Making My Mark

Don’t worry about Simone. She is going to tell on you, not because she wants justice but only out of pure spite. On this day in the sixth grade, she will tell Miss Jackson, who had left the room, of how you slapped Jory, the boy who seems so blameless to everyone else, in the middle of English class. You will have slapped Jory Martin, occupying a space on his face. Everyone knows that you slapped him, but Simone is the only one unafraid to tell on you when the teacher returns to her desk. Do not let your power scare you or bring you any shame. The cost of detention is well worth it, because this large, bright red hand print on Jory’s fair skinned face is one of the biggest marks you’ve ever left behind.

You will never forget being recommended Jenny Craig and Weightwatchers as a means not only to lose weight but to lose the best parts of yourself too– your joy for life, your passion for art, your ability to bring laughter to anyone. People glare in bewilderment when the gleam of your smile fills a room. They stare as if to ask “If you are your size, how are you so full of joy?” Because you lack maturity and certainty, you let these looks discourage you. Your smile fades and absorbs into your face. While you’d like to forget these moments brought to you by strangers and friends, you won’t. You won’t forget the moments when you realize that joy, for fat people, is sealed off in a highly monitored space that you are not allowed to access. You won’t forget because these cases of stolen joy and zapped confidence are more retrievable than some of the best days of your life.

His skin is flushed unnaturally red and a black or purplish blue welt will probably form, but your skin is a concern, too. Your skin is thin, yes, but don’t you know what you can be? Your fragility puts you at a disadvantage since you can’t handle the true details of your body. It makes you uncomfortable when people call you what you are and point out what you see every morning when you accidentally glance at your reflection. Surely, the truth in their words hurts more than the actual name-calling that batters you, leaving emotional bruises that you feel but cannot see. You will grow out of having such a sensitivity to their words because if you were forced to go around slapping people left and right every time someone calls you a name, you might need an automated slap machine to help you fight all the bad guys.

There are many bad guys.

People will call you by many names, but infrequently by your own. Even your own name they will mispronounce.  You tell them, “it’s Desiree,” but they will say, “Desiray.” You teach them phonics and all about long e sounds in words like tree or bee, but they do not try to learn. They will give your name one or two tries and they settle on misidentifying you because capturing your essence will never be as important to them as it is to you. Throughout your adolescence, starting in your freshman year of high school, you will shorten your name from Desiree to Desi to sound cuter and to make it easier for others to recall. In college you will shrink your nickname Desi to an even shorter nickname, Des, to sound more mature and to sound like you don’t need to be cute. You do this as if you’ve outgrown the anxiety of being a missing person, a Jane Doe to even the closest of those who call you friend, yet do not know the fullness of your name, a name that means wanted and desired. You will try to shrink yourself in other ways, too. You will squeeze yourself into friendships, relationships, and spaces that don’t fit you, whether too big or too small.

Growing pains will have long days and nights with you and it will hurt all over. You will feel emotional twinges in your oversized stomach. You will wake up to a missing thigh gap, and even if you never had one to start with, suddenly you notice based on the current standards of beauty. Instead of a conventional aperture separating your thighs, you have lovey-dovey thighs that enjoy such a fondness for each other. To your offense, they rub together when you walk and meet slightly even when your legs are parted. Shoes cannot contain your oversized feet which are bigger than most other boys’ in your class and the whole length of you aches as the muscles and bones that compose you seem awkwardly strung together by ligaments and tendons that were rudely awakened by puberty. This awkwardness will incite feelings of your presence and words coming off as utterly purposeful mistakes. How can you have confidence while feeling so unsure?

The slender girls at school don’t take into consideration your feelings. Some of them think that you are ugly just because you are fat. Fat and ugly are the same things to them. Simone will tell you that maybe boys would look your way if you weren’t such a pig. She will call you the three letter word, fat, the worst word to you, and at twelve all of this will resonate with you. Though it should feel natural for you to like Kevin, a boy in your 6th grade class, because you are fat you cannot show interest. You shouldn’t look at Kevin. He is a whole foot shorter than you. Simone and Kevin are secretly dating— whatever that means. Despite your raggedy condition of ugliness from her perspective, you cause her to feel threatened, which is amazing because you have yet even to stroke the precipice of your power.

