Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Lessons I've learned from my afro

In 2009, Chris Rock unknowingly started a revolution.  With his movie "Good Hair," he brought to the big screen an issue that women of color had privately struggled with for decades: the infamous hair saga (myth) of good vs.evil. For those of you that do not know, many Black women have been condemned throughout their lives for having naturally curly, coily, or kinky hair. This idea easily dates back to the Atlantic slave trade and the beginning of the myth of black inferiority.  Because the European influence lends little to the maintenance of Black hair, Black women began to use chemical processes in an effort to silken their tresses. Relaxers relaxed the natural curl, making the hair easier to manage while providing a more European (good hair) look. While it sounds like a win, win, the underlying issue was that in the process, "the process" became the norm and generations of young women lost both self-esteem and knowledge of their kinky heritage.  Chris Rock emphasized his desire to make the movie after his daughter expressed disdain for her own kinky hair and a desire for "good hair."

One year ago, I decided to transition from relaxed to natural hair.  I was curious to see what curly gift God had given me under all the chemicals.  I had not seen my natural hair since I was a child.  Even then, my only memory was my mama popping me in the top of my head with a "hot comb" every time I flinched while she straightened my thick hair.   I was tired of itchy scalp, over-priced styles that lasted 12 hours (until  I went to bed) and my all time favorite quote: "It's damaged, so it's better to just cut it off and start over."  Once I saw other sisters out there with the same struggle,  I was no longer afraid to embrace my nappy.  I wanted to share that with you my sister friends and give my Caucasian loves an FYI.  I have learned a lot from this journey.  I wanted to share a few of them with you:

    1. I is beautiful.  Okay, I learned that from a movie, but I couldn't resist. Ha!  For many years, Black women have been misled into believing that silky straight hair personifies beauty and warrants acceptance.   I believe that to be a slap in the face of  my Creator. God made everything beautiful. The sinful nature of man corrupted God's plan. I adore seeing God's greatness as it pertains to man.  The vast array of  shapes, sizes, colors, gifts and talents of God's people reminds me of His love daily.  I embrace who He has created me to be.  Forever the "smart" girl, I get my "pretty girl rock" when I need to! (wink)

2.  Don't believe the hype and jump on the "back to Africa" bandwagon. The natural journey is a revolving door. I've seen die hard naturals get relaxed, colored and cut by sunset!! It's kinda like selling Amway. We've secretly been to the meeting, some will be committed, others won't. But we've all thought about it! It's all about what works for you at that particular time in your life.  Even the natural sisters can't agree on what "natural" is!  Some of the discussions I've heard on my natural journey:  Can you be natural and use products that contain chemicals?  Or should you only use "natural juices and berries?"  Should you NEVER straighten again? Or can you perpetrate a relaxer with a press n curl? The answer: YES TO  ALL OF THE ABOVE!  There are no rules when it comes to hair.  I wore the same wrap for 20 years.  I've probably had 20 different stylists do it 20 different ways.  I've had foam, setting lotion, saran wrap, rollers, caps, cotton, blow dryers, flat irons, marcels, etc, etc. etc. all to wind up in the same place; straight hair with a slight bend on the ends.  It's all hype! Every stylist has her own technique and specialty. I control my own (hair) destiny.

3. It is what it is.  It's hair. It grows, sheds, shrinks, stretches, darkens, grays, frizzes and falls.  Your friends will like it on Monday and hate it on Tuesday. It is guaranteed to inspire someone else's cut and color as well as their avoidance of the same. Be thankful for what God gave you. Work with it.  If you jack it up, weave it or wig it and keep it moving.  We've all been there.

4. The white people are confused!  I have a small group of Caucasian sisters that have supported me on this journey.  They have the inside scoop and have been very supportive, yet mesmerized by the change in my coif.  But I get tickled at acquaintances that no longer recognize me because of my "70's throwback!!"  I love watching their bewildered eyes bounce back and forth from my 'fro to my face. The old schoolers hate it, but my peers seem to move on after the initial shock. I appreciate the love. You live and learn. It's okay y'all...it's just hair.

Being razed......

Thursday, July 28, 2011

5 reasons (NOT) to attend your high school reunion

I have spent the past year working with a team of classmates planning our high school reunion.  But as reality sets in, exhaustion  takes toll,  and the date approaches, I have become overwhelmed with anxiety. I was tempted to think about all the excuses I could make NOT to show up.  Never mind the fact that I've promised to host 150 of the coolest classmates and spouses on the planet, or spent a ludicrous amount of money on stupid orange shoes that hurt my feet. I am still dreading the whole emotional roller coaster of it all.  Why? I LOVED high school!   I can offer you a plethora of excuses, but in an effort to remain transparent , I'll just give you the lame shallow ones that ran through my mind.

