I Needed a Change…

Life for me has been hella hectic. I’m all over the place with deadlines, assignments, babies and bills! I’ve never been one to fall behind but I’ve recently found myself unprepared for TWO quizzes, I overslept for class and I forgot about a movie date with my family. I’ve been running off energy drinks and Jesus. My family life has been little to none since I usually find myself dead on the couch immediately after walking in the door. Pray for me.

For a little switch up and maybe even a little treat to myself, I cut my hair into what I call a “mom bob.” It’s shorter, more manageable and FRESH. I needed somethings fresh. Lately, I find myself making fresh coffee, forgetting it and then remembering it, just to have to warm it up in the microwave.

before✂️

After✂️

Surviving a Parent with BPD

This week has been surreal. It’s been filled with clarity, sadness and confusion. I’ve been conditioned as a black woman to believe that “at all times, I have to keep it together,” so this week I spent a lot of time in my car crying between classes, praying during pee breaks and calming myself down quietly during panic attacks in the hallways. I’m good a faking it til I make it.

I’ve been blessed with the power of discernment. I’d like to think that God speaks to me through dreams, feelings and even others. Last Saturday God laid something on my heart. It was HEAVY. I shared it with my husband. It was the following Sunday afternoon when I received a phone call lasting 45 minutes confirming everything I shared with my husband the night before…

I can’t say that I was in shock about the news. I felt a sense of relief, maybe even a sense of thankfulness. The person on the other end of the phone with just a couple of words had brought forth major healing to my past traumas. I felt slightly selfish for healing in the mist of this person’s chaos but I couldn’t help the feelings that overwhelmed me. This person unknowingly had answered my many questions about, “why my traumas happened to me.” As this person spoke, my mind wandered. I felt like the world stopped.

“My childhood traumas didn’t go in vain. My negative ways of thinking of myself (feeling like I’m never good enough or undeserving of good things) wasn’t random and my drama-filled childhood WAS NOT MY FAULT.” One of my parents suffered from BPD (borderline personality disorder.)

I don’t mind being transparent about this because this is something I’ve been dealing with alone for 26 years. I also love living truthfully. Putting it out there means no one can use my “secrets,” or insecurities against me. I’m free.

My parent is in denial and has been apparently for my entire life. Unfortunately my brother and I didn’t have people paying close enough attention to advocate for us. My childhood and most of my adult life have suffered at the hands of this. I could tell you some stories about what I’ve seen or even experienced but I’d like to treat my healing as delicate as possible. This is my ugly and uncomfortable truth.

This week, I’ve struggled with many emotions. I love my parent but that doesn’t erase the pain this parent has caused me. I’m confused. I’m relieved because for months now, I’ve been seeking therapy to cope with this but I too was in denial about my parent’s mental health. (In therapy, your therapist can only diagnose and treat you. In regards to your past, they’re left to only speculate what they think was going on. In my case upon my first counseling session, my therapist felt that it was very likely my parent suffered from BPD.)I struggled with the feeling of feeling violated. I feel like I’ve been lied to. I feel like I’ve been coexisting with a stranger. I feel sad. I love my parent and feel like their support system or there lack of failed them. They needed someone to lean on. On Sunday, I felt like I was meeting my parent for the first time. For 26 years I didn’t know them. I didn’t understand them. I know them now.

This is all so new to me and honestly I have no advice to share. One thing I will say is that, many people lose to the fight against mental illness. They try to ignore symptoms but mental illness lives in the brain. Our brains control our bodies. When the brain is sick, our bodies can’t function properly. Many people have been taught to think that therapy is bad thing. Because of this way of thinking, many parents are rearing their children while fighting mental illnesses.

Writing and sharing this has been both healing and scary. I struggled with doing what’s therapeutic to me while being considerate of my parent’s well-being. It’s like walking a tightrope with the world on my back. In one sense I want healing,understanding and growth but in the other sense, I understand that my parent’s situation is serious and delicate to them as well. My parent is still very much in denial and while seeking and achieving my healing I don’t want to hinder theirs. Writing this and posting this blog post has left me very feeling vulnerable. I understand that some might not fancy this post and others may find it helpful to their healing. I’m ok with this.

I ask that you pray for my family at this time. I started this blog to share and inspire. I’m sharing this because although I’m still unsure of my next move or my family’s, I wanted someone/anyone in this same situation to know that they’re not alone.

Xoxo,

Christian

Black Hair in a Not so Black World

I just dropped my son off to school for the day and my son’s teacher did something that left me feeling slightly offended. She touched his hair. I’d like to put this in context for you …

Liam has a curly Afro! He has a serious and tedious hair routine that some parents might find ludicrous but to me, it’s a very important part of his hygienic routine. I start off with shampoo and follow up with a deep conditioner. I then pat his hair dry and moisturize it with a cream. I seal that cream with an oil. His hair is really dry so his curls appreciate the extra love. Some mornings when I drop him off to school, his hair isn’t fully dry. You’re able to see some of the product settling into his curls and it may look a bit odd. Never the less, by the time I pick Liam up from school, the product can no longer be seen and his hair and curls are full of life!

I’m assuming that Liam’s teacher unfamiliar with black hair, was confused as to why his hair was coated in a tan looking liquid? She patted him on the head and asked, “did you wash your hair today?” I immediately followed up with, “yes, he sure did!” She was left awkwardly holding out her now damp hand.

