So, what is a “Naturalista” anyway? Well, I guess since its a completely invented word, it can mean almost anything! LOL! But, my definition is a woman who lives by the intangible. She enjoys keeping her life and her look in an organic state. No, I don’t mean “raised with out chemicals” organic. Although, that may apply at times! I mean organic as is full of the life that flows from the inside. Her home is filled with life. Her workplace is affected by her “life energy”. Her personal style flows from her life energy, not from a desire to keep up with trends set by outward influences. That doesn’t mean she is never trendy…it just means that she wouldn’t pick up a trend if it did not truly reflect her inner self. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk about the “Anti-Naturalista”!
Going natural is one of the hottest trends out there right now. When done by a Naturalista for personal and sincere reasons, it is a great expression of self-contentment and positive confidence. When done by an “Anti-Naturalista”, it becomes a mundane series of conversations about hair typing, fighting shrinkage, and streams of self pics documenting length and curl definition. I see you’re about to throw a handful of Eco Styler in my face! Just give me a second!!! I am NOT saying that chats about products and techniques are not necessary when caring for our delicate coils. I am saying that when I get an email from you and the first item you address after greeting me is always an offer to send me a new pic of your latest hair status or a detailed description of how bouncy your curls were after treatment thus and such…….sigh…….I think you might be an Anti-Naturalista.
II Timothy 3:6-7 “For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of truth.” ESV
Now, this verse was the apostle Paul warning Timothy, a young pastor, of how to spot false teachers and false prophets. Even in Biblical times there were those who were using Christianity as a means to emotionally manipulate people. Wow. Not that my hair is NEARLY as crucial as my SOUL, but I can’t help but see a parallel between sisters who become emotionally crippled by depending on false doctrine that feeds their insecurities and sisters who become obsessed with commentary on their tresses because it affirms their beauty. The women Paul was talking about were injured and damaged, therefore it was easy for these manipulators to capture their attention. Also, they were band wagoners. Wherever the running fad is coming from is where they want to be. Where they NEED to be. This gives them a sense of belonging. Talking incessantly about our hair does not help us “belong” with each other. It keeps us distracted FROM each other. We become trapped in a constant cycle of narcissism; identifying with our hair rather than letting the hair become part of our identity.
Let’s try a fresh approach. Let’s talk about our hair as much as we talk about our teeth or our kneecaps. Naturalistas set their hair free from the pretense of chemical processing NOT so they can draw attention to their waves every chance they get. They do it because they want their hair to be as free as their spirit. Don’t entertain Anti-Naturalista’s in their obsessions. There may be some deeper emotional and spiritual needs there that manifest in their hair fetish. Let’s encourage our girlfriends to define themselves not their curl type.
Can I just take a minute to say…I HATE detangling my hair! I mean, seriously. Just typing the word makes my tongue go dry and I start to perspire slightly on my top lip!! C’mon you guys!! I can NOT be alone in this! Really! Doesn’t the tension in your neck begin to build from Wednesday night just thinking about the effort that Saturday is going to entail. Now, I know some sisters have these AMAZING regimines which include finger detangling, copious amounts of some exotic oil, two strand twisting or some such styling and several hours of romantic comedies. As much as I aspire to such dedication with my ‘fro, I would be a liar of the highest degree to even remotely claim that I ascribe to the same disciplines. For me, my extra wide tooth comb, a new botte of Burt’s Bees conditioner and an uninterrupted shower (thanks to hubby running interference with the kiddos) and that is all I’ve got in me. Or, in that case, time for! I know I should then graduate to the, slightly finer, wide tooth comb and then protectively style to ensure stretching my coils and ensuring a better detangle next time. That amongst mountains of other advice that I am sure I should be taking to make the experience less traumatic next time around….but do I do it…..nah! Apparently, though my left brain knows what should be done, my free spirit, hippie right brain somehow still believes that the Detangle Fairy will appear on Friday night and I will arise Saturday morning with easily manuverable tresses! Don’t bet your Kinky~Curly on it!! How is it we can know better but not do better?
