Adjusting My Crown (5 Year Hair Journey)

Hair is a big deal to me. I’ve been natural for a bit over 10 years (which  means I don’t use perms in my hair) however sometimes I find it difficult to make drastic hair changes and try new styles without damaging my own natural curl pattern too much. I love short cuts. I especially love straight-hair pixie cuts (think Halle Berry.) It is very difficult to maintain these cuts when you’re not very good at styling your own hair and when you don’t have a perm. This is the shortest I’ve come to a straight short cut, a bob from 2011/2012.

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Circa April/May 2011/2012

I had a texturizer in my hair then, which is how I maintained the style with the least amount of effort on my behalf. The texturizer made it easier to straighten my hair and kept it straight in the humid summer. I miss that style but I decided to keep the real harsh chemicals away from my hair. I’m also very partial to short hair period, especially in the summer time.

I wanted to chronicle my hair since my move to the DMV area. It’s been 5 years that I’ve been in the area, beginning in DC for graduate school. Here’s my hair journey from 2012.

Aug 2012
Faux hawk AUGUST 2012

I got accepted into Howard University and that was THE NEWS of 2012 for me. I was starting graduate school at 27 years old on a fellowship and was moving out of New York for the first time in my adult life. A drastic cut was necessary. A new start required a freeing of myself, a detachment from who I was to make room for who I was to become.

feb 2013June 2013May 2013Nov 2013

Above was the growth in 2013 (February-November.) I survived my first year in graduate school, I visited the beautiful island of Haiti, I witnessed a good friend get married and I gained more confidence in my clinical and professional skills.

2014 brought graduation (YAY!) and at end of October/ early November, #ISwipedRight and meet my current boyfriend. I also covered my blonde highlights with black. 2014 was a great year.

September 2015 brought continued hair growth and the tried and true pony tail. The problem with long hair for me is my “go-to” is the ponytail. The ponytail is A) boring and B) forehead-licious.

By 2016 I needed something new. I also missed the courageous person who just walked into babershops, under the bewildered eyes of men and women, and got rid of her hair. I chopped, but not too much.

After the chop, I also needed some bold color.

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2017 has been a low key year in terms of hair. I’ve been focused more on better maintenance habits (namely more conditioning), and growing my hair out. I think I’m finally ready to grow out my hair without major cuts for at least 2 years. I’ve been inspired by this beautiful hair blogger named Jewellianna whose hair is envy-worthy. I learned about her channel when I was reading about how some guy cut inches of her hair off and she’s been recovering from that loss. Right now, my bob is growing out which means the back of my hair is shorter than the front. The back takes thee longest to grow out, but I’m patient. I also know I want to eventually either get some layers in my hair when I get more length in the back. For now, I’ve been enjoying my big hair through twist-outs and rods as well as occasional blow-outs. I’m excited for what’s next!

2017 July
July 2017

Thanks for joining me on the journey!

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Adjusting My Crown (5 Year Hair Journey)

Open Letter to Future Clinical Fellows…

Getting ready for therapy...
Prepping for therapy…

I really thought about documenting my journey through the Clinical Fellowship (in Speech Language Pathology) better. It was hard to turn my intentions to actions while navigating through a new schedule and responsibilities. I doubted authenticity due to A) I’m not anonymous and B) I wanted to write something that would encourage others, but I didn’t want it to force the “optimism.”

HI, you brave soul that made it through graduate school!

In reality, there’s no one word to describe my experience; it’s not black and white. It’s been the joy of a parent tearing up because her daughter can pronounce her name correctly (“You gave her her identity”) to a young non-verbal patient dropping his pants and peeing all over the rug we were playing on because he didn’t have a word for “toilet.” It’s being terrified of sharing current levels of performance during an IEP meeting to sharing with team members the results of testing and making goals and recommendations with professional flair. It’s learning what it means to be a part of a “school culture,” including to state your name and keep saying your name until the staff begin to use it. It means having your mini iPad stolen in a school building 3 weeks after receiving it as a gift. It means hearing a student ask “Ms. Clarke, are you gonna get me today?”

