Giuliana Rancic

I was about 16 when I decided that I was going to loc my hair up.

To that point, I’d had every hair style that one could have as a little black girl growing up in the 90s.  My hair had been permed.  My mother hand straightened my hair with the hot comb (the one that you would stick on the burner and run through your hair).  I’d rocked box braids.  And finally, when I was old enough to realize that I didn’t want anyone touching my hair or pulling it anymore, I decided that I was going to loc it up.  I don’t think my mom took me seriously at first.  Up to this point I’d been an imaginative teen, and had dreamt of being a singer, practiced my autograph over and over, changed my handwriting, tried to be a lefty, and expressed my dreams of becoming a Rockette, so she may have thought it was just one of my Cheri-isms, and she bought me a few books on it from the library, not thinking it would lead anywhere.

But I was relentless.

I loc’ed it up myself, and my parents were so horrified by the results (rightfully so), that they took me to a place to get a consultation, and then finally, to get my locs started.  They were short, little baby locs, and my mother was horrified.  She begged me to let her cut them off.  She begged me to try a wig, and then a weave.  And when it became clear that I was serious, she left it alone, and most likely resigned herself that I was just going to with short hair forever.  [Side note:  mom has since come around, and admitted that she didn’t understand what they were going to look like.  She loves it, and has since started to wear her hair natural as well.]

Since then I got into a prestigious private college, graduated college, attended graduate school, met my husband, got married, bought a house, and made a life as one of the director team at a non-profit.

All this to say that though I chose to transition my hair back to its natural form 10ish years ago, I am a productive member of society.  But wearing my hair this way made me afraid that white people would look at me and make assumptions about who I was, my education, or my capabilities as an employee.  Fears that came to light when Giuliana Rancic, a correspondent at E!, made the following comments when sizing up Zendaya’s red-carpet look from Oscar Weekend.

“I feel like she smells like patchouli oil… or maybe weed.”

She opened her hands and laughed it off.  My cheeks immediately got hot.

I was taken back to the millions of times people have asked me if I wash my hair.

I was taken back to the time I was in an interview (an interview, people), and one of the gentlemen in the interview asked me what I do with my hair when I’m running.

I was taken back to a 2007 Glamour controversy where an editor stated that natural hairstyles were a big “no-no” for the office.

Giuliana Rancic, your comments were not cool whatsoever.  People with natural hair don’t smell of illegal drugs or douse themselves in patchouli to cover up body odor.  The vast, vast majority of us lead productive lives, and it doesn’t take a classically European hairstyle to achieve any of these.  On the flip side, there are plenty of people with straight silky locks who may smell of patchouli and weed.  I know this because I worked at Whole Foods for a few months while jobs searching after school.  It depends on the individual. 

Now, do I feel like Giulina is an horrible racist?  No, probably not.  But she made an insensitive, stupid, and ignorant comment that peels away that outside layer and reveals what she truly thinks when she sees chicks like me walking down the hall with a huge mane of natural, well-maintained hair.  And that has to change.

 

 

I’m running late…

To everything this morning.  My posts, which normally go up before you wake up, was not to be this morning.  I was late to work.   I had to find a sub for my Zumba class.  And yet, I’m feeling so rested and happy with my life, which feels like it’s been thrown into a completely beautiful state of chaos.  And along with the chaos, I present to you, the most beautifully random mess of things today.

1.  I’m still feeling the 15-miler I did on Monday.  I think this is for a few reasons, and one of them is the beautiful weather we’ve been having.  My body, my muscles, and my state of hydration are not used to the relative heat, and 15 extra hilly miles did its work on me.

2.  That said, running with friends > running Raleigh hills by yourself.  I literally remember running one of those hills a few Sundays back and feeling so defeated.  It was a completely different feeling with two friends to chat with through them, and I swear, the hills felt less jerky with the friends.

