Color Blind or Color Brave?

I grew up in a small town, and by small I mean white, and by white I mean, known for its white supremacy church and ideology.

I grew up knowing all of the minority members of my community on one hand, and by that I mean 2. Me and a boy in my grade and we were both the only black children of white single mothers, didn’t exactly scream cultural pride. I grew up trying to mute my association with the Black community, a community I admittedly knew very little about. This was not the fault of my mother, who helped me with all my self driven research projects, into the old negro baseball teams and deciding at age 13 that I was going to go to a historically black college which died as I got into high school and realized all of the historically Black colleges were states away.  She did all of my research with me and appreciated all of my curiosity, but she just did not have any personal knowledge, so I fell farther and farther from my black roots. I was one of 9 out of 1900 black students in my high school, and in college the only black students I knew either played football or basketball, And at this point I was already not comfortable enough around people that “looked like me” to approach any of them.

Now don’t get me wrong, I dated black guys, the majority of guys I dated in college were black, but my real long term relationships have always been with white guys, as is my future husband. I can remember multiple occasions when the different guys I would date told me that they liked, or in some cases disliked the fact that I acted like a white girl. So thats what I became, the white black girl. If anyone even knows what that means? Well I do, I knew exactly what people would mean when they say it, and I internalized it. I became more nervous to enter a room of black people and disappoint them, than to be the only black person in the room.

So now I have entered a grad program that repeatedly tells us about being culturally responsive and we look and look at data and discrimination, and the disporpotionality of minorities in drop out rates, and the school to prison pipeline and suspensions. And now I am here, wanting to be color brace.

So what does this mean to me? I need to embrace the color of my skin I need to be the person that will stand up for what I believe in. I don’t want to hide behind the “i don’t know” response.  I don’t want to live in the “white black girl” stereotype. I have made changes in my life to do these with the people around me, when I am offended by an off hand comment I now call people out on it, I hope to educate people about how things are perceived and not accuse or castrate people.

I need to think about how I am going to represent myself in order to create value in the diversity for my students, and for the people in my community at large. I don’t think being color brave means saying everyone is the same, I think it means, everyone is different, and that is wonderful.

When I think being color brave I can remember being in high school reading Huckleberry Finn, as of course, the only member of the black community in English class, being asked in front of the entire class why does the word Nigger still offend black people? The class continued to tell me that, we needed to just get over it because it doesn’t mean anything and it hasn’t in like 100 years. At the time being a 16 year old girl I curled into myself, I muted the feelings that were coming up until I ran into the hallway, found a corner, and just cried. At the time I could not pinpoint the feeling I did not know what was happening but those assumptions, those kind of conversations should never happen in a classroom.

One person is not the representation of a race, one person is a representation of themselves. So to be Color Brace I will stand up for my students, I will ensure that they don’t have to feel that, at least in my class and that they are prepared to have those conversations when people, I will teach my students to see color, to embrace color and to embrace people. And if that is my contribution to the evolution of society if I can bring students into the world that understand the differences people bring and why we should embrace color and change then I will be happy.

I will create a small piece of society that is not afraid to talk about race, that is not afraid to embrace their identity, If I can make sure that one person does not ever mute their identity like I did, then I will have succeeded, I will be brave!

“The unexamined life is not worth living”-Socrates.  “The examined life is painful.”

❤ Kelsi Rae

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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

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.  

Why would my hair matter to you?

Well let’s be honest, it might not. You may be the girl that has their hair mastered, everyone is jealous of you and asks you how you get your hair that perfect. And we all know those girls, the girls we wondered if they just wake up that way, or if they spend hours staring at the mirror hoping that by some miracle their hair will look good that day like the rest of us. Or you might not care about my hair because you are a more laid back girl than I could ever hope to be and you are fine waking up and letting your beautiful hair do whatever it is going to do that day and rock it. 

But you may be a girl that is hoping that someone out there is going through the same journey with their hair, ever- looking for that person that shares in their triumphs and disasters when it comes to their hair. If you are that girl, my hair might matter to you. Because truly, I am still that girl. I will finish this post and then search the internet for someone that has a tip I can use for my wash day this week. Or some miracle to add to my wash day routine that will help eliminate the shedding i have been having the last couple weeks. And I am here to share those stories with others. Hoping that someone else will benefit from my journey, and that maybe someone will happen across it and help me. Sharing my daily hair struggles helps me maintain an “eye on the prize attitude” with my hair. . . So now the HAIR OF THE WEEK!  

As I shared last week I bought and sewed clip in hair extensions, I never got around to sharing a photo of them so I guess, better late than never, right? Image This photo was about a week and a had ago. I lve my clip ins but I have been running into some hair care problems since wearing them. in order to wear these clip ins, as you can see I have to straighten my 22 week post hair in order to blend the textures, I am unsure if this is the cause or if it is the hairfinity which I finished my 30 day supply last week,( review to follow)  or if it is simply because i am 22 weeks post and my hair is becoming week.  But I have noticed a large increase in shedding over the last month or so. Enough that I am concerned for my hair health. 

So as a result I am returning to my old hair routine which means no heat, and bye bye hair extensions. But I am finding I am falling in love with my natural hair that is coming in and returning to this routine has not been a problem for me, this week I did a twist out and I love the texture my new growth provides at the base. I discovered I have no “selfless: from this week, so here is a picture of my boyfriend and me( correct grammar) from our trip to Seatlle last week, that sort of shows the texture of my hair. Image

 

This love affair with my new growth is leading me to the tried and true question. . . at 22 weeks post am i long term stretching or transitioning? But that is a question for another week. 

For now just taking my hair one day at a time. Until next time 

❤ Kelsi Rae