A week in the life of my hair. . .

So its officially been one year and one month since my last relaxer.  I have to say the one year mark was a little underwhelming, I had been looking forward to it for months and then it came and went and nothing special happened. I did decide that I will undergo a no heat challenge until My birthday, which is March 10th so that will be a little over a month. So this week I saw the evolution of the wash-n go.

And now I will share it with you.

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Day one, wash n go. I washed my hair the night before, did a successful Pineapple and wore it down the next day. I sometimes forget how different I look without my glasses and no eye make up.

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I wore my curls for two days an then did a curlformer set! I love my curlformers, this set came out less defined since it was on dry hair but I loved it and I got the most compliments on this style throughout the week.

IMG_0757 IMG_0761 On Valentines Day Ben and I headed up to the Mountains

IMG_0766-1 That night I did two large flat twists to sleep in and took my hair down to this wonderful curly style that unfortunately it only lasted down for a few hours before I put it up into a bun.

IMG_0772However I think I am officially at arm pit length!! That was my first hair goal. . now on to bra strap length by my wedding August here we come!

Next week I am going to try a roller set, I haven’t done one in a few months so we will see how it goes!

Thats all for now! Hope you all had a wonderful Valentines Day and have a great Presidents day weekend!

❤ Kelsi Rae

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Dear White People. . . A review through the eyes of the hair obsessed

So when I saw the trailer for the movie Dear White People I was excited,  I couldn’t wait to see this “complex” black movie that had more substance to the characters than a Tyler Perry movie. Something that looked at the relations of twenty something whites and blacks. So when it came out I drug my white boyfriend along and said, come on it will be funny you will like it. Thinking to myself, shit you might hate this but this movie is for me.

So as a self proclaimed hair obsessed I watched the evolution of the four main characters hair throughout the film, and noticed some interesting trends, so lets look at those four main characters.

Sam- the mixed girl that becomes the face of the black power movement at her college through her Dear White People radio show. They make sure that you know that she is conflicted about where she fits in, is she too light skinned to run this movement, does the term Redbone offend her? You bet it does.  So she rocks every updo you can think of. She makes sure that you can tell her hair is natural throughout the entire movie. But you know being a mixed girl her hair might not be as curly as some so she doesn’t go and rock the full on fro, and you never see her hair down until. .. enter the white guy she is seeing on the side. Of course none of her black movement friends know about this.  It is not until she accepts her ” malato” ( as her white man calls her) ways and steps out of the spotlight to do what she loves that we see her beautiful hair out of it’s updo. When she embraces this “true self” of hers she then wears her hair down, and of course walks off into the sunset holding the hand of said white guy.

Leroy- Oh ya you have to throw a gay guy into the mix to make it complicated right? So Leroy the black guy that never fit in with anyone in high school, felt more discriminated against by the black students than the white students. Case and point someone in the movie tells him that ” you are only technically black” he has no home at the school. And is rocking a huge, unkept afro. He slowly meanders his way through all of the houses on campus and ends up back at the traditionally black house, he then finds himself at the most racist party and finds his place in the community. Is surrounded by his fellow black students and oh ya, gets a fresh cut. Now that he doesn’t have to hide behind that fro right, no need for that stereotype anymore. No way he could have just liked it.

CoCo- Oh CoCo, she is probably the one I am supposed to identify with, right, this girl that doesn’t feel strongly about black/white relations. Doesn’t come into college wanting to change the world. And maybe even wants to be white a little to much. And yet here I am writing a very racially fueled blog, guess I don’t fit into one of these pretty boxes, or maybe I am just more like Sam. But CoCo she is the only girl prominent in the movie that has a weave, or straight hair for that matter. You know, if you care about your race you are clearly a natural girl. Because how you choose to style your hair completely defines your stance on political issues. CoCo ends up dressed up at the “black party” in a white wig, and her line that stuck out to me, ” They don’t give a damn about no Harriet Tubman, they buy Jay-Z tickets. . . because they want to be us and for one night they got to be.”

Troy- Troy the son of the dean of students who has had a grudge with the white president of the school since forever. Troy that dated the presidents daughter because his dad wanted him too. Troy that became just a little bit “blacker” when he was around the white students so that they thought he was the cool guy, but was very “put together” around his fellow black students so that they would respect him or something. He made it clear to everyone that he did fresh cuts, he made it clear that his hair was important to him, important to keep short and clean. But of course gotta keep those waves in it, unkept nappy hair just wont do. Until he begins to stand up to his daddy and embrace himself, then it is a sideways cap and shaggy hair.

