Flashback Fast Forward A New Journey: The Many Hairstyles of Nikki (Hair Talk…May Be Offensive to Some)

I must admit. I like to change my hairstyle every chance I get. I don’t mind trying new things from wigs to weaves and to rocking my natural hair. It’s fun to do but, it has also been expensive at times and very taxing on my ability to do these styles on my own or just the maintenance. I will tell you, if it were in my budget to have my hair done professionally every two weeks or to let someone else do the crochets and weaves, I would!

Making a decision on what to do with “my” hair has never been easy. However, I am use to going against the grain and when I went natural it was such an emotional, spiritual, and cultural experience I figure this new thing won’t be much different. Let’s talk about people.

People have opinions about other people’s hair. Your family, friends, and society are the “people” I am talking about. I’ve discovered that none or not very many of these people are willing to pay for what they think is best for you. My personal hair experience has been mostly negative until I began to accept and denounce opinions and societal guidelines of beauty. I was praised and awed at for having naturally red hair and being African American (because that’s not often seen on a daily basis). I was also told early on by my mother and beauticians as a child that my hair was “nappy” (said with disdain) and thick and hard to do because it tangled easily. Sidebar: My mom seem to have a problem with the styles I chose once I was old enough to decide what I wanted. I can’t remember anything she liked. It was always pointed out that it was “ugly” or not cute. It was met with a scrunched up face and an “ew” no matter what I did. It was and is course. It needed to be straightened by a press or perm to make it easier to deal with first. Secondly, having “straight” hair would be deemed more acceptable by society (jobs, white people that were doing the hiring, black people that were employed by white people that were doing the hiring). Having straight hair would make you cuter and boys would like you. Then I found out that having long hair was needed on top of your hair being straight. The only time you didn’t need straight hair is if you had “good” hair. You know, curly or wavy.

Believe it or not, things like this impact my race psychologically. It makes you “think” twice about choosing a style that YOU want based on what society will accept or a biased job. African Americans in this country are sick of others controlling the narrative on what we should and should not do to our hair. I hate to say it but, it goes back to slavery and what was “ok” as far as what we did, how we did it, when we did it, what we looked liked as far women covering up their curves, and their “exotic” hair and features. I don’t have to look like you to be accepted. I don’t have to dress like you to be accepted. It really runs deep in the psyche of a predominately white society. Look like US. Act like US. Speak like US. Even in Christianity, worship like US. I want to ask, who are you? WE are AMERICA. All of us that are born and live here.

Should jobs have restrictions on hair? Yes. Should they be biased and slick geared towards the discrimination of African Americans? No. We know you don’t like braids, natural hair, and locs. It’s not “professional” and it’s a way to keep African Americans from being employed at your business. Do companies have a right to decide on how they want employees to dress and represent their company? YES. But once again, you have to take into consideration culture and people that do not LOOK like what you deem acceptable based on biases. Honestly, who gives a damn about what you like about someone’s hair? Go beyond that and see what they bring to the table. VALUE our hard work and intellect. Do yourself that favor.

And why I am at, we don’t prefer the touching of our hair as our ancestors were often touched and felt over and picked like fruit by those who wanted to buy us. Our hair and bodies were touched and we could not say NO. STOP. GET YOUR HANDS OFF OF ME. RESPECT MY BOUNDARIES. I AM NOT SOME OBJECT TO BE GAWKED AT. There is a difference from being marveled at, curious (Because it’s different, it’s fascinating, and you want to see if the things/lies you’ve been told are true about black hair. You want to know how did you do that with your hair?). That, I don’t mind. I am here to inform you but, I must warn you, many of my people are on the offense about things pertaining to their blackness or culture. I think it comes from defending, explaining, fighting to be accepted, etc.

