April 23, 2014

Naturally me

When I decided to go natural with my hair I was 19 years old.  It was the 90′s, and at that time not very many women were giving up the relaxers for a more Afrocentric look.  I remember it being frowned upon by huge numbers of black women and men alike.  Statements like “You’ll never get a decent job with your hair like that”, or “what are you some kind of hippie?” come to mind when I think back on this.  It was a scary experience for me not because I wanted acceptance, but because I was stepping out and doing something different and didn’t have the proper information on how to do it and get it right.  There was no turning back and giving into the creamy crack, as some call it, if my hair didn’t behave the way I wanted.  There wasn’t an abundance of information for us few “natural-istas”  back then, so we had to pretty much work on trial and error (not a welcoming thought when you’re talking about hair. Hair is a sensitive subject in the black female community).  I was told that I would have to start from scratch and cut my then, “Halle Berry” cut even shorter to achieve this more provincial look.  No sweat, I think I can rock a “Jada Pinkett- set-it-off” look, and cut I did.  I loved the style at first because I could rub my head and felt it’s smooth fuzzy texture. Being a mom of a little girl, I saved lots of time not having to do my hair, leaving me loads of time to concentrate on hers.   I rocked that short cut in different colors for about a year when I started to miss my hair.

When I decided to grow it out, I had trouble finding products to accommodate my new style.  My hair was too short to catch a braid and hold onto it, but too long to just get up and go out with.  I was stuck.  I wore scarves for a brief time till I got a little more length and quickly put in micro-braids (thank God my hair grows fast).  I started to look around for anything that would help me in my natural hair care quests when I came across a book by Lonnice Brittenum Bonner called “Good Hair- For Colored Girls Who’ve Considered Weaves When The Chemicals Became Too Rough”.  I know that’s a long title, but It’s a small book and a great read.  It gave me an insight on this woman’s struggles herself, and I no longer felt alone in the struggle.  I still wasn’t able to find good products even the ones mentioned in her book were hard to find at times.  But I learned to “wet set” my hair through that book.  I have to say that I didn’t exactly follow the book when it came to some things though.  When I entered “Corporate America” I graduated from braided extensions to THE WEAVE! The weave worked wonders for me. I was able to let my hair rest for periods of time while I continue to search for salons that cater to the natural woman and search for the right product. Now searching for a salon is a huge fete for me because I don’t like anyone in my hair.  The experiences I had were not desirable and I don’t like putting my trust in anybody when it comes to my tresses.  No matter what the style, I always did it myself (even that Halle Berry cut.  I got “mad skills”).

Today, there are an array of product flooding the market for we “natural-istas” to help us make it easier (or so I think).  There are so many products how can one choose?  Should I try out each and every one to see what’s the right fit? That would be a very costly experiment and I definitely don’t have the money for that.  Speaking of money, That’s my second problem.  I found that the good stuff that works on my hair and my daughter’s heads is way too expensive per 8oz. jar (WTF?) I think  that now that we African Americans have cornered the market on hair care, shouldn’t we (they) lower the price for us Frugal–istas (Just a thought)?

One thing I can say is,  I see an insurgence of women who choose to “go natural” and I feel comforted that we, like our fore-mothers before us, are becoming a “movement”.  Like the ’60′s and ’70′s, the natural (afro) was not only a style, but a way of life.  It began as a form of blacks accepting who they were and not conforming to what “The Man” often told us was beauty.  It was a way for our people to accept our unique-ness and our natural beauty. This time, I seriously doubt it to be a fad.  Women like myself seek a deeper meaning for accepting this natural way of life and we choose to express this not only our hair but in the way we dress, the way we eat, and the way we address one another and the way we love. We also pass these notions of natural -vs- straight hair, good -vs- bad hair onto our offspring. Now if you call that being a hippie, Then I guess that’s how you can describe me, naturally.

Juicin’

So, my husband bought me a juicer a few weeks ago.  At first, I was intimidated to use it because I’ve seen the infomercials and just knew it had to be harder than they let on (I never believe what I see on tv).  I also thought that the resulting concoctions would be dreadful to the taste and deter me from ever using the machine again.  Though my husband and kids will probably disagree, the beverages that I have mixed, were not half bad.  I have mixed one with spinach and the only thing is I had to get used to the taste of raw spinach.

I remember a time when I was younger, all I did was eat fruits and vegetables (well not all vegetables but you get the picture).  Mom would always buy an abundance of fruits for us kids to eat, and eat we certainly did.  We never thought about the nutritional value or how it helped cure the body of illnesses.  When all of the fruit was gone, we’d start on the vegetables (not all) like carrots, celery, and cucumbers.  We didn’t quite make salads, but we’d dip them in vinegar and go to town! I tell my children this all of the time and they squish up their faces in disgust, but sometimes, that was all that was left until mom went shopping again.

