Conversations with Myself

**All you need to know is the italicized represents the calmer, Guru-like version of me.**

How much do I want this? Badly.

Is that enough to follow through? I hope so.

It’s all about motivation. You used to write poetry left and right, drawing from inspiration (love, life, and everything in between). Are you not inspired anymore?

I don’t know…

Sometimes you have to stare idly at a blank sheet of paper and let ideas flow at your own speed.

So start fresh regardless of how many times I fall? Yes.

Forgive yourself for your faults instead of letting them thrive in a cesspool of negativity. Think of every day as an opportunity to change. Do at least one thing that will make you feel happy, relieved, and accomplished.

Like the song (Sia “Be Good to Me”) says, “Be good to me, be good to me…I need you now, more than ever…And when you’re down, I’ll be around…”

It’s not going to be easy. You’re going to have to work harder than ever before. And it may not feel like enough, but you have to keep it up. Your goals are not unattainable. You have a long life to live. A new job, weight loss, and complete self-acceptance will come in time. I can’t tell you when the transformation will be completed.

But the journey will be worth it?

As long as you allow it to be.

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Product Junkie Chronicles Part 1 – Conditioners

Here it is, dear readers: the result of my hair curiosity. The viral need of knowing how products work/don’t work on my hair has been a main contributor to my monetary guilty pleasures, even before I went natural. Once I started the practice of air-drying back in March 2009, I knew my life would never be the same. More than a year later, my conditioner roster has tripled (or perhaps quadrupled). I went from using any good-smelling cheapie Suave products to purchasing more natural (and usually more expensive) products. Here is my current damage in picture form:

Now that I think about it, these conditioners didn’t put a hole in my wallet. The most expensive conditioner in this picture is probably the HE Hello Hydration, which costs around 5 bucks. I just want to record everything I’ve encountered in these past several months, like an inventory of sorts. If you’re not interested in this sort of thing, you can run now. No one will chastise you. For those who are curious…you’ve come to the right place. 😉

1. V05 conditioners – I’m putting all of these in one category because they’re basically the same with the exception of scent. These are perfect for someone who would rather spend the big bucks on other desires. One of these could run at about 70 cents if you catch the right sale. However, the only downfall is you get what you pay for, which is about 10% natural ingredients and 90% filler stuff. I stopped using these because I like conditioners with a thicker consistency, and these are practically water. They smell good though. Maybe they can be used to add scent in future concoctions.

2. Herbal Essences Hello Hydration – This is a staple among the natural hair community, and I definitely basked in the hype. It’s thick, it has a great smell (if you love coconut as much as I do), and it gets the curls poppin’. Currently, this has been my go-to for detangling. I twist my hair a lot, and once I put this on my hair, my waves go right back to curls/coils in a matter of minutes.

3. Herbal Essences Totally Twisted – I only bought this because of the rave reviews, yet for me, this didn’t create the awe that Hello did. I may give this another chance later.

4. Garnier Fructis Sleek n Shine – Love the smell, hate the fact that a paraben is one of the top five ingredients. This didn’t impress me much and I currently use it as a shaving cream for my legs. My sister’s been putting it to good use on her relaxed hair though, so it’s not going to waste.

5. Aussie Moist – Yet another love in the natural community. It has a great smell and has the thickness I like, but it doesn’t compare to Hello. Probably won’t be buying this again.

6. J/A/S/O/N Tea Tree Scalp Normalizing – I got this for a steal at Bloom (closeout price was $1.50–can’t beat that!) and it’s been my staple for my first wash/co-wash. It’s one of the only conditioners that I can massage into my scalp (for obvious reasons) and it keeps the itching at bay. I’m going to be sad when my second bottle runs out and realize that I can’t get another bottle for less than 2 bucks.

7. Nature’s Gate Chamomile Replenishing – I also got this at closeout pricing and it’s decent. Haven’t used it in a while though, so I can’t tell you much at the moment. It wasn’t so bad at detangling though.

The list continues past the picture to my most recent purchases…

8. Yes to Carrots – I bought a sample size from Target just to try it. I absolutely adore the smell. I could only get two uses out of this, and I tried detangling the first time, but I don’t think I had enough conditioner in my hair to get the job done. I can say that my hair felt wonderful as I worked this into my hair.

9. Giovanni Smooth as Silk – The name does not lie! I literally started putting this into my hair and it felt a whole lot softer! This one has many pluses: The color is very neutral (meaning there aren’t any unnecessary colors in it like Herbal Essences), it smells rgreat, the texture is just right, and the detangle factor was pretty decent. I bought the sample size and I already know that my next coupon is going towards a big bottle purchase!