Point is, every day won’t be a great day but there is something good to every day.

This has just been my experience. Nothing can really prepare you for your unique road to certification, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t seek to find the best setting for you. Hopefully graduate school externships helped you narrow down what you like and what you don’t like. There are things that you will have to learn on your own. What I can confidently say is, you can do it. You’ll get through it. And when you don’t know something, you’ll find an answer (the same way you HAD to when you were in graduate school.)

I am 3 months away from Certification; the last step to full autonomy as a therapist. Half of me wonders where the time went, the other half remembers how stressed I was during the search, the interviews and the on-boarding. The transition from waking up late and wandering into a classroom to having to be prepared for meetings and to speak professionally about what is best for a particular student given his or her disabilities. We wear many hats as speech and language pathologists. On any given day, you may be called to be a counselor, a disciplinarian, a motivator and a listener. Communication is tied into so many parts of our lives; it is easily taken for granted.

Even still, I wouldn’t trade this profession for the world. I can’t wait to see what new positions, heights and new little patients will teach me as I get some years in this field. Today I’m taking some time to relish in the process. Don’t forget to stop and be thankful for getting to this point, many wish and pray to be where you are. You chose a field that is full of life-long learning and you are well on your way.

Don’t stop pushin’,

She

Open Letter to Future Clinical Fellows…

She Celebrates

I’m ready for my photo-op with Mrs. Obama…

Today, I’m 27. *Slaps cheeks* for Home Alone scream(!!!!)

A couple of weeks ago, I put together a superficial birthday post but as today drew close the Cancerian in me needed to exponge something deeper. Something worth re-reading. A year ago this time, I only needed a picture to remind me of how I spent my 26th birthday. I entitled that post, Gozar es Bailar or Joy is Dancing. Dancing is one of those simple joys in life. DANCING IS… energy, colors, anticipation, desperation and escape. As I celebrated my 26th birthday last year, dancing salsa represented freedom, lust, self-love and release.

This year, I’m not dancing salsa on my birthday. Instead, my fingers are dancing across this keyboard as I reflect how I turned wishes/words into actions.

Last fall, I went back to school for my pre-requisites in a Speech Language Pathology accelerated program.

I finished said Certificate with a 3.6 GPA.

I applied to 4 grad schools, got accepted to two, one of them being my dream school.

This fall, I’ll be starting my Master’s in Speech Language Pathology at my dream school, in a new City.

In essence, I’ve already got the best birthday gift this year even before July 10th rolled around. I got ACCEPTANCE. I don’t take ALL the credit for that because I’m humbled by how God works. Just when I’m already formulating Plan B, C, and D… God reminds me that Rejection is not the where the story ends.

27 is the year I’m focusing on my career and moving to an amazing new city. I’m ready to leave my mark somewhere new. It’s a huge year of transition, one that I pray is followed by stability– a home of my own, a new community, a challenge for growth and perseverance, peace of mind and a fulfilling professional and personal network.

Someone once told me not to trust anyone by anything but their footprints. Footprints represent action. Think about it- no one thinks footprints. I recently re-blogged an awesome reflection post from Uzair Ahmad entitled “I’ve Learned.” The author shares his realizations about life. I have been slowly digesting the small nuggets of wisdom shared in this post, and I thought I would reiterate those that speak to me the most today. Maybe one will leave an imprint in your heart, mind, or spirit.

(From Uzair)

I’ve learned . . . .
that love, not time, heals all wounds.

I’ve learned . . . .
that no matter how much I care,
some people just don’t care back.

(From Globe Tracer)

I’ve learned. . .

that during bad times, put on your best face.

that anyone who tells you they don’t want anything from you, lies.

that what you focus on, increases.

that you’ll never be as young as you are right NOW.

that sometimes we need to put our LOUD worlds on mute, and take in the simple joys…

that no matter how much I want to my birthday to go unnoticed and be like a normal day, I LIE!!

Happy Birthday to ME!

Thankful to God for another year at life,

She

She Celebrates