy.

If you are reading this and still need something more concrete, try this:                      My mentor gave me a precious jewel on how she forgives. I practice it often.

My Mentor:We learn and grow through love and forgiveness. Give people the forgiveness you may need one day. When you feel those old feelings festering in you, pray for that person. Ask God or the Universe to give this particular person everything that you have ever wanted and desired for yourself. Do it everyday for a week, see if you feel any different. You do not have to believe in what you say at first. Just be consistent.”

Sounds simple. Or not. Either way, I encourage you to try to it. Start by apologizing to yourself first. We have all been double crossed and shaded unnecessarily; the worst thing we can do is cause more harm ourselves by holding on to it. No matter what, just wish them well!

Happy Journey!

(Pack light!)

A Father for Lovie

Photo credit Google Images

Photo Credited Google Images

There was heavy and uninvited silence in the house while my younger twin brothers prepared for their middle school graduation. We were all packed like sardines in my mother’s bedroom when my youngest brother turns to us with his first tie undone. Sheepishly, he looks at my mom and says, “ Mom, I can’t tie a tie.”  My mother rushed over to him and quickly made an attractive knot around his neck. I forced a smile to surface while I wished the worst karma possible on my father. It was huge accomplishment for my brothers that day; yet there we were; all of us stuck with the painful reminder that we were still children from a fatherless home.

I have long made peace with my life without a father. My brothers on the other hand, are men in the making; they will have a slightly different path. Women, who are raising boys alone, understand this confusing and frustrating quest. At times, it can seem like a language barrier limiting a family from loving one another unconditionally. Leaving women like my mother, spent. When my brothers were younger, my mother and I would double team as authoritative figures. We would try to help close any spaces we could find. However, she and I were almost always left drained; having long lost hope on how to replace a missing male figure.

We know many women just like us. We watch and hear their cry everyday. Like the mother who scrambles around town placing her son in every masculine activity she can afford. She works two and three jobs to pay for his uniform and schooling; her son as a result, loses a mother to late night shifts as well as an already absent father.

It is much greater than a financial gap in a single parent home. It is the decisions that a mother will make out of desperation to avoid what she fears her children will lack. Like, the mother who mother dives head first into religion. She clings to every “decent” man she finds in the chapel hoping he will guide both her and her son to a more substantial way of living. Or the home with a revolving door; a single mother pushes every man she dates into role-playing the responsibility of being a husband and a father. I have many male friends who have shared personal testimonies on rape and molestation with this as their starting point.

It is the damp pillows that will lay thick and heavy in each room; or the seething bitterness that will rise ceiling high without warning. Such a consequence to pay, especially when all a mother ever wanted was a father for her son.

*To my brothers, you are worthy. May God continue to bless your journey*

It’s Summertime with the New BrVelle Candle Collection by BRE

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Hi everyone, I am here to Introduce BrVelle, a luxury custom candle collection uniquely created with fresh scents and eye catching decorations in mind. Indulge in the Summer with our Southern Sweets and Neon Fruits.

Visit BrVelle.com to see our Summer Collection. Please shop around and Exhale with BrVelle.

The Lies Women Tell and Believe

Photo Credited to Google Images

Photo Credited to Google Images

How many women do you know will compromise what they really want for the sake of being in a relationship? I know too many. I too, can raise my hand and say, “I was once and sometimes still am that woman.” But, at what point do we go for what we want? If you are reading this and drawing blank, here are some pretty common examples of the lengths many women will go in attempt to attract and sustain love:

“The Home-girl”- This woman is always hanging out with the fellas. She pretends to be a die-hard sports fanatic when truthfully; she is just getting by on the basics. She is also the woman who shoots other women down while around men. She vows never to befriend females; she doesn’t like or trust them. Men think of her as one of the guys; secretly, she’s flattered by this attention. This woman believes that she is too “cool” for the emotional and petty disagreements other women provoke. What she does not realize is her distain for women exposes exactly how she feels about herself. This female’s earnestness to be appreciated by men is transparent to everyone in close contact of her. She is the only one who seems oblivious of her actions.

The Greatest Asset”- She works enthusiastically to be the most seductive and passionate of his many lovers. She wants to exceed his fantasies and expectations so that he will never desire any other woman. This woman thinks sex will change a man’s character. He assures this woman that it is because he cares for her he keeps her hidden. And she believes him. This woman convinces herself that sharing her body with someone without the responsibility of commitment is enticing. It makes her feel free and in control of her sexuality. But deep down, she yearns for more.

