At the age of four the song “Chutney Bacchanal” by Trinidad’s Chris Garcia was permeating through the airwaves. I loved that song and the man with ‘the hair’ behind it. (I wanted hair that silky – so long and flowing).
By the age of six, I was travelling frequently with my family to the States. I lived for the excitement associated with visiting a different country – the packing, the airports and the journey. But my highlight back then was interacting with the flight attendants. These slender beauties with well made up faces and long flowing hair. (Oh, the hair!)
Fast forward to the age of seven and my mother began a series of two-strand twists with a semblance too close to her own locs, much to the displeasure of the religious primary school I was attending. Needless to say, after one note too many, she visited the school and that was the last time I saw the building.
By the age of eight, during my playtime, I adorned my crown with t-shirts and modelled my way through our home garden. The plants and flowers would clap as I ripped the gravel runway.
Around age 10, I was of the strong belief that ‘straight’ was better and the bathroom sink saw me every 6 weeks resisting the burning of that ‘pink stuff’ as I battled my way to shoulder-length hair.
On the other side of S.E.A was a sea of girls dressed in uniforms and varying hairstyles. To be mixed meant you were favoured for that “good hair” and I was disqualified from that race a long time ago when my parents met. So braids became a thing.
But at age 12, between the stress of maintaining extensions and power-pointing the importance of keeping up with the latest hair trends to my non-negotiable parents, I opted to join my mother on her loc journey.
For the next 14 years of my life I would fall madly in love with my hair. I’d admit I started locs for all the wrong reasons. But something about those tightly woven strands made me feel powerful. It became my identity and I embraced it fully. I would be known as ras, rasta barbie, loc queen and every other derivation of the word. My locs were me and I – it.
This would all come to a crashing halt at the age of 26 when a dye touch up resulted in weekly hair shedding rituals. I camped in denial for months. Thinning locs that no potion of oil and prayers could save. In a panic I remember reaching out to a loctician and her words echoed throughout my body, “You have to cut it in order to save it”.
Here I was scissors in hand as the blonde boulders tumbled down in my near Sampson moment. I would have given anything at that point to return to the moment right before that last dye appointment. The irony of dye literally killing my hair. Somewhere in there was a life lesson that I would learn over the next two years.
I had to sit with myself, sit beside myself , sit and face myself in the mirror and grow to accept, like, then love what I saw looking back at me. This did not come easy and on top of that, I had to figure out what to do with my hair!
So many options, and I had no clue where to begin. Unsure of what could work and what couldn’t, I stumbled upon ‘Hub for Natural Hair.’
This subscription based gift box was a way for me to test out different hair products monthly. I’ve had so much fun with this new journey of growth. And I think having the opportunity to be guided in this way helped boost my confidence. So whether I’m rocking my afro, a twist out or curls – my identity , my strength doesn’t come from the style I choose, but from me. And as the song says , ‘I am not my hair , I am not this skin but I am the soul that lives within’.
Cut Yourself Some Slack! Remember, It’s Not a Sprint.
Whew. November has been a year! I don’t know how to begin unpacking all the things that’ve taken place. Between the number of times I’ve had to type “R.IP.”or “condolences”, the amount of Covid-19 cases rising globally and other disappointments here and there – I’m going to need December to give us an ease up, please and thanks.
It’s been tough and equally mentally exhausting. For me, at times I’ve been feeling stuck, like I’m not doing enough, not achieving enough or not pushing as hard as I should be. It’s frustrating to say the least, especially when you look on social media and others appear to be doing big things and moving forward in life.
From time to time, my mind goes to that place of negative self-talk as I begin to compare myself to others and the unrealistic standards set by ‘society’. But I’ve had to remind myself that this life isn’t a sprint nor a marathon – it’s a journey and on this journey there are many paths to follow. Everyone’s path is different. Everyone’s speed/progress is different. It doesn’t make anyone more special than the other. It just means, we’re all unique.
Believe it or not, everyone is dealing with some sort of challenge or issue and trying their very best to push through it. Honestly, there are days when I complete all the tasks on my to-do list and then there are those days where getting out of bed is the biggest achievement. Sometimes when you’re in that zone the simples, everyday task can seem like the most difficult thing to do.
