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.
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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