Quarterlife+


I Bid you Adieu, Carol’s Daughter

I love, love, love Carol’s Daughter products. I recently bought my second and last jar of loc butter. My most favorite thing that I’ve bought from the website is the Jamaican Punch body spray-rudely discontinued. The tui leave-in conditioner smells heavenly as well.

If I’m such a an of their products, why am bidding them adieu? I’m cheap. I don’t want to pay for shipping and handling. As great as the tui leave-in smells, I’m not all that convinced that it keeps my locs any more conditioned or hydrated then something I could buy from Target (deliciously smelly or not). Speaking of Target, I’m not sure if you recall, but I began my loc journey using Jane Carter products. Talk about pricey-her loc cream/gel runs about 20 bucks. It may work for some people, but it didn’t offer my hair that much hold. For hold, I used the loc spray. Together, they weren’t so bad. The bad thing about the loc cream/gel is that you don’t get all that much for the price.

So what did that have to do with Target? You can get Jane Carter products at Target. No shipping, I see exactly what I’m getting-it’s win win. Well, that just leaves the loc gel/cream. I’m going to start using Organic Root Stimulator Lock & Twist Gel. Why? You can find it anywhere and I keep reading others’ blogs that say they use it. I figure it can’t hurt. You can also find it just about anywhere, which is a huge plus.

So after this last jar of CD’s loc butter, I’m back to Jane Carter and off to Target.

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What’s in a name…or a hair-do?

It’s not even 9A.M. What am I doing? Writing? No. Other freelance  work? No. Cooking breakfast? No again. I am sitting in the middle of my living room under my Gold n Hot hair dryer. After what was a long and irritating quest, I did find a sit-under dryer at Sally’s Beauty Supply. The last time I did my hair was a little over two weeks ago, and that took so much prep work that I never got around to posting the pictures (next post, I promise). The Jane Carter Twist and Loc stuff I was using was out of stock. Yes, I went to the company website and they were out of stock. I ended up having to buy it off of Amazon because I couldn’t find it at anywhere.

To make a long story short: Loc cream: Amazon, Shampoo: Target, Dryer: Sally’s, Tea Tree Oil: Random Hair Store

It seems like a bunch of fuss, but does it really matter? Yes. I feel better when my hair is done-almost like a brand new person. What gives you that brand new feel? A new outfit? For me, it’s my hair. The thing is, my hair has to be done how I like it. It could be done in a nice style, but if I don’t like it, I don’t like it. I’m particular.

Today’s a big day (aside from my hair being finally finished). I’m also finally changing my last name. There’s no rhyme or reason as to why it’s being done now. But I’ll say this: I AM SO EXCITED! Yes, it is all caps worthy.

Will I feel like a new person once I have my husband’s last name? I’m not sure. Will it give me that fresh hair-do feel? It may be even better? What about my old name? I feel like I’m washing it away, or off of me. I’m not all that attached to it, but I have had it for nearly 26 years.

Out with the old, and in with the new. I’ll let you know if I feel any different after it’s a done deal.

**UPDATE**

I got my social security card. Here’s how I chose my namesake. It’s not a virus, I promise. It’s a link to my other blog.

Dreading my dreds? Maybe not.

Last Thursday marked the time I was scheduled to get my hair redone. Not doing anything to my hair for a month was a trial for many reasons. I didn’t have but so many rules to follow. In actuality, I only had two:

Rule #1: Don’t get it wet!

An umbrella and a shower cap would be all I’d need to keep to this rule, so I thought. The shower part, I had covered. I even wore two to be sure. The rain was another story. Well, rain doesn’t always fall straight down. Lo and behold, sometimes it rains at an angle. (That reminds me of an episode of Family Guy where Ollie Williams makes a similar observation.)

My own personal observation: all wetness doesn’t come from the outside! I caught a cold, which is typical since I work with kids. I hadn’t bargained the profuse sweating that happened as my body tried to rid itself of the thing! The whole back of my hair came out! This actually brings me to the second rule I was to follow. This happened not once, but twice.

Rule #2: Re-twist to the left

This I knew I couldn’t screw up. I have a pretty firm grasp of my left from my right. Sadly, I came to discover that I have a pretty firm grasp of my left from my right only when not under the influence of Theraflu and Sudafed. In trying to save my unraveling hair, it became more of a disaster. I didnt know what to do. The faster I twisted, using the Jane Carter stuff, the faster it came out. It was then I realized I was twisting to the right and completely undoing what was left of the slight hint of twists in the back. I will now make a confession: I cheated. The locs wouldn’t stay, so I broke out some extra hold spritz. Spritz shows no mercy, and I was in a desperate place.

