Hairy Communion

Milton and I had a great weekend together, mainly because we were able to spend quality time together. I still hate that he has to run around so much doing errands for the both of us but he says one reason he got married is to be the provider and protector.

I was hoping to have some sense of normalcy while in the hospital and today some of those things happened.  It started with a phone call from Chenica.  Chenica is my AMAZING hair stylist that I’ve had for several years.  Many of my friends now go to her also.  I knew doing my hair everyday was not something that I could maintain, especially with my hair being pressed flat against a pillow. I reached out to her to see if she could help and on Monday afternoon she stopped by.  I washed and conditioned it.  Then she blowdried it and put it back in twists.  The nurse and cleaning lady (both African American) came in while she was doing it and commented on how much hair I have.  Although my hair probably looked very wild while she was blowdrying it, the finished product has made life easier.

Around the same time, Lucinda, the rector at my church, St. Matthews Episcopal, came to visit.  She brought not only conversation, but communion.  I had been down that I would be missing Palm Sunday and Easter, so I loved that communion could be brought to me. My church has a very special place in my heart.  My mother and I faithfully attended every Sunday and many yearly traditions that I look forward to each year are based in that church.  Although my mother has passed away, it’s been great to now share those experiences with Milton!

New Growth

New Growth

Mar 11-3I am a proud member of the Ponytail Nation.  Morning, noon or night you can see me rocking a ponytail.  I’ve been trying to grow out my relaxer since June of last year and it definitely has not been an easy experience.

I thought I was insane when I decided to start the process at the same time as working in the fitness industry full-time.  They seemed counterproductive.  However, it has been a blessing in disguise.  When you’re in sweats all day, people don’t expect you to be made-up and cute.  They don’t care about your hair, they care more about your physique and what you can do to help them.  Nobody skips a beat when your hair is pulled back every day!

I get my hair straightened regularly and boy does it look great when I leave the salon.  However, that look is oh so temporary.  When you teach 10 Zumba classes a week and sweat in each one – it’s pretty much a lost cause.  That’s the awesome thing about being part of the Ponytail Nation.  Brush it (or as much of it as you can), pull it back and you’re good to go.  I can always tell when I’ve had really good workouts because the back of my hair is so nappy and it balls up so tight like it’s holding on for dear life.  As much as I’d like to cut my hair to bob length, I know it wouldn’t work right now because I couldn’t pull it back in a ponytail.  And nobody wants to see a bob with rows and rows of naps that look like Easter eggs all over the White House lawn.

I’m not quite ready to do the “big chop”.  I’m getting closer, but am just not there yet.  We actually almost did it a couple of weeks ago.  However, after further conversation we realized that I wanted long hair for my wedding so the cut has been put on hold again.

Each visit to the salon is a check on the length of the new growth.  You can see by the photo at the top that I’m on my way.  I’ve had some good growth over the past nine months and can definitely see a difference in the natural texture and the relaxed texture.  The more I go through the process, the more I notice the beautiful natural hairstyles of the women in Louisville.  I received a lot of great tips.  I am excited to see how my hair will look when I make that transition.  Time shall tell when locks will drop.


M.Y.  March 2011

Natural Zumba

Natural Zumba?

OCt10-2As you know, I LOVE FITNESS!  I already had my personal training certification but needed to get 20 hours of continuing education over the next two years.  I saw that a Zumba Fitness certification class was coming to Louisville and that I could get 7 hours for that.  I’ve always loved doing Zumba and I needed the hours so it sounded like a win/win situation!

After attending the training I was hooked and equally excited to get more people involved.  Zumba is a  fun way to get in shape.  Tomarcus at APT Fitness in St. Matthews allowed me to use his space for the classes and I get to workout while working out others!

But here’s the thing I forgot to factor in.  Back in June, I either had an epiphany (or mental lapse) that I was going to try to grow out my relaxer.  I’d been on the fence about it for so long.  Since it was my offseason from competing, I figured this would be the best time to try it. If it didn’t work, I could always go back.

Dealing with the changes in my hair were fine, until the weeks leading up to my first Zumba class.  I’d practice at home every night and every night I would work up a sweat.  And with each night I worked up a sweat, another bead would lock up in the back of my hair. Another edge went from straight to not-so-straight to magically appear.  So I had to make a decision.  1) Do the big chop – Not for me since it’d only been 4 months.  2) Pull my hair back in a pony tail every day – Not really for me.  I love a ponytail but don’t think it looks professional at some of my meetings.  3) Get a wig or a weave – this was my last resort but really the only option I felt I currently had in order to stay active.

