11 August 2011

Good Hair

“Good hair!”  Oh, please.  The hair you were born with is good hair.  It’s not about hair color, texture or length.  The only good hair is natural hair; not chemically altered or intertwined with some other form of hair.  In using the term good hair, we express our belief that natural is inferior.  Nature is not substandard.  If unnatural was so good, why is it that man cannot replicate anything in nature?  Man has tried, but cannot recreate, mimic or build anything better than what is natural.  Ask any scientist, engineer, chemist or doctor, “Can your constructed wetland function better than a natural one; can the arm you design work better than a human arm; can the drug you make work better than the plant; can the skin you alter work better than the original…. any of these without causing harm?
Natural hair is not a statement or rejection of the conventional.  It is real honest to goodness nature.  Embrace and celebrate your essence.  We have been indoctrinated to believe that straight, long, and vibrant colored hair is the best.   Your best friend didn’t tell you that.  Corporate media did and they want to make you spend money on their products so you can be the best you can be so they can be the richest.  We buy into this foolishness to the detriment of our self- esteem, health and finances.   Natural heads are the new corporate target.  There are conventions showcasing all kinds of creams and oils; shelves full of stuff to make your natural hair curlier or shinier; and take look at the magazine ads, whew!    Stop it already.  My head is not meant for you to make money, nor is it meant for you to claim value.  Nothing on the shelf is going to make me scream off the mountain top that I have found the best, most expensive elixir to turn my hair into gold.  I refuse to buy a fancy looking bottle of some concoction when I can use the same olive oil and coconut oil that I use to cook or the same shea butter that I slather on my skin.  Any of those ingredients alone or mix and match are used to moisturize my hair and skin; made at home and the do is done.  
We still embrace natural as scary.  We are scared to do the big chop; go through transition; or fear what to do once natural is done.  There are plenty of resources for natural hair.  If we learn anything, the most important is that we should ensure that our children know nothing other than natural.  Our children should know that we are no more presentable with hair opposite of our natural.  Some of us have straight hair and want it curly; curly wishing straight; and wavy wishing straight or curly; and some of us even have straighter hair in the front and curlier in the back and wish for the same consistency all over.  We even fuss over hair length … which is so ridiculous I’m not going to waste brain cells on the thought.
One question in the media sphere is whether flat ironing; blow drying; or braiding is considered natural.  In the strict sense, no; however, temporarily diversifying your look in a way that causes little to no harm is akin to animals temporarily changing coloring; fluffing feathers; or moving in ways to attract mates or ward off enemies.   These temporary acts to enhance do not disrespect nature.   There is simply no benefit to arguing the point of one being more natural than another.  If you think you are the most natural, go take a look at pictures of people who live in Africa, the Middle East, Australia, and those who inhabit the rain forest.  Say what now?
Others may be scared of or upset about our natural manes and they should be ashamed of themselves.  Older folks may proclaim that it looks a mess; it’s nappy; you can’t get a job; blah, blah, blah.  Guys may complain that they cannot run their fingers through it.  Sure they can…. gently.   They can playfully tug on a ringlet and watch it bounce back; tuck a few strands behind your bejeweled ear; pat a few stray curls into place; and smell the arousing scent of your wonderful locks.   As long as you are confident and express pride in your natural do, others will feel the vibe.  Stand up for yourself and call out the ill-informed folk for being ‘nattering nabobs of nat-happy negativity’.  This time, it  is all about you.  Our hair is not a joke; an agenda; cultural statement; or political talking point.  It is what it is… good hair.  Love it or shut it!

08 August 2011

Prosperous US

Congress is cutting and slashing the budget and trashing the economy.  Austerity has finally made its way to America and those of us of in the middle and lower economic classes will bear the brunt of the financial mess caused by American political and business kingpins whom I will not refer to as leaders because they have not earned the title.  Leaders lead with positive values that influence followers in a constructive way.  I’m all for reducing debt and reducing waste.  My concern; however, is the method of the madness.   My family income, as well as many others, has been adversely impacted by the changes over these past few years.  I still have hope and I will make a change.

I want us to be a prosperous us.  We can change our habits and improve our health outlook as well as financial future.  The little adjustments in our day to day lives can make a big difference in how we handle cutbacks in services, income, and opportunities. 

First, we should start with a change in attitude.  Life does not suck.  Life is sweet.  Think positive, things will get better and it is up to us to make it so.  Nobody can make you feel bad, unless you let them.  Rise up, for we have overcome a heck of a lot more than temporary hardship.  If you don’t believe me, pull out a picture of your Great Grandparent and think. 

Second, we should get enough sleep.   Proper rest helps you do what you need to do and to do it well.  There is no reason to stay up late and watch the television; surf the web; play games or party all night long.  Sleep can help you lose weight.  Yes, it’s true.  When we are tired, we eat more carbohydrates and sugars to help us stay awake and we tend to quickly binge eat in hopes of reducing the headache we believe to be the result of not eating.   Change your bedtime so that you get a minimum of 7 hours of nighttime sleep. 

