Thursday, December 31, 2009

End of a Decade...

This is the last post of the year, and the last post of the decade. This past decade has brought me through the beginning and end of high school, the beginning and end of college and three major trips to Europe and Africa. It has brought successes, failures, and heartache. Heck the past three years alone have led me down a path that I didn't need to be following. While in the past three years I've traveled the world, won awards and scholarships, and had amazing experiences both in and out of school, it also brought about a spiritual and moral confusion which I am only now emerging from. I used to think I was the biz-ness. That I was smart, and fun, and attractive and that I didn't need anyone's help or advice when it came to life. I used to think that all I needed to succeed in life was to always be the center of attention, to always 'appear' to come out on top, or to always look like I had my ducks in a row. But in reality, all was not what it seemed. Without going into much detail, I have decided to forgo a lot of old habits. I have decided to abstain from alcohol and negative environments, for starters. My spending habits will be under control. I will be putting dating/relationships on hold until much further notice. Most importantly, I have devoted a lot of my time in the last months in getting to know God and his will for my life. It's the only decision thats made a lot of sense for me in a long time...the end of 2009 is the end of my life as I knew it.

And thats a good thing.

Cheers and blessings for 2010!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

When Will I ever get that Good Hair??

I can always count on my hair to make me cry. Over the years, hair shedding, bald spots, and over-ambitious "I'm-just-cutting-the-split-ends" incident have induced many episodes of tearful angst. Today was one of those days.

I've been wearing some form of extensions in my hair since the time I was five. I think I first got a perm when I was eight. Ever since then, whether it was extensions of the kanekalon variety, or the creamy crack of the no-lye variety, I have had some sort of alteration in my hair. Ive worn braids, weaves, extensions, ponytails, and clip ons. I always thought long hair was pretty. Pretty girls had long hair. Silky hair. I wanted to do the pin curl styles like in the American Girl magazines I read. My mother was always ready to drop serious dime on my perms and my extensions, and she still is.

Flash forward to today. While in Ghana, I wore some natural afros and twist styles. It was the first time in my life that people were actually complementing me on what ACTUALLY came out of my head. Its a liberating feeling. Lets be honest, I'm not going to say I base my complete and total self-worth on how I look.

But it matters. It matters to me first and foremost as a human, second as a woman, third as a black woman, fourth as a GHANAIAN women (Ghanaians have some serious hair issues in my family) and lastly as a young SINGLE woman. It matters.

I've been on antibiotics recently for some newfound ailment of the month. And its taken a toll on my hair. My hair needs health care overhaul right now. Basically, the medications have caused my hair to shed and break (again....this happened back in 2007 as well). I'm sick of the weaves and oppression I put into my hair so I deweaved myself so that I could rock a natural style.

Since my hair wasnt in the greatest shape, I opted for two strand twists instead of pressing it out. Not my usual thing, but I'm kinda glad to just have my hair out.

Of course my mother is upset. She is already scheming of ways to buy new weave hair to put in my head, or thinking of putting on a fall or something of the sort. My mom is never seen without her weave, for sure. But a part of me felt a little hurt. Why cant she just say my natural hair is pretty? (BTW, my dad is happy with my decision) She said the twists are too limp, my hair is too short, and that its not full enough, etc etc...

Some natural hair bloggers out there.......Someone do a post about how it feels when mothers pressure their daughters to wear extensions/perms and what that means about the transmission of beauty norms from one generation to another. Because I know for a fact, my mother's mother in Ghana flipped out when I wore twists too. She said I looked like a rasta (quite derogatory in Ghana). So it looks like my sister and I will be breaking the mold on that one...

Monday, December 14, 2009

Memoirs of my Fulbright year...

My family story has all the makings of a crazy Nollywood film. It’s got all the yummy toppings- family curses, royal lineages, evil halfsisters, witchcraft, tales of war, and polygamy. Imagine finding out that your grandfather was a prominent Ashanti chief and that your father was next in line to inherit the stool. Imagine finding out that you have a long lost uncle who disappeared in Europe years ago and that your grandmother believes her own stepdaughter had him killed. Imagine being inspired by stories of how your family narrowly escaped the horrors of the Biafran War in Nigeria, and ended up in refugee camps in Ghana. I got way more than I bargained for when I decided to go back to Ghana for a year to do research on radio broadcasting. Learning the true stories of my family history is not an easy process. I had to, and still am, coming to terms not only with who my family is, but who I am as a person. …….