An Inch for Your Thoughts #18: #LongHairProblems

I have been meaning to write a blog post on this for ages and have just finally got around to doing it!

I remember when I started my HHJ at shoulder length almost two years ago (seems like yesterday), all I could do is dream of MBL/WL hair and envy anyone who had it! I just couldn’t wait to have my hair long and flowing! Now that I have it, I have discovered long hair, while I definitely love it, is not a bed of roses! Here are some of my #longhairproblems:

1. It takes FOREVER for a roller set to dry! – And I mean forever! I am under the dryer no less than 100 minutes each Wash Day that I roller set. It is annoying, hot and uncomfortable. I have a relatively decent dryer, but it still takes forever.

2. Hair gets caught in clothes and armpits. – I think this is one of the first #longhairproblems I encountered and remembered. I think it was around BSL when I noticed that while putting on clothes, if my hair was free, it would get caught in my armpit when I was trying to take clothes on or off. I would then have to gently cock my head to the side the hair was stuck on as not to create tension so the hair would break, gently swipe my hair away from the armpit or clothes and continue what I was doing.

3. Products do not last as long. – For someone who uses expensive hair products, I know that I have to be extra careful and “stretch” the time the products will last now that my hair is MBL. That means I will add in cheaper products to give some of my products a boost. For example, instead of using just Alterna Caviar conditioner in the shower, I will add Ion Extreme Moisture cream so that I don’t have to use much Alterna.

4. Haters! – Didn’t I just mention how I hated on people who had long hair the beginning of my journey? Yep, we’ve all been guilty of possessing hair envy at one time or another. However, what about the people in your life who make shady comments (e.g. “well, your hair should be long, you have ‘good’ hair”) or the friends who say nothing at all? Like they refuse to acknowledge your length at all or congratulate you on meeting your hair goals? Yep, if it haven’t happened to you, I bet you it will at some point. Like Dave Chappelle as R.Kelly stated “Haters Gonna Hate!”

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5. More upkeep is needed. – This is a no-brainer. Long hair = old hair. Some of the hair on my head is probably 3+ years old and I have only been on my journey for 2 years. That means the ends of my hair have been through the fire!! Literally, because I used to blow dry and flat iron my hair weekly. HA! That means slacking on your pimping is not recommended. I M&S almost daily, pre-poo and deep condition every Wash Day. I strategically pick leave-ins that will enhance my hair and assist in helping keep its structure (hellooooooooooo light protein leave-in and coconut oil pre-poos!) I dust as needed and try to protective style as much as possible to keep my ends in decent shape.

6. The anxiety struggle is real. – When you have invested time and money into growing your hair out, you get more protective over every inch you acquire. I think that this is true in most areas of life. If you nurture something, you want to be able to see and enjoy the outcome. Well, once your hair starts gaining a bit of length, you may find yourself a bit more stressed out over it than before. The dreaded word “setback” (considered the “four letter word” of HHJ enthusiasts) haunts you in your dreams and every time you comb and style your hair. You may see other bloggers have a setback and now fear has been struck in your heart! Well, all I can say to this is “breathe and stop” (thanks Q-Tip!) I just chalk it up to “it is not a sprint, it’s a marathon!” Some people may jog to the finish line, some may walk and some may stop and have coffee. I say “I’ll get there when I get there!”

7. What’s next? – Having long hair may be fun in and of itself, but what about when you finally reach your goals? What then? I remember the sheer excitement of seeing my hair after relaxer day and to see what milestone I could claim! There was no greater high than realizing that I made BSB/BSL/MBL! My last relaxer day I was like “Meh. I know my hair is long. Throw me some tight curls in it!”

Well, there are some of my #longhairproblems! You have any you want to share?

 

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An Inch for Your Thoughts #17: I Want Candy [Crush]!

I learned about Candy Crush Saga when I went home in early September. I saw my aunt and Kim playing this game and they were deep in thought. Once I got home, I thought I would download it and give it a try …

Oh Lord, did that open Pandora’s Box. I instantly became addicted to it, living for the feedback the man gives with such sayings as “Delicious!” “Tasty!” and that all-coveted “Divine!” as well as beating levels that got progressively harder. There was (and still is) an ugly side of Candy Crush Saga. Sometimes when I ran out of lives and that heart would show up, telling me how long I had to wait, I would bemoan quite loudly, “NOOOOOOO!” I am not on Facebook, so I can’t ask friends for extra lives! I was tempted to sign back up for Facebook with this name: LaShanda “IamonlyherefortheCandyCrushLives” Earnhardt (which is referring to my “hubby,” Dale, Jr.!) I would spend money on extra lives and additional boosters to beat levels. Also, that tune the game makes when you fail the level has become the soundtrack at losing at life period. Nathan will whistle that tune just to prove that I am wrong!