Friday, February 11, 2011

5 reasons not to bother your Pastor's wife

1.  She ain't the Pastor!!  Stop calling her asking her to make decisions concerning money, the church vision, and counseling.  That's her husband's job.  You didn't elect her, ordain her, nor approve her, so stop bothering her!

2.  You don't really like her anyway, so stop pretending to be her friend. We ALL know that her husband is most likely not the candidate you voted for, or who the Lord "spoke" to you, so you started out mad at him in the first place.  She was just a bonus victim.  Stop planning to take her to bogus lunches and girlfriend events.  Just say "hi" and "bye" and move on. 

3.You always need a good travel agent.  What Pastor's wife doesn't like to travel, host girly events, or bring you great entertainment....at rock bottom prices!!  It's cheaper to keep her!

4. YOUR jealousy is not HER problem. Her fabulosity is God-given. She can't help that she is syrupy sweet, well groomed and well versed.  God has blessed her.  Try to view it as an asset to you and your church.  Perfection is hard to achieve. Just be grateful you have that caliber woman in your presence. 

5.  You need her!  Don't burn your bridges.  That woman may be the only lifeline you have. She can go to the Pastor and in desperate times...to God.  Make no mistake about it, your Pastor's wife knows the Lord.  Don't let that smile and that designer bag fool you.  She's been on those knees interceding for you!! So be nice.

Hey, I'm just saying

It's how I was razed....

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The day I became a woman (hair drama, part 1)

You would think that after birthing 5 babies, owning a business, starting a ministry, and "pastoring" a church, I would have considered myself an adult.  But it wasn't until that fateful day in an upscale salon in Georgia that I would truly graduate into womanhood.

You see, my story begins in the early 80's with a Jheri curl.  It was my first fashionable hairstyle.  In a effort to keep up with the latest trend, I found myself subject to my stylist's opinion and expertise.  On that day, I lost myself.  For years to come the loss would only get worse. I was controlled by stylists, trends, and processes that left my tresses in an unruly rut.

I have had every cut and style from pixie to micro.  I've had colors that didn't "take," and waited 12 hours for extensions.  I've had relaxer left in my hair and shampoo saturating my blouse.  I've been tricked into "new" locations (all questionable, one even a crime scene) and driven across state lines all at the mercy of the lady with the barbicide.  My reward...at best, a dry itchy scalp with breakage and the same "wiggy" layered cut for years to come.

So imagine my exuberance when I thought I had found the "one."  She was a beautiful lady in my age range.  She worked in an upscale salon and had a track record for her timeliness. She helped me bring my hair back to a healthy state after it was over processed, and I never had to redo my "do." We had a 3 year client/stylist relationship. So when I decided to take a breather from chemicals, I went in for a haircut.  This stylist was my friend, so I trusted her completely with my healthy hair.  She is the only one who had ever cut my hair (in GA.)  Her expertise was the reason for my decision.

That fateful day I went in, we had great conversation.  We talked about the kids, the weather, and the economy.  She was her cheery cute self, and I was my quiet, melancholy usual.  She finished and asked me for $70.  I thought it was $55, but maybe with the economy and all.... She didn't offer me the mirror, but she was backed up and all...... I paid her, TIPPED her, trusted her, and left. A quick glance at my "Rhianna" cuteness and I was off to run errands for the rest of the day. 

When I got home to show off my hair to my crew my nonchalant husband requested my usual 360 degree twirl then asked,  "Is that a new style that I don't know about?" This is the horror I saw:


My girl had jacked me up!!  And with a smile on her face!  THIS my friends is when I became a woman!  I did not cuss, I did not cry, I did not confront.  Instead, I strengthened myself in the Lord just as David did in Ziklag  after he had no more strength to cry (1 Sam. 30:6).  I was done.  I was finished being subject to substandard stylists with delusions of grandeur and excessive bills to pay. I was done being ruled by the latest salon trends and Hollywood hairstyles.  I had completed the course of having hair like the girl in the magazine or on the stage.  I was no longer my hair. My stylist was no longer my god. My trust was in God, even in  this. 
 I have no animosity towards my former stylist.  We all have bad days.  She taught me a lesson that day... I'm the boss of me. And she was NOT my friend.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Everybody's got a little bit of crazy in 'em

It takes my husband longer to dry off after a shower than it does for him to actually take the shower. He has to have EVERY drop of water on his body dried before he steps out. 

My sister doesn't eat meat off a bone.

I have to be the first to get some banana pudding because I hate when it starts to darken.  My fried fish has to be less than 3 minutes old, or I won't eat it. And I don't eat at restaurants with poor landscaping or chipped paint. 

