Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Inservice Day

Today is one that I have set aside for personal upkeep. Now that, ahem, I am of a certain age, I find I have to be strategic about my regimen.

I wrote already that I decided to get a series of chemical peels. I had one yesterday. So by tomorrow, I'll start looking like the insurance lizard's cousin...but it's absolutely worth it. Besides the flaking, I am very much near my goal of feeling comfortable without foundation. In fact, I had a jaw-dropping trip to the MAC store yesterday (Yes, I am a MAC addict!). After almost ten years wearing the same foundation, validated by makeup artists up and down the East Coast, I came to the shocking revelation that I am not an NW45 but a NC50. If any of you wear MAC you know that in essence my skin has shifted from Warm to Cool. I can only attribute this shift to 1) the change in climate, up North here in Virginia, I have been largely out of the sun, but 2) the peels have unclogged my pores and alleviated much of the redness and irritation associated with my acne.

The quest to embrace myself is largely a spiritual one, but I do care about how I look-hello! My complexion has been as issue since I was a teenager. Now that I am an adult, I have pursued options available to me to improve my skin. I also got braces--but that was awhile ago. So I chose to get a series of five--maybe six-- chemical peels. There are some great ones on the market suitable for dark skin like mine. I had one a few years ago that was not as gentle. But even that was not so bad as to deter from doing it again. The product I am getting now is called a Vitalize peel made by SkinMedica. It is so gentle, I don't even feel the application. The results are great. By Friday, I should be done shedding.

But the inevitable sloughing is why I plan to be in the house until tomorrow. So I am also going to get busy with a bottle of Nair for my legs, wash/set my hair, and get a spa pedicure--it's sandal time. Better not mix the Nair and the shampoo! It's all about upkeep today. It doesn't take all day for me to finish everything, but I can't exactly go to the mall with rollers.

It's fascinating to me the things I do for upkeep and enhancement. I would feel like the peels were an extravagance, but I save so much money on my hair--Thanks Sisterlocks! see I managed to squeeze it in--that I can afford to pamper my skin. MAC has become a necessity. I just hand over the money. The only other cosmetics line that is as well-pigmented is NARS. I also occasionally wear Bare Escentuals mineral makeup--but it doesn't photograph well.

My hair I do myself. But I do color at home--which I am not recommending. Also inexpensive.

I could do my own pedicure, but I love those spa chairs...sigh. I'll go and do that first.

What do you do to look and feel beautiful?

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Life is a Journey

I know that for the most part I said that I would mostly blog here about Sisterlocks. What I am about to write is at least tangentially related. I am realizing that many women are not living lives that reflect their beauty. I don't mean that in a strictly superficial sense, though that comes into play as well.

When I decided to get Sisterlocks four years ago, I realize in retrospect, I was entering a phase of my life that is about embracing myself as myself. As with many women I have talked to about their transition to Sisterlocks or other natural options, the journey is as much about self-acceptance, self-awareness and self-celebration as it is about looking different on the outside.

I began making career changes, lifestyle changes...doing everything that I could to bring my day-to-day existence into accord with my soul's desires whatever they may be at the moment. That journey has caused me to challenge myself in every way. What kind of life *do* I want to lead? What must I have for this journey?

And since I have gotten Sisterlocks, life has continued in much the same way as before. While I did get some indirect comments at work, I really suffered no repercussions. But when the issue even surfaced, I realized for me that I had finally reached the point where I was comfortable enough with myself not to accomodate unreasonable external requests. --I read Mablean Ephraim is leaving the show Divorce Court in part because she was taken aback about requests they made regarding her hair. I think her response is full of it given the particular context, but that's for another post.-- What finally resonated for me was that for some reason it finally sunk into my head that I am more valuable than any job. And that I would be sought after by employers who valued my contribution as well as or in spite of my appearance. And at the end of the day, I think my attitude has made all the difference.

There is a lot of dust-up about the decision at Hampton University to ban cornrows and dreadlocks for its five year MBA candidates. I was a bit stunned that an institution purporting to cultivate African American leadership would take such a position, it reeks of self-loathing and obsequiousness...two qualities I would not want to instill with future entrepreneurs or businesspeople. But I was most reminded that there are those who face many obstacles to embracing their true selves.

On the personal side, I have also not experienced negative social reactions to my hair. Though I would hardly notice if a man was not attracted to me because of my hair since he wouldn't approach me. I definitely have not received any negative feedback. I wonder who these men are who dislike the natural texture of any woman's hair. All the moreso if they are of African descent. Do they loathe their own self? In my experience, men are most concerned about the length of a woman's hair. When I was relaxed I wore my hair very short to medium length and I got *lots* of feedback about the length. That does not happen anymore. But I wonder now if I got the feedback because I seemed vulnerable to it. I couldn't imagine holding an audience now with someone who wanted to give me an inventory of my shortcomings. And being luxuriously single, I would not choose a partner who did not think me absolutely splendid without cosmetic alteration...chemicall or otherwise. That a man ask me to straighten my hair to appear attractive seems as far-fetched as being asked to lighten my skin.

