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.

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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.

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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!

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July 2017

Thanks for joining me on the journey!

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Adjusting My Crown (5 Year Hair Journey)

8 Reasons to Wake Up Each Morning

  1. There’s still places to see. I haven’t traveled to Europe, Asia, or Africa. Have a lot more ground to cover.
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Taken in Prince Frederick, MD. 7.10.16

2. There’s more new foods to try. Along with new places, come new cultures to consume. I’m ready to eat!

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Fried conch in the Bahamas.

3. Someone depends on your smile. May be the least likely person; and your smile does something for them.

4. Your destiny hasn’t been fulfilled yet. Even on the lowest on low days, there’s still an assignment that can only be carried out by you.

5. There’s no one that can do things quite like you. You are really good at making a presentation, teaching, counseling, listening, planning, and making macaroni and cheese. Sure, these things have been done before. But, not quite the way you do them.

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Service Project. Croix-des-bouquet, Haiti.

6. Each day is full of NEW. We are granted new opportunities, have the chance to try again at something we may have previously failed at. Try again, with more wisdom.

7. The days are not promised to you. We go to bed knowing we will wake up the next day, and the day after that and the day after that. Not always the case. Have to thank God for all the days, even Mondays.

8. You are another day to closer to your dreams.

 

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Whatever your reason is, I hope you’re inspired.

Love,

She

8 Reasons to Wake Up Each Morning

Visual Recap: 2013

I’ve gathered some of my favorite shots from 2013.

In 2013 I experienced Haiti in March, and the Bahamas in December. I witnessed the beauty that is my stubborn and exquisite hair growth. I successfully completed 75% of my graduate program in Speech language Pathology. I inked Costa Rica’s unofficial motto on my hip. Life was great to me in 2013. Cheers to an even more delicious 2014!

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Lignanore Wine Fest: Mount Airy, MD
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Chart Your Path

Read more about my exquisite goddaughter here and here.

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Mural Before
finished mural
Mural After…#Haiti

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#JUSTSHE

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“I’ma wear this mask to church, ‘cuz that’s what people do in church anyway”
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#GeorgiaAvenue
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The Mecca
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Short hair, don’t care (March 2013)
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Branded
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Walk With Me
Visual Recap: 2013

What I Ate, Saw, and Did: Nassau, Bahamas

This was my second time visiting Nassau, Bahamas. The first time was in 2010, and it was for vacation purposes only. It was a quick get-away trip in the middle of summer to get away from the monotony of work and life as usual. The second time I was there was only a week ago, I went as a student to provide speech and language evaluations. There was some down time for extra-curricular activities as well.

What I Ate: (Restaurant names in the caption)

Oh Andros Restaurant
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Grio Haitian dish (pork) and fried plantains with rice and peas.
Conch fritters

Oh Andros is a Haitian-owned restaurant in what’s known locally as Fish Fry. Fish Fry is also known as Arawak Cay (located on West Bay Street), it is a gathering place for islanders and visitors seeking Bahamian food such as conch salad, conch fritters and fried fish made fresh.

The food pictured below is from Bahamian Cookin’. I visited this restaurant back in 2010 and I was glad to see it was still there with renovations! I enjoyed the broiled grouper, plantains and rice and peas (although the rice and peas were tomato-based, I preferred the rice and peas from Oh Andros)

Bahamian Cookin’ Restaurant

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My friend had more conch fritters with fries and rice, macaroni pie, and rice and pies. Macaroni pie is the same thing as macaroni and cheese except the pasta is typically the larger, thicker pasta and the consistency is more pie-like, if that makes sense. It sticks together more like a pie.

Official beer of the Bahamas
Cracked conch
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Drifters Restaurants at Fish Fry

 We got a boat of roasted corn, chicken wings and fried conch fritters.

