Au naturale

As six of you know, I’m dedicating all of my posts this month to blacks I admire, in honor of Black History Month. I was at a bit of a loss when I began to think about this week’s post. There have been several newsworthy events in black culture over the past week. 

The first, and most obvious choice for this blog, would be to write about the newly released pictures of Blue Ivy Carter. Believe me the thought crossed my mind. But honestly, I’m almost certain the baby in those pictures is a computer-generated image photoshopped into Beyonce’s smooth and still-toned arms. Nay, I thought. This baby bores me

The second event in black culture that might be a topic for this week was the death of Whitney Houston. However, I don’t do well with death. Many may be surprised to know that it actually makes me sad, and I don’t like to make fun of it. This blog is not meant to be a downer, so again I proclaimed: Nay. I then proceeded to sing “I Will Always Love You,” note for note, in the shower. Are these tears or just shower water?

I finally, and selfishly, decided to write about myself and my current plight: going natural. 

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If I don't look exactly like her in a year, I'm buying a box of Just For Me.

As many of you may have noticed, there is something wrong with my hair as of late. Well, the naps are intentional. I decided a while ago that I no longer wanted to get a relaxer (white people, a relaxer is when a black person puts chemicals into his or her hair to make it more…white). The last time I got one was in April of last year. 

Cut to now: 10 months later. I just moved to Brooklyn, a haven for natural hair. Now that I am here, I feel much more confident about the state of my head. Natural hair is to black people what sustainable energy is to white people (I don’t actually know what sustainable energy is. You can try to explain it to me, and I’ll nod like I’m listening, but I’ll actually be singing “Just One of Those Days” by Monica in my head). 

But still, I’m having a bit of a time. Even 10 months later, remnants of the relaxer are holding on for dear life, saying “What about me?” and “Be pretty again!” At present, my hair is about half relaxed and half natural. This looks absolutely ridiculous at times. I am tempted to chop off the relaxer, but as we know, I’m not adventurous AT ALL. Deciding to stop getting relaxer nearly gave me an ulcer. Cutting my hair on top of it would probably be much to much for me. 

I went to Carol’s Daughter in November, where I spent approximately $7,500 for natural hair care products to aid in transitioning. I don’t know if the products are working or not, but they gave me cookies and flavored chips in the Fort Greene store, so I like them. 

Additionally, I have learned the beauty of the blow out. At the end, my hair looks just as it did when I got a relaxer, only I can scratch my head as much as I want beforehand, and the Dominican lady yells at me. It’s great. 

In a year, my hair will probably look totally different than today. I have no idea what it will look like, but it’ll be different. 

This post goes out to all the brave, black women who’ve made the decision to go natural. I see you everyday on the streets and subways, and you look hot. It is only because of you that I have the courage to walk around with my head looking like this. If my hair doesn’t end up looking really awesome like yours, I’m going to be PO’d. I won’t know what to do with my hair, and I’ll have to get a lace front wig to mask the pain. 

I’m Sexy and I Know It

She's obviously talking to her girl and not working out

Last week while at Lucille Roberts, the lady gym, one particular girl caught my eye. She was about my age, and she was taking a class on the dance floor (the classes here take place directly in front of the stationery machines–no wall separating the two–so I get to hear all the LMFAO I want). I couldn’t quite tell what class was happening, but it looked like boring Zumba with free weights. The worst. Clearly this girl and her friend were not into it either. They were both black, had weaves, full makeup, fake lashes, wore “exercise” clothing that was clearly from Victoria’s Secret, and were “thick,” as they say.

About 10 minutes into the class, both girls stopped completely and walked over to their handbags. Don’t worry, they were in the middle of the floor, and so sure to cause a disturbance. They each picked up their phones and began texting. I can only assume that they were texting each other. Eventually, the two rejoined the class, and lazily did some hip swivels and push ups, girl style.

I had all but forgotten about these girls when I went over to the section where I do crunches and practice my deltoid flexing. There they were, on a nearby platform with the exercise machines. Luckily, there are mirrors in this section of the gym. The girls thought about actually using the machines, I could tell, but decided against it. Working out hard makes you sweat, and their hair was obviously new. They were not about to sweat that out!

No. Instead, they began singing along with the music that was playing. Good news: it was Black Eyed Peas “Just Can’t Get Enough.” After they’d finished mouthing the lyrics to themselves in the mirror, the taller girl went on ahead and took off her shirt. Standard, I thought as I lay sideways on my yoga mat, watching them shamelessly. Now, Mama was no skinny thing. She wasn’t fat, but she was rocking a mean gut and did not give a D. She thought she looked good. I know this for a fact, because she handed her phone to her friend and said, “Take a picture.”

Oh my, I thought. What is happening? The now-model grabbed the metal bar of the shoulder press machine with one hand. She very sexily leaned away, criss-crossing her legs at the ankle, and making a sensual face. Her friend stepped back, and snapped a pic or two.

Now, I’ve been to a gym or two in my day (actually, yes two to be exact), but I’ve never seen an impromptu photo shoot take place. It was brilliant. Why don’t more people do this? It’s proof that you were in a gym, and you get to show off your kind-of-hot-but-mostly-just-regular body to everyone on Facebook. Also, this girl broke ground. I just tried to Google several variations of “black girl at gym,” and there are only two recorded instances of black girls in or near a gym! Good job, girlfriend. Take that picture.

I must give it to this girl. She had more confidence hanging from that steel machine in her PINK pants than I will ever have in my life. And I’ll bet $5 that the tag for that Facebook pic is the title of this post.

Almost Home

In honor of Black History Month, all of my posts will be about really awesome black people.

Last night, as a rode the train home, a very thankful and praising older lady stepped onto the train. At first I was not surprised when she let out an, “Oh, thank you, Jesus.” A lot of people say this at some point during the day, I’d imagine. I figured she was just a tired old broad who was glad to grab a seat on the train. But she was so much more. 

“Praise the Lord,” she continued, eyes closed, really feeling the spirit of Jesus, and the Lord, and all of them. She was all too excited to be on the train. “Going home,” she went on. Amen, sister!

I don’t know a) how long this woman had been go from home or b) how luxurious and comfortable her home is, but from her moaning and praises, I’d guess a) six weeks and b) a massive cloud dipped in gold and chocolate. (At some point, I went dark and thought maybe she was dying, and by “home” she meant heaven.)

This went on for the entirety of the train ride, all of about five minutes. I imagine that she thanked Jeezy at each stop along her journey: as she was departing the apparently Hellish place she’d been, on the walk to the train, while she waited in the station, and on the G (of all trains). Each time I glanced over, there she was, head shaking slowly from side to side, so thankful to be on the G! Praise the Lord! 

And in case you’re wondering, no, it didn’t get old. Come on, I thought to myself, thank Jesus again. I did a mini fist pull/”Yes!” each time she did. I don’t know why, but I found her to be endlessly amusing. She was so excited just to be riding the G train. I throw a hissyfit when I can’t get Facebook on my iPhone, but this lady was over the moon to be on one of the least desirable trains in all of New York City. I admired her. 

Luckily, we got off on the same stop. Don’t worry. She was still excited. 

“Thank you, Jesus!” She threw a hand up in the air. “Woooo.” She had to stop halfway up the stairs and take a breather. Understandable, what with all of the praising and the Lord. I hoped she might do some light stretching, but no. Just more thanking and slow, slow walking. Unfortunately, I am unable to not walk really fast, so I had to go around her, but as I made my way through the turnstile, I turned around to see her throw another hand in the air. “Almost home!”