So I called up Chenica, went out, bought the hair and let the sewing begin.  I will admit, it took me some time to get used to having a full head of “not my hair” but I know it’s only temporary to get me through the process.   I’ll keep you posted on how it goes!

If you’re currently transitioning to a natural hairstyle or already are, I’d love to hear your advice!

M.Y. October 2010

Un Be-weave-able

Un Be-weave-able

May10-2Naturally my hair is somewhat long – about 4-5 inches past my shoulders. But every once in awhile, on special occasions my hair calls for special attention and additional features.  Over time this has come in the form of wigs (those are fun but don’t usually look natural), half wigs (which generally blend in well with my hair) and weaves.

I know the new thing is the lace front wig, but that’s not something I would ever be able to wear.  My skin is very sensitive to any and everything.  I am allergic to latex and even the some bandages will leave marks on my skin.  So, the glue people use on the lace front wigs would leave a permanent scar across my forehead (and you may say it won’t but I’m definitely not trying to find out).

For my competition in March I decided to increase my stage presence and add some length to my hair. Since I would be tumbling, I went with a weave (I’m not trying to have a wig fly into the crowd as I tumble!)   My wonderful stylist Chenica Racine, sewed three tracks in to my hair.  I had long(er) flowing locks in no time at all. And, at first I really enjoy the tracks.  I could do a lot with my hair and it had the body and flow that I usually don’t have.

And then it started to annoy me.  See, I’m used to placing a brush on my head and being able to move straight from the top of my head down to the bottom.  With the tracks, my brush only got half way down and then I felt a bump, bump, bump.  I didn’t want my boyfriend to touch my hair because I knew he’d think I had a deformed head.

The second bothersome thing was perspiration.  I had a great workout on the gym and produced a nice sweat.  Unfortunately my head sweat as well.  And in those creases where the braids were, the sweat just ran inside those plaits and was holding on for dear life.  As much as I wanted to shove a comb up in that area and scratch, I couldn’t.

After about three weeks of the tracks, I was ready for them to be taken out.  I liked the look, but missed the natural feel of my own fingers running all the way through my own hair.  Will I do it again?  Yes (actually in four weeks for my next competition) But will I have the same issue – most likely so.

M.Y. May 2010

Relax Me Baby

Relax Me, Baby!

Aug09-3There is no shame to my game – I have a relaxer.  I admire people that have natural hair styles, but for the amount of time I spend in the gym and training, a relaxer does great things for me.  I generally get one every 6 weeks.

It was a typical six week morning visit as I sat in Chenica’s chair.  She checked my hair and there didn’t look like there was too much new growth (my hair had been flat ironed the visit before).  I agreed and we thought we could just wait another two weeks until my next visit.  I received a roller wrap and was on my way out the door. (I didn’t think twice about the rain that was outside).

The humidity and my hair got in a fight, and the humidity won.  As I pulled up that afternoon to pick my boyfriend up from the airport he said, “Did you just wake up?”  Wow!  That’s kinda crazy.  I instantly grabbed the ponytail holder that I faithfully wear around my wrist and pulled my hair back.

That weekend was okay because I could flat iron or curl my hair.  But, as the days crept on, my hair started to revolt.  At first my hair became more difficult to brush.  I had to start at the ends and gently work my way up – slowly.  It then got to the point where it felt like my hair was shriveled up and grasping my scalp like a leach looking for blood.  I couldn’t comb it.  I couldn’t even put my fingers through it.  It was some thick stuff!  I tried to look for the positive in the situation.  I said a blessing that my hair was finally long enough to be pulled in a ponytail and I proudly sported one for an entire week.

As I sat again in Chenica’s chair I gave her the warning that it was pretty bad.  Not only was my kitchen bad, but the entire house needed to be remodeled.  She only took me half serious until she parted (well tried) my hair down the center.  Although it was really rough, Chenica worked wonders like always.  As she finished, I ran my fingers through my hair and was so glad to feel like my normal self.  Chenica is a wonderful beautician and we continue to watch my hair grow longer and more healthy.

We all have our bad hair days, some are worse than others.  I learned it’s all about doing the best you can with what ya got, until you can do better.

M.Y.  August 2009