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The first week I started playing, when I shut my eyes, all I saw was candy dropping. There was even a time when Nathan was talking to me and I was wondering if his eyes could fall into alignment with his nose to make that “3 in a row” move. Even as recent as this afternoon, I was in the shower rinsing my hair out when I was looking at my shower curtain which has dots on it. I wanted to see if I could find five dots in a row so I could get the color bomb!! Sad, I know. I took a little break from Candy Crush, which lasted all of a week! I had it on both my phone and iPad, but now I just play on the iPad. Having it on my phone would be a disaster, especially at work! It really helps hair drying sessions seem a bit less painful!

candy crush bomb

 

HAHAHHA! My sentiments exactly!

Source: http://www.rottenecards.com/card/174654/sorry-kids-dinners-going-to-be-a-little-late-tonightmamas-got-5-lives-left-and-this-candy-aintgonna-crush-itself

An Inch for Your Thoughts #16: “Do you ever get tired of doing that?”

Nathan asked me this question back in the early spring when I was mixing up one of my pre-poos and I have been meaning to write about it, but it often slips my mind! I definitely remembered it today when we came in from a morning and afternoon of errands and shopping, only for me to have another 4-5 hours doing my hair to look forward to (ugh … instead of eating vanilla bean ice cream and catching up on “Hell on Wheels!”)

So as I brewed my green tea for my rinse this afternoon, I thought that today would be a great day to write about this topic.

HHJs are not for the milquetoast, as I wrote in a blog last September. The ugly truth for a vast majority of black women is that if you want APL+ hair, you are going to have to work for it … and work hard!!!! Due to our hair being so fragile and prone to dryness and breakage, we have to practice diligent care to prevent new hair from becoming damaged and to try to salvage damaged hair from our pre-HHJ days.

I look at my HHJ from a delayed gratification vantage point. Sure, I cannot wear my hair down everyday (and have to wear boring buns), I cannot flat iron it more than about 6x a year, I cannot have permanent color or highlights and I have to spend 4-5 hours almost every weekend treating and rolling it … just to name a few sacrifices, but the ability to retain length, thickness and get the oohs and ahhs (and looks of envy from some people in my hometown … the haters know who they are!) from admirers is definitely worth it in the long term. I have friends who are able to have short wash days by blow drying and flat ironing often, but they are firmly stuck at neck or collarbone length.

On days like today, when I just didn’t feel up to putting on the dog-and-pony-show for my hair, I remembered my end vision of waist length hair and how far I have come in two years and it gave me a little strength boost to get through my Wash Day!

So how did I answer Nathan’s question? I told him “Yeah, I do, but in the end, the results are so worth it.” 🙂

 

An Inch for Your Thoughts #15: Arrested [Hair] Development

For the past few days and nights, Nathan and I have been on an Arrested Development mission. He has never seen the series in its entirety, so before we embark on watching the all-new season 4 episodes, we made a deal that we would watch the old ones from Seasons 1-3. We have almost made it through Season 1! Mind you, I was an original Arrested Development fan since 2004. I remember that I would make sure my Sunday nights were free so that I could watch those Bluths and their tomfoolery! I remembered having such a crush on Will Arnett (Gob Bluth) and loving the antics of Lucille Bluth (portrayed by the lovely Jessica Walters) who held NO punches when it came to speaking her mind (I loved her classiness and snappy tongue)! I even paid homage to Lucille last week when I had a liquid lunch (nothing but alcohol) at The Cheesecake Factory (mmmm … their green apple martinis are the best!)

Today, I was thinking about my hair and antsy I get during the first weeks after a relaxer, because I don’t have any new growth! As someone on a HHJ, having new growth presents affirms the mission that we are on and it allows us to track progress. Well, at the moment, I feel some tingling and movement in the scalp, so I know my hair is growing (revisit this post when I first revealed I could feel my hair grow), but not seeing it kinda makes me sad! Sooooooooooo …. I thought I would use Lucille Bluth to depict how I feel during my relaxer cycles. Her faces represent my sentiments exactly!!!!

My Relaxer Cycle!

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An Inch for Your Thoughts #13: You Put All That In Your Hair?

Ever since I began my HHJ over 16 months ago, I have been a fan of pre-pooing with anything that I can find in my cupboard, fridge or pantry. In the past, I have used the following edible items in my hair: EVOO, EVCO, sesame oil, grapeseed oil, vegetable glycerin, apple cider vinegar, honey, avocado, garlic and tea (I am sure I am leaving out a few items)!