It is amazing to me the things I can see through the lenses of hair. And it is not that I have a problem with any of these characters I identify with a piece of all of them. But that is just it, a piece. Making this complex black movie still tried to put all of the pieces of a culture that has changed and evolved into pretty little boxes that are easy to identify. Sam wrote a book in this move that lets people take quizzes and identifies them as, oofta, nose-job, or 100. These boxes in themselves are a problem, what no one can ever try to succeed in a certain way without being an oofta, I can’t love my white boyfriend without being a nosejob?  I have made it a point in my life to stay clear of debates like this one, and here I am. . . so maybe I am more like one of these 4 characters than I want to believe. But here I am and that is not going to change.

If you loved this move that is great, I do not want a debate out of this . . this is just what the hair told me.

Yours truly

The Hair obsessed

Trials of the Hair obsessed. . . You don’t want me here because of my color. . .

Sorry for the double non-hair entries in a row, but this is something that I cannot keep in.

As stated in the last Trials of the Hair Obsessed, I am in a residency year to get my masters in special education.  I am doing this residency in a low income school that serves just over 700 students, last school year, 664 of these students identified as Hispanic, 58 identified as White, and 11 identified as African American. Ok so what do these numbers actually mean, it means that my school is over 50% spanish speaking and has continued bilingual education through 5th grade. It also means that Black students are still hugely the minority, and this makes an impact for our black males especially.

This year I am watching first hand as two of the sweetest, challenging but sweet boys get stuck in the “angry black man” label before the age of 12, they have been suspended multiple times in the last two weeks between the two of them. And talks of moving them into the center for emotional disabilities run wild. A center that is largely used for this purpose, to house “angry black men” to get them through high school, when the public education system no longer has to deal with them.

Today in my reading group one of these boys, who both are admittedly not perfect children by any means and have behavior issues that must be addressed. But one of these boys got in trouble for not listening and choosing to distract others by calling out and singing and dancing, I was having a conversation with this boy after group and it went something like this

Student throws clipboard at me across the hall ( his clipboard is part of a behavior incentive program)

” I am not coming to group tomorrow”

Me” I hope that you do, when you make good choices you learn and you are such a good student, I would miss you if you weren’t in my group.”

” You are lying, you don’t want me here, don’t want me ___( School name) cause of my color”

Me: ( Almost in tears) ” That is not true, I want you here, I believe in you and want you to succeed.”

Even at the end of this conversation I don’t think he believed me, he is maybe 9 years old and he already has it engrained in his being that he is not wanted in the place that should make him feel safe because of the color of his skin. We do not live in a city that is often thought of as having even a strong history of racism but if a innocent 9 year old boy already has this deep feeling then clearly this needs to be something that is addressed.

I am not here to call for a complete overhaul of these institutions, I am asking for everyone to understand that this is still something that is living, something that is affecting our students and taking away possibilities that they don’t even know they have. I want everyone to take the time to think about what your actions are saying to these students.

Maybe this boy heard these things from his parents or outside places, but that in itself it also a problem, these perceptions and feelings have to be stopped. As a teacher I want to make all of my students feel that no matter if they are learning English, if they are from an affluent family, if they are white or black that I believe in them

I cannot change the circumstances of my students, and I cannot change the world  but I can control how I act and the things I do with these students. And I am going to strive everyday to make EVERY student I work with feel that someone cares about them, and that I believe in them. 

I don’t know of a better way to say it than to quote the help,

“You is kind, You is smart, You is important.” 

But I can never just leave it like that so as a teacher I must say

” You are kind, you are smart, you are important.”

Come to think of it, I think I will have that made into a poster for my classroom.

Thats all for now! I will do a hair 10 months post relaxer update next week.

❤ Kelsi Rae

Trials of the Hair Obsessed. . . My SPEDtacular life part 1

The trials of the hair obsessed entries, will just tell you a little bit about me, they may be about hair and they may not. In this case there is a tiny bit about hair and the rest is not, but I hope you enjoy learning a little bit about my life outside of hair ( if there is such a thing).