Third, eat small healthy balanced meals and snacks spread throughout the day and drink plenty of fluids.   Our bodies react to our intake.  Eat poorly and feel bad.  Huge meals make you sluggish.  Sugar rushes trigger sudden drops in brain and organ function.  Constant negative pressures on the organs and brain caused by poor eating habits will cause weight gain and ill health.  Improving poor health costs extreme amounts of money.  We are killing ourselves with a knife and fork.  Proper nutrition leads to better brain and body functioning at optimal levels.  You can save time and money by reducing your food intake and consuming life sustaining foods and fluids.

Fourth, we should take action.  Get up and exercise.  Walking and running is free.  Climbing stairs is free.  Dancing is free.  If you are less mobile, move the body parts that you can.  Wiggle in your chair; bop your head; and wave your arms.  Just move!  Being fit enables you to do more and be more productive.  One day, you may have to run for your life.  You will be unable to do so if you are out of shape.  Fitness will allow you to be prepared to take advantage of opportunities. 

Fifth, do it yourself.  If you don’t know how, learn.  Think about the things you have someone do for you on a regular basis.  Body and hair treatments are expensive; make them a treat instead of a routine.  Maintain your own lawn and wash your own dog.  Commercial treatments often contain chemicals that harm our environment.  Products for personal or residential use are much more eco-friendly than commercial applications.  Creations you make at home are even ecologically healthier than their market counterparts.  Do what you can within your abilities.  Trying to do expert work may lead to greater costs if the expert has to come in and repair your damage.  Try to keep things maintained and in good working order.  Make do with what you have.  There is no need to go out and buy the latest greatest gadget or vehicle when the one you have works just fine. 

Last, take responsibility for your financial well-being.  For every dime spent today, there will be less dimes for tomorrow.  Reduce restaurant and entertainment costs.  If you do not need it, don’t buy it.  If you need it, buy the less expensive alternative.  If you can buy the ingredients to make a product, you will save a boatload of dimes.  A few basic items that you can mix to make a product will create more of that product than the pre-packaged item.   Change your mindset towards what costs money.  Leaving the lights on; washing clothes during peak electric use hours; unmaintained machines using more energy to operate; and leaving the water running costs money.   A few small changes will lead to greater changes and soon enough change becomes easy.  Then, you’ll have a lot of spare change.

We cannot become a prosperous people unless we take it upon ourselves to do it and share the news.  Talk to your family, friends and community leaders.  Encourage modification in our individual and collective behaviors.  Nobody will do it for us.  The financial elites are doing their best to put us further in the red and they don’t care as long as they can take the fruits of their policies for themselves.  Don’t enable them!

Okay, I’m jumping off the soapbox now.  Do your thing and do it well.  Green… peace to you all.

Thanks: publicdomainpictures.net

01 August 2011

Summer Fruit Water

The sun beams burst through the kitchen window early Sunday morning.  Everyone is asleep, except for me.  Precious quiet time sorely needed after a Saturday full of activity.  I have at least an hour to myself before being interrupted by shuffling little feet; demands for pre-breakfast snack; or the sounds of a television.  I like to spend that hour sitting in the kitchen looking at the flowering tree just outside the window.

It’s early and I’m hungry.  My hubby is not due to start breakfast for at least an hour or so.  This is the time when I can eat or drink what I want, without having to worry about making something for someone else.  Sunday morning is my selfish hour because the other waking 126 hours of the week are devoted to my husband and kids; work; or household chores.  

I rumble through the refrigerator and I consider the cream for the coffee.  I’m not ready for coffee.  The bright red strawberries catch my eye.  I grab a few.  The giant grapefruits in the bowl are a bit much.  Hmm, the banana will work.  I eat a quick fruit snack while reading the morning news and staring out the window.  I want something cool to drink.

I like drinking water and I love eating fruit.  It’s summer time and it just seems so cool to be drinking a tall glass of something other than water.  Tea is good, soda is bad.  During the week, I add a little cider to my water and head to work.  On the weekends, I desire a little more twist to go with my morning chill time.  We have a lot of bananas, apples, strawberries, grapefruits and lemons in the house and I’m not sure we can eat it all before they get too ripe.  I saw a recipe once… and made my drink at home.

Summer Fruit Water:  Fill glass pitcher ½ full of water.  Add 1 sliced lemon; 1 peeled and sliced apple; and 5 strawberries with the leaves removed.  Fill the remainder of the pitcher.  Chill for a few hours. 

As you serve the water, refill the container for up to 24 hours.  It’s even better the second day.  After that time, finish up.  Any citrus fruit, berries, and dense fruit can be used for fruit water.  You can also add mint leaves for an extra thrill.  It does not take long before the fruit essence leaches into the water.  A tasty healthy beverage doesn’t have to be fancy or require a lot of effort to create. 

A simple summer recipe made with ingredients you have at home is a chic natural way to go for your next party or cookout.  Give it a fancy name and raise a glass to celebrate.