3.  This top knot. 

photo 2 (5)A few questions here.  Is it a top knot still if you’re loc’ed up?  Is it still a top knot if you’re in desperate need of a retwist?  Is it still a top knot if you only did it because your hair is dirty and you didn’t know what else to do with it?

3.  We picked our wedding bands yesterday, which I will tell you all about next Wedding Wednesday.  I also think I picked our caterers, but again, I’ll tell you all all about it next Wednesday.  Are you feeling suspenseful?  Suspended?  What would be the appropriate word here anyways?

4.  Thinking about that second pet?  Think about it long and hard.  You know, I’m fostering the best beagle in the whole world, right?

photo 1 (7)But lord, between him, the cat, and the dog, they are giving me a damn run for my money.  Here, Beagle climbed into my lap, thinking he’s the same size as Coco.  But he’s totally not.  My house has descended into a state of circus.  I kinda love it though, I really think I thrive on insanity.

Tell me one random thing about your day!

 

If you were thinking natural girls don’t need maintenance, think again.

When I made the transition to natural hair, I was probably about 17-years-old.  I had been traumatized by repeated trips to the salon, where, in an effort to tame my naps, the stylist would pour chemicals on my head and allow them to sit until my hair would lie in fear of the chemicals.

Safe, right?

Eventually, the chemicals took their toll and my hair was not looking too well off by middle school.

Then, I graduated to having my hair braided all the time.  Which was fine, except the place where we went in Charlotte would pull our hair so violently, I ended up in her bathroom in tears once.  And I was too scared to ever tell her that my head usually hurt for two days after the box braids were put in.  Plus it smelled weird there.

So finally, at the tender age of 16 or 17, I got fed up with it, and I somehow decided that I was going to wear my hair in dreadlocks.  My mom gave me a really hard time about it – locs were not yet super mainstream, and she associated the style with marijuana use and dirt.

But I was really persistent, and wore my hair in a short style, and nearly 10 years later, here I am!

If any of you are thinking of going natural, and you feel moved to do it, DO IT!

Locs fit my lifestyle.  Most people assume I’m from California, largely due to my demeanor and the fact that I sound like Hilary Banks when I talk , and the locs fit the Cali lifestyle.  I’m also semi-crunchy, and I work out a ton.  But just because the locs fit my lifestyle doesn’t mean that they’re not work.

photo 1 (2)

After weeks of running and working out and washing, my hair was in a state.  I didn’t have a ton of time, so I made an appointment with someone local to maintain my locs, but she abruptly canceled on me.  My mane couldn’t wait.  It was begging for maintenance.  And the fact that she abruptly canceled on me made me a little leery.  I don’t normally let anyone touch my hair, and I’m not letting someone touch my hair who doesn’t show up for her appointments.

Desperate times call for desperate measures, and it was time for John Frieda’s Smoothing Shampoo + Conditioner.  I’d read reviews, and black women had said some good things about the way it had left their hair feeling.  (Normally I go for Giovanni, but I needed heavy-duty artillery for this mess).

photo 4 (2)

Post-shower + wash, the hair was already looking better, and felt a lot softer.

photo 5

 

And I set to the task of twisting with a few clips, since my growth was so soft and not really wanting to stay, with this.

51fz89Vs6GL._SY355_

 

 

Which leaves the hair feeling light and soft.  And there’s no smell really, which is good, cause I hate smelly hair stuff.

photo 1 (3)

 

Work those clips honey!

photo 3 (1)…And ta-dahhhhh!  Here is the finished product.

photo 2 (3)Soft, manageable, looking much better, and cheaper than getting it done!

Are any of you guys thinking about going natural?  Why or why not?  

 

 

We’ve all thought of cutting our hair short, right ladies?

Especially during the summer.  As my huge bun slaps me in the back of the head when I run, yeah, I’ve thought about it.  Whenever I wash, and I have trouble getting some of the soap out of my locs, I think that things may just be easier if I cut it off.  And whenever I retwist my locs after a long run and a shampoo, only to sweat it out in the next day’s workout, I think about it.  But…

How would I style it if I cut it short?

