Self Care, Self Check

As crazy and uncomfortable as “life” has been lately, the sun continues to shine, the birds continue to sing, the flowers continue to bloom, rain continues to fall and the world continues to turn.

The seemingly growing ever present concern for the safety and livelihood of my family has been riding shotgun while the responsibility to take better care of my whole self took a back seat. I am feeling the imbalance and it’s time to make the necessary self care adjustments to get back in-balance..

Mentally, I am always on the go. Overactive may be an understatement. There is always a question to answer, a plan to construct, a code to decipher, a problem to solve, and a dream to dream that requires more in depth planning. One way that I calm or gather my thoughts is by journaling, reading, and resting. I have a few books that I’m reading; now would be a great time to finish one. I also registered for a class that I’ve wanted to take but hadn’t made time to.

Socially, I’m forced to set new boundaries to minimize exposure to COVID19 and to maintain my sanity. People are showing true colors, masks are being removed, sheep clothing coming off and my heart and mind are too valuable to entertain fictitious interest, concern or emotions. I am craving some adult interaction, after months and months of quarentining and minimizing outings but I won’t complain because that may be a blessing in disguise. I enjoying writing and receiving letters in the mail so I have found myself sending letters, cards and care packages more, to stay connected. I have met and had conversations with people in my neighborhood since we’ve been home and outside of our houses more. Some of us have formed a support system to help each other in times of need. We share stories, concerns, ideas, supplies, time and fresh produce. With all that’s going on, that has been a nice reality to embrace.

Showing love to support black businesses is another social self care component. Mind Your Money Mondays have been uplifting to our tribe and empowering. I hope everyone is paying it forward. I wear my Support Black Colleges apparel with pride, I nourish my skin and lips with Urban Elite Beauty’s 24K serum and lip balm. I moisturize with Base Butter at night and purify my sacred space with smudge bundles from Gypsy Yoga Mama and meditate with energy infused Melanated Empath candles burning nearby. I hope everyone is paying it forward.

Spatially, I spend time in my garden planting, cultivating, propogating, pruning and harvesting. Inside of the house, I’ve been rearranging, sorting and organizing so I may be more productive and efficient.

Emotionally, being creative and sharing with the intentionality of improving someone’s day, outlook, quality of life, self-image or over all well being feeds my soul. I have been creating Ancestrally Waisted waist beads for all of those reasons. The energetically charged functional pieces of art allow me to be generous with my abilities to help and heal.

Spiritually, I have continued to pray and meditate, strengthening my relationship with myself and the Most High. This month I will focus on journaling more and yoga at least 3 times a week.

Physically, I have been making more of an effort than I ever have before to strengthen and tone this body that may look amazing for its age, but is not getting any younger. Nor is commiting to an excercise routine getting any easier.

Two months ago I began to workout regularly in the comfort of my home. I do not workout. I repeat, I do not work out but I wanted my children and I to stay active and to do more things together as a family. Well that didn’t happen like I hoped it would. May and June I managed to work out 4 days a week for 2-3 weeks (each month). Last month I didn’t work out at all. I do yoga sometimes, in spurts, but lately I haven’t. I’ve been feeling sluggish, bloated, and have been having frequent headaches and some body aches (back, shoulder, hips and knees).

Nutritionally, I’m going to eat cleaner, juice more, eat more raw meals (uncooked fruit, vegetables, sprouts) and increase my daily water intake. I am planning to cleanse my digestive system (along with my thoughts, my words) at the beginning of September. In preparation, I am starting, in August, to gradually eliminate toxins, undesirable and unhealthy elements from my life. I don’t want to send my body into shock by suddenly altering how I feed it.

As I analyze my eating habits I can’t overlook the fact that I do not drink enough water. I have to correct that and I may need your help. I like to infuse my water with cucumbers, lemon and mint. I would love to see what you add to your water (if anything).

I know I am not the only one who doesn’t drink enough water. Wouldn’t it be dope to encourage one another to hydrate adequately. I’m anxious to see what will change and/or improve if I fill up on an essential life force. Please join us August 3-31, for a 28 day water challenge.

How many ounces of water is the “right” amount to drink each day?