I am in grad school at the University of Denver in a program called Denver Teacher Residency, so we complete a residency year similar to a doctors residency in a title one public school in Denver and at the end we receive our masters in Education and have the option to sign a contract to work in Denver Public Schools for 3 more years in exchange for a tuition reimbursement. I am in this program for Special Education, I am doing my residency year with 3-5 grade students in literacy special ed, So this is my SPEDtacular life. . .

Letter I recieved this note from one of my most endearingly difflicult students on Friday, I have removed his name but this is should read

_____ refused to work with the class in his class, not doing so good – Class 114.  

He wrote a letter from the class about himself, just letting us all know he new he was “not doing so good” now if that is not witty I don’t know what is. This student is on of the students that often gets removed from the gen ed classes for behavior and then ends up in my class for most of the day. As a result I get to learn all of the wittiness that is within this 4th grade boy that is so close to being labeled, ‘ an angry black man” and being put in the emotional disabilities classroom. I am not denying that this student has some behavior issues, but nothing extreme enough to consider the permanent removal from general education. He has shown me that he is a caring, smart boy that just needs to learn to redirect his feelings, something we all have to learn at some point.

I seem to have the most room in my heart for the most difficult students however because not everyone agrees with me about this student, or many other students that I find the most joy in. But I guess this is why I chose to work in Special Education right? I have been bit, scratched, hit and even peed on and at the end of the day I gave all of these children a genuine hug and said I would miss them until tomorrow. I believe that if we look underneath the things that may disgust or frighten us there is a child that will show you the world if you let them and my wish for everyone is that they find someone that will show them this, and that we loose the anger and fear surrounding these wonderful children.

I promise in the future the My SDEDtacular life entries will have more humor and less seriousness, because as much as I love these students you have to laugh at the things that happen sometimes, So to end today I will finish with a story about both my hair and this same wonderful boy.

The day after I cut my twists to be shorter, he comes up to me with the most concerned look on his face, ” Ms. Mega, one of your twisties is coming out. .. let me fix it.” In all seriousness this boy grabed my hair and attempted to fix it, the result was both hilarious and heart-warming. He told me that he did not want me to walk around all day with messed up hair. Now that boy is on to something,

Well that is all for today. Have a wonderful week everybody.

Love your do and grow that fro

❤ Kelsi Rae

You normally don’t even let me touch my hair, and now you want me to CUT it?

I am gonna cal it a tie! Did I change my hair. . yes, did I take out my protective style earlier than my deadline no,

So last week I was getting that itch again. .. my hair had been in marley twists for about a month and that is normally when I start to feel the need to change my hair again. When I first put my marley twists in I did not cut the hair at all and they fell almost to waist length, which I loved at first because it was so much different than my shoulder length hair. But guess what that stuff gets heavy when your neck isn’t used to it. And I box two times a week and for a warm up we jumpt rope, which became nearly impossible with my long hair hitting the rope every five seconds.

Over the weekend I started searching for styles that I could accomplish without taking out my  Twists because they have been wonderful, but still changing it up, and possibly brining jump rope back into my life. What I came across was a girl who had simply cut her twists into a new style, accomplishing both a change and constancy with a hair style. Something that will allow me to still meet my goal of keeping my protective style in until Halloween which will be 8 weeks. So Sunday night I pulled out my scissors and walked up to my Bf, ” WIll you cut my hair?” The look on his face would have made that question worth it even if I was just kidding. But being the amazing trusting guy that he is he said ok and we went to work. There were a few moments of panic where he stopped and proclaimed, ” You normally don’t even let me touch your hair and now you want me to cut it.” and i reassured him that I was not going to punish him if by some chance he really messed it up, and that he wasn’t actually cutting my real hair so if he did mess it up we would just take the twists out. But mess up he did not and we ended up with much shorter, long bob-esque twists.

IMG_2730 ( My hair post cut, before fixing the ends) Channeling my anonymous hair crush from the hallows of pinterest)

Now say he did not mess up but when I first looked at it I went, wait one side is shorter than the other, and I hated he, he of course told me it’s just your bangs that are longer and I like it. Which after some trials and errors of fixing the bluntness they now had I also like the bangs longer in the front, it was like an accidental A-line ( pictures to come,, , or check the instagram, @myhairenvy for more photo updates). So all is well and my boyfriend is back to not being allowed to touch my hair. However as I was fixing the bluntness I ended up taking out the edges and redoing them with the uneven ends method so that it tapers off and looks more natural, as I did this i washed and moisturized as I went and my hair seems happy.