As some of you may know, the past few months I have done pre-poos with honey and a conditioner. I am loving the honey as a pre-poo, as I feel my hair has retained moisture better.

In Hawaii, Nathan’s dad had a jar of unopened manuka honey. Normally, I use just regular, store-bought honey, but I knew this had to be special by it saying it was from New Zealand! I immediately asked him for it and he said yes. I told him I was going to put it on my hair and he looked a bit puzzled and said “OK!” in his normal cheerful manner. The following day, we went to visit Nathan’s aunt and uncle who were leaving for home the next day. They buy food to cook and prepare for their two week vacation and at the end, they will give us what they don’t use. They had some ACV and some EVOO left over. I offered to take it and told them I use these products in my hair! Nathan’s dad then asked “what don’t you put in your hair!” It was quite hilarious!

I am all for putting natural ingredients in your hair! I have been wanting to experiment a bit with yogurt, eggs, milk, etc., but have not had the opportunity yet.

Well, bon appetit! 🙂

An Inch for Your Thoughts #12: Yeah, Mammie Magazine!

If you knew me personally, which I wish you all could (I think I am a hoot!), you would know that when it comes to things about myself or social issues, I try to speak frankly. I don’t really care anymore if one is offended (of course, I don’t go around trying to offend people, but we live in such a politically correct world, it’s hard to say the word “fart” and not have a petition started demanding your removal from wherever you are), as I learned that my experiences are MY experiences and if you don’t like them, you don’t have to listen, with that being said … let me progress with this post.

It has been 10 years since I have had a black boyfriend. In my opinion, having a black boyfriend is a lot easier when it comes to my hair, as I don’t have to explain the intricacies of what I do or why I have to wear a scarf to bed every night. They don’t care if they see me in rollers and don’t freak out if I use a product called hair “grease” or “oil.” They know I don’t wash my hair everyday and that I am not nasty for it. They have been born into this culture so they are used to it … it phases them none and some of them find it sexy. How can we forget the iconic shot out to our hair in Drake’s 2009 “Best I Ever Had?” The lyrics read:

Sweat pants, hair tied, chillin’ with no make-up on/That’s when you’re the prettiest, I hope that you don’t take it wrong.

Well, it has been 10 years since I have had the unspoken privilege of just doing what I do to my hair without snarky comments. The first white boyfriend I had was Scott. He had some jokes … (for starters, read this post). He has also called me Harriet Tubman and Tupac (because my strip scarf was tied up front like his on this picture). He wondered why I would answer the door in a scarf when he would roll up at 11pm (uh, because it’s 11pm and unless I am out, my hair is up!) and other nonsensical ideas on the affairs of my hair. Did I mind this? No, I thought it was funny. I don’t get offended easily. I like to have frank conversations about race and other topics often seen as taboo. I saw it as my role to educate him, so going forward, he would know this and even impress a sista or two. He is still one of my dearest friends and I go visit him while I am in NC. I even leave little toiletries that I know any sista that may sleep over may like to have, such as a shower cap and real lotion, for starters.

Hey, if I had to be called anyone, let me be called two of the realest people in my culture for the past 160 years!

                                                                

The boyfriend I had between Scott and Nathan did not mind my scarf. He actually thought I looked pretty damn sexy in it. He said he saw Eva Mendes in one and loved it. “Well, damn,” I thought! I kept my scarf on most of our 2-year relationship! I would go out in it (don’t you dare say “ghetto!”) and wear my strip one to work at the daycare with my hair clipped up in the back (like Eva, see photo below!) I was protective styling and didn’t even know it … I guess that is why my hair had some resemblance of health despite me triple processing it (relaxer, permanent color and bleaching it for highlights!)

Well, flash forward 8 or so years. Last week, I was cleaning up my room in preparation for Nathan’s dad’s arrival. I found a Fitness Magazine in a Nordstrom bag. I noticed the woman was rather curvy. I showed Nathan and he was like “It’s Brooklyn Decker” and I was like “No! It’s so-and-so” (I don’t remember who she was and I am too lazy to look it up). He was like “whoever it is, she’s fine.” I am now donned in my sexiest apparel: Nathan’s gray fleece sweatshirt, some sweatpants, fleece socks and my black bonnet. I say “I could be on the cover of a magazine!” And he quickly retorts: “Yeah, Mammie Magazine!”