Your body weight divided by 2;

A 140 pound person would need to drink 70 ounces of water. This is only an approximate calculation. Keep in mind, if you’re physically active, sweating a lot, you may need to drink more water. This is how I am determining my daily intake. I have heard 8 glasses of water a day as a baseline and I have also seen a recommendation of 91 oz for women, 125 oz for men. Decide what is right for you and set your challenge goal.

Why is water important?

Maintain body temperatureTransports nutrients
Metabolize body fatAids in digestion (saliva)
Lubricates and cushions organsFacilitates cellular function
Removal of toxins/Transports wasteImproves skin and scalp function
Boosts immunityMaintain healthy nerve endings
Feeds hair rootHydrates hair follicles

Water Challenge

I will post pictures on my personal IG @TruthIzBeauty to remind and motivate others to drink “enough” water. It would be nice if those who participate post encouraging pictures or infusion suggestions with #TH2O and tag @thumpinthought and @truthizbeauty or send the pics, to ThumpInThought@gmail.com (#TH20 in subject).

Send us a message so we can see whose with us. Let’s discover what we can drink into existance!

Thump out!

             

             

Hair Journal: Searching for Simplicity

Over the last 8 weeks, I have been experimenting with different hair product and product lines. I am one who prefers not to put things in or on her hair, if I can help it. I have noticed that this miniature afro of mine is not very happy if I don’t. It cries, “Feed Me”, “I’m drying out over here”, “Just don’t touch me”. Finding reliable, go to products can be a challenge. More often than not, I seem to pick and choose one or two products but, finding an entire line I can trust…I’m determined. (Due to my dedication to supporting black owned businesses, I will only be reviewing those product lines that are).

Here we go:

May 21 – Pattern by Tracee Ellis Ross

I ordered the sample kit. The shampoo and conditioner had a light and subtle scent, cucumbers came to mind. I washed my hair twice and I liked the shampoo because it cleansed my hair but did not strip it so much.

I followed with the heavy conditioner, which was not super thick or heavy and it spread really well throughout my hair. That’s important because you want the product evenly distributed over your entire head. I only needed four quarter size amounts to cover all of my hair. I combed through with a wide tooth comb, added a dime size more conditioner, and covered with a plastic bag for an hour.

After rinsing the conditioner out, my hair was not fuzzy (sometimes my hair has a fuzzy, wispy, cottony outer layer after washing and/or conditioning, depending on what I use).

I parted my hair and applied leave-in, It was a little thicker than the heavy conditioner. I used about the same amount of leave-in as the heavy conditioner.

It wasn’t visibly greasy but the product it self was slightly visible in areas.

After 2 hours, I picked out my hair. It was spongy, juicy, moist, well hydrated full afro, usually not as hydrated without using some curl cream or moisturizer.

+ Not greasy or heavy

+ Easy to use and distribute

– Doesn’t define my curls

Day 2

In the morning, my hair was coated but not greasy to touch. I then added the serum, curls were hydrated and stretched. My hair was very soft feeling for 2 days before I added water to the leave-in conditioner in a spray bottle and used that to two strand twist my hair.

…and the next day

May 30

I used Taliah Waajids’ Curls, Waves, and Naturals: Silk Milk Shampoo, Repair and Restore Masque, The Great Detangler Leave-In conditioner, and Curly Curl Cream.

The shampoo was very nice but, the conditioner didn’t feel that great on. Afterwards, the conditioner left my hair really soft.

The masque didn’t feel that good while I was applying, but my curls were well defined. I used a quarter sized amount of curly curl cream 6 times. I had tight curl definition with the curly curl cream, but my hair wasn’t as soft once dried. My hair dried clear after a hour of air drying.

The next morning, my hair was dry and drawn up. My curls were defined but very tight. I added the leave-in and souffle. It was hydrating and not greasy, but it wasn’t very defining, and I could feel a slight coating on my hair.

Stay tuned to see what brand and products I use next and to see how my hair responds. The journey continues…

Thump out!

M.Y.M.Monday

Melanated Empath Candle Co. and Emporium

*Featured in the Thump in Thought giveaway boxes

https://www.melanatedempath.com/

WHYNOTus 

Some members (IG handles): @whyhnotduce @whynothauch @whynotneen @whynotflee @whynotgotti

WHYNOTus is a group of young innovators from Virginia. Their mission is to help their brand grow and to push the mentality of people to ask WHY can’t they be the next (superstar/doctor/model/artist/professional athlete, etc.) 