Invisibility is what would get you through all of this grade school conflict without a delay, but it’s too bad for you that invisibility isn’t your skill. Kevin notices you of all people and truly senses a special something in you that is worth befriending.  He sees your pure joy and carefree moments as rainbows in a partly cloudy sky. He sees warmth and the light of Christ in the form of human friendship. How can Kevin like you and Simone at the same time you wonder.  Even though she isn’t all that, she will get to “date” him. They’ll date but only as much as 6th graders with no jobs, no money and no vehicle can. Jealously threatens to consume you, but it won’t. Even if a tiny part of you feels forsaken.

It’s wildly unusual that, despite confirmation of a good bill of health from your family doctor, despite your healthy heart, blood sugar levels and and systolic blood pressure, despite the possession of both high emotional and intelligence quotients, people will allege or even insist that you are completely unhealthy. You will be stunned by the ignorance of others when it comes to your eating habits. That you eat more fruits and vegetables than them. That when you were growing up, your mother didn’t let you eat candy or sugary fruit snacks like other kids you knew. The family elders that whisper to your mom at family gatherings, “What have you been feeding that girl?” You will make out the words and understand and say nothing and that’s okay because even if you could say something, you wouldn’t know what to say. It’s not your job to say something. It’s their job to say nothing.

Today is a concrete moment on your rocky road to confidence. Today is beautiful because of the mark you made. The mark you made causes everyone to see you. Jory is surprised that you finally made a move, and a powerful one at that. He is shocked and embarrassed and he himself is so amazed that you’re not taking any more shit. You will not try to pass this violence off as anyone else’s doing, nor will you want to. All sixteen of your classmates will know that it was all your doing because only your giant hand could leave a slap mark so large. Miss Jackson will not know why you did it. To her and the class it will all seem so erratic and unfounded. The frozen silence proceeding your rising is what marks the isolated slap as an action well worth detention and the subsequent rumors of disillusionment. It’s worth the ensuing spread of the fact that you are the wrong sixth grader to fuck with. They won’t understand, but maybe they would if they could see you every night, if they could see how before going to sleep you faithfully kneel at the foot of your bed and pray to God to make you invisible, or maybe skinny. You barter with your maker that either one would be fine. What if they could comprehend how difficult it is to shrink and not to take up too much space? If only they could carry the weight that is yours in trying to hold it all in, all your emotions wouldn’t boil and rise to the surface just as you rise majestically from your seat in preparation to do something. You don’t yet know what that something. When you pace across the room and see the whites of Jory’s unsuspecting eyes, it clicks for you.

You are fat. And you will be unsurprised to know that years later, you are still fat but you will have lost 50 pounds, which is literally a small person. By your sophomore year of college, you will lose a small person and many inches from your waist, thighs, ankles, neck, and your face will be more defined. You will visit your high school and people will tell you of how good you look and how they barely recognized you because of how “different” you look. You will not feel different, though; in fact, you are going to feel more the same. Looking back, no one will be familiar with the reason for that red palm print on Jory Martin’s face. They won’t discern that it is all because he used a three letter word to describe you. A word that has no negative connotation but because of the world you live in fat feels like needles plucking you and sometimes bricks on your shoulders.

It’s good that you slapped him. Even if you somehow get a chance to relive that day, do everything the same. Talk to your best friend Taylor Walker and tell her that joke that probably was not that funny that makes both of you laugh loud and carefree and reminds everyone in classroom that you exist. Do everything the same. Slap Jory Martin. Slap him harder and when you get in trouble and Miss Jackson tries to make you apologize, tell her that your word is impeccable and you don’t apologize for doing the right thing. Hear me when I say that no one will ever again call you fat, to your face like that without feeling something afterwards. The word fat won’t ever leave any more marks or indications of affect on you than it will on those who say it to you. No one will call you fat as if it is your name again without having to answer for it. You are powerful not because you slapped a boy. You are powerful because you left your mark. You are powerful because invisibility was never the answer and you learned to live by simply allowing yourself to occupy space.

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Epilogue to the Black Woman from the Seasoned Sage

 

 

I’m a sage, so seasoned.