Now that was funny. As heck. I got a great laugh out of that one!!! Many people I know would be offended – FOR ME!! How dare a non-black say that to you!?! Well, for one, he’s my boyfriend (of 3 LOOOOONG years) and we have very candid conversations on the differences (and similarities) of our culture.

It is always so interesting dealing with men that are not black (well, unless they have an extensive history of dating black women … then they are already acclimated and you can just carry on without discussion). I love to hear their thoughts, what they heard and even dispel a few myths!

Well, I thought that I would share my funny history of dating non-black men and how they feel about my hair and my hair care practices!

An Inch for Your Thoughts #11: What is Shampooplus?

During my last business trip, there was a dispenser in the shower that contained shower gel and “Shampooplus.” I instinctively knew that this “Shampooplus” would be like washing my hair with dishwashing detergent, but I was curious what was in it, since the hotel also provides Bath and Body Works shampoo and conditioner (I’m sorry – as much as I love BBW, I would not use any of their hair products). I did some research on this mystery “Shampooplus” and all I could find was that it also contained conditioner! I have no idea who manufactured this and I am sure it is full of sulfates.

I could not imagine using this on my hair, but I thought it would be funny to share!!

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An Inch for Your Thoughts #10: Long Hair Don’t Care

I was on @Ratchet2English’s Twitter page about a month ago and came across this picture. I also ran into this picture on hotghettomess.com.

Lord! I know it’s wrong to laugh at people, but I could not help it. The irony of the caption and the picture was just too strong for me. And besides, we don’t know who she is.

My suggestion for this lovely soul would be to just cut it all off and grow it again. If there is a pet peeve of mine it is broken off, brittle hair. There is nothing that a good deep conditioner and scissors can’t fix. I wonder what made her hair like this … hmm.

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An Inch for Your Thoughts #9: Show me your gold medal, then talk to me about her hair …

We are smack dab in the middle of the summer Olympics! It’s an exciting time and I have enjoyed watching the athletes perform their craft.

Much attention has been paid to the 2012 Gold Medalist for Women’s Individual All-Around and a member of the 2012 Women’s Team gold medal … Gabrielle “Gabby” Douglas; however, the attention is not to her accomplishment, but to her hair. Yes, you heard me: her hair.

I will not lie … at first I was like … “Hmm … she needs to do a wet bun, so she doesn’t have to use so many clips and so much gel,” but I moved on, awed at her abilities and I damn sure did not put my thoughts on Twitter (as some did). However, most people do not have such couth to keep thoughts like that to themselves … they put it out on the Twitterverse (because that is what fatties do).

My first impression is like “Whoa … she is an elite gymnast … the best in the world. What you got going on? Show me your gold medal and then I may listen to you talk about her hair.”

Then the fact that other blacks where doing this brought up that great old “crabs in a bucket” adage. This is symbolic due to actual crabs in buckets. If one tries to get out, then instead of trying to pull themselves out as well, the crabs will pull that crab set to escape back in, so they all are stuck together. So instead of praising her (as most people, black or otherwise, are), they thought it would be OK to talk about her hair, already a source of great contention in the black community. Sigh … when will our people learn?? Another rant for another day …

I am extremely proud of her (and a bit jealous that she can do a backflip, split, etc.)! I think she is a wonderful representative (whether she wants to be or not) of young black girls and is proof positive that if you work hard at something, then your dreams can come true!!

Congrats to Gabby and her family for producing this Olympic champion!

An Inch for Your Thoughts #8: “Do you have some Crack?”

“Do you all have Crack?” a middle-aged white woman asked in Ulta Saturday. I was in the chair with a flat iron going full steam ahead on my hair, but I could not help but whip my head around and see who would ask that question.

“No, we don’t,” a stylist replied. I bust out in laughter, as did another client. Then the stylist took the time to explain what Crack is.

It is a styling product. Here is what Ulta  says about Crack. It looks like I may have to try this stuff!!

A habit-forming and lightweight leave-in styling aid that instantly transforms dry, frizzy, curly, keratin-depleted hair – to a healthy, shiny, smooth dimension. Highly sophisticated micro proteins and power peptides found in Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, instantly infuse deep into the hair shaft to strengthen, repair and protect stressed out hair, while blocking the harmful effects of thermal styling tools, heat, sun, chlorine and humidity. Crack offers ease of ‘combability’ by allowing the brush to easily glide through wet or dry hair, eliminating up to 80% of hair breakage. Eliminates split ends, polishes, nourishes, smoothes, protects, and allows you to create a pin-straight, sleek style – or helps to define and control the curls you love. Perfect to use with hair extensions too!