They have people in their group who have a strong passion for making clothes, music, designing logos, promoting, etc. 

Motivational words for you: You can literally do whatever you want to do in life. Continue to grind and nothing in life is guaranteed to you. Figure out what success truly means to you besides the riches and fame. 

Apparel available : https://whynotusva.bigcartel.com/category/tees

Phone: 804-467-2042

Instagram: @whynotusva 

Toffi Streetwear Clothing 

*WHYNOTNeen and WHYNOTFlee

In 2017, WHYNOTNeen began graphic designing for fun and ended up teaching himself how to make logos and cover art from YouTube videos. He end up creating the original teddy bear logo, but it was WHYNOTFlee that gave him the name, “Toffi.” At that point, there was no meaning behind that name, but it sounded dope and different so they decided to us it. 

Now that the brand has expanded, they decided to add meaning behind it, as originally they just wanted to wear clothing that they like. They weren’t planning on it being a big brand. 

That why they came up with:

(T)o

(O)ur

(F)riends &

(F)amily

(!)

They wanted to provide their own streetwear brand to their friends and family which has eventually extended to everyone (the Toffi family). 

Website: https://whynotusva.bigcartel.com/category/toffi-streetwear-clothing

Instagram: @tofficlothing 

The Wait is Over

I am proud and pleased to present to you, for the first time ever, my new line of Ancestrally Waisted waistbeads…

TENDAJI

These first 6 pieces were inspired by African Orishas: Elegua, Yemaya and Oshun, respectively.

Elegua

The Elegua design was influenced largely by the current racial injustices, political inequities, and many who have suffered and are suffering. This grounding string of waist beads can aid in strengthening your Root chakra, focusing energy into positive forces, opening the channel to divine love. The dualistic nature of the color pattern represents opposing forces of forgiveness, Garnet stones lend kindness and compassion to self love and self worth. Black Onyx are added to enhance inner strength, will power and discipline, as well as help to calm nervousness, ease anxiety and soothe tempers.

Yemaya

Yemaya waist beads are intended to protect energies by preventing others from tapping into and draining yours. The color and number pattern variation of beads represent nurturing and loving yet direct and frank energies needed to effectively remove obstacles and protect all things female. Ideal for rites of passage into womanhood and motherhood. The ocean is symbolized by the Sodalite beads. Sodalite heightens intuition, observation, creativity and mental ability. It also aids with stress and anxiety reduction, Labrodorite offers a portal into self discovery by activating your inner eye. Strength and unity can be drawn from these strands that hold together the interconnectedness of creation.

Oshun                            

Oshun beads represent mental clarity and intellect in matters of love, relationships, prosperity, wealth, and health. Reminding you to live life like it’s golden leaving a blaze of transformative, energy that illuminates from your strong core of confidence. Tiger’s eye stimulates the root, sacral, and solar plexus chakras; assisting with the remaining grounded, centered and balanced, no matter the conditions…internal or external. African Green Jasper aids to balance the Earthly world, spiritual wisdom and the sacred interaction of life in and with nature. It also is recognized for properties that help one heal and release obsessions and disease, drive away evil spirits and harmful thoughts and restore harmony and balance to your emotional body energy, making it an excellent sleep stone.

Please contact me to discuss these waist beads or any other waist beads that you may be interested in learning more about, or ordering. I love tailoring them for specific wants and needs as much as I enjoy connecting with you and creating what feels right. Your options are limitless when it comes to design, color, stones, intention and purpose.

Look for Ancestrally Waisted beads on Thump In Thought and Instagram until further notice. Prices range from $15-$30, depending on the types of beads and number of gemstones included. I am currently working to offer online purchasing options but for the time being you may message me here @thumpinthought, on my personal IG, instagram.com/truthizbeauty/ and instagram.com/AncestrallyWaisted/.

If you haven’t already, check out my Ancestrally Waisted (HEAL) post from July 2.

Thump Out!