Galatians 5:1 “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” NKJV
It is so easy to slide into old habits….and to justify them! Even when we know that doing things the right way may be more challenging but will save us headache in the long run. Yet, somehow we wallow in the stubborness of it all. Really, avoiding the “tangles” of life has more to do with busying ourselves doing what we should be doing. Then there is less room to fall into it if we are too busy doing theopposite of it. In this verse, Paul was telling us all to basically stick to what we know works! Once we understand the freedom we have in Christ, stand firm in it so that we don’t allow the slavery of sin to take us hostage! A steady regimine of communing with the Lord will definitely cut down on having to do major Spirtual Surgery on a regular basis! It doesn’t have to be a complex regimine, just something tailored to our Spiritual needs and sincere to the soul. Detangling the difficult areas of our life is a daily process. It must be done carefully and steadily. Prepare to loose a few things and sometimes we have to cut some knots out! But the Holy Spirit is a great conditioner and He can make the process a whole lot smoother if we allow Him!
For all of my Dominican Sista’s, here is a different take on the natural hair journey from Miss Rizos who resides in the Dominican Republic.
Here is a little info about her:
Mi nombre es Carolina y aunque me críe la mayoría de mi vida en los EE.UU, soy Dominicana de pura cepa. Ya llevo dos años viviendo en nuestra hermosa media isla y tengo que admitir que me encanta el calorcito. Hace un año y pico decidí cortarme el cabello y lucir mis rizos naturales. Fue algo que quería hacer desde hace muchos años pero el miedo a como me vería y al rechazo de la sociedad, no me dejaba. Por fin, y después de 15 años desrizándome decidí hacerlo.
Me mataba la curiosidad de ver mi cabello natural ya que nunca duraba mas de dos meses sin desrizarlos. Cada ves que tenia crecimiento, me ponía a jugar con el y a pensar como luciría. Mas allá de la curiosidad, quería darle un chin de amor a mi pobre cabellito que fue violentado tantas veces con secadores, blowers, planchas y desrizados. Yo me comencé a preguntar por que le llamaban malo, difícil de manejar, y por que me tenían que matar las ondas.
Hay gente que decide hacerlo poco a poco pero hubo una batalla, que batalla, fue mas una guerra de texturas en mi cabeza y finalmente el cabello afro, gano. No puedo negar que fueron muchas las veces que llore por que me sentía fea y dique como un hombre. Pero esos mismos sentimiento y ese mismo proceso me ayudaron a deconstruir todas esas ideas erróneas. La verdad es que hoy puedo decir que me siento increíblemente hermosa y cómoda con mi cabello y por eso estoy aquí, en este espacio.
Esta pagina fue creada para contestar muchas de esas preguntas que yo tuve y que ahora tienen muchas de mis amigas que están pensando o que quieren solta en banda el desrizado y dejar sus rizos simplemente ser. Llámales como tu quieras rizos, afro, crespo, cabello natural, el punto es que son tuyos y son hermosos sin importar la textura, dale un poco de cariñito y trátalo bien!
When you go natural after spending years relaxing your hair, you join a somewhat sacred sorority! I didn’t realize that I had even been initiated until the first time I passed a fellow ”Big Chop” whom I didn’t know and she gave me a knowing smile and polite head nod. I instinctively did the same…what is that? A secret handshake?! It isn’t something you have to talk about with EVERY natural sister you meet…its this silent understanding that behind that new strut brimming with self-assured confidence there is a vanity full of shea butter, aloe juice, miscellaneous conditioners and random oils that are being mixed and matched to DEATH searching for the magic combo to grow the fro!! Too much!! I just want to get everyone letter jackets and learn a step routine! LOL!! All the members of Nu Phi Lambda (Natural for Life) throw your sign in the air! ROFLMBO!!
Psalm 133:1 “Behold how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!”
Sisters of all shades don’t always get along like we should. It’s like Spike Lee’s “School Daze”…. but without all the cool musical numbers. Personally, I don’t want to hear anything about racism from any of us until we can treat each other with a little more respect. Affirming our different shapes and hues creates an environment of security that allows us all to blossom in a healthy way. We are all more beautiful when the beauty is reflected off of each other. There is no skin too dark or too light, no hair too silky or woolly and no body too lean or thick that we cannot admire and encourage each other in our efforts to bring out our best “selves”. I think that’s what the Master Artist had in mind when he pulled the colors from the sun and earth and painted his children. After all…when the letter jacket goes on, aren’t we suddenly all wearing the same colors?