 

I am not leaving silently. The adversary will not duct tape my mouth or cover it with their dirty hand. I will make as much noise in my going as I did when my mother gave way to me, a yellow baby with jaundice, now a brown skinned soul sister sitting with her legs open asking you not to look. Not a lady and never having been inspired to be one I have learned the worth of other people’s opinions by trying to pay a bill or two with them.  I still was in debt. I gather that other people’s opinions of me are worthless.

It feels great to leave here with the legacy of a “carefree black girl” and to witness the brink of a new era for women of color in general. Women are able to just be with their fros and braids and locs and hijabs. Women are taking up space in society now although we still have a far way to go. Nothing has ever been given to us. Everything we have we fought for.

Let me hear you make some noise! I yell in an MC voice. Yes, that’s right speak your mind. Express yourself, not just with your clothes or your body language but with your words. Stop expecting people to read your mind.

I recommend that you stop taking everything personally and to stop accepting assumptions as fact. If you didn’t ask, do you really think you know?

 

If I was born here than that means I was meant to be. My purpose and value are intrinsic and so is yours.

I am a gift to the world that may sound absurdly boastful but I tell you the truth. I came wrapped with brown hair, skin and eyes but I am still a gift. My humility was never coupled by dismissiveness. Hear me today. I have already touched the lives of many and in enduring the walk of my tight rope, I see clearly that by giving hope and lending encouragement to those around me I have come to pour into my own jar when I thought I was sharing. Ha!

I must continuously pour because I am never empty. I never lack. My glass is neither half full nor half empty. My glass is overflowing with love, joy, peace, and goodness. Felicity follows me like my Labrador retriever when I am pinching a meat morsel between my fingers. I must do nothing to get what I get. I only must do good.

When you are good like me, good things, good vibes, follow you.

This is not to say bad things don’t happen too. Plenty of tragedies have taken the stage in my life and in yours too. Depending on your perspective, it may seem that more bad occurs among us than anything else. Yet here I am still here but about to go now. I still reassure you that good is stronger than evil. Love is stronger than hate. Light is stronger than darkness.

I’m a woman, a black woman at that. Why can’t I just be one thing at a time? So many people want me to erase one or the other I cannot. I’m not just a woman and I’m not just black. There lies an intersect that I will not ignore as bad as my men want me to just be black alongside them (or slightly behind them) or as bad as my sisters want me to just be a sister alongside them (or slightly behind them.

Nah. I just ain’t about to do that shit. Not in this life time. Black women have always stood for something and if there ever was a time we didn’t stand for something we were falling for anything. Black women have always done both and done it well until a hater came along and made us hate what we got that is so unique and sacred to us.

 

You my friend, if I may call you that, are a force not an object. You are the actor not the acted upon. You my friend, are a force—a force with which to be reckoned, sometimes weak but on your best days, unmeasurable strong, a force nonetheless.

Africa on Me

 

 

Africa on Me  an essay by Desiree McCray

I woke up freezing on an April morning, wrapped in my fluffy queen-sized comforter. Though the wind cannot blow through walls as it is such a weak force into the structure of my home, I am freezing, shivering in a cold sweat that my body cannot shake. Temperature it’s self is a metaphor and as I am “hot for” heat this April day, what’s going outside, around my body is just as important as what’s transpiring inside my person. Anemia has been rattling my bones, yet today my logic leads me to believe that if I dress for summer on this chilly, windy day, my body in an all-natural predisposition to remain in homeostasis would warm me. Anemia, a condition which ails me  occasionally, in acute form, is caused by an iron deficiency. Some of the symptoms which occur in my body are the feeling of being cold, feeling weak and fatigued. I dressed for sunshine searching for the hottest article of clothing in the organized chaos that is my closet. I search high and low, my wild imagination running from the cold and into a place of sweltering heat, coupled with exponentiating temperatures, up until a certain point only.  My search presses me to move vintage, thrifted, tattered jeans out of the way and I cast my on-the-go mom wardrobe to the side that I might uncover my treasure trove of Africana [1].

 

I pulled out my father’s dashiki[2]. A white triple extra large garment with a gold and earth green decorative pattern, the main pattern on this traditional African attire was the shape of Africa, sideways and tilted, distorting what I might see if I didn’t have an eye for that sort of trickery. A shirt on my father, but a dress on my round but still more slender body, the lightness of its fabric crept up my thick thigh as the wind gusts threated to expose my sensitivity. 