Would my face look too skinny if I cut it?

Would I look like  dude if I cut it?

Would I have to invest in a lot of makeup and earrings so people wouldn’t think I was a boy?

A lot of thinking.   And then Beyonce just DID IT.

Beyoncé and her new pixie crop

Okay, before I weigh in, let me say this. Beyonce could fart in the mic, and I would buy the record.  I used to cut out magazine and newspaper clippings of her, and post them inside my closet door (because my mom wouldn’t let me put posters up in my room).  I would get offended when anyone disagreed with anything she did, included whenever she made a worst-dressed list.  Including this gem.

Bey

This photo appeared in black-and-white in the Charlotte Observer in like 2002, with some rude like “WORST DRESSED” tagline. I got so mad, I cut that thing out, and pretended to like the outfit so that Beyonce wouldn’t get her feelings hurt. I care girl.

But this haircut?  Which I’m sure is more practical for all of the physical activity she does?  I can’t co-sign.  I’m sorry.  I’m still a huge fan.  But I cannot cosign on this mess.  And that is what it is.  It is a MESS.  I feel so bad saying that.

That said, I’m continuing to grow my locs out for my wedding.  And then what?  That means at least one more summer of running and swimming and yoga with all this hair.  Do I keep it?  Or cut it?  What do you think?  (And what do you think of Queen Bey’s cut?)

The things I do for love…

The things I do for love...

Love of my hair, of course.

In the never-ending saga of “shiz I’ve had to purchase online for my hair because they don’t put sufficient amounts of black products in regular drug stores,”  (and that is another post, for another day,) I purchased my ORS (formerly Organic Root Stimulator) Twist and Lock Gel off of Amazon. Because I’m an absolute idiot, for some reason, I inadvertently purchased 4, because I’m completely incapable of reading product descriptions because I get so excited, I just hit “proceed to checkout”. Not to worry though. My swift procurement of four of these bad boys ensures that I will not be on that frustrating hunt for this product in local drug/cosmetic stores while my hair grows at a furiously rapid pace at least until the summer, if not until the end of the year.  So rest easy folks.  Can’t cut the mane, til I finish the absolutely obscene amount of product that arrived today.

**Correction.  I opened the package, and discovered that there were 6 containers in the box, along with 2 free nail files?!  My hair’s gonna be down to my toes by the time I finish this stuff.**

Running will jack your hair up if you’re not careful.

I started my locs I think like 8 or 9 years ago after I was seriously seriously tired of having my hair ripped out while I was getting it braided at the braiding salon in Charlotte we frequented.  I’m also terribly tenderheaded, so the whole thing was a bad deal.

So my hair’s long, looks pretty well kempt for the most part, but it can be hard work when I’m working out.

There’s also the stigma that locs aren’t clean that I like to shake, so I have to make sure that between running, Running for Haiti, teaching classes, and working out, that I’m keeping it together, looking nice, and smelling clean.  You go too long between a wash and this mane begins to cry out for some salvation.

Hot mess of a head, freshly shampooed head, and clean and twisted head.
Hot mess of a head, freshly shampooed head, and clean and twisted head.

I know you’re probably curious about how all of this works.  So usually, when people ask me questions about my hair (maybe a little more often than I’d like), they ask if I can wash it (yes), and how I wash/maintain it.  About once every other week, my hair starts looking a royal mess.  You can see, especially in that picture to the far left, that my roots are super fuzzy and fluffy.  Usually around this point, my scalp is begging for some relief, especially in dry weather.  So I wash with Giovanni Tea Tree Triple Threat Invigorating Shampoo and Conditioner, which leaves me minty fresh.   Finally, I take about an hour and twist every individual loc with a clear twist and loc gel.  Easy as pie.  So if you’re thinking about locking it up, go for it!  It requires some maintenance, but if you’re like me, and you were just completely over braids, weaves, hot combs, or perms, this may be the style for you.  Doesn’t look half bad on me right?