So when I got to Miss Pam’s house after work Thursday night, I expected for her to say, “What have you done to your hair?!” To my surprise, she didn’t. She was actually impressed, saying that it looked a lot better than she’d even hoped. Now that, I didn’t know how to take.

I’d bought more Jane Carter Solution products for the occasion: locking spray, shampoo, and conditioner. She washed it, re-twisted it, and put a million clips on it again. Amazingly, this all took about four hours, which was much faster than the last time. I looked at it after she washed it and just knew I was going to be there all night. I still don’t understand how she made her way through what I thought was a tangled disaster area. She cut a good amount of the relaxer out this time too. I was a big girl and didn’t complain about it. It had to be done. I don’t even know why I almost cared. I’m used to my hair being short. I’ve had it cut much shorter than it is now (yes, even with my big head).

Want to see how the night unfolded?

Hair help. hair-do failure

Posted in Hair Stories by Ashley Franklin on October 18, 2009
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My hair needs help! It was doing pretty good. I think keeping it covered with a scarf sometimes may be helping, especially when going to bed. So what went wrong?

I caught a cold. Getting sick is bad enough, but the fact that my hair is turning into a disaster is too much to handle. I am freezing cold and struggling to warm up. When I finally get warm, I’m hot. I end up sweating trying to get through this process and my hair ends up being a casualty. I even tried to re-twist some of it. It’s still a mess. Don’t believe me? Here’s a pic:

bk hair

Back of my hair

Dreads: 1 week down

Posted in Hair Stories by Ashley Franklin on October 13, 2009
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It’s only been one week?! You have no idea how many times I went back to the bottom right side of my computer screen and double-clicked the calendar to make sure that was right. Aside from my hair, the week has gone past rather quickly. Hair wise though, this has been the longest week of my entire life. Pam told me to pretty much leave my twists alone for a month aside from re-twisting ones that come loose or out. What I have been instructed to do is to use this particular product when re-twisting my hopeful locks: Jane Carter Solution Twist & Lock.

I don’t know much about it, but Pam was extra hype when I spotted the product at the hair store. She said this line of products is great for keeping hair healthy. For the twenty bucks I paid, I hope it’s fantastic. Pam is actually a licensed stylist, not just a friend of a friend that can happen to do hair. For that reason, I trust her judgment.

2 new scarves

2 new scarves

I bought two new scarves for those days when the fly away twists are irking me. These two patterns have nothing to do with each other, but I liked them both individually. I’m not sure if this counts as hiding my hair or accessorizing it. I don’t have enough scarves to wear one every day, so I can’t really hide it. I may need to look into finding/buying some more scarves because it is getting cold. It has been cold on my scalp these past few brisk days.

If anyone has any tips or suggestions on how to get through this beginning process to locks, do tell. I’m all ears…or eyes.

I am not my hair

Posted in Hair Stories by Ashley Franklin on October 9, 2009
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I’m far from conceited, but anyone that knows me can tell you how much I love having my picture taken. How is that not conceited? Well, I have no problem taking pictures of other people. They just have to wait their turn.

My “boolovin”, as I call him,  made a comment that I hadn’t sent him any pictures lately. Of course I tried to talk avoid the issue by turning the conversation around on him, but he’s learned to see that from a mile away. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I don’t like my hair, it’s just still growing on me. If I’m slacking on sending my boolovin some random pics, what hope do I have left for this whole dreadlock process?

He and I love music and believe that there’s a song that relates to every possible emotion. I scanned through my iTunes, no small task, and came up with an oldie but goodie. The song is  “I am Not My Hair” India Arie. I can’t believe I’d forgotten it. It was the reason I’d bought the album a couple years ago in the first place!

I’m really ashamed that I’d forgotten about this song. I actually used it as part of a presentation I did in graduate school. I think the presentation was on defying beauty culture or redefining beauty. It’s vague. Sorry. As pleased as I was to (re)find this song, imagine how excited I was to discover another version! This one isn’t a video, just the song, but it features Pink instead of Akon. I think Pink is pretty fantastic, so this made me smile on the inside and outside:

Isn’t it great when the people closest to you can influence your way of thinking? From one small comment made by my very significant other, I got a boost of confidence and a newfound appreciation for a song I once loved. The thing is, now the song takes on a whole new meaning. Though I always felt like I could connect with the song, now I feel like I’m living it all the more. It’s okay though. At least I know that while I’m going through this process, I’ll have someone who supports me. Even if I decide to cut all my hair off, “we’d just rock waves together.” Those are his words, not mine. It’s definitely not the most romantic thing he has said, but it hit home just the same.

Worms on your head?