I am happy with this semi change and I think ( hope) that I can now make it to halloween without any more changes, but as always I will keep you all posted.

Hope everyone is having a lovely first week of Autumn, which means one thing Christmas is coming!

Love your do and grow that fro

❤ Kelsi Rae

This argument again . .. REALLY?

I was scrolling on my Instagram when I came across this DM to the texlaxed page, photo I am pretty sure I have addressed this issue in our community before but this post got me all worked up about it again, so here I am.

Seriously people why do the women in our community insist on making these dividing lines based on HAIR. We are all trying to match what we feel inside, whether being confident means having your natural hair, relaxed hair, wearing wigs or braids, why does that matter? We are all a part of a much more important community than how we choose to style our hair and that is what should matter. You shouldn’t be walking down the street, and think ” oh that nappy headed girl doesn’t take care of herself” Or “Oh that girl with the relaxer is out of touch with her true self.” None of us have the right to make those judgements. Healthy hair is healthy hair, no matter how you achieve it, natural hair that is not taken care of is not any more healthy than relaxed hair.

Everyone can be beautiful whatever that means for their hair, we should promote taking care of our hair. And a woman that relaxes her hair is in no way trying to hide her heritage or her culture, come on people the fact that she has straight hair doesn’t make her any less black and a woman rocking her natural hair isn’t any more in touch with her culture, because of her hair. We are trying to be ourselves no matter how we express that.

It is time to build each other up, remember that we are all after the same thing, healthy hair that makes us feel beautiful. So even if you don’t agree with relaxing your hair, or if you are against the natural hair movement. Get over it. It is not your hair, you may be relaxed for years and then go natural, you may be natural for years and decide one day you want to straighten your hair and then we are all in the same boat. Worry about your own hair, and support the women of our community no matter their hair.

We are all beautiful, and don’t you let anyone tell you otherwise. 

Ok Rant over.

❤ Kelsi Rae

What in the world is a Liebster award?

That is what I thought when I saw the nomination from Miss Tress in my inbox, I thought gosh there is no way I am getting an award! But sure enough there it was, I found out that it is an award among small bloggers in order for us all to get to know each other, so why not here it goes, 11 things about me first up 

1) I did move until I was 18, I lived in the same house my great grandparents did. 

2) I have traveled to 48 of the 50 states, as well the Spain, England and the Dominican Republic 

3) I know American Sign language and am learning to read braille 

4) I am a special education teacher 

5) I am happily taken, and in love with the love of my life 

6) If you would have asked me 2 years ago what a hair journey was I would have had no idea 

7) I grew up down the street from a known white supremacist church 

8) I LOVE the color teal, like a light teal that almost reminds me of a 1950’s kitchen 

9) In that same vein, I love history. Especially the 1920s-1950’s I wrote my senior these paper in undergrad on bootlegging women during prohibition. 

10) I have a one eyed cat, named CeCe 

11) I don’t regulate my body temperature well, and as a result I hate the cold and if it gets below about 70 degrees I am freezing 

My questions from Miss Tress 

1. What is your favourite part of your hair journey? 

Learning about my hair and the versatility of it. I have gotten to watch it grow and experience new protective styles, because for me change is the name of the game and I have loved seeing that change 

2. What is your holy grail product (one only) ?

Coconut oil, I could live and die by this stuff, my hair loves it and it smells so nice 

3. What is your least favourite part of your hair regimen?

the PRE-POO! Gosh I dislike this, I can never find the time in my schedule and then I find myself trying to do homework while there is egg and olive oil and who knows what else depending on the week dripping down my face. I see the value of it and my hair loves it but if I could stop it I would. 

4. Who would you trade hair with in a second?

… hmm let me get back to you, It would probably be an unnamed women on pinterest. 

5. Coconut oil or Conditioner?

As previously stated coconut oil is my go tol 

6. How do people react to your hair?

Mostly I get the ‘ You changed your hair again” reaction, to which I just smile and nod, like of course I did why does that surprise you? I am on about a month cycle for changing my hair. The current cycle, Marley twists, my new favorite. 