So this is the big bulk of my hair experiences compared to the other categories coming soon (shampoos, deep conditioners, etc). Any further questions or comments are greatly appreciated!

Flaws and All.

We all have them. We try so hard to improve and be beyond those things that make us who we are. We are a complex species and I’m here to say yes, I’m flawed and I wouldn’t have it any other way. And this is my blog, so you might as well know what you’re dealing with as I sporadically reveal myself.

1. I am (almost) deathly afraid of my father. No, I wasn’t an abused child. He was (and still is) the primary controlling figure in the household. And my mother is the submissive type. There are a handful of secrets that the rest of us keep from him just to keep his pride intact. I was the somewhat sheltered child who was afraid of having to face my father when I was invited to a party or some other social gathering that seemed sketchy. A lot of times I would just avoid asking and deal with not going. My best friend is the main person who has had to deal with this, and I feel bad every time. Also, coming out to him is not going to be the easiest thing on the planet (more on that in another post). I definitely feel like I won’t be able to live my life completely until I make it on my own, and I will praise the day when it comes. Pretty normal, right?

2. I am a chronic procrastinator. I’ve gushed about this enough, but I’m sure I could come up with a theory about it. However, I lack the patience at the moment. Moving on…

3. I have occasional paranoia moments. I remember watching a bit of some rehab show about OCD and this man was always talking about extreme scenarios that would only happen in movies. I do that sometimes, but I snap back to reality in a millisecond.

Okay, tired of listing. This is how I feel…

I can’t say that I’ve had the best summer. I’ve graduated and it’s great, but so far it hasn’t gotten me anywhere. I’m suffering like every other entry level candidate in the job market. I actually just came from a staff meeting for my current job, and trust me, those meetings are like having a class with the most annoying teacher. I’m sick of it. I’m sick of getting less than I deserve. I’m filling out countless applications so that my days at this dead-end job will be over asap.

Since I’ve graduated, I’ve lost touch with a lot of people, which I know comes with the territory. About 90% of my college buddies are from different parts of the country and most of them I may never see again (with the exception of homecomings). A lot of them composed of my gay/lesbian family and currently I’ve never felt so alone when it comes to that part of me until now. Even my local gay friends seem like they don’t have the time. Now don’t get me wrong, I love my straight friends, but you won’t catch me gushing about men like they do.

I think my concern about my current friendships has a lot to do with my personality. I’m usually not the type to call or text somebody out of the blue just to get back in touch. I’ve done it before, and most of the time it gets nowhere. We talk/text, and then we never speak again unless I initiate the conversation. More and more I start to believe that (most) friends are temporary. We end up sharing something (class, interest, etc) and that contributes to our character. Eventually we evolve and most times move on from that particular person. This is the reason I mainly let things be.

Right now, I’m at a dormant place in my life, yet I’m dying for some sort of eruption of happiness. I feel that once that’s achieved, all will be well. In the meantime, I need to take what I can change and just do it already.

Until next time….

Freedom is a beautiful thing, yet I’m taking all this time for granted. I stay home a lot (when I’m not working). I let any living space I touch pile up with unnecessary clutter. I rarely call people, let alone return calls.

Something’s gotta give. I need a better job. My aunt was gracious enough to give me a few references and I have yet to call them. How am I going to get anywhere if I don’t put forth the effort? I have to do this in order to take the steps to getting out of my parents’ house.

How dare I waste potential?

From now on, I’m making to-do lists for each day. I’m too comfortable for my own good.

Just had to get that out before bed.

Pursuit of Hotness: The Basics

Just wanted to stop by and list some things that I’m including in my changed lifestyle:

1. More workouts! My YMCA membership will no longer be going to waste! I’ve been twice in the last week, which is two more than my usual weekly “routine”. I’ve also acquired a workout buddy, who is definitely an inspiration. She was overweight in high school with me and she’s lost sooo much weight since then! So far we’ve worked out once and hopefully we’ll be meeting at least a couple of times a week. I’ll be working out by myself tomorrow, but we’re shooting for Wednesday for our next meet up. Also, I won’t be letting these Taebo T3 dvds collect dust. I’m going to try and do those on my “off” days. I’ve done Ignition a few times already and I’m excited about trying the Acceleration phase soon.

2. Vitamins! And not the bs One-a-Days either. I bought the Ultimate Woman multivitamins and Omega 3-6-9 Fish Oil supplements from the Vitamin Shoppe a few weeks ago. The UW owns Womens One-a-Day, which I used to take from time to time. This vitamin also contains lots of B vitamins and every obsessed hair girl’s favorite, Biotin! There’s also other goodies in there like various vegetable powder and exotic feel-good stuff. These definitely give me more energy throughout the day. And Fish Oil is supposed to be an all-around supplement (immune system, skin, etc.).