Have you ever wondered why people have such odd habits and idiosyncrasies? Why are they so quirky?  It's simple. Everybody has a little bit of crazy in 'em.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Why I don't wear "cute" clothes to church (anymore)

Once upon a time I would rock a tailored suit and the latest heels in a heartbeat.  Pearls have always been my gem of choice, and a soft wrapped coiffure would complete my conservative classy style.  My husband wore the basic black suit with an ensemble of ties, and my kids dressed from the Sears catalog.  We had "church clothes" down to a science.  Until....

Friday, January 28, 2011

Why I don't do church potluck (anymore)

Simple.  Everybody cain't cook!!!  I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings, but it's true.  You're my favorite Sunday School teacher, but nobody REALLY likes your pineapple cheese ball thingy!!  I'm just saying....

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

OMG, did you learn anything I taught you?

For JT~

As a Christian parent doing her best to raise great kids, I often find myself wondering if anything I've taught has actually been learned!  All the prayers, bible studies, classes, and books seem to fade into the distance as disrespect, rebellion, and slothfulness subtly creeps in.  Where are my perfect children?  Have they learned anything? Well friends, the answer is yes.  In my years of experience, there are some lessons that yield a quick return on investment.  You don't have to write your memoirs to see God's faithfulness. He will give you a glimpse.....

Monday, January 17, 2011

Are you out of your mind?

This post is by special guest James Moore.  James is the Co-Founder and President of Beyond Words Ministries,Inc., a character and leadership development program serving students in the middle Georgia, middle Tennessee, and Houston, TX. areas. 

Are you out of your mind? What were you thinking?  Are you all there? These are the questions that are asked when a person does not respond or speak in their natural state of mind or  everyday language. Unfortunately, our natural state of mind is that of selfish thoughts, "it's all about me and not you," and "I've got mine now you go get yours." Of course this mindset is compliments of Adam and Eve(Genesis 3:6). 

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Okay, I Admit It. I'm a Praise and Worship Snob.

It's not really my fault.  I have just always had good music at church. That's why it pains me to see great ministries trade good praise and worship for a mini concert with bells and whistles. Don't get me wrong,  I was a praise and worship leader at a small church for about "5 minutes." I empathize with those of you who have to earnestly seek God for weekly direction, coordinate with the sermon series, have back up songs in case Jesus "shows up," and to have to do it all with an "I'm not worthy" attitude, a rock 'n roll guitarist, half witted drummer, and a sweet, but squeaky soprano!

Friday, January 14, 2011

"Uh, mom, that's a little harsh. You should be more like Jerry's mom." "Boy! Shut up and wash them dishes!!"

Apparently, when you raise smart kids, they eventually get a mind of their own and use all that you have taught them against you.  Such it was with my teenage son, Doc. He remembered all the times I have asked him to be polite and respectful to everyone, never judge someone based on the opinions of others, and NEVER hurt a friend's feelings.  So imagine my chagrin when he slowly began to hold all of that goodness and love against me in the case of "Jerry's mom."

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

It Takes a Village (idiot) to Raise a Teenager

I have always taken a lot of pride in raising my children.  I haven't worked full-time in 17 years in an effort to give them all the attention they needed, teach them and train them in the ways of the Lord, and provide a healthy stable environment.  As a result, they all read at an early age, were A honor roll students, recited the Westminster catechism with ease and would pray for your salvation at the drop of a dime. I had achieved ultimate parenting perfection.  It was a matter of time before I would take over the world!!  As my evil plan to achieve world domination continued, I made sure my children didn't mix with your B level student, form a relationship with your wayward child, or be seen in public acting "unsavory." 

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The BFF...yeah right

Best friends are overrated.  My entire life I've been on an exhausting roller coaster ride pursuing relationships with women who misrepresented themselves.  My unmasked bff's range from the girl who slept with my man in high school to the "lifelong" friend that didn't invite me to her wedding.  Really?

Monday, January 3, 2011

Peace be Still

Today God has covered me with his grace in such a sweet way.  Do you remember the scripture where the disciples were in the boat and the storm came? Everyone was shaken up, upset, and very fearful, but Jesus was asleep. The disciples came to Jesus in a panic and he simply said, "peace be still." (Mark 4:35-41)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Getting Dissed by the Church Pt. 1

Being from a small, country town, I was raised with the belief that church membership was like marriage...."only death can do us part."  Especially when your grandaddy built the church with his own hands and your grandaddy in-love was the pastor for over 30 years.  There's essentially no way out!

Getting Dissed by the Church Pt. 2

You see, churches, like people, have individual personalities. What is a priority to some, is not a priority to others.  A no-brainer to you, may require deep thought from me.  We learned this the hard way.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

My New Year's Restitution

Well, it's finally here.  The most anticipated day of the year.  January 1.  We slept in today.  I'm glad, because the overwhelming laundry list to change who I am in 2011 is already too overwhelming for me to handle. Where does one begin?