Posted in Hair Stories,Kid Stories by Ashley Franklin on October 9, 2009
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I was at Pathmark getting ice cream for some apple pie and saw two women with dreads. I was so excited. I felt like a member of a special club–like maybe a dreads support group or honor society. I wanted to run up to them and say “You too, how long?”. But there’s a special place for folk that walk up to strangers and make them nervous.
Speaking of nervous, I apparently made one little girl nervous. I need to add some hair clips or something to keep my hair from swirling around or flying away. Yes, my hair is still managing to do what it wants even in these baby dreads.  At this moment my sister, Lexi, is tossing on some hair clips to help the cause. I’m not sure how successful we’re going to be though.
 
So anyway, this little girl walks up to me at recess. I already knew I was in for it because she’s secretly one of the funniest kids at the school. She looked up and titled her head to the right. She squinted and put her hands on her hips, bunching up her tiny pink jacket. Then it happened: “Are those worms on your head?”
 
I laughed, and she ran away laughing. As the usual hijinks of the afternoon continued, I actually gave more thought to this comment. The children like worms. They show it everyday by seeing how many they can dig up from the ground and show me in plastic buckets. The idea of worms on my head thoroughly creeps me out. Instead of worms, what if these were snakes on my head?
 
Now that would be a breakthrough for the early childhood field! Instead of saying the same things over and over: stop it, no, we can’t do that, you’re not making good choices, etc., imagine if I whipped off a hat and unleashed some hissing snakes to end all questionable behaviors. I’d be kind of like Medusa, except for that whole turning people to stone thing. The kids would either be shocked or scared to death. I’d get their attention either way, and sometimes that’s half the battle (getting them to listen so you can (re)direct them).
 
[picapp src=”0245/ffac07b8-09ad-463d-a8bd-3437ef10a07f.jpg?adImageId=4923777&imageId=249083″ width=”234″ height=”158″ /]

Day 2: What to do?

Posted in Hair Stories by Ashley Franklin on October 7, 2009
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First Day at Work

Before Work

Every morning my family has prayer before my two youngest siblings go to school. It’s not that we don’t love my other sister enough to have prayer with her as well, she just goes to school entirely too early. We do always toss her name up to God anyway, and I think he catches it just the same.

After everyone going to school had gone, I was left with my folks. My dad wanted to see my hair the night before, but I wasn’t unleashing it just yet. I sent him a picture message of it instead. Having general conversation about my hair with him, I leaned my head back against the wall. I almost gave myself a brain injury because one of the hair clips stabbed me right in the head. Time to take clips off.

I work at a preschool. Children can’t really handle drastic changes. The bunch I work with hasn’t really had a choice. They’ve grown used to me wearing wigs, sporting braids, or setting my hair free (sometimes all in the same week). They still ask questions about it though, and I can’t really blame them. There aren’t but so many brown people where I work, so I feel like they pay extra attention to me. (I’ll take this time to say that it wasn’t until working with kids that I learned that most of them don’t use Black and White. They use brown and peach. I’ll save that topic for another post though.) I wasn’t sure how I was going to break the new do out on the kids.

I opted for a scarf I own. It’s different shades of  brown and red, and I built an outfit around it.

At Work

Just like adults, some kids wake up from their naps quicker and more pleasant than others. As I passed out their snacks, the more alert ones were ready for me.

-Miss Ashley, what’s that on your head?

-A scarf.

-Miss Ashley, what are you covering up?

-My hair.

-Miss Ashley, what’s your hair doing under the scarf?

-Chilling.

-Miss Ashley, are you a pirate?

-Yes.

-Miss Ashley, you look like a ninja. Are you a ninja?

-Of course!

-Miss Ashley, you kinda look like a princess.

-I am a princess. In fact, I’m a pirate ninja princess.

I remained unquestioned as a pirate ninja princess for maybe ten minutes. Then, my scarf slipped and I needed to fix it. I started to go into the bathroom to fix it, but then thought “why?”. I took it off and the table of kids closest to me all stopped chewing. One always outspoken little girl said, “So that’s what your hair is doing underneath. I like it.” 

She continued eating her snack and I smiled. She was the first child that had greeted me when I came through the door. Her greeting hadn’t been hi or hello. Instead, it was “Miss Ashley, like my dress?” She smiled when I told her I loved it. Maybe she’d returned the favor–a smile for a smile.  

 

 

Dreads: Day 1

Posted in Hair Stories by Ashley Franklin on October 6, 2009
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Morning

What I thought was going to be my 8:30 appointment turned into 10am. I guess that’s the perils of a homie hookup that comes to your door. At any rate, I’d been up since well before 7, extra excited. By 8:15 I’d showered and washed my hair. I thought I was pushing my 8:30 deadline when I finished blow drying my hair at 8:25. At 9am, I text my aunt asking her where her friend was, and she said that she was waiting for her. This was news to me because I didn’t know that my aunt was coming too. This now seemed like a family project.