3. Better Food! Some of my best friends at the moment are as follows:

*Bananas! They’re perfect before workouts, after workouts, late night hunger…The list goes on! And even when I’m at my hungriest, one banana calms me down.

*Yogurt! Eating yogurt makes me feel superrr healthy! And Yoplait has over 32 flavors, so that gives everyone an option. I eat the Light kind of course, and it’s still good! Lemon Meringue is my current favorite. Oh, and bananas dipped in yogurt are a godsend!

*String Cheese! As much as I love cheese, one stick usually does it for me. (And I used to melt cheese on a plate and eat it…gross I know) I also like coupling it with an apple for a nice midday snack.

*Multi-Grain Cheerios! This is my daily breakfast. Regular Cheerios are boring and these ones are definitely sweeter, but not too sweet. Plus who can beat the 5 grains in each bowl? After eating this, I can take my vitamins and such with no sick feeling (2 UW, 2 FO). I still wish my old favorite cereal was this healthy. (You’d think Raisin Bran Crunch would be healthy just because of the brand…NOT!)

* Indulging and Loving it! Yeah I had about 3 cookies yesterday and I’m not crying in a corner. I know that my increased workout rate is going to make up for any bad food I eat on occasion. Plus I’ve been fairly good with my food choices despite my eternal sweet tooth (Maybe the cavities have something to do with that too >_<).

4. Water! Self-explanatory here. Everyone knows the benefits of water. It’s thirst-quenching and very filling with meals.

So that’s where I’m at for the moment. More to come later!

Flaws.

I feel like something’s been bothering me for a long time. Every comment concerning my weight from my family, every look from a stranger that I may think is negative even though they may just be having a bad day, every look in the mirror that proves to be less than satisfying. Just now I came in from church and I saw a photo of me from high school on the fridge (this has happened several times), as if my mother/my sister is taunting me, saying “Shawnon, you’ve been letting yourself go and we hate to see you like this.” I took it down and carried it with me on my way upstairs.

You see, no matter what you’re doing to yourself (whether it be something trivial or deep), you and only you have the power to change your behavior. I’ve been getting hints and comments for years. I’ve been overweight for as long as I can remember, and I’m ready to make this change right now.

Sometimes I feel that my weight affects my lack of a love life, but I feel that the mental overpowers the physical. As long as I keep thinking that, how will I go forward with whatever is out there for me? I was overweight when I had significant others and flings and I’m still in the same place now (sort of). People want to see confidence in someone that they’re capable of loving.

I have to be proactive in every aspect of my life. I’m letting my usual standstill lifestyle get the best of me and I’m sick of it. I’m already knee deep in my mission to lose the physical weight. Now I just have to get my mind right.

Side note: I’m loving my new Samsung Strive phone! I’m currently typing on this tiny yet efficient keyboard.

Anyway, the 6-month natural mark is just around the corner and I’m still learning. For example:

Up until just a few days ago, I was tired of twisting my hair dry and not seeing a style that matched my tiring efforts. On Monday, I decided to kill two birds by twisting on damp detangled hair. The results were no less than amazing. My hair in its detangled state was more stretched and less prone to knotting as I twisted. Also, I caught some serious hang time with my hair! I woke to 98% of my twists laying down the direction it should be!

I’m so proud! I’ll post pics later. I’ve received many compliments from friends and even the occasional stranger.

Anyway, this is tiring, but look out for product reviews and such very soon! Much love!

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Hotness: Prologue

In all aspects of my 21 (going on 22) years of life (mainly these past few years), I have been a slacker. I hate(d) cleaning my room, doing homework, and eating healthy. I still hate cleaning my room, I somehow did enough work in college to graduate this past May, and I’ve decided that I am going to exercise and eat my way towards infinite confidence.

Before this year, I thought I had reached my peak weight back in the 7th grade when I topped the scales at about 225. Now I’ve really done myself in to the point where I don’t even want to see the number, and I refuse to acknowledge it until it goes down (and it will go down, trust me).

I was the girl who was constantly spoiled by her grandparents every Saturday as a kid, gorging on Lunchables, candy, and other processed foods until my parents picked me up at night. That’s where it started. I love my grandparents to death and I don’t blame them, because those weekly visits haven’t contributed to my current plight. I’ve had habits of eating fast food frequently when I spent my last school year commuting from Chesapeake to Hampton. I’d go home and eat when I’m bored. I’d claim to do some sort of exercise, but end up glued to the Internet or some video game.

I’ve tried dieting, and it probably lasted for a max of two months (though I have held a record of not eating a single Pop-tart for over a year). They say the word “diet” has the word “die” in it, and I refuse to totally kill off high fructose corn syrup. I just want to eat sensibly.