If you’ve felt like this or you’re presently feeling this way, please know, it’s okay. Take a breath and release some of that pressure. You’re human and you’re allowed to feel drained, tired or even demotivated. So cut yourself some slack because we all feel this way at some point.
In those moments what helps me the most is reminding myself of all things that I have been able to accomplish thus far. This allows me to see that I have made some sort of progress along the way. It also helps me be kinder with myself so that I don’t judge ‘me’ too harshly for feeling the way that I do.
Another thing that really works for me is doing activities that relax my body and put my mind at ease. Don’t call me weird but I love the smell of vanilla 😂…. Something about that scent calms me. I find peace in those little things, like scented candles or drinking a cup of freshly brewed coffee or tea. Taking these intentional moments to pause, I get to destress, recharge and refocus for all that I have to do next.
Recently, I found myself in desperate need of these sacred moments. So, I contacted the folks at Boxed Kreations on Instagram, and explained my dilemma. I told them some of the items that I really like and I later received a beautifully wrapped package with coffee, scented candles, chocolates and body lotion! Much to my delight every item they selected was either in the flavour or scent of vanilla!
Needless to say, break time has never smelt so good! Cut yourself some slack and call ’em up for that special fix that’ll sooth and restore you! We all deserve it.
Fight For Your Fairytale. And This Is Why!
Love is not a drill.
I grew up in church hearing accounts of a love that never failed. A love that took on the blame of others and made a way for them to be saved – A love that surrendered and conquered all.
In my personal life I felt that to love someone meant to work hard to please them. Make them comfortable at all times , become all that they needed, avoid conflict with them, never anger them, aways ensure that they were happy…. So, that’s exactly what I had set out to do in this world.
But, as you can imagine, I was utterly disappointed by the harsh realities of life. I failed on every account. And no matter how hard I tried or how committed I was to ‘making things work’ – I never found the ‘love’ that I was searching for.
You see, love isn’t one dimensional. It’s not this or that – it’s everything. And between the burning and learning, the heartbreaks and the ups and downs, I eventually acknowledged that I was ‘doing it wrong’. This fairytale-type idea of love that I had wasn’t ideal, or was it?
I was neglecting myself. Scrap that. I didn’t know myself. I didn’t love myself. I didn’t even know what love was. Yet, I was desperately searching for something that I knew nothing about.
I was kind, patient and committed to being the best thing everyone ever had except it was a facade. I wasn’t kind to myself. I wasn’t patient with myself, nor was I committed to being the best version of myself for me.
It took being alone, with nothing but my thoughts to begin this process of self-discovery and love. Every bit of love that I had ever given out so freely I had to call back to myself. Imagine always being around someone you disliked. Well, that’s how I felt about myself. Sad, right?
Repairing that broken image of myself in my mind took a lot of intentional work and rebuilding that relationship I had with myself took a long time. It really wasn’t easy. But, in order to live a fulfilling life it was necessary for me to do.
I started with baby steps. Learning to say kind words to myself, looking in the mirror daily and giving myself a compliment, allowed room for growth. Spending time alone and getting to know me, doing therapy- all in all, it was a lengthy undertaking and I’m still learning and growing, but I’m 100% not where I used to be and for that I am grateful.
Nowadays, I know myself and my worth. My time, my love, my energy, my loyalty is precious and I choose very carefully what or who I invest in and/or align myself with. I didn’t come this far to settle nor am I compromising my standards for anyone or anything. I do not negotiate when it comes to my peace of mind. I will block, delete or walk away from anything that no longer serves me. I deserve the best. Even when things don’t go according to plan or disappointments come, I know that I’m working towards a greater purpose for my life and everything will move into place as I continue to push through and progress.
Within the process of learning me, I set goals and have a vision for my life. I know my purpose and I want my fairytale! My happily ever after where I achieve all of my goals and fulfil my destiny, with or without ‘Prince Charming’.
So yes, I want my cake and I want to eat it too…once it comes from Sweet Surrender TT though. Their pies, cupcakes, cakesicles, cakepops, cookies and more are to live for! Those delicious goodies can be the best pick-me-ups, desserts, treats or anything you want them to be. With mouth-watering flavours like Cappuccino, Baileys, Ponche de Creme, Blueberry, Caramel chocolate, Milk Chocolate, Red Velvet… Need I say more?
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