Well, as I take a deep breath, without further delay, I have decided to loc my hair for the sake of my hair. The constant breakage and damage and the inability to maintain it regularly. And who knew, it would become another personal journey. I can tell you right now, most in my family HATE IT or mildly put, DON’T LIKE IT. As expected. I just focus on those that are neutral, like it, love it, and support it. My hair doesn’t change my love, my intellect, my creativity, my compassion and passion, etc. Did you know that with natural hair, braids, or locs people can still gain knowledge and perform their job duties? They can run businesses, own businesses, and corporations. They can even, brace yourself, change the world. Mind blowing or blown?

~Nikki

Sunday Morning Coffee Musings: Protecting Non-Traditional Space

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I’ve chosen a beautiful, peaceful, Sunday and it has chosen me. You are responsible for the energy you bring to my space (home, conversation, social media pages, inboxes), but I am responsible for removing it. Even if that means removing the source. I am responsible for setting the boundaries and enforcing them.

I believe that everything is energy. I believe you can feel it, observe it, and absorb it. If you can put it out, you can take it in. We often think of protecting spaces like our home, our office, and this invisible space around our being known as our personal space. But what about our social media spaces? What about our timelines, comment sections, inboxes, and DMs (Direct Messages)? What about the people we like, but we have a stark contrast when it comes to what’s funny, what’s moral, beliefs, ideals, etc.? Some things are just too much for me. Even if it’s too religious. Yes, if it’s too religious, too political or too dark for me, I will either remove them, snooze them, hide the post, unfollow and unfriend. I will delete what I don’t want to see or what is causing ruckus. I cannot stand bickering. I do enjoy a respectful discussion. I have control in my space. You have control in your space.

Everyone has their own stage, platform, and microphone. Your page is your venue. It’s up to you what type of crowd you want to have. Who stays and who goes. Who is muted and unmuted. It’s disrespectful for you to grab the mic on someone else’s stage when you haven’t been asked up. Even on open mic night, there is an order.

It would be nice if we THOUGHT about “how”, what energy we are bringing, when we do respond, inbox and DM. I personally bypass things I don’t agree with 98% of the time. I usually wait for a “What do you think?” or an “opinions, thoughts?” I read the comment section to see how the person is responding before I jump in. “It is better to be asked up, than to be asked down.” -Bible. If I know you personally (your energy, your personality), I know whether we can dialogue or not. By wisdom, I know there is a time and place for it, too. Rarely, is the comment section the place. An open rebuke is given by a friend (Bible) and even in that, it doesn’t necessarily mean in public. Once again, wisdom. Who, what, when, where, and how.

I don’t care if it’s outrageous to me, I have learned and I am learning to respond without a like or an angry face because you’re expressing “what’s on your mind” and I have a space for “what’s on my mind”. If I don’t have anything nice to say, I scroll on. You’re not a news outlet (That is an entirely different beast). I also don’t follow people or businesses I don’t like just to comment with negativity. That is a very low form and a waste of energy. It is also the planting of seeds I don’t want to harvest. And just like buildings that are VISIBLE to the public, not all are open for the public. Some have dress codes and rules. My social media space is public, but I decided what I tolerate and how I respond. AND YOU DO, TOO.

You log onto your social media sites with this good vibe (well those of us that are creating good energy and vibes) and it can easily be dampened when you start to scroll or you read insulting, mean spirited, brash comments to your opinion or positive post. Some have made me say silently “WTFudge? or Who asked you? I know there was not a question mark at the end of my post. I know I didn’t solicit your thoughts, opinions. You don’t know me like that.” But I just either leave what I deem ignorance blowing in the wind or I delete it. If the comment differs from my idea, it’s all about how you word it. Your delivery matters to me.

Lewd memes and videos are not my style. Being badgered with bad news, negativity, anger, political news, conspiracy theories, religious dominance, is not my vibe. I am part of several groups and thank God I can snooze them, too. I can’t hear about depression, anxiety, Rheumatoid, etc each time I log on. I have those things, battle those things, etc. and enjoy supporting others in it. I am grateful for the support of those groups. But it can be overwhelming. Certain things in my inbox and DM I don’t want to see. If I don’t hit a like or respond with a smile, yet you keep on hitting me up with it, I began to think you are a bit slow at grasping that I am not feeling it. Therefore, I am learning to say, “Please don’t send me things like this. Thanks.”  or “I’m not interested, but I will reach out to you when and if I am. Thanks.” I’m not someone’s vibe. I expect them to govern themselves accordingly. In all things, with love and peace.