As an adult I have always encouraged my children to eat their fruits and veggies, mostly because they are the anytime snacks  you can take anywhere, or buy from just about anywhere.  Besides the fact that fruits and vegetables are still good for you, they are still tasty as well.  With the insurgence of juice and smoothie bars, I felt finally there was a place that gets back to the basics of nutrition.  You could order a drink with “the works”, or just a very simple drink to soothe your palette.  The only thing I despised most about the juice bars was that, though they were well worth it, they were a little on the expensive side.  Now that I have a juicer, I can get the daily amount of fruits and veggies without feeling like I just ate a refrigerator full of food.  What’s even better, is I spend less buying the fruit and making it at home.  So now, I’m throwing everything I can get my hands on into that machine and juicin’ away.  I’m making Mango-pineapple-strawberry drinks, spinach-apple-celery, you name it, I’m trying it.  In just a short time, I have noticed I have an abundance of energy.  Maybe it’s the excitement of thinking of what to come up with next, or just the thought that I am doing something good for my body, but whatever it is, I’m sold.

Losing friends

Last week has been a really hard one for me.  I found out two of my high school friends passed away, and although we weren’t very close over the years since high school, one in particular I have gotten re-acquainted with.  From what I was told she was sick for a long time, but all the same it was very unexpected.  She was beautiful soul, so young and full of life.  She had two wonderful children who are greatly loved and they will be cared for by  an even bigger family now because of who she was in life. The other friend was someone who used to hang out with my older cousin when I was younger.  This beautiful soul was someone who was  like family. It’s sad to know that  in this case, we’ll never know the truth behind what happened to her.   I only wish that in all of the Facebook reunions, that I would have been able to see her again.  Both of these women were mothers and now have gone on, but their spirits will live on in their children and families forever.

These two tragedies has made me think long and hard about my high school friends and how we have grown apart over the years.  Few of us have gone on, the others have moved throughout the country, due to college, jobs, and other life events.  The ones that stayed behind, have grown up and have gotten involved with families of their own.  In all of this sadness I have seen a beacon of light in the memorials we friends of the recently  departed  have set up.  In this past week I have gotten in touch with so many of the friends I have only contacted through the social  websites, and we have vowed to stay in touch with one another.  Though it was good getting re-aquainted with my schoolmates, I never want to get together under those tragic circumstances again.

Time for Me, Me, Me!

As a mother of three very busy girls, I often wonder where all of the time went.  It seems we are rushing around everywhere we go.  My mind is filled with dance practices, modeling jobs and go-sees, filling out college applications, and most important, homework! That’s not to mention the “regular” house duties, the husband and the care for animals in our house.  Sometimes, I don’t know how I make it through the day.   What I do know, is that the many things I want to do for myself always take the back burner, and sometimes get burnt up with all that’s going on.  I told myself this year, I was going to take it easy and try meditating to get some balance in my crazy hectic schedule.  I have yet to start that task.  It seems whenever I find the time to do anything for myself, I fall asleep, or there are so many things that I get confused as to what projects to start.   There’s the easel in my bedroom that is just waiting for me to paint something on it, the half finished drawings for the children’s book I plan to someday write, and  the books I need to read before they are due back at the library. Those are just a few things, I have a  whole list at least two pages long.

Anyone would think that being a home maker, I would have plenty of time to indulge in what ever tasks I may enjoy doing, But it seems just the opposite.   Being a mother is not a job one should take lightly, and I know now that a home maker  really does “make the home”.   I do give credit to the husbands and partners that “bring home the bacon”, but a mother’s job is so much more. Every time I see an athlete, or entertainer thank their mom for some prestigious award or just for the love and support, I smile because I know what that’s about.  It’s not always because the father is not always around. It’s because a mother (a good one) puts so much into making sure her children have what they need in life, even if it means sacrificing her wants and needs to make sure they get it. Even though I yearn for the time when I can sit back and relax and enjoy some “me time” I am so proud that I can see the accomplishments of my daughters and know that I had a part in it.

New Column: Sweet Tea Tuesdays

Iced or hot, with honey or sugar when Southern women commune there’s gon’ be some sweet tea! Welcome to Sweet Tea Tuesdays, my NEW! weekly column.

Those of you who’ve followed my musings know I write from a place of deep old word seasoning with a fresh, progressive perspective. I strive to create an environment and vibe that is all-inclusive, casual and open to unbridled discussion and honesty. What I hope to accomplish here at my quaint wooden table on the blogosphere is much more of the same.