The Introduction

At 9:20, I saw my aunt’s little black car and a periwinkle van pull in front of the house. Behold…”Pam”. Now I know that there’s no typical hair stylist look, but Pam still threw me for a loop. On this brisk Monday morning, she walked up the winding walkway. Her patch of hair flowing in the wind. Yes, her whole head was shaved except for one sleek patch. She was wearing a floral print summer dress over ripped blue jeans, and bronze flip flops that matched her sweater. I even remember the color of her nail polish. It looked like something Crayola would call Jazzy Jack-o-lantern or Electric Pumpkin Patch. Hmmm…she was wearing a scarf, but I can’t remember what it looked like. It must have been too ordinary to command attention or recollection.

Preparation

What did we need? Locking gel and hair clips. Did we have them? NO! We took a trip to the hair store and after much searching, I got some $20 locking gel. Yes, $20. It hurt a little bit, I’m not going to lie. The exact name of it escapes me, and I’m just too lazy to get up and search for it. Though for twenty bucks, I should probably know exactly where it is.

It was around 10am when we finally started. We sat in the kitchen, I in a chair, she behind me on a stool. As she took the comb, parted the first section, and did the first twist, I thought one thing: I hope I know what I’m getting myself into.

Afternoon

I have a big head. I even have the audacity to have thick hair. After sitting for two hours, Pam was still doing the back of my head. I was trying my best to resist my childlike urges to get up and runaway, but my shaky leg gave me away. I hate sitting still. Pam said she would be done by 2:30. She wasn’t. The time didn’t go by terribly slow. Pam’s a talker. She told me about her kids, school, religious walk, and her own hair story. She too had locks at one point.

Evening

Several deadlines later, Pam finished a little before 5. I only ran away a couple of times, and they were legitimate. She talked for the majority of the time she was here. The most important thing that she said was: “Growing locks is a humbling experience.” Maybe it’s because they look really weird in the beginning or because you’re putting all your faith into your hair, hoping that it will do what it is supposed to do, but I guess I will soon see how true this statement is.

Hair today, hope tomorrow

Posted in Hair Stories by Ashley Franklin on October 4, 2009
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The Beginning

I wasn’t born with hair. It was more like a scalp of five o’clock shadow. As a kid I had a little more luck. I do mean little. My hair wasn’t long and flowing. It was just enough to form into little puffs with hundreds of barrettes. Now that I think about it, I wonder if these barrettes were for fashion or a parental declaration to strangers that I wasn’t a boy. There’s picture evidence that these hair sprouts eventually matured. But as with anything being treated by products promising overall greatness, the results were short-lived.

Hot combs to the rescue (read as demise)! I’m not even sure why this is an option at all. I love my grandmother with all my heart, but for the life of me I can’t understand why I was sent to her to get my hair pressed. Pressed? A thick metal comb was placed on the stovetop and heated fifteen degrees past Hell. This was done all in the name to get my hair straight.

The Middle

Fast-forward to third grade. I get my first perm (or chemical relaxer). Pressing obviously didn’t do enough damage. So now we resorted to chemicals. Sadly, for nearly the next sixteen years my hair started to build up a resistance. I went from one brand to another. “Switching products every now and then is necessary for the hair.” Yeah, sure it is. That’s exactly why my hair fought valiantly like it was fighting a virus.

The End

Many braids, weaves, extensions, and cuts later, I quit. I have actively decided to give up. I know when I have lost. In anger and frustration, I recently stopped getting relaxers in my hair. Braids hurt and are tight. Weaves and extensions take almost more maintenance than your own actual hair. Cutting my hair seemed like a marvelous solution until my hair started growing faster out of spite.

So for the past two months I’ve done nothing to my hair besides wash it and leave it alone. Oh, I’ve tossed a wig on it to go to church and work. I’ve grown tired of taking “my hair” on and off, so now what? I’ve decided to get dreads. I’ve googled them, talked to people with them, and thought about how they might change my life. I’m hoping that maybe my hair will now finally cooperate if it’s given more freedom to do what it wants—without chemical interruption or excessive amounts of temporary manipulation.

The Reason

So why even go through all of these hair changes? Well, as a child I didn’t have much of a choice. As a teenager I wanted to fit in. As an adult, I’m still figuring out what I really want. My hair has pretty much been my social in. However, dreads aren’t exactly mainstream. Am I trading social acceptance for self liberation? Maybe trying to live without peer pressure is just too foreign of a concept. At this age, shouldn’t peer pressure not even be an issue? Maybe, like me, it reinvents itself over the years.