Thursday, January 22, 2009

Mammy: Racist Image or Protective Style Icon?

How do you feel when you see images such as these? Are you offended, bothered? Do you get angry? Are you pained and hurt?

Images are powerful. Haven't you ever heard the saying, "A picture is worth a thousand words"?

Images are only powerful, if YOU make them powerful.

Oh, don't get me wrong. I do consider these images to be nefarious on some levels.

I have a deep understanding of the historical context of these images and what they mean and what they are 'supposed' to say. When these images are displayed, many people have a visceral or downright physical response to them.
They can indeed be powerful.

But one thing I understand even deeper than the historical context of these images is this: I am far more powerful than any of these images will ever be. I cannot control the diffusion or the perception of this image or ones like it, but I can control myself, how I think, how I feel and how I react.

Unlike the person or persons who are responsible for putting this image out to the world, I see something quite different. I no longer see a demeaning image that seemed to be created to mock and dehumanize a group of people.

For me, this is a great example of what to do when life hands you a lemon. Make lemonade! When I see these images now, my idea of turning a negative into a positive is that I immediately think of hair, afro-textured hair.

I think...

Yeah, this image is powerful to me because you know what, these Sisters' are sporting protective styling. Here's a historical record, the proof of it, dating as far back as 1899 and beyond... and we on the hair boards thought we had started something new by covering our precious afro-textured hair at night! We've taken something old [and tired] and made it new and fresh. Now we use silk and satin instead of cotton.

Mammy is powerful alright. She is the progenitor of a multi-billion dollar personal care business. The question is not, "How many of us afro-textured hair sisters have doo rags, satin pillowcases or some variation that we use for protective styling?" The question is, "How many of us do not?"

An image is what you make it. It just depends on how you choose to look at it. Place your power somewhere else. How about in yourself.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Goals, Growth, Gorgeous: Go For It!

Have you written down your goals for 2009? Have you set a date? Have you backed your goals up with a written plan?

If it is in your head, and not on paper, your goal has about as much of a chance of seeing the light of day as a full head of hair suddenly appearing on a bald man's baby smooth head.


Want to improve the chances for your goal to manifest in real life, so you can see it, touch it, experience it? Write your goals down. Don't stop there, make a plan, write it down. Don't stop there, review upon waking and review it upon just before falling asleep.

See that book cover above and to the right? That is my book I wrote and put on Amazon. That was a nebulous, fuzzy something in my head. When I wrote it down on paper, the plan of "how" transpired. Magically? Nope, but it came eventually.

Got a hair goal? Who cares how 'crazy' it sounds. WRITE IT DOWN! Figure out how to accomplish it. Does your plan have to be perfect? Ahm...ya'll know how I feel about pursuing perfection...No, of course it doesn't have to be perfect.

It must be written though. Setting a hair goal is a lot safer than say...writing a book! But you know what? Goal setting skills are transferable. That means when you set your hair goals for growth and gorgeousness, you can take all that you learned and apply it to another area of your life. Success breeds success.

It is not about being perfect. Beauty is not perfect. Life is not perfect. But you can have a beautiful life that feels like perfection!

Write those goals down and make your dreams come true. Your success blesses the world. Hey ya'll, I am up in this world and I can ALWAYS use a blessing. Gimme a lil' something. Pursue your dreams, your hair goals. Doing so is an obligation, not an option or a luxury.

What are YOU going to do in 2009? Who are you going to bless with the pursuit of your dream in 2009? You never know until you try. Goals, growth, gorgeous: Go for it!

Aguas and Afros: You Can Make Anything Work -It's All About Your State of Mind

I spent two weeks in Mexico City and some days in the Mexican Caribbean. I decided that I only wanted a carry-on bag. So, that meant no liquid filled bottles. Translation: No hair care products for me on the beach!

I took my toothbrush (for my hair-not for my teeth), my hairbrush and my doo-rag. The only thing I purchased was some gel to hold down the 'fort'.

Every day I would wet my hair and use my fingers to slick it back then gently brush the out of place hairs. I had NONE of MY products except the Xtreme Gel that I am trying to get away from.

You know what? I had one of the best vacations and time of my life.

Do you know why? Because I released the idea of trying to do and be perfect. I took what I had and worked with it. I made the best of what I had. Since I thought it was cute, I projected a confident attitude. I felt good about my hair and how it looked.

It is not about this kind of hair texture or that kind of hair texture. It is about embracing what you have and working with what you've got. It is about knowing that you have done your best with what you have and then moving on from there.

Your state of mind controls how you experience the world around you. You control your state of mind. Aguas and Afros mix just like oil and water. It may not seem like they go together. But once you find the right "binder", you got it.

To make oil and water mix, you have to add a binder like guar gum. It holds the oil and water together to create an emulsion or cream like substance.

To make afros and agua (water) mix, you have to add a binder: the right state of mind. It holds your afro and water together to create perfection out of a less than a perfect situation. In my book, that's excellent. In the end, it's about excellence, not perfection!

Hit those beaches and strut your stuff. Life is to be lived whether that be under the Tuscan Sun, or the Mexican Sun. Get out there. Lead the way. The world knows you are beautiful, but do you know it?