Weekly, I’ll broach a range of relevant, current topics from my perspective as well as that of other phenomenal women, and men. I invite you, all of you to pull up a chair, and bring your thoughts and experiences to the discussion as you join me for Sweet Tea Tuesdays here at Moms of Hue.

Next week: We’ll discuss friendships; the way they influence and enrich our lives. In addition, we’ll speak about the areas of these relationships both internally and externally that we’d like to see strengthened. I’ll see you then, and of course do bring a friend.

T. Allen-Mercado

T. Allen-Mercado

T.Allen-Mercado is a mixed media artist, award-winning essayist, student of anthropology, blogger, wife and, mother of two.

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Moms of Hue Launch Celebration!

Thank you for joining us for the Moms of Hue. All of the winners are posted below (Twitter names).  Please be sure to send your information including which prize you won to info@momsofhue.com.

Today we are officially launching Moms of Hue! Welcome! We hope that you stay awhile and enjoy the wonderful writing of our amazing writers. To help celebrate this most auspicious occasion we are holding giveaways on twitter all day long. Be sure to listen to our interview this morning at 10:00 on The Chatterbox Show with Christie Crowder – prizes will be given out then too! On twitter please follow @momsofhue, @momontherise, and @reneejross so that you do not miss a question and a chance to win one of the great prizes below the twitter box!

Big Prizes

1. Hansel and Gretel Opera at The Metropolitan Opera (Dec. 14 @ 8pm) New York City Winner: @cocoamommy

2. Natal Chart Interpretation from Astrologist (Adiaha) Winner: @crussell6481

3. The Composite Chart Interpretation from Astrologise (Adiaha): Winner: @rmgm

4. Scrapbook Kit · Memory Mixer Software · Lasting Impressions Embellishment organizer · 48 scrapbook sheets · embossing template · lasting impressions large scrapbook pages Winner: @picklesugarplum

Jewelry

5. 1 earring set or 1 bracelet from Beaded Zen website Winner @madreoso

6. The Isabel Necklace is a handmade, pure and naturally oxidized brass and quality, Czech glass from Pretty In Peace. Winner: @kathysykes

Beauty/Health

7. Heavens Touch nail care kit Winner @elivya

8. Apple Bottoms Perfume AND 9. Foot Pedals Strut-in-Style Gift Set AND 10. Complete Laundry System (One Laundry ball/Two Dryer Balls) Winner @catsee

Miscellaneous

11. Color and Activity set (Crayola marker and coloring book) Winner:  bctripletmom

12. Snack and Play travel tray Winner: @rmgm

13. IPod Shuffle 1gb Pink Metallic Winner: @madreoso

Books

14. Signed Mocha Manual Winner: @LadyLovelyPeace

15. Disney Princess and Frog cookbook Winner: @bluefroggie

16. Whale Done Parenting: How to Make Parenting a Positive Experience for You and Your Kids Winner: @cocoamommy

17. Good Housekeeping The Great Bake Sale Cookbook Winner: @Shelliclickedit

18. The Ultimate Mom: Uplifting Stories, Endearing Photos, and the Best Experts’ Tips on the Toughest Job You’ll Ever Love by Maria Bailey (host of Momtalk Radio and Co-founder of Newbaby.com) Winner: @Humpsandbumps

20-24.  The Blackberry Diaries: Adventures in Modern Motherhood by Kay Buckworth Winners @rsj2000mrs @unluckymrsmom @Shelliclickedit @sdiego1717 @cocoamommy

25. The African Book of Names Winner: @maricrisg

Music CD

26. Signed Billy Ray Cyrus CD @ Winner: @Lorrigharte

27. Harry Connick, Jr. CD Winner: @bluefroggie

28. Straight No Chaser: Christmas Cheers CD Winner: @erincharp

DVD/BluRay

29. Just you and me kid workout Winner @unluckymrsmom

30. A Wowiebozowee Christmas Winner: @bluefroggie

31. Hannah Momtana and Miley Cyrus Best of Both Worlds Concert (BluRay) WINNER: @Shelliclickedit

32. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (BluRay): Winner: @simplyandreah

Video Games

33. Ben 10: Alien Force Vilgax Attacks Wii AND 35. Spore Hero Arena Wii37. Spore and Spore Galactic Adventures Expansion Pack (PC/Mac Compatible) Winner: @xiaolinmama

34. Spore Hero Nintendo DS  AND 36. Dragonology w/ Bringing Up Baby Dragon Book Nintendo DS: Winner @unluckymrsmom

Renee Ross

Renee Ross

Renée is a woman, a mother and an advocate of healthy living and social responsibility.

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