I wore Africa on me, not the image of the Sahara, the desert, with its sand hills, and dryness only moistened by sweat invoked by the sun seemingly touching at the equator of the vastest region. I wore not the safari wild with its zebras, meerkats, lions, and elephants, and bushman in loincloths. No I wear Africa, the whole, broad, generalized continent of which inside somewhere my lineage is rooted but which country particularly, I do not know. Could I recognize home if I were there?

So many blacks of the African Diaspora wish to reconnect with there roots, to discover a latent up-until-now unidentifiable sense of self, and to eradicate the hopelessness that is our fragile identity.

I hope to visit soon.

When I wore my African garment everything around transformed. Every person I encountered had a more palpable human existence, and seeing the darkness in their eyes that stared at my clothing in amazement. I must have seemed a boastful gloat, a patriot of another country, yet born here but foreign. I was an alien as eyes stared at a shape, the physical manifestation of all of our origins according to science, history, and theology. I saw the blackness as depth within their eyes that would not shake even with my returned gleam of a well meaning smile, a slight acknowledgement of their presence as the Wind carried me. The Wind was blowing me into them, my encounter with such a depth was cause for a pause or rather a metaphysical discussion held between my heart and my head. The likes of this discussion I couldn’t explain to you, see my heart and my head speak a tongue that I do not quite know, one which is independent of me. When I realize how I excluded I am from the workings of my mentis[3], a smile as warm as the Egyptian sand between my toes, involuntarily creeps upon my countenance because the Wind’s gust of Columbia, Missouri have the same strength as any wind. even the air waves that would cause turbulence on my international flight if I am to travel to Tanzania this coming summer of 2016, with passport in hand, a hunger for self-discovery, and a homesickness held within my belly. The wind gusts of Missouri have the same strength as the light breezes that move the tiny grains of sand in the present city of Cairo turning fine textured mountainous landscape by way of redistribution into mole hills, quite equitably breaking it all down for us. When I visit Tanzania will these feelings be broken down for me? Will I understand what my mentis is saying to my core[4].

Darkness is often equated with a coolness, a dropping temperature change, which I can make sense out because of the simple fact that light is energy and the light from the sun in a direct hit to earth, let’s say at around noon, will provide us with the most potent thermal energy for that day. The reverse is true for night, as the witching hour takes over the duration of Night changing hands with Day, to give us a rest from the intensity of the day’s heat. So you cannot blame me for thinking of that darkness as coldness.

I wonder how their eyes lock onto my Africana and my locs[5] in my hair that they call dreadful, how the cold glaze of their gaze judges me. I try not to think much of the onlookers who don’t bother to ask me what I’m wearing, or why I’m wearing it because not a single one of them are bold enough to ask and while I would love to use these wind guided encounters as teachable moments none of them seek the knowledge or wisdom of an enlightened soul. See I have a light in my eyes, a warmth to me, outside the anemia that can often shudders me, waking me from my sleep. This light as it shines casts itself on darkness. Where there is light darkness can be no more, in fact, just as cold is not the presence of cold but the absence of heat, so it is with light. If ever there is any darkness, I mustn’t fear it. For darkness knows how to do what it does. I know they might be lost as I was before I realized exactly what it is and was that I am missing—Home in the place of Africa.

 

She is so beautiful.

Her lines and boundaries are marked with a richness and though she has been stripped and raped for centuries on end, she somehow remains fertile, still giving, and reaping a harvest blessed and set apart.

If I were her, I’d be barren taking into account all the abuse and misallocation of her resources which she has faithfully endured. I tell you, she has endured and her children have too. Her children are strong and mighty and when you look at them they are unmistakably hers based on their features: the lulling smoothness of their voices, their hair in all it’s mangled and tangled formations characterized by kinks and curls, emphatic and passionate expression made possible by their lips full and wide, their broad noses enabled to smell the sweet mango she bears, and their Africana whether it be traditional or revise for this era in time.

