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In A Nutshell

That Time I Lost My Hair and Emerged A Queen On The Other Side.

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Approx. 3 min read

Some truths are easier to accept than others. Then there are those we’d rather keep wrapped up or tied up- (like my hair)….

For a large portion of my existence, my hair has been loc’d. And despite the notion that locs can be freeform and acceptable at the same time, back then, I guess a part of me didn’t want to appear ‘messy’ or ‘unkept’ by the world’s standards. So, I’d tighten my hair at every sighting of new growth. Then, I’d pull the strands into tight ponytails so they wouldn’t get into my face, or in the way of others.

Soon enough the constant pulling at my tender scalp made way for my hairline to do a  disappearing act that would eventually take years to recover from. Quickly, headwraps became my go-to. I loved how regal they looked, and most importantly I was happy that it could cover up what I deemed as the ‘ugliest part of me’. 

Traction alopecia – that’s what I was experiencing. At the time I didn’t have the language for it nor an ally, so, I beat up on myself constantly. When it became more noticeable, I began wearing my locs out so it would cover the patches. I tried countless black hair dyes , hair growth products and so on and so on, but nothing seemed to work, nor did it change the way I felt or how I saw myself. I hated my hair!

Online, I would see all these braided and short hairstyles that I secretly wished I could try. But with my hair complications I convinced myself that it wasn’t possible and that  I would forever be a ‘headtie girl’.

Then, as if things couldn’t get any worse, the very locs that I hid behind had to be cut due to chemical damage. Sigh!

It took a while to come to terms with my new reality. And at first, tying my bald head was manageable. I wore hats/head ties and I carried on with life as usual. But sure enough my hair started growing into this thick afro and concealing it became a bit challenging. 

For days at a time I wouldn’t want to leave the house. I began obsessing over what to do with my hair. I decided on loc extensions because that was my comfort zone. But after having tried that, deep down inside, I felt like a coward. I was running from exploring other options with my hair. I was limiting myself because of fear.

I found out about House of Malkia and I saw all these braided styles that fascinated me. I recall messaging her page and explaining my dilemma. I reluctantly made the appointment and in no time at all, I was in her chair unwrapping my head tie.

I can’t begin to explain how nerve-racking that moment was for me, but I can tell you that at no point in time did the hairstylist make me feel uncomfortable. She treated my head like a crown. Not only doing a protective style, but using her own scalp and growth oil products to treat it. And over the next few months I explored several braided styles. Here I was having healthy fun with my hair! Me? Imagine that. 

Out of these new experiences with my hair I can say that I’ve learnt to embrace all of it. There is nothing to be ashamed about. And believe it or not, so many others are experiencing or have experienced the same hair issues. My hair tells the story of a journey that I am proud of – A journey of pursuit, of challenge and of triumph.

I wear my crown with pride. So whether it’s my afro, a braided style, a head tie or locs, I am no longer hiding, but holding my head high, for I am a ‘Malkia’ – a ‘Queen’, as expressed in Swahili. 

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In A Nutshell

‘Sis’ is Tired! I am Sis. Who are You? It’s Time to Fix That.

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Approx. 2 min read

Sometimes in this beautiful process of healing and growth, we may think that we’ve overcome a particular challenge, learnt all the lessons and are ready for the next level. Then, life may come along and test us to see if we’ve truly evolved, or if more work is needed.  

Honestly, in that moment we may feel so defeated, but please know that that’s only a feeling.           For some time now, I’ve been doing the work on myself, spending that quality time with myself, doing therapy, speaking kindly to myself, looking in the mirror and liking what I see , ending situations with people and things that no longer serve me, pushing toward my goals and all of that, so I figured that I was well on my way to “perfecting” this self-love thing. Right?

Truth is, self love isn’t a course that you complete and graduate from. It’s a living breathing thing. It’s an everyday thing. It isn’t always pretty. It requires work and forgiveness and holding yourself accountable for shortcomings and errors; But also giving yourself grace and second chances to do better. 

Loving yourself also means taking care of you. Not just the external ‘you’ that dresses up and goes out, but the ‘you’ that juggles emotions, decisions and has to focus on so many things at the same time. The ‘you’ that has to deal with loss, death and disappointment.  The ‘you’ that needs rest, that requires peace of mind and simply an ease up at times.

I thought I was “handling” all these things well. But the truth is I’ve been frustrated, tired and drained. Not only by the uncertainty of the times we’re in due to the pandemic, but also by the overwhelming pressure from social media, the continuous loss of loved ones and so much more. I’ve been feeling like I’m not hitting the targets I set out to accomplish daily, but then it hit me! I realized that it wasn’t because I was demotivated or because I was procrastinating – It was simply because, ‘sis is tired!’

It’s crazy to think that all this time I’ve been running on an empty tank , falsely believing that I didn’t need to take a break, telling everyone else that they should, but not giving myself permission to pause. So from next week I am hitting the snooze button on life for a bit and scheduling much needed time to spend with loved ones, but also ample amounts of rest and self care.

First up on the list is a spa day. And what better way to ‘spa on a budget’ than with Cheveu Beauty Secret. They have these compact gift boxes with just the right products to take care of yourself from head to toe-hair products, facial masks, a wonderful detox mask for your feet and much more. I’m so looking forward to pampering myself with this package from the comfort of my home. I deserve this ‘me time’ and so do you.

Have a safe and enjoyable Christmas and remember to take time to rest because there is only one you!

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In A Nutshell

Did Your Mom Give You The ‘Outside Clothes’ Talk Too?

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Approx. 2 min read

If you were raised in a household like mine, with a mother who had slight OCD tendencies, then you would be familiar with the phrase, “don’t sit on the bed with your outside clothes!”

In fact, anytime you’d visit someone’s home, much to their confusion, you’d raise the sheet/chair covering before sitting or sit on the edge of the seat or mattress. Am I right? No? Just me? Okay…

Needless to say, I’m familiar with having to sanitise my hands, change my clothes after returning from ‘outside,’ but, it’s never been mandatory up until now.

When the pandemic first surfaced , we were told of all the ways we could protect ourselves from being infected. I just had not considered how this change would impact our lifestyle. Gone are the days of coming home and being greeted at the front door with hugs and conversations with loved ones, or going straight to the kitchen after a long day of work to get a head start on preparing dinner. No. The welcome home greeting mat has now been replaced with a sanitization station. And there are Covid protocols governing how we operate on the “inside” of our homes. 

At the very notice of a sniffle or the faintest cough, an onslaught of questions arise and the rest of the household slightly distances itself, as a precautionary measure. This feeling of helplessness, which stems from the fear of getting the virus, is daunting to say the least. 

Not being able to embrace, touch or move as we’ve been used to, is strange, and I’m not sure how long this ‘coldness’ may have to last, but one thing I do know is that we cannot allow ourselves to become emotionally disconnected, as much as this time calls for social distancing. For this particular reason, I’m super grateful for the team at Zee’s Cleaning Supplies. To be honest, they’ve made this process a lot easier to handle. Among their wide range of household cleaning products, the team offers the ultimate Sanitization combo. This package has everything you need to sanitize your living/work space on a daily basis at an affordable price. Plus, you can order online and have it delivered straight to you.

With this level of convenience, I get back time, which I can spend at home with loved ones while ensuring that we continue to maintain the cleanliness needed to combat this virus. 

Check out their offers so you can continue to check in with your loved ones.

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