The BFF” – She listens to all of his sexual conquests. She consoles him when he is vulnerable. She allows him into her bedroom when he is in need of affection. This woman watches time and again as he chooses every fleeting attraction over her loyalty. This woman is a doormat. She has not found the courage to be direct and straightforward. She believes that her loyalty will someday be rewarded. The reciprocity she has bargained to wait for absorbs her opportunity to ever meet someone. This girl is not only wasting her time, she is wasting her love.

I have been all of these women at one time or another. All of these traits are a distraction from finding ourselves.  I had no clue who I was. I was constantly grabbing and snatching pieces from everyone else’s happiness hoping it would spark a flame to help me find my own.

Over the years, here’s what I’ve Earned: You can be as giving and as nice as you choose but your IDENTITY, JOY and DREAMS are not up for negotiation. Period. If your dream is to one day get married, do not settle with anyone who is apprehensive about long-term commitment. If your goal is to travel the world, find someone who is open to adventure. If you are anxious to start a family, dating someone who hates children probably wont get you far. You CANNOT change people! Altering who you are will only limit you, not them. A partnership is designed to enhance us never to hinder. At what point do we go for what we want? The answer is TODAY.

*Cues Karyn White- Superwoman*

Happy Journey!!!

Brown Like Me

Photo Credited by Google Images

Photo Credited by Google Images

                As I assume most of us were last night, I sat Indian style in front of my television screen. I nodded my head and wiped my tears for an hour and a half, while I related to the stories that unfolded during Oprah’s documentary “Dark Girls”.  First let me start by saying how grateful I am of The OWN network for releasing such a raw wound for the world to recognize; not just as a cultural issue, but also as a global infestation of destructive and fatal thinking. These women were so courageous and disposed to share their pain with us viewers. I commend them. As an African American woman, I sat in front of my Television and let their pain resonate with me. I willingly took on the embarrassment of her being nickname, “Tar Baby”. I embraced her as she shared wanting bathe in bleach. I listened as we expressed why we loathed not only ourselves but also the culture we were born into. I bawled for us. Let this cycle come to an end.

        When I begin modeling, I noticed the distasteful separation between browner tones and lighter complexions. In castings, there were distinct descriptions of what the clients were looking for. I remember one job that turned me down because the owner refused to use browner tone African Americans. His reasoning was, he believed that brown complexions devalued brands and constricted them to only urban markets. He’s an African American business owner. I found myself believing that my talent would always be viewed a second class when a lighter skinned woman was near by. Secretly, I feared and envied lighter women because I believed that in my field of work, lighter women were more acceptable and profitable.

I have never dislike my complexion or my culture; it was the stigma that hovered over me because of it that I hated. I hated that people presumed they knew how I would respond to certain situations based on my skin tone. I hated being the affirmative action booking rather than a talented choice. I hated that my natural hair needed to be straightened at certain events if I was to even think being seen as dignified. I hated feeling like I could not or should not be proud of my brown skin and my big bushy curls without someone somewhere dissecting and demoralizing it.

It is this old thinking that confines African American women to press our hair, hide our bodies or even bleach our skin. We believe we must do these things not from our own organic choice but so that we may feel we stand a chance in society without dire repercussions. We are constantly taught that whom we are is a distraction to the world’s contorted idea of beauty and intellect. However, we are so much more than the stereotypical boundaries that are set on beauty. We are powerful and limitless the moment we smile.

Today, I do not allow the quality of my life and the depth of my joy to be determined by the color of my skin. As an African American woman I accept the profound lineage that my complexion has descended from; so much so, that today I cannot and will not allow the tone of my skin to ever be compromised or dehumanized. It’s MY skin and I wouldn’t want to live in anyone else’s but my own.

– Enoy every shade of your journey!

New Money

Pictured credited Google Images

Pictured credited Google Images

One of the biggest mistakes many career goers make is allowing ego to exceed his or her talent and potential. We see it all the time in the entertainment industry. An artist on his or her first album has already declared “No one has worked as hard as him or her” or “No one can top what he or she has created…” and so on.  As soon as I hear this monologue, I cringed. This is usually a pretty good inclination that he or she has become infected with the self-indulgent ego monster; subsequently, it’s also usually the beginning of a pitfall for this person’s career.  Egotism. Having pride is healthy, but ego is something totally different. Ego is a mask for a much greater emotion. It guards deeper feeling that many of us are too embarrassed to admit we have like: fear and insecurity. Instead, what we project is arrogance.