By her children numbering billions over countless years, who have lived with her and in her and by her, she is the greatest mother, the warmest mother, the hottest mother. The languages she speaks require complex and structured linguistics though she gets no credit for the culture she has orchestrated. Though she loves them, many children see her and do not speak because they do not recall her. Too many of her children do not speak to their siblings and although a sundry of her children can’t even recognize her when she is placed on t-shirts and painting and even dashikis, she still calls quietly for them, for her voice has been silenced to a hushed whisper. Her voice, however, can still be heard if one opens their ears and shuts their eyes.

I hope to visit soon.

 

[1] Usually books, artifacts, and other collectors’ items connected with Africa, in particular southern Africa, but in this instance ritualized clothing

[2] a loose, brightly colored shirt or tunic, originally from West Africa.

[3] Mentis is the Latin word for mind

[4] Core is the Latin word for heart

[5] Locs is what many people of the African Diaspora call dreadlocks. Because we, loc wearers find nothing in our experience or appearance of wearing locs to be dreadful, we choose to call them locs since the hair is simple loc’d, or matted in sections.

 

 

God is God. And God is Good.

Peace and Blessing Kings & Queens,

Des4Pres

Thinking bout locking it down?

Yesterday March 27, 2016 marked 7 weeks since the birth of my starter locs, almost 2 months. This has been a great journey that I told myself I needed to talk about on my blog because I always wanted to get locs but I was always scared of the commitment of them. I also didn’t know how to start and when to start. I had always seen people start their locs the traditional way and I knew that wasn’t for me. So I started them on my own because I felt that since it was my head, I wanted to control the outcome, that all future liability of the results was mine.

Therefore, I started off my loc journey with tons and tons of research using YouTube and blogs authored by seasoned locticians as sources for my knowledge. The internet can be a beautiful thang.  I came to the conclusion  that because of my differing hair textures near the nape of my neck, on the crown of my head, and the super soft hair that lined my edges, I didn’t want to start my locs the “traditional” way with either just braid, twist or single coils. I decided that for things to be more interesting, I would start my locs with hybrid braids at the root and finger coils half way down at the tips. Obviously, this way isn’t for everyone because for the first month, they definitely had a funky look to them, but I believe that my hair loc’d faster using this method unique to me than had I started with just finger coils. The top of my head has hair that is so straight, it didn’t even want to coil (this straightness is naturally how my hair grows not as a result of any sort of heat damage), so using braids here was SUPER helpful.  Side note: I believe my hair is growing faster than when it was loose because I have had about an inch of new growth in these past 7 weeks.

When it comes to size, my locs are all different shapes and sizes. The last row at the back of my head harbors my smallest locs being about a centimeter wide, while all over I have some locs that are twice to two and a half times the size of my smallest locs. My goal wasn’t uniformity with my locs—if it were I would have had someone section each part meticulously—instead I elected to section my hair blindly so that I could get locs that looked more organic.

 

 

As of right now my hair is super frizzy but it is matting up well. The bottom third of my head in the back is fully loc’d, but I account this to the nature of the small size of the locs in this back section. I mentioned frizz which early in my journey really bothered me but I’ve kind of let go of that need to look “neat and frizz free”, whatever that really is to any locer who has soft hair like mine. Frizz is going to happen and all you can really do is accept it or palm roll it. When it comes to my hair, I am very low maintenance. I’ve retwisted my hair only once and really didn’t like the scalp-y look, so I think about 3 days later I rinsed my hair to get rid of the parts. I would consider myself a freeformer simply because I don’t like the look of manicure locs on me. My personality is captured by my hair doing what it wants whether that be sticking up or sticking together. Two of my locs are really wanting to join together and I hope I can get to a place soon to allow them to grow as one—I’m honestly just not there yet.

When I first got my locs, I waited a few days, maybe three, and then I rinsed my hair. I rinsed my hair on a daily basis with warm water to help my hair matte and to help with my dry scalp. My scalp and hair love water and I think rinsing frequently was super beneficial in my locs’ earliest stages. However, as my locs’ matrix begins to tighten and expand at the same time, I am noticing drying times are longer so I try not to wet my hair to a soaking wet state nearly as often —maybe twice per week. I wash my hair once a week usually on Sundays, that way I have time to do a hot oil treatment under a plastic cap to give my locs the extra moisture they need. For my washes, I use Neutrogena T/Gel Shampoo which is a residue-free shampoo that I used before I even had locs because I have a dry scalp. The tar in this product helps soothe my scalp, while removing any build up, dandruff, and oil; and my scalp feels super squeaky clean after each wash. To avoid my hair drying out, I always apply either coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil to my scalp, massaging gently with my finger tips.