I’ve heard about ‘good hair’ a lot growing up. It hit me everywhere I went; Walking into a classroom, eating during lunchtime, playing soccer, or riding home on the bus. Everyone wanted me to know that my hair was ‘good’. Mom told me never to let random people play, touch, or feel my hair…
“The same hair products that worked then, work now.
Sometimes true, but I would recommend checking the label because products change. There are newer products made specifically for natural hair or loc that work more effectively and can help you achieve the same…
Recipe of the Day: Girl Scout Samoas Chicken Tenders and Noodle Salad
I am not a Girl Scout, but I have eaten plenty of Girl Scout cookies. When I got a chance to participate in the Girl Scouts of Western Washington Cookie Recipe Contest, I jumped right in. I picked up 5 boxes of cookies, a combination of Samoas, Thin Mints, and Trefoilsand headed back to my kitchen. I won’t lie, I opened up a box of Thin Mintsand ate a few right away, just to get the creative juices flowing. Creating a recipe with the cookies was going to be a challenge. I wanted the cookie to stand out and be an integral part of the recipe. At the end, I choseSamoas - “Tender vanilla cookies, covered with caramel, rolled in toasted coconut, and striped with a rich, chocolatey coating.”
Instead of creating a dessert recipe, I chose to go in a savory direction. I crushed the cookies in a food processor and used them in combination with Panko crumbs, almonds, and Szechuan and Cayenne peppers as a coating for chicken tenders. And because you can never have enough cookies, I added extra Samoas to the rice noodle salad.
Girl Scout Samoas Chicken Tenders and Noodle Salad
For the Chicken 8 Samoas 1/4 cup almonds 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs 1 teaspoon ground Szechuan pepper 1/4 teaspoon ground Cayenne pepper pinch of salt 1/3 cup spicy brown mustard 1 pound chicken tenderloins
For the Dressing 2 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon lime juice 1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard 1 Serrano chile, seeded and minced pinch of salt 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
For the Salad 8 ounces rice stick noodles 1 cup red bell pepper, julienned 1 cup jicama, julienned 1 orange, cut into segments 1/2 cup cilantro, roughly chopped 2 tablespoons mint, roughly chopped 2 Samoas, roughly chopped 2 tablespoons toasted almonds, roughly chopped
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil; set a cooling rack on top of the baking sheet.
2. Pulse Samoas and almonds in a food processor (separately), until coarsely ground. Combine Samoas, almonds, bread crumbs, pepper and salt in a bowl. This is the coating for the chicken tenders.
3. Brush chicken tenders with spicy brown mustard. Press the tenders into the Samoas coating and place on top of a cooling rack.
4. Bake the chicken tenders for 30 minutes, flipping half way through.
5. While the chicken tenders are baking, cook the rice noodles according to the package directions.
6. In a large bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Once cooked, rinsed, and drained, add the noodles to the dressing and toss to combine.
7. Add the remaining salad ingredients to the noodles.
8. Serve the Samoas chicken tenders on top of the salad.
When it comes to developing a recipe, you can never know exactly how it will turn out until you eat it. I can’t tell you how many people warned me that chicken and Samoas would be a weird combination. Eat your words! :) This salad came together like a happy troop of Girls Scouts. Spicy and sweet at the same time, this is a healthy and fun way to enjoy Samoas for lunch. And go ahead, have a few extra for dessert!
The Misadventure of Bow Legged Leeka and Kermit the Frog…
Yes, I know that this little old frog seems harmless, but lets really look at the culprit. Yes, he is small and yes, he seems helpless, but this little bugger has harassed me quite a bit. Hanging out in doorways waiting to pounce on his prey. Many times have we tussled…usually in a panic but I always prevail. He has infiltrated my living room, bedroom and doorways. I’ve had casualties such as key chains, brooms and shoes to say the least. I’ve been displaced in my own home because of Kermit…but in the end, I was victorious. Needless to say from the photo, he hasn’t given up and is still waiting…for his revenge.