A couple of thoughts crossed my mind. One, why the heck did she think it was ok to touch my son’s hair? It’s an unwritten but known rule since FOREVER to NOT TOUCH A BLACK PERSON’s HAIR. Periodt! Secondly, why did her face turn to distaste when she realized her hand felt damp? Her face looked as if she had just accidentally touched the wet rim of an overfilled trashcan.

Her face brought me back to a childhood memory. Once in 3rd grade I was practicing braiding in my Caucasian friend’s hair. This was after school and I had no combs or hair products just my 8 year old hands. I remember after finishing up with what I thought was a braid masterpiece, my friend’s mom walked into our classroom. She looked at her daughter’s new-do. My friend’s mom touched the braids both in astonishment and disgust and said, “eww what did she (me) put in your hair? It’s so greasy?” Even as an 8 year old girl I understood what that comment meant. My friend’s hair wasn’t greasy. I didn’t use any products or utensils. What her mother meant was that her daughter’s hair looked “too black,” which she felt was disgusting.

Back to Liam. So when his teacher’s face changed after running her hand through his hair my heart dropped. As a mother I don’t want my child to experience any hurt, especially hurt I enabled! I chose his hair style. This is my fault! Immediately after dropping Liam off, my mind started racing. I sped to a local beauty supply store. I had just recently changed his shampoo and conditioner and his curls had been dryer than usual which is why he had EXTRA product in his hair this morning… The hair store was closed. I thought, “maybe it’s time to give up the curls? Should I cut off his hair?” A mired of things ran through my mind. I preach, live, stress black pride in our house because growing up in a predominately Caucasian area as a child left me feeling ashamed of my blackness too often.

I ask Liam daily does he like his hair. I don’t want white society shunning my baby because his hair is different. That. That alone is enough to break my heart. So here I am sitting outside in my car with anxiety because I don’t know if Liam noticed or felt what I felt. I’m unsure of how his day will go. I’m unsure if his teacher has the gall to change his hairstyle so that it’s more appeasing to her. I’m unsure if I’m over reacting. Am I over reacting?

I decided to drive back to Liam’s school. My body wouldn’t let me do anything else. I drove back. I walked into his classroom. I walked him out of his class. I whispered to him, “You are a handsome, strong and intelligent brown boy. Your hair is the coolest hair in all the world. I love you and Jesus loves you. Do you understand?” Liam replied, “yes.” We hugged and kissed.

This moment reminded me of how impressionable children are. My experience as an 8 year old made me feel like braids weren’t cool. I never told my mom but shortly after that incident I refused to wear braids in my hair. She thought it was phase but in actuality I wanted to detach myself from anything my peers thought was bad or different—even if that meant disassociating myself from my own culture. Because my son is 3 years old, and I wasn’t sure if he understood what had just happened, so to combat any of my doubts I decided to remind him of what I’m sure he already knows– his black is beautiful. xoxo,

Christian

Don’t TOUCH My Hair! I Just Got It Done!

There’s nothing like waking up early on Saturday morning and heading to your favorite hair stylist’s salon! You arrive to their shop, you tell them how you want your hair and boom! Before you know it, you’re handed the mirror for your big reveal! Just like that, you walk out the salon as different person—- a new woman. Having the perfect hair stylist is one of the major keys of womanhood! It’s basically an unwritten beauty law. 

Since a young girl, I’ve only had 2 people to do my hair. One was my mother and the other was my mother’s dear friend, aunt Gwen. After a beauty day in the salon, I always looked forward to the first day of school and picture days! I could barely sleep at night knowing that the next morning I’d be walking into a class with a new hairdo! I knew I’d be met with big eyes and hands that couldn’t resist the urge to run their hands through my hair. I was often asked, “is this your real hair?” “Yes,” I’d say proudly. “I go to Altruistic Hair Design and Salon.”

From chic cuts, color, natural hair and relaxed hair, ya girl Gwen Bovan ALWAYS delivers! As a woman of God, not only are you met with hands that care for your hair, you’re met with a woman that loves her clients like family. Gwen is amazing! She’s a busy mommy that makes balancing work and motherhood look easy. I’m still not convinced that she’s not a superhero incognito.

I have thick shoulder length hair. My hair is so thick that people have changed their styling price after running their hands through my hair. “I can’t even feel your scalp,” a stylist once complained before starting box braids. One time, a stylist’s assistance asked for a raise after braiding my hair for a sew in. Her argument was that, braiding my hair was simply too much. “She has thick and long hair. I should get paid extra for clients like her.” That comment hurt my feelings. With all the negative connotations that have been bestowed upon black women with a certain hair type, that comment made me feel like my hair wasn’t beautiful.

Gwen never disappoints me. My hair is always so sheen, healthy and BOUNCY! After being natural for 3 years I recently decided to go back to creamy crack postpartum after giving birth to my daughter. I no longer had the time for twist outs and tedious wash days. I needed something easy—-convenient. The decision to go back to a relaxer after being natural for so long was hard but choosing who I trust with my hair wasn’t a hard decision at all. Altruistic Hair Design and Salon is hands down the best hair salon in Martinez, GA and Gwen Bovan, she’s the best hair stylist on the planet.

If you’re in the CSRA area and need a hairstylist that slays, book Gwen. Your hair won’t regret it.

Altruistic Hair Design and Salon

(706) 831-0342

Xoxo,

Christian