My daily care routine is fairly simple. At night, I tie it down with a satin scarf or I throw a silk bonnet over my hair. In the morning, I usually sprits a 1 to 3 olive oil/ water mixture on my locs focusing on the roots. I usually wear a cotton headscarf during the day for class (I figured out how to include photos so some of my head scarf looks are in my photo gallery). I must admit sometimes I’m running late and don’t wear a satin under-scarf to protect my locs but I haven’t noticed any real damage. I recommend that you always wear a silk scarf under your head wraps to protect your hair from any friction that can and will occur between the material and your hair strands.

I honestly don’t really remember saying to myself “okay, Des let’s loc your hair.” I just sat up one Sunday afternoon and started on them. I kind of rationalized that I had always seen myself as someone who would look beautiful with them and what was I waiting for? For years I would whenever I saw someone with locs give them the highest compliments of how nice they looked. I knew putting my hair into locs wouldn’t be a decision that I would regret because I had spent years since high school thinking about one day getting them. The day I decided to install my own freeform locs was the day I realized that “one day” never comes. One day is the day that you wake up and decide to make changes that are going to make you happier and more confident.

I want to leave you with a few closing thoughts/ suggestions to anyone that thinks locs may not be for them, or maybe considering getting locs.

  1. Hair isn’t just hair. Some say it is but hair is all over your body outside of just your scalp as a layer of protection. So, what you do with your hair is your choice. Carefully consider locs and do tons of research so that you won’t feel like you jumped into an important decision before you were ready.
  2. Stop letting people lie to you and tell you that locs are boring and you “can’t do anything with them.” Locs offer tons of versatility, if not more than loose natural hair. You can do mostly all the same things that you did with your fro or curls and kinks, with your locs.
  3. Also locs can be for everyone. The size, thickness, and total number count of your locs can be fitted with every personality there is. Some people will have thick locs, others will have thin locs. One person will have a number in the 300s, another will have less than 50. It really just depends on what you want your locs to look like. I myself have 86 locs of varying sizes but I know that this set of locs is unique to me and is for me.
  4. There is so much stigma that need to be erased about locs, from their association with smoking marijuana to the misconception that they are dirty and do not require washing. While I’m sure some people with locs, just like anyone with the next hair style, do not maintain clean hair, these people are not a glowing reflection of the majority of locers. How you take care of your locs is your choice, so be mindful that if you choose the #locdlife people may make assumptions about you based on your hair. This comes with the territory.
  5. When you finally do get locs you will wish you had started sooner!

 

Feel free to leave any question or comments below.

Enjoy the journey.

God is God. And God is Good.

Peace and Blessing Kings & Queens,

Des4Pres

Let Gro. Let Go. Repeat.

On March 15, 2014, I shaved my head bald for kids with cancer through the St. Baldrick’s foundation. I sacrificed my hair just as kids with cancer do because of the affects of chemotherapy and radiation on their hair growth. I raised over 625 dollars in the few weeks before I would go through with my decision. Deciding to do something and sticking to it made me feel good about how my ability to hold myself accountable had grown throughout high school. It was odd because many people didn’t want me to, especially my grandmother. In fact she offered to pay me not to shave my head. My peers within my senior class of 2014 were for the most part encouraging but only after bombarding me with question about why I would cut my hair.  While it was quite cumbersome this question is not unreasonable because after all we live in a society where women “should” have hair, where a woman’s natural drive in the sphere of her gender expression is to want to have long flowing locks but now after having grown my hair back out to a good length of 5 inches, I can say that my desire for long hair is unnatural for me and I feel myself wanting to go bald again.