What I Saw:

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Lobby of the British Colonial Hilton

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View from private beach, British Colonial Hilton
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Nassau Straw Market, downtown
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inside Straw Market
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Government buildings, downtown
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Street art

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What I Did:

We worked at SeaHorse Institute, a school for children with severe disabilities. From Monday-Thursday we provided hearing, language and speech screenings and evaluations for families in need.

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Work area

Riding through Nassau neighborhoods:

What I Ate, Saw, and Did: Nassau, Bahamas

On Inspiration (In memoriam)

Recently, I learned that the word inspiration is synonymous with the word breath, more specifically to breathe-in. In medical terms, to inspire is to breath-in and to expire is to exhale. But to expire can also refer to something ceasing to be valid, or to come to an end.

The catalyst of 2011 for me has been expiration. The physical death of my Tia at the end of January was the leader of the troop. In my 26 years of life I had never experienced grief until that point, and while she was a cancer survivor for some time the rapid decline of her health (when it returned aggressively) left me shocked. I kept asking myself during her last week of life ‘Have I said everything I need to say?’ ‘Is there going to be something I regret when I think back to this time?’ Most of my energy during the decline was focused on taking the supporter role because my cousin (her only daughter) is more like my older sister.

My older sister is the type to put the air mask on anyone who’s incapable around her before herself. And now she was loosing the only person who FED her spiritually, emotionally, and who could tell her the truth without insulting her. I did everything in my power that I possibly could to be there; ran to the hospital whenever she needed to make a decision, took turns with the night shifts and even got in touch with the proper spiritual authorities when we knew that date was creeping near. One night I was in the room with my Tia while my cousin ran out to get something to eat. I noticed her nails were unkempt and she would not have that (nunca!/never) so I thought I would give her a manicure. At this point she was already on an oxygen tank and her lungs were filling with liquid, in other words she had less than a week of life left. I ran to the convenience store of the hospital and purchased a filer, nail clip and a pretty light rosy nail polish. I figured I would ask the nurse if the strong smell would disturb my auntie before I put the nail polish on. When the nurse came in the room, I asked:

Would it be a good idea to paint my auntie’s nails? She would never stand for her nails looking like this, even in a hospital.

NURSE: *pause* I don’t think so hun. We want her to be as comfortable as possible. You do realize what’s going on here?

I don’t know if it was her way of trying to say it without saying it, but I was hit with incredible sorrow when she released those words into the room. She finalized what everyone could only think or hint to. There was no coming back, this was the end.

In the weeks following January 31st, I learned what the end meant. I booked my last-minute flight to Costa Rica, since she was to be laid to rest at home. I would get out of work and proceed to making my way to the hospital, forgetting she was no longer there. I would be up late nights asking myself bizarre questions like ‘Did she realize that would be the last pedicure she would get when she was getting it ?’ and crying thinking to myself that my older sister would never be the same again. In the last weeks, my Tia also did not speak (except to shake or nod her head) when she was uncomfortable or hungry so I also would wonder to myself if she knew what was going…and if she accepted it, was bitter, was ready? These kind of thoughts plagued me, but I knew my older sister was probably having worse thoughts than I, and I tried to remember that it’s not about me!

This Monday, October 24th will have been my Tia’s 67th birthday. October marks 8 months since she’s left us. Although I would rather her be here, I know that her passing set many things in motion. Her memory inspires me to want to be remembered as she was, a community pillar and respected servant of God. At the funeral, I will never forget the man who used to wash her car crying hysterically from the back of the church.

There is irony in the end being the beginning, and my wake up call that life is too precious to stay miserable in a job, path, or with a person that is the cause of more pain than happiness. We hear it all the time, and are reminded when we hear of another death that life is short. Life is short, life is short, life is short. I’m tired of taking that lightly, of getting that short-lived boost and then going back to taking life for granted.

Does every breath INSPIRE you? Are you doing more complaining than LIVING? If so, what can you do to change that? Do you even want to?

Learning to LIVE inspired,

She Traces

In loving memory
On Inspiration (In memoriam)