Ancestrally Waisted

How many of you know what culturally based practice displays symbolic colors, patterns, and adornments to commemorate rights of passage, to promote fertility and track pregnancy, to signify birth, to display sensuality, to identify tribes, to acknowledge status and affluence, to empower, to protect, to uplift, to enlighten, to honor, to connect…

…Waist beads

As you can see, I am pretty petite, slim and narrow. I have a shape but I was aerodynamically blessed with minimal curves. However, if I turn to the side, you will see that I’ve had 4 children, the last by cesarean. My stomach is stretch-marked, wrinkled and rounded but when I tied my first strand of waist beads around my torso and let them fall to my hips I immediately felt more shapely, womanly, sexy and confident.

All that from some beads? Well, not just any beads. Let me take you back a bit. For my bearthday I decided that I wanted to make myself a set of waist beads. In true Thump fashion, I began to read and research. Much of what I found, I already had knowledge of so I went on to gather the right beads and other materials. I was ready to create…then I received a call informing me that my GrandmaMece was in the hospital and it didn’t sound good. I went to the hospital to find out exactly what had happened and to be with her. For those of you who don’t know, I took care of my grandmother for years once she was exhibiting signs of dementia. We also shared space often throughout my life, point being I would not leave her by herself. I spent 10 days in the hospital with her and one day at my father’s house before she took her last breath on this Earth. One of the hardest but most meaningful things I’ve ever done.

After that I needed to make my waist beads more than ever. It was therapeutic and restorative. When I pay attention and listen, spirit leads me to do what I need to at that time. Evidently it was time to connect my ancestors with myself and to share my wisdom and skills with my tribe. I made some for my daughters, friends and clients.

On July 5, 2018, I tied on 5 waist beads. July 7, I tied on 3 more and shortly after that, I tied on 2 more. I wore them for just about a year (a few days shy). During that time, I formed a different relationship with myself. I was learning to protect, ground, center, comfort, forgive, love, respect, adore, honor, uplift and celebrate ME.

All that from sacred waist beads.

Today I am proud to announce that I have been working diligently on a new line of waist beads inspired by the African Orishas. The first 3 are Elegua, Yemaya and Oshun. I intentionally incorporated powerful stones, colors, numerology, chakras and holistic healing.

My waist beads are designed to be tied, as our ancestors did. You can wear them however, whenever and wherever. I do believe that the beads come off when the time is right. That may mean they pop or you remove them. Each strand is made to order with individual concerns, issues, desires and aspirations in mind. I also cleanse, charge and bless each strand before sending/giving them to you.

I will debut my new line on July 10, 2020, on Instagram so be on the look out for an announcement. If you’re as excited as I am and can’t wait that long, you can place your order by direct message through the Thump In Thought Instagram page (@thumpinthought) or by email ThumpInThought@gmail.com. Please put “waist beads” for the subject and be sure to include contact info so we can discuss your wants and needs. I look forward to assisting you. Continue to be blessed and a blessing.

Thump out!

Mind Your Money

The thoughts that I have been having lately all center around how to make this world better…mainly for my children, their children and so on.

The one thing I’d like to mention, in addition to praying for continued change and meditating on positive progress, is minding our money. Withholding money from businesses that are not black owned, that don’t support the movement toward equity, that are part of the big problem picture.

I don’t want to hear “my dollar won’t make a difference”, or “I had to buy it…it was on sale…I had a coupon”, “where do you expect me to eat”…are we in crisis or nah?

Are we concerned for our lives or the lives of our children, siblings, parents, loved ones? Do we want conditions to improve or are we content with statues being forcefully removed an Juneteenth being declared a holiday? Are we tired of discrimination or are you pleased enough with a few officers being charged for some form of wrong doing?

Understand that we are not expected to ban together for a financial boycott. The black community has proven to spend money more quickly and save less. The economy banks on that.

We must organize the conscious refusal to buy products from a certain companies and/or country if need be. We must sacrifice for the greater good and be creative. Now would be a good time to borrow that cup of sugar from your neighbor or relative, instead of running to Walmart. If you must buy, only buy the necessity not the extra that you don’t need. If you are aware of the large scale companies that support racism or benefit from racial inequities, definitely stay out of them.

I am not saying starve your family. I’m not saying there won’t be emergency situations when you may have to spend money. I acknowledge the shortage of black owned businesses and scarcity of black manufactured products but we can do this. Make it your business to find out where your money goes. Save more, invest more, educate more.

