Mandela, My Funny Valentine

Good Morning Muskies! I hope that everyone was able to enjoy their weekend and stay warm in this village 🙂

Today, I wanted to reel back from my tearjerker of a post last week and address the significance of Valentine’s Day to me. I’m certain many of y’all out there think of one of three things when you hear “Valentine’s Day”: celebrating your relationship with your significant other with a date night, blaring music that promotes anti-love or your day after trip to Walmart to stock up on 75% off clearance candy. I decided to let you guys in on my relationship with my unusual choice for a significant other: my hair. You’re probably looking at this with either a nonchalant or highly confused expression on your faces, but just let me explain a little bit. In my post last week, I talked about my reflection of what my interpretation of being a Black person was. The greatest bit of truth I’ve gained and am still learning to constantly apply is accepting and loving myself fully and completely—-including my hair.

As stated in last week’s post, the African American population in this area is slim to none, so the chances of finding someone to tame my tightly coiled mane is—you guessed it—slim to none. After one day of noticing how badly my hair was beginning to thin & just stop growing at a certain length, I had enough. So, in November of 2011, I began tossing around the idea of forgoing the chemical relaxer that allowed me to have straight hair & rock the tight coils that were just waiting to pop out. After the constant back and forth, I finally decided to take the leap of faith and began my transition back to natural in May 2012, which meant no more of the “creamy crack” (a common name for chemical relaxers) and limiting my use of direct heat tools (i.e. blowdryers, flat irons).  People thought that I was lightweight crazy, but that didn’t deter me one bit. I let my curls peak out until January 4th, 2013, where I proceeded to snip out the remainder of my stringy relaxed hair at an ungodly early hour in my home bathroom. I wasn’t sure what to say or feel after the process was over, nor was I certain if people I knew here would react to my big chop. To my surprise, everyone that knew me seemed to LOVE my new cut!! They also seemed to enjoy touching it quite a bit, which was new to me 🙂 but anyway, it made embracing the shock of my short afro a LOT easier.

Now, here I am 13 months later, still learning all of Mandela’s–yes, my afro has a name–meltdowns, freak outs and warm, fuzzy moments. The love I have for my hair is very similar to one I would have for my significant other–I’m learning more about her likes and dislikes, how to take care of her properly and how spending enough time with her can make a huge difference in how she chooses to behave. I think of how I treat the mane that sprouts from my roots as a precursor for how I will be expected to treat my next boyfriend and one day husband.

Well, I hope my post taught you guys a little bit about love or at least made you laugh a little 🙂 happy Monday!

-Jazmine

My hair back of late 2009--WAYYYY before it began to thin out  :/

My hair back in late 2009–WAYYYY before it began to thin out :/

Late 2011 or early 2012---you can see a little bit of spacing& thinning on my right side (or your left)

Late 2011 or early 2012—you can see a little bit of spacing& thinning on my right side (or your left)

Me last week with all my curly glory! But don't be fooled--my hair is in fact longer than in the picture :)

Me last week with all my curly glory! But don’t be fooled–my hair is in fact longer than in the picture 🙂

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