Okay, I must admit: I wrote that previous paragraph at the end of my freshman year of college. I wanted to shave my head a second time because growing my hair out had made me feel for a lack of a better word basic but now after thinking about it, I realize that immediately after shaving my head I felt fairly unique. I really didn’t enjoy subscribing to gender roles or even conforming to societal standards in general. The fresh feeling of the spring air breezing over my scalp was a sensation unlike any other. I was free. I was 18 and cutting my hair was my most “adulty” thing I had done. When my hair grew back I felt quite like the Old Des, the Des who was unique not because of any hair atop my head but her originality could be explained by everything that made her up, whether it be her long winded sentences, her speech pattern, or inflections, her own energized animation while telling a spicy story, or maybe her thrifted on-the-go mom aesthetic that made this woman the grandmother of her friend group. Growing my hair out was a journey that called me back to being a woman onto myself not a woman despite her lack of hair.

I find it funny how things change. I distinctly remember  jamming out to India Arie’s “I Am Not My Hair” and what it did for me at the beginning of my first hair journey when I first big chopped (cutting off all my relaxed ends). The next day, the fateful walk into my 8th grade class was terrifying in 2009, in the heyday of the natural hair movement for womyn, but let’s not forget I was only about 13, not quite a woman. We were at the brink of a revolution in the natural world but most of my classmates weren’t ready or willing to ride that wave with me quite yet. I walked into my class of around 18 students at my private school and received a variety of laughters, stares, and even curled up lips due to superiority complexes. Who was I to cut my hair? I was already “not that cute” if you were to ask my classmates. The confidence that I have now is something wholesome that I only wish I could give my past myself, but hey I had to go through it to do it and use it. I eventually let go of their opinions on my own time.

Here I am, 7 years later having gone through 2 big chops, the first in order to achieve healthy hair, and the second for a good moral cause. I’ve rocked close to every style except maybe a few that seemed slightly kooky even for me. Over these years in my young life, I realize that change is so necessary and the image of living my truth has evolved in ways that I have grown to accept. I am stronger and more wise on the meaning of having hair on my head and for it to be mine. I own it and in every way I try to take care of it to reflect the person I am becoming and even the person I am not but hope to be. Most recently I have begun my loc journey and just in a short six weeks, I have seen an improvement in my happiness and overall health. Such a hair journey is definitely a spiritual one marked by good hair days, and bad ones too. To my protest, my hair does what it wants cause it’s popping and I’m learning to let go in one of the hardest ways possible. These lessons are even being applied outside the scope of my hair care routines and choices.

Around 2 weeks ago, around the end of February, my mother called me with news that no one wants to hear. The kind of news that can tear you down and cause denial. My grandmother, the same grandmother who literally volunteered to pay me  not to shave my head now had cancer herself. In a divine way, two years ago I shaved my head for her. I sacrificed my hair for a peace of mind that I can honestly say I hold gracefully in my heart. I can’t say I didn’t cry about the situation, her having stage 4 cancer in her lungs making it difficult to talk and basically breathe. I can’t say that my faith was not shaken or that I wasn’t at all upset, because I was but I’m glad I had a faith in my heart that could sustain that shake. I’m joyful that doubt didn’t enter my mind and even when it tries to creep in now I cast it out quickly and cancel out fear. I have let go of my hair many a times in numerous ways and in learning to let go of something as small as hair, I have managed to prepare myself to let go of fear and grab hold to healing which has allowed me the gift of hope and faith to take the wheel in my life.

 

 

God is God. And God is Good.

Peace and Blessing Kings & Queens,

Des4Pres

Hello world!

Hello!

Today begins a new chapter of my life. I arguably dislike the term chapter to describe stages or phases in one’s own life. For one, life is hardly ever step by step, life is fluid and cannot be neatly contained into sections. In addition, most issues in my life are reoccurring, and then my life would be redundant full of over-spill from times gone by. Yet, today is fresh and new. It is a new day. A day, which I have never seen before and I am in love with today. I am in love with today because it was my day. I saw it. I went to sleep with it and woke up to it.

Today is the day. Today is the day that I make my mark on this day. I hope that my blogging leads to more self expression. More fulfillment. More creative energy. More joy. More self-competence. This blog is by no means a cure all for my many defects but it’s a start to cleaning up my life. This is for me. Writing is for me and this is something that I need to do. This is something I need to do for myself. Especially under the premise that many acts I do throughout the day I do for others.

So I shout to the world this afternoon “I do this for me!”

xxdesforpres