~Nikki

 

 

Sunday Morning Coffee Musing: Focusing on The Bigger Picture of Social Media (For Me)

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I have social media pet peeves. Everyone does. I can list so many things that burn my britches when it comes to social media but, in the larger scale of who I am and what I am trying to represent, who cares about the things that irritate me to the core? I shouldn’t. I’m not talking about things that we should be appalled by or things that we should report. I am speaking of just things that can pull you into the “comment” section and the “reply” section. I have to remind myself, it’s not that serious. I tell myself, just eye roll, shake your head, and realize they are “on some other stuff” (on another level ). I thank God for unfriend, unfollow, and snooze for 30 days if it really starts to irritate me. There is only so much negativity or shade throwing I can take. Thankfully, I don’t see much of the shade throwing on my timeline or feed. But, I do see other things that can really vex my spirit. And I know for sure I probably irritate others with my posting! Touche!

However, when you are trying to be positive or tend to the business side of social media, you can get distracted by the bull, drama, politics, immaturity, negativity or whatever your pet peeve is. Sometimes, I am just being social and trying to catch up with others. Here is what I have been reminding myself and teaching myself for the last year:

JUST KEEP SCROLLING…THAT IS NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS

JUST KEEP SCROLLING…LET THEM HAVE AN OPINION EVEN IF YOU DON’T LIKE IT AND EVEN IF YOURS IS DIFFERENT

JUST KEEP SCROLLING…IF THEY FEEL THAT IS THE BEST WAY TO GET CUSTOMERS/KEEP CUSTOMERS (SHRUGS SHOULDERS)

JUST KEEP SCROLLING…THAT IS FAKE NEWS

JUST KEEP SCROLLING…YOU KNOW THAT PERSON LOVES TO ARGUE AND NOT DEBATE

JUST KEEP SCROLLING…AND FINISH WHAT YOU CAME TO DO

GO BACK AND DELETE THAT (You do not have time to go back and forth)

DELETE DELETE DELETE (LOL)

Sometimes when someone says something crazy or off the wall on my posts I let it stay there and never respond. I leave it for others see how crazy the person is HAAAAAAA!!!!! But most times I just delete it and keep it moving.

You see, I have several pages and social media outlets are more than just a place to be social for me. I like to joke, I like a good debate, discussion from time to time but, you know life is still going on around me. Goals have to be met, dreams have to come true, family has to be taken care of and friends have to be chatted with. So, the bigger picture of why I hopped on in the first place helps me to stay woke lol…focused on the bigger picture.

~Nikki

RA, Friendships, and Relationships

When I first developed Rheumatoid Arthritis one of the main things I was worried about was relationships with the opposite sex. I was worried about everything! During a counseling session, the counselor said, “If he doesn’t like you for who you are, if he can’t love you for you, he is simply not the one, end of discussion. You are probably more worried about being seen as weak or needy given you have a superwoman complex.” In my head response:”Well! I never!!!!”

So as I cleared my throat, and swallowed that chunk of truth, I responded with “Superwoman complex? Do tell…”

Anyway, as life has gone on, it’s been easier to say “Hey, dude, I have RA and blah blah blah.” Most guys are like “Oh, okay. No problem. What do you need? Do you need anything? How are you feeling today? What movie do you want to see? What’s for dinner? Etc etc….” They don’t care much. You get an occasional jerk, but I figure he was born that way.

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To my surprise, relationships and family have not been the hardest thing for me. The hardest thing for me has been developing and on going friendships. First of all, I don’t take the word friend lightly. It’s in a category with love. I do use it when shared energy is among myself and another person. I hope you can understand that.