7. What is your favourite thing to do on wash days?

hmmm 

8. Ice cream or cake?

Cake. . I have a HUGE sweet tooth and would never turn down ice cream either, but you can often find me eating personal size cakes to myself so cake has to . . take the cake 🙂 

9. Would you rather go bald or temporarily insane?

The key word here is temporarily, it does not say for how long. So I would have to go with insanity I could be sane again by the time my hair grows back. 

10. What are your hobbies?

Well currently I have no hobbies that don’t involve teaching, creating things for the classroom or homework or class for grad school. 

11. What is your biggest pet peeve?

People who are late. I am perpetually 15 minutes early, so in my mind if I can get there that early, you can at least show up on time. 

 

Bye Bye Hair that is fried!

It is time, I once again say goodbye to my straightener. During the first 6 or so months of my stretch, sorry my transition, ( still getting used to to it being a transition) I was really good about not applying direct heat to my hair, and  I saw amazing growth and length retention. Then I hit about 7 months post relaxer and I started to get anxious with my hair and the two different textures, they weren’t blending as well as they were in the past, I could no longer wear a wash-n-go and look good. The styles that look good during a transition are still something I am mastering, ok trying not mastering. So I started saying oh I will straighten my hair once a month, and then one month it went to two weeks and my progress with my hair has definitely suffered because of it. So ladies and gentlemen ( Can’t exlude any rouge guys reading this out there) my straightener is going back in the closet. . . until halloween. I will not be blow drying either,. .. Air Dry, Air Dry, Air Dry! 

I am thinking I am going to have to get much more creative with my styles in order to keep myself happy during this stretch with no heat. But in good news my hair is finally ” bun-able” It has been able to make a bun for awhile now, but they didn’t look intentional, they looked like a “bloop” as my boyfriend would put it. And so I am finding the love of buns and have been rocking one all week. I am hoping to master the two strand twist, and twist out soon, but I haven’t figured out how to get my relaxed ends to hold those twists. Updates to follow if I find a successful method, or if anyone has any suggestions I would love to hear them. 

Also I have submitted my story to http://www.justgrowalready.com So keep your eyes open for me to appear on Jen’s blog. I am excited to be ” blog famous” because in my world Jen and Just Grow already is FAME! I love her!! 

Hope you all are having a wonderful week, my students returned to school this week, so I am sure i will start to share stories as the weeks go on.  

My hair looked so good, until. . .

The other day I was walking to class, and I was feeling great, I had done another flex rod set the night before, and man was I getting the hang of it, my hair was bouncy and curly and I felt good. I take the light rail from my apartment downtown to my campus which is in the Southern part of town so I have a little bit of a walk to class from the train. So on my way back to the train The skies decided to open and dumped huge rain drops all at once on my head. There was not even those dark warning gray skies that tell you, “oh crap maybe I should get out an umbrella or something.” ( No that I own an umbrella, I live in Colorado, where did this rain even come from?)  Needless to say, my beautiful, confidence-giving bouncy hair was gone, and I was left with that poofy, not even curly just growing out, not down look. I couldn’t have passed it for an on purpose look if I tried. So I put it up in a simple ponytail and rocked the wet dog look for the rest of the day. 

This got me thinking, my hair is really in a percarious state at all times, it is subject to the whims of the weather, and so many other things in the world, So what has messed up a good hair day in the past, lets make a list shall we. . . 

My hair looked so good until,

It rained. . . the wind blew, , , a child threw up on it ( yes this has happened). . . the humidity in Colorado rose above 10%. . . my boyfriend ran his hands through it. . . I wanted to put it up, and now its stuck like that for the rest of the day. . . it got hot, , . I went to the gym. . . really anytime sweat is involved. . . or water. . . I laid down. . . I sat back on the couch. . . I had sex. . . I made out. . really anything “sexy” is bad for my hair. . . and the list could probably go on. 

Looking at this list, why do I even bother doing my hair? But this whole journey is about embracing these bad hair days and accepting I don’t have  the sexy, bouncy, beautiful hair that I always dreamed of having. But really does that hair really exist, or is it just a product of my imagination, ok hollywood might have had something to do with it. But even with all of these things that could mess up my hair, here I am diligently trying to find the best styles for it. 

This week I did straighten and check my length on my, once I figure out how to create a separate page for that, you can find pictures and progress there.Hopefully soon. 

What things have messed up your hair in the past? I am sure some of you have stories like “a child threw up on it”. . . 

Hope the weekend treated you well. 

Love your do and Grow that Fro 

❤ Kelsi Rae