I commit to doing what I can. I have been keeping my money out of the before mentioned establishments. I pray that the spirits of those who boycotted the Montgomery, Alabama bus system guide us to victory. For a whole year they did what they had to do in order to stand up for their rights and protest segregation. Sacrifice, determination, will power, resilience and perseverance is what has been passed onto us by way of our ancestors. Mind your money, make them smile, and be prepared to do it whenever we need to. One day is not going win the war but every bit puts us a little closer…to freedom.

July 7, 2020 will be the next Blackout Day.

One day (7/7/20), solidarity, don’t spend one cent,

Anyone who is fighting on the side of equality and justice please stand with us. The more money withheld the better.

If you have or know of a black owned and/or operated business or product please share their information with Thump In Thought. We will be showcasing them during the month of July.

Be safe, be smart and be strong. Thump out!

When it All Falls Down

Tuesday, June 16, I visited the Robert E. Lee monument in Richmond, VA. I’ve never, in my 40 something years of living in Virginia, intentionally gone to see it.

So why now?

I wanted to capture, in time, all of the graffiti representing the scream of people who have had more than enough injustice, inequality, inhumane treatment, ignorance, oppression, hatred and pain. I needed to not only see it or touch it but be a part of it. History is being made. We are making history. The statue is coming down after 130 years…

So why now?

It’s almost as if, people didn’t know what they stood for and officials didn’t care how we felt about them. Well they can never say that again. All of a sudden this 12 ton, 21 foot symbol of white supremacy, along with 3 other confederate statues located on Monument Avenue, are coming down. The statue in my pictures is the largest and seemingly the most difficult to take down both physically and legally. I won’t get into the reasons they are using to delay the removal because it doesn’t matter. It should no longer be there. It will come down one way or another. If the city doesn’t do it the people will. Just like they did the statues of William Carter Wickham (June 6), Christopher Columbus (June 9), Jefferson Davis (June 10), and the Richmond Howitzers (June 16).

We are tired and intolerant. We are prideful and powerful. We are roaring and rising, defending and fighting for what we deserve, we demand. and must all lend a hand to the momentum of the movement.

If you’re wondering how you can do that, here are some suggestions:

  1. Learn what your rights are so you may be well informed when exercising them…all of them. Look into the Constitution and it’s amendments.
  2. Be conscious about where your money goes. Support black owned businesses and restaurants.
  3. Make ongoing donations to organizations for program funding, legal battles, and related expenses. Every little bit helps.
  4. Sign petitions (online), send letters, emails, texts, and make phone calls.
  5. Make a statement without saying a word by wearing supportive gear (shirts, hats, bags, pins, shoes…be creative). Your apparel may be the only message they see. (“they” refers to people who “don’t ever see the news, social media, listen to the radio, or aren’t concerned with what affects and oppresses black people).
  6. Support local events by monetary donations, advertisement, attendance, and participation,
  7. Help educate, register and motivate voters.

This evening, I will be praying for the speedy removal of that and any other symbol in the USA reminding us of how things were, why things still are and how resistant some are to let us live in our greatness, peace and harmony. Feel you at 10:00.

Thump out!!!

What I Want

Today is a very special day for me because on this day I made my Earthly debut. I know I am not alone, there are a few others, Tupac being the most significant to my life. Anyway, I have been celebrating me and I thinking of what gift would be the greatest, this year at this time.

I am appreciative of all that I have and hopeful for all that’s to come. If I had one wish, or two since I’m Gemini by nature, it would be for any type of racism be demolished and justice be served, in relation to racist acts (individual, systemic, structural, institutional, hidden, blatant).

So, for my bearthday and the rest of this month, I would like you to 1) join me in focusing and collecting energy for . 2) Encourage as many people as you can to do the same. 3)Be a part of positive progression and not a part of the problem.

Take a knee, a moment of silence, honor and say the names of those who’ve lost their lives in the struggle (past and present), think of how or what you can change, think of justice, pray for strength, pray for peace, pray for compassion, pray for humanity, pray for peace, sing (“Better Days are Coming”, “How Many More Times”, “I Told the Storm”, “Encourage Yourself”…some of my favorites), dance, cry, chant, light a candle, burn some sage…whatever you can and feel…7:00 AM and 10:00 PM. Does that mean I won’t be praying any other times…no. My goal is to collectively pool our energies for change. I’m powerful alone, imagine the difference we can make together.