After my stint on a reality show, I quickly began a professional modeling career. I was so afraid of making mistakes. I was even more afraid of asking for help. So, I would pretend to know everything. I would fake being comfortable in castings or photoshoots. I would almost always reply to any question with “I know, I know…” I had become incredibly arrogant and passive aggressive externally but on the inside I was fearful that someone would call my bluff. I was so nervous that people would see how green I really was. For me, being unknowledgeable in the career I was pursuing was unacceptable and humiliating. Even if I had to fake it, I refused to let anyone see how much I didn’t know. It reminded me of standing in front of panel of judges who critiqued everything about me. I remember standing there every week hoping to hear that I was “good enough” to stick around. I would do anything to be seen as good enough. Unbeknownst to me, it seemed history had repeated itself. Even after the show, I was still going to great lengths to appear “good enough.”

My ego was my self-defense; it defended my vulnerability and nativity. But ego is such a double-edged sword. That same defense mechanism landed me in the hot seat plenty of days. I lost jobs because of my “defense”. I was replaced for scheduled appearances because of my “defense”. I was astonished! I learned a very expensive lesson about humbleness. It takes courage to ask for help. It takes humility to deflate an ego and accept that we are all workers amongst many. Maturity isn’t so much about being the most educated or most talented as much as it is acknowledging your truth. We owe it to ourselves to be clear and honest at all times. The point is none of us are really as “great” as we gloat about. We are not awful as we secretly tell ourselves either. Most importantly, we are not alone. Regardless what thought, emotion or action we will embark on, someone somewhere has been there first. So kill the ego and ask for help.

-Enjoy the journey

HeatWave

photo-9

It has been almost two years since my “Big Chop”. Wow! Times flies!  This will be the first time I am growing my hair back without applying any hairstyles that require heat. I have noticed that without blow drying, hot combing or flat ironing, my hair has kept its vibrant curl pattern and is 100x healthier. Usually, midway through the growing out process, I get anxious or bored subsequently, straightening my hair. Immediately my curls are loose and lifeless. This time around, I am working really really hard to stay on course. My goal is to let my hair grow heat free for the next few years. The challenge will be explaining to casting directors and clients that I am heat free. Fingers crossed they’ll be open to the idea. Wish me luck!

Xoxo,

Natural Beauty Problems

The Fatherless celebrate Father’s Day

IMG_6408For years, I harbored so much bitterness towards people who had proactive loving fathers in their lives. It was like this grotesque blob of resentment sitting in the pit of my stomach; especially on Father’s Day. What an awful holiday for those who have absent fathers. It can really feel like a slow torturous event. The commercials and banners and discounts (Ugh! I always miss the discount).  In attempt to negate these feelings, every year I would send my mother  Father’s Day cards or balloons, flowers etc. It was the whole       “My-mother-was-my-father-growing-up” routine. Mixed with feelings of gratitude and sympathy for my mom, I would say, “Hey mom, you rock” but indirectly I was saying, “I hate that he ditched us.” And then there was that one-year when I listed all of my accomplishments hoping that it added up to my birth years. That was my way of saying to myself, “I did all of these things without you Dad, so there!” Looking back,  I know I was just searching for a way of saying to my father that he broke my heart. I was trying my hardest to pretend as if he never existed at all; even if the world wanted to make a national reminder of him.

Evidently, none of these remedies cure wounds. They may numb them, but they don’t heal them. So this year I decided to do something different-almost impossible. I decided to celebrate my father on Father’s day. This year, I am going to acknowledge that although my father has not been present in my life since I was 14, I do actually have one. I am going to celebrate him because in all honestly, he is a father. Good or bad, he created a life that has the audacity to share, love and grow.  To me, that is worthy of praise.

I forgive my father for not being the parent I still truly believe I deserve. I also forgive my father for neglecting my two handsome younger brothers who amaze with their strength and charm every day. Sometimes, I think it is a blessing that my father was absent in our lives. It has vividly shown us the type of character we would like to practice and display. We have learned through his actions, the importance of integrity. So this year, my healing will begin by choosing not to be a slave to other people’s mistakes or negligence;but to accept these people as humans and celebrate them anyway. I decided that this year, I would wish my father well on his journey. I hope that he finds love and compassion while he continues to grow into himself. I congratulate my father on the one thing he perfected, that is, giving birth to life and I am so grateful that he did.