Friendships and associations were and are difficult for me. I was use to being everywhere at one time. On the go. Move move move. Let’s do this. And somewhere as a person with RA or Fibromyalgia you began to lose a connection with some people because:

1. They don’t get why you hurt so much and why you can’t do the simplest things. They don’t understand how you can be so tired. They don’t understand how you were just fine two minutes ago and now you are not. They do not understand why peace, quiet, and no drama is important to your health.

2. You want to go but, you just don’t feel like being around certain people. People can work your last nerve. Especially, when the positively negative crew is on deck. I thought this was a party not Wrestle-mania . YOU LIED TO ME!!!! (dramatic scene)

3. They don’t believe you are ill. They will never tell you that outright (cowards!) but oh do they consistently imply. You know you don’t look sick.

4. I don’t feel comfortable. Sometimes, having all of these things interfere with your life on a daily basis gets to me. I long for myself and I have no idea who this “new” person is after 5 years going on 6 with RA and I am just not use to her. I am still trying to figure it out.

5. New people also think you are flaky. She said she was coming, she said maybe…she always says maybe. Hey look, give me a minute.

6. Patience. If we are going to deal with each other we need patience. Patience is something missing in most of us. I struggle with having patience with myself tremendously. I guess that is why I don’t bother when others don’t.

So, I navigate the waters of friendships and associations with a long rowing paddle. Plus, I am a Pisces who doesn’t let everyone in my castle. Sure we can play on the front lawn and the palace porch, but come in? I don’t know about that. Meet me in the courtyards. I have to trust you. I have to trust you won’t see me as I sometimes see myself. Weak and vulnerable to RA but, never weak and vulnerable. Yeah…double talk.

~Nikki

 

You Woke Up Like This

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We honor “No Feels” and we dole out “Zero F’s” and have a back up generator for our “Petty Machine” but if we stood in the mirror instead of a self portrait we would see that we reflect society. For society has no feels about people of color, immigrants or women. They give zero f’s about how many of us are murdered or the violence we are subjected to as minorities and women (women of any color are considered minorities….did you know that?). The petty machine generates unfair pay to women and minorities, inequality in education, incarcerated minorities on minor infractions and others roam free on major fraud scandals and rape charges, women still can’t decide what to do with their bodies without man telling what to do with it….but you know….You Woke Up Like This and You Go to Bed Like This and You Live Like This.  -Nicole Jackson

 

~Nikki

Talk to me. Not at me. Race Relate.

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I met a lady of a different race and she says to me I have a headband like the one you have on. I love it but it just slides right off. I say when I straighten my hair, it does the same thing. She says to me in a shocking tone “Why would you ever want to straighten your hair? I wish I had hair like African Americans. I would never straighten my hair. I’d do all of that creative stuff you do like twist it, braid it, dread it…all of that!” I laughed and many times I have wished I had hair like yours until I learned to love the hair that grows out of my head. “Absolutely,” she says “There is nothing wrong with your hair. People should just get over it already.” 
Then we started to talk about life and come to find out she always wanted to be a fashion designer too and to be an actress. We talked about how we were discouraged from seeking out those dreams. I encouraged her to try acting and learn to sew. She encouraged me to to do the same and to keep writing and stop being afraid to submit the manuscript. We even talked about loving Memphis and we both said the only thing missing is the beach! We talked about how we have this underground but emerging arts scene. I told her there are auditions all the time in Memphis and gave her the Facebook site for one. You see, God causes the strangest things to happen in the strangest places. She says “We have much in common.” I said “Yes.” 
This reminds of how just last week I sat on a beach in Alabama and instantly bonded with three white women who were sitting next to me. We laughed so much until we were gasping for breath and could hardly get words out. We shared things, bits and pieces of our lives and we could all relate as human beings and women.
These things give me hope as it related to race relations. If we can just forget about what we see and TALK we would find out just how much we are a like and dispel the lies we have been fed by our parents, leaders, media and few bad experiences.
~Nikki