Alrighty! For those who may have a hard time reading the scrawl on this little piece of paper, I will help you out. It says, “I Love My Mommy. My Daddy Loves Dogs.” This scathing observation was recorded by our resident poet, Doodle, when she was 4 years old. We laughed about it for days, but in my infinite wisdom I tore the prose from the notebook in which she had scribbled it and saved it on the refridgerator. I know you’re thinking, “What a sentimental mom!” Please don’t get confused! As the laughter rang through the house, I knew that this seemingly benign piece of whimsy would someday serve as evidence. Evidence to dispel the apparently popular conception that we in the Cox house are simply CRAZY for each other! Well, I mean…..we ARE crazy for each other….but, even a CHILD can see that there is one love that trumps all…..dogs. Devon….loves….dogs. This is something that goes unquestioned at SRB. Now the actual relevance of this tidbit of information will reveal itself in due course. But I needed to set this up properly so you know from whence the rest will come!
Now, let me be fair. I love dogs too! I mean it’s serious. For Valentine’s Day this year I was still recouperating from the flu. Devon asked me what I wanted and the only thing I could come up with was some Italian food and us sitting in front of the television watching The Westminster Kennel Club Show! Seriously! That’s all I wanted!! There are many breeds that we admire for many different reasons. But a good looking dog is gonna get our attention no matter the type! So, what is so PROFOUND about Kaiya’s first attempt at haiku is NOT that Devon loves dogs. It’s that in her humble opinion, Daddy loves dogs the way that SHE loves ME! The love connection between her dad and myself doesn’t seem to register at all!
Kids are painfully honest and I think Devon was amazed that his love for canines was so OBVIOUS!!! What can I say? The Kids definitely keep it real! More to come, y’all…..
Beauty Is Diverse was created in December 2009 to showcase the diversity of women from various ethnic backgrounds working as models in the fashion industry.
Beauty Is Diverse takes an in-depth look at models from South America, the Caribbean,Africa, and Asia who are working their way up in the changing face of fashion. Beauty Is Diverse is more than just the color of ones skin it’s about our cultures, languages and lifestyles.
There were several issues I had to settle before I did “The Big Chop”! Issue Number One: "How do I prep myself for the cultural kickback on letting go of my long locks of relaxed hair?"
My relaxer was installed every 4-6 weeks by my Dominican sisters (whom I still fiercely believe are thebaddest chicks on the PLANET for a blow out!). Growing my hair has never been an issue and I think that is because I never obsessed over it. My philosophy has always been that hair just grows. So, let it do its thing and if you don’t like how its looking, get a bossy hair cut! Unfortunately, I was painfully aware that one of the features that was always casually mentioned in my physical description by others was that my hair (paired with my skin tone) make me look like a Dominican! Hmmm. Now, I know that was supposed to be a compliment. But that is what made me think the most. Why wouldthat be a compliment? Why would it never be a compliment to say how someone’s hair makes them look like a Black girl? Was the concept of just having typical (if there is such a thing) Black hair social aesthetic suicide? Would the same people who showered me with vain glory and compliments do so if my hair was just…me?
There was something disturbing the heart of me when it came to my hair that I just couldn’t pinpoint. This coming from a chick who has rocked Jheri Curls, Leisure Curls, Wave Nouveau, and relaxers! This coming from a chick who grew her hair down past her shoulder blades and then cut it a la Toni Braxton! Let’s not even start on hair color!!! I think that even as a child I knew something was wrong with needing a “touch up” to be myself. Now, just to be clear, I don’t have a problem with other girls rocking their relaxers….do you! But that is my point…it was never me. It was a me that was chosen for me at a young age and that I was being CONSTANTLY told by society (yes, I mean Black folks!) made me pretty! And the worst part of it is that I did NOT naturally possess the silky, open curls that would (in the opinion of the same Black folks!) justify my letting go of processing my hair. I felt like I was trapped in a very dysfunctional cycle and my own people were perpetuating it! The final straw was when my 4 yr. old daughter let me know in no uncertain terms that she wanted long, beautiful hair like her FILIPINA classmate! She then buried me with the observation that her hair was not pretty like myhair and she wanted to make her hair like mine! Checkmate.