But I am aware that there are many women who are not being offered support along their journey and further may face real consequences for forging ahead.

So I feel especially blessed that I have had the opportunity to come this far and hope to go much further.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Trainee Debriefing

Well, my class went very well! It certainly gave me lots of things to ponder. First, how involved with Sisterlocks as a business do I want to become? My primary reason for taking the class was curiosity, but as the class approached and definitely during, I became more intrigued by the opportunity it represented for entrepreneurship. I talked to a really, great woman about working in her salon...who knew? I have a lot to think about.
At first, I am going to proceed very slowly. I want to provide the same positive experience to Sisterlocks that I had. That means providing consistent, meticulous technique and a positive, professional environment. The first requires practice, the second some resources. For those who are patient, I am willing to start slowly--probably through personal references to provide Sisterlocks services by outcall. If you are in the DC or NYC area, send me a message and we can talk more about what that includes. Right now my goal is to work *very* closely with a small group of women that I can provide top-notch personal service rather than trying to build a huge volume of clients. I've noticed that when Sisterlocks come to an area, it catches on like wildfire! Which is great, but often it becomes difficult to find a provider.
At the risk of sounding like Debbie Downer--that Rachel Dratch character from Saturday Night Live-- I also saw some cautionary tales in the making during my class. As Sisterlocks expands as a business opportunity, those interested will have to become more savvy about who is in the marketplace. A few in the class did not understand or intend to honor that they were learning a trademarked system and agreeing to offer Sisterlocks as it was conveyed to them. I see that as an ethical issue, but for those who may unwittingly patronize these providers there is a great probability of frustration and confusion.
There *are* several locking techniques that one could utilize with great results, but Sisterlocks is a specific, unique technique that creates a particular outcome. If someone offers you a hodge-podge of shortcuts and modifications to Sisterlocks...well, you probably won't get what you thought you would. There is no getting around the fact that Sisterlocks are very time-intensive and exacting to install, but consider this...you only want to have it done once. So make sure it's done right and by someone who is concerned and knowledgeable about your outcome.

Monday, April 10, 2006

It's Day Three...

Wow--I can't believe it's Day Three of my Training Class. Tomorrow is the last one and right after I'm jumping in the car and driving back to Virginia so I know I won't be posting.
So I don't want to brag and it will probably be a little while before I feel confident, but I can't believe how much I've learned. My curiosity addiction is definitely getting a fix. Last night I was practicing my locking technique---Mmm,hm...I got 'techniques' now!--and I was completely in my own zone focusing on my hand movements, watching my progress...I love learning new stuff! I know I am going to have the butterflies when (if?) I work with another person (seems strange to even contemplate doing someone else's locks!) but I am looking forward to trying.
Being such a perfectionist, I know it will be somewhat scary because I'll feel responsible 1) for doing as flawless a job I can as a reflection of my own work and because it will be on display for them constantly 2) for passing along as positive experience as I've had.
So I am going to start by doing a mannequin--maybe two (yipes)--but then I guess I'm ready to start working with people. Know anybody who needs a Sisterlocks Consultant Trainee?

Saturday, April 08, 2006

What Had Happened See...

I know I never posted the after pictures from my Soft Spikes 'do. First, I was not pleased with my handiwork and I want to redo it...I'm having a spell of perfectionitis that's making it hard for me to finish anything...But I did not post an after picture from this go-round because last week I just was a scattered mess and I wasn't up to it.
So I'm sorry. Forgive me...
Anyway, as I type I am in Newark at the Sisterlocks Consultant Training. I just love being a student...learning new information, fretting over whether I really comprehend it, wondering to what use I'll put the pearls I've gleaned...
So Day One is over. In only Three More Days I'll be ready to go out and help some folks get Sisterlocked. Anybody interested?

Sunday, April 02, 2006

In between...

I really hate how I look when I take my own pics...but this is the best I've got at my own arm's length. Where is my entourage? Makeup? Lights?
Anyway...this is how the curls look when I first take then down. Tomorrow I have a meeting so I'll dress like a grown-up and get a proper after shot...
But Brunsli says she can't stand the suspense so...Nairobi wanted a cameo too, she's a ham! And never takes a bad picture...little diva!

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Halfway Through...

Last night, I was supposed to do my hair. But I didn't, so I'm midway through. I just washed out the color and am letting my hair hair dry awhile before I set it on the soft spikes.
It looks like rain, so today is perfect for sitting around with funny curlers in my hair...I guess I'll after pictures tomorrow.

She Done Gone and Done It Now....

Are you ladies aware that there are some new soft spike curlers available? Now there are jumbo Soft Spikes available...
I believe we are witnessing the birth of a phenomenon...