Give thanks to those who have been with me thus far. I feel the work we’ve been putting in. It matters not your religion or spirituality. We are united in the human race.

We can come together wherever we are…

…garden, car, home, work,

…bathroom, kitchen, candle light vigil, park

…be the light, be a warrior, be wise and be love.

Thump out!

Homemade Hair Aides

Now that I am building a new hairelationship, I am finding myself experimenting more and more. The trial and error process can be fun and exciting, but it may also be disappointing and overwhelming. Wearing Sisterlocks meant that I only needed shampoos and conditioning agents, nothing else. My conditioners were herbal rinses that sometimes included 4-10 drops of essential oils. I rarely used cream conditioners and I never used hot oils treatments. I would, however, combine oils to put on my scalp and hair prior to washing it (the night before or at least 4 hours before). My new hair goals are to clean, nourish, condition, moisturize and only apply products 1-2 times a week. I have decided to document hair regimens and share in hopes that I will assist others in their natural hair journey.

4/20

Shampooed with Love and Happiness Coconut and Jasmine followed by Carols Daughter Black Vanilla shampoo. (I generally shampoo my hair at least twice)

Applied homemade conditioner – one overly ripe avocado, 1.5 tablespoon mayonnaise (I’ll use 2 next time), 1.5 tbsp honey (use 1 next time and add 1-2 tbsp oil next time)

*I did not have any disposable shower caps so I wrapped with cling wrap and covered with grocery bag for 10 hours

Rinsed out, no shampoo, followed by rice water (sprayed on)

The avocado turns a brown color, don’t be alarmed.

Rice water was made by soaking rice in water for over a 22 hour period, sparayed on, sealed with cling wrap for 1.5 hours

Rinsed hair and sprayed herbal leave in rinse (herbs – nettle, sage, coltsfoot, horsetail; oils – olive oil, sunflower oil, coconut oil, glycerine, roman chamomile (e.o.), lavender (e.o.) and lemon(e.o.))

4/21

Sprayed the herbal spray leave in rinse

Made cream based moisturizer/curl definer – shea butter (a little less than ½ cup), glycerin (1 tsp, use more next time), my mixture of coconut oil, sunflower oil, olive oil, dried chamomile and lavender, oils of lavender, lemon, rosemary, (I also added 1 drop of jasmine, 4-5 bergamot, lemon grass 2-3; I’ll add tea tree, more lavender and rosemary next time), and fresh aloe from plant.

4/22

Sprayed herbal conditioner and then applied moisturizing cream that I made.

I am noticing my hair has not drawn up as much as it would normally have. Now my hair is starting to curl up and spiral. It is well moisturized but greasy. This would be great for hair that quickly absorbs oils and moisturizers.

I was very happy with the results, minus the greasiness. I recorded my part of the “Don’t Rush Challenge” video a week after and as you could see, my hair was still lustrous and my twist out was gourgeous.

Stay tuned all week for more product reviews!!!

Thump out!

My Hairitage

I love my hair, with all of its kinks, coils, and curls. Every strand made by me and my ancestors. I can’t remember if I always felt that way. Though my curiosity and fearlessness can explain my desire to experiment and explore everything my hair was capable of, I’m sure some of my hair styling options were influenced by family, friends, foes, society, television and magazines. I remember one Thanksgiving a friend of the family asked “What made you do that?”, referring to my new baby locs (1998). I said something like “I just felt like it”. She replied with “You were so pretty”. I knew then that I would wear my hair like that forever, lol. Why would being comfortable with and proud of what I was blessed with make me any less beautiful than before? Not to mention the fact that I was no longer putting harmful substances in my body through my scalp by trying to chemically alter the structure of my hair repetitively.

I use my hair as a form of self-expression. Always have. From rocking a fro, cornrows, beads, balls, bows and barrettes, to braids, bangs, ponytails, and asymmetric cuts. I can do as much or as little to it as I want.

Let’s take a trip down memory lane…

Baby Thump and her baby hair. Besides what I can see in pictures, I don’t have a recollection of anything my mother, grandmother’s or aunts did to or with my hair. My O’ma has shared with me, on more than one occasion, that I had the prettiest hair until my mother messed it up; “she was always messing with your hair”.

