Natural Chocl8t – The Big Chop

Although the countdown widget on the right says otherwise, I did the Big Chop (BC) about six weeks ago. My natural hair journey is well underway! Wooo-Hooo!!

Unlike my first foray into the “Naturalista” world, I am committed to the process this time. I am no longer unnerved by my mother’s reflection staring back at me in the mirror. When I look in the mirror and see more of her than me, I just laugh it off and think ‘my mother is one cute, fly chick’.

In the six short weeks since my BC I have made a few observations.

TWA – OMFG!

Quicker than I thought, the TWA (teenie weenie afro) stage is staring me in the face! Goodness!! What eyes gone do with this hair now?!! An inch and a half of tightly coiled curls sits atop my head and I have a long way to go before I can rock an afro puff or big Diana Ross hair!

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A Natural Progression

When I looked in the mirror, it wasn’t my reflection that I saw, it was my mother’s and it was very disconcerting. I don’t think she knows how big of a shadow she casts with her fiery personality, nor how much of my adult life I have struggled to get from under it. For as long as I can remember, I have always been told how much I look and acted like her.

It was my third year of college when I called her feeling defeated. “Mom, I give up!”, I said when she answered the phone. “Baby, what’s wrong? What do you mean, ‘you give up’?”, she replied. I went on to tell that I was tired of fighting to try and not be like her that it was a losing battle, resisting the inevitable.  Mother got a very good laugh out of that, she still does whenever it comes up in conversation.

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Traveling Sisterhood of the Expats

“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

There was an interesting post in a Facebook group to which I am a member, “Expat Women of Color”. This is a group that is “designed to educate and provide resources for women of color who desire to or are currently living abroad”.

The post read as follows:

In your cities do other black folk that you meet give you a welcome smile or avert their eyes? I’m a born and raised Southerner whose parents passed at ages 77 and 89. That’s to let you in on how old school I was raised. It really hurts me when a sister or brother will look in every direction except at me when our paths meet. I see Filipinos embrace and travel in packs but sustahs gotta ‘pledge’ you before they befriend in many cases. After they do befriend, we are great pals, but the initial is a trip. i try to be the change that i wanna see but it gets old. Wow… Off my soapbox now.

176636455The responses were overwhelmingly supportive with the majority of women expressing sadness for her experience and sharing their own experiences. I have had similar experiences while travelling, most recently on a trip to Cancun with my mother.

I love seeing other people of color when I travel, especially black women. It makes me happy to know they are expanding their horizons and decided to venture outside of their little corners of the world. I try to make eye contact, smile and say hello but on more than one occasion, the responses were less than friendly and bordered on rude. Either they avert their eyes or give me the “why are you speaking to me” look, which sometimes presents itself as a disdainful grunt. It almost always leaves me puzzled.

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No Dad? No Problem! Really?

Sir, you are no longer needed. Please deposit your sperm in the cup to your left on your way out the door. Mmmkay? Thank you. Good-bye.

Modern women have relegated and diminished men to mere sperm donors.

Don’t think so? Read the article on The Daily Beast titled “No Dad? No Problem.” To say this article set my teeth on edge would be a slight understatement. In short, this article focuses on the ever growing trend of women who become single mothers by choice (SMBC from here out).

While birth rates for unmarried women age 34 and younger have fallen since 2007, they have actually been rising among women 35 and older. These are women who are more likely to be independent, financially stable, and making an active choice to raise children by themselves.

There’s even an organization, or “support group”, Single Mothers by Choice started by Jane Mattes some 32 years ago.

Today, the group has chapters in roughly 35 cities and a database of 30,000 women who have been or are now members. Many are well off. According to a 2009 survey, 22.4 percent of SMCs, as members call themselves, earn between $100,000 and $149,999, and another 16.2 percent earn more than $150,000.

WOW! Who knew? I certainly did not.

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Life with Lola – The Beginning

After months of weighing the pros and cons and how it would affect my lifestyle, I have adopted a dog. Her name is Lola and she is a 4-year old Boxer.

me_and_LolaI want to thank the amazing volunteers at Atlanta Boxer Rescue who are committed to saving these wonderful animals from a certain death, nursing them back to health and placing them with families who will love them for the rest of their lives. I want to specifically thank Terry E. (adoption coordinator) and Jennifer S. (Lola’s, formerly named Dora, foster). You guys ROCK!!

Lola is the first dog I’ve owned as an adult and I was somewhat anxious about it. The last dog I lived with on a daily basis was my dad’s Irish Setter, Kelly, when I was 10 years old and my dad allowed me to walk him alone at night in our neighborhood.

On her first day with me, Lola paced the floors for about an hour before she settled in front of the television. With some prompting from me, she went into her crate for the first time. Now she goes in the crate on her own. She walks well on her leash looking back to make sure I’m still there and if she gets too far ahead of me, a slight tug on the leash will prompt her to come back to my side.

The only information about Lola’s past I have is that she was owner surrendered after her last litter of puppies. However, her reaction to certain things leads me to believe there may have been some abuse by her previous owner(s).

IMAG0289On our walk yesterday morning, I stumbled and tripped bumping into her as I was regaining my balance. The way she ran from me, cowering with her tail tucked, broke my heart. Immediately I got on my knees to comfort and reassure her she was safe. slowly she stopped trembling but she was on edge for the entire walk.

Just this morning, I was petting her while I was sitting on the sofa when I feel something near the top of her head. I reach to move the lamp closer for better lighting. As I lift the lamp, she cowers again and attempted to retreat.

This little girl will need lots of love and reassurance that whatever happened in her past is never going to happen again.

On a more positive note, I got her to sit on command this morning using positive reinforcement with some doggy treats. YAAAYY for Lola!!

Another milestone, mines and not hers…I had to pick up her poop for the first time on our walk last night. YIKES!! The key to me doing this without losing my lunch is to disconnect completely from the task. But maaaan, look…nothing quite prepares you for the warm mushy feel through the plastic. NOTHING!!!

Yeah. Welcome to pet ownership!!

Although we’re only three days into it, I am happy with Lola and I am positive this is the beginning of a very rewarding experience for both me and Lola!

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