Romans 12:2 ”Do not be conformed to this world,but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Now this verse is talking about the renewing of your mind by the acceptance of Jesus Christ’s love and redemption! However, it is profound that the principle applies to every aspect of your life if you are ever to be 100% Natural from the inside out. It does not say be transformed that you will be more acceptable to man. Or in the case of we the Sisterhood, men! It says transforming the mind will help us to discern what is good and acceptable and perfect in God’s sight. Basically, transformation allows you to be able to blossom into the being that He, the Master Artist, had in mind when carving you in your mother’s womb. Some may say that God is not concerned with the outside appearance of us. And to some degree that is true. But I find it hard pressed to believe that a God who created such a vast variety of flowers, birds, butterflies and other colorful, graceful, awe striking things would not find simple pleasure in His ULTIMATE creation (yes, that would be YOU!) intelligently and intentionally expressing unashamed satisfaction with the vessel in which he planted our souls!
Solution to Issue Number One: "Transform my mind!"
Here it is. Another set of random thoughts from a random woman living what may appear to be a random life! But, for those of us who believe in God, we know nothing is random. We have an ingenious Lord who has handcrafted an intricate lifetime for us to experience before ultimately rejoining Him in eternity. This is a breathtaking concept. And sometimes in the vastness of that concept we lose track of the simplicity of our current existence! So, this blog is dedicated to the Beauty of the Everyday.
There is a new trend today in becoming more “Natural” in how we live. From lifestyle to health & beauty….going natural is completely hip! At the risk of being a total wet blanket, I think it is a little TOO hip!! This realization came to me as I began having more conversations with other women who are pursuing more natural means of living. Especially in the beauty department. Black women and their hair have a cosmic connection that I don’t think will ever totally be unravelled. I assumed that making the decision to stop processing one’s hair stemmed from being ready to accept the brilliant design that God executed in you and work with it rather than against it. Ummm…..that does not seem to be the case!! Apparently, the point of “going natural” is to define your coils, open your curl pattern, fight shrinkage, and lay down your edges! At least, that is the drive of over 70% of the natural hair conversations that come my way! I spent some time in contemplation on this and the following is the best I could come up with:
3 John 2:1 “Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.” ESV
I think the key phrase is “as it goes well with your soul.” In otherwords, as your soul is growing and bearing beautiful fruit, I pray that it spills over into your tangible life. I pray that your spiritual growth seeps through your pores and shows up in your physical being! How secure…how positive… how splendid is that?!
Are we really willing to radiate beauty on the outside not simply by buying a new product but by connecting with the beauty God is trying to cultivate in us? It isn’t easy, but it is simple. There is a link between self-acceptance and then allowing God to do with the “self” whatever He likes. Not tailoring the “self” to what you “think” is beautiful. Yeah, Girlfriend. We are gonna do some work. Sure we will talk about all the ususal stuff…hair, skin, nails, kicks, threads, color….all the stuff that Black women love to pour tea over! But the REAL tea is this: Our we working so hard to create the beauty ourselves, or are we working hard to release the beauty within?
Lately, as I watch more and more commercials, I’ve noticed that black women are rocking their natural hair more. For a long time all I’ve seen were black women with silky straight hair. I’m not saying this is a bad thing, but it definitely did not represent the other black women that wear their natural curls. Now, it seems that the majority of commercials that has a black woman or child in it, they’re wearing their natural coils or curls. They are happily dancing, singing and acting while showing confidence as the wear their natural God given textures.
They are not only in commercials but on TV and the Big screen. So many have made the transition to natural and have been open about it as well. It only makes me wonder if those that continue to use chemicals to relax their hair feel misrepresented in the media. I mean, could it be that now those who like to chemically relax there hair are now on the short end of the stick? The thought of this taking place is actually quite interesting and even somewhat baffling. For so long we have been striving to have a certain image that was not our own and thinking that what had was not good enough but now the tables have turned and we are embrace the beauty that is naturally given to us. Its a strange exchange but I think its definitely needed.