The first memory I have of my hair being done is from when I was 4 or 5. I remember being so I excited to get my hair pressed and curled. I loved the sound of hair grease sizzling and the curling irons being put into their mini ovens (don’t forget, I was 4). Being burned a few times didn’t scar me enough to dislike it until I was about 10 or 11 but my ears, forehead and nape never forgot. As soon as I was old enough, I told my O’ma that I wanted a “curl”, Wave Nouveau to be exact. And guess what I learned…that had the ability to burn my scalp also. I wore the curl from 4th grade to the 7th grade and I think the drip became more trouble than it was worth. By this time, I was ready for a permanent relaxer, and that shit burned too. A burn so deep that it made me not be able to control my body. I couldn’t sit still long enough, I had an urgent sensation to urinate, although it never relieved the pain.  Going to the bathroom would buy me another 2 minutes…every second counted. It didn’t take long for me to realize perms weren’t for me. I enjoyed the shop culture but as I got older, I did not want to spend all day in the beauty salon when I could be doing other things. I still have that same philosophy today. I was not the teenager who always had her hair died, fried or laid to the side. Special occasions were just enough. That’s more than likely when I became more serious about taking care of my hair myself.

I stopped perming my hair when I found out I was pregnant with my first child. I wanted to only put things in and on my body that would benefit the development of my growing child. I continued to commit to a more natural and intimate relationship with my hair. I became more and more comfortable wearing my hair without altering it. I wasn’t even coloring it. I became the example that i wish I’d had growing up. Natural, to me, meant no chemicals.

and no conforming. I soon started my first set of locs (traditional) and never turned back. It’s been 23 years.

Natural began to mean, no chemicals or alterations. Natural was what I was. A decade later, I cut those locs off only to install Sisterlocks, and 11 years down the road I am back to my hair, the way it was born…in an afro.

My parents

Both of my parents had beautiful, bountiful fros. When I look at photographs I am in awe. Comparing the civil rights and black lives matter movements, we are afflicted with another version of the systemic racism and cultural oppression; 1970’s to 2020, my whole life.

Once upon a time, when African Kings and queens ruled their land freely, hair was spiritual and an energetic life force. Hair styles were reflective of religion, class, rights of passage, tribal affiliation, social status, skill and even fertility. Hair was worn with purpose; a purpose that slavery attempted to slaughter. Hair was the one thing that was still ours, still a source of pride and joy, still strong and demanding attention. According to the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database, between 1525 and 1866, an estimated 12.5 million Africans were dragged, beaten, and stolen from their native land to be abused into not remembering, believing, or speaking the truth. That we are great, that we are ingenious, that we are brilliant, that we are resilient, that we possess powers specific to our people.

Many changes to our hair care rituals were direct results of self-care restrictions. That was done in order to try and break spirits and inject hatred. That evolved into using our hair to set unfair standards in regard to education, employment, and humanity.

*Pictured above (L) my paternal grandmother and my great-aunt; (R) my maternal grandmother and my great-aunt. Pictured below my mother and three of my aunts.

Our hair should be an extension of OUR minds, bodies, thoughts, and actions; not an extension of someone else’s ideologies or interpretations projected onto us. Our hair is regal and defies laws of nature. Onlookers can hardly wait to see what we’ll do with it next, knowing they will be confused as to how we got it to do that and perplexed by the versatility it possesses. Sooooooo many textures and shape variations.

So often, we inherit our ideas and feelings towards hair; how it should be kept, what’s acceptable and appropriate. I wanted to pass on a feeling of confidence and the idea that you don’t have to change who you are for anyone or anything. I wanted to foster self respect and individuality. My youngest daughter and I watched Natural Hair The Movie, together last weekend. At some point, halfway through, she turned to me and thanked me for never perming her hair. I don’t think she’d ever considered the health benefits until hearing it discussed on the documentary. Neither of my daughters have ever had relaxers applied to their hair. I feel great about that. They have a sense of self worth and satisfaction with themselves, as they are, that a lot of people don’t have, their entire lives.

As you can see, I am not my hair but my hair is definitely me, and my mom, and her mom, and hers. I am proud of my crown and I treat it accordingly. I am patient, lenient, nurturing, and careful with it. It can be elastic or brittle, unruly or tamed, impressionable or impressive, lustrous or, juicy or dry, wild or calm.

I love my hair, and my hairitage!

Thump out!