Now as for exercise, one of my best friends gave me her Taebo Transformation Kit complete with six workouts, 1-lb hand weights, and even a guide to doing to the workouts as well as healthy meals to try. I’ve had a YMCA membership that would only get used the most during my annual summer health kicks. I have everything I need to change my life.

I have to change in order to beat the odds. My dad and some of my other relatives have high blood pressure and both of my grandmothers have diabetes.

I have to change in order to prove myself wrong. I am capable of losing weight and keeping it off. I am capable of breaking out of my shy girl shell and realize how beautiful I am inside AND out.

This is dedicated to me (of course) and my greatest inspiration, who can be found here: http://nonathlete.wordpress.com/

Each update will have the title “Pursuit of Hotness” somewhere in the heading. Look out for them!

I will not be stopped!

Sidenote: Funny how I just finished this entry and my mom calls me and tells me that The Doctors will be talking about speeding up metabolism on their show. WORRRRD!

I Am My Hair.

So here I am, almost 5 months since I cut my hair. I can’t believe it’s been this long. I’ve gone through so many things since I cut it. I spent my last semester in school (ever?) rockin’ the fro. It’s become second nature, almost like I’ve never had the perm. I had my hair flat ironed for the first time this weekend for graduation, and I was so scared (and annoyed). My growth was soo crazy! The back can be put into a minimal ponytail, yet the front of my hair is probably the longest. My hair was starting to look a hot mess the day after, so my mom cornrowed it last night. Much more manageable now…

Anyway, I decided to share some of my journey with you, without the crazy ranting.

<img src=”http://i811.photobucket.com/albums/zz39/lovescrescendo/twa.jpg” border=”0″ alt=”bc”>

12/17/09 – Got my hair cut at the salon. She flat twisted the front. I was sooo happy that day. Couldn’t say the same for my dad. Ah well.

<img src=”http://i811.photobucket.com/albums/zz39/lovescrescendo/nye.jpg” border=”0″ alt=”nye”>

12/31/09 – This was when I sucked at twisting. I refuse to call that a twistout.

<img src=”http://i811.photobucket.com/albums/zz39/lovescrescendo/pickbro.jpg” border=”0″ alt=”1 month”>

1/10 – Picking the fro was always fun. Isn’t my brother cute? I was embracing my so-called “edge”.

<img src=”http://i811.photobucket.com/albums/zz39/lovescrescendo/2months1week.jpg” border=”0″ alt=”2 months”>

2/10 – Took this in my friend’s room. Flower clips = extra girly.

<img src=”http://i811.photobucket.com/albums/zz39/lovescrescendo/what.jpg” border=”0″ alt=”2 1/2 months”>

3/10 – One of my better twistouts. Havin’ some fun at the beach with my bestie.

<img src=”http://i811.photobucket.com/albums/zz39/lovescrescendo/rainbowww.jpg” border=”0″ alt=”4 months”>

4/10 – No picking, which really says a lot about my hair growth.

Some of the best lessons I’ve learned thus far are as follows: (newbies listen up!)

1. Keep it simple!  – It’s easy to overload on products, but it’ll be hard to know what works if you mix a billion things together. Create a simple regimen, then change it as you go along and find better products. I learned the hard way, as I have countless bottles of conditioner that are collecting dust.

2. Know your labels. – Watch out for sulfates and other harmful products. The more natural a product, the better.

3. Embrace your hair – Hair does what it wants. Embrace the frizz. Usually it’s not even that noticeable to others.

More to come!

Music Schizophrenia: No Words Needed.

Why the coined phrase? It came to me as I was downloading as many “forgotten” songs as I unearthed them in my mind. I’ve always wanted to do a music blog, and I feel that it would be one of the most eclectic ones out there. But here’s my start into the realm…For now, we’ll see how frequent this section shows itself.

So lately I’ve been getting into hip-hop instrumental music, courtesy of one of my VA heads. You can check out her amaaaazing music blog here: http://cheifofaffections.blogspot.com

Anyway, I just feel so unique bumping this track as I walk around campus at my school. Give it a listen:

Anyone remember back when The Boondocks was just making its debut on Adult Swim? This song was actually played during a promo for it. Pretty cool, right?

The actual commercial is shown on the vid on his Myspace page: http://www.myspace.com/flyinglotus (check the About Me section vid)

Okay, enough plugging. I definitely feel the hip-hop vibe, but I also hear a sort of 30’s-40’s influence as well up to the last part.

Now how about that title? I mean, how much thinking does one have to do in order to come up with that? Massage addresses the calm and etherealness of the track, while situation suggests a conflict? Perhaps the resolution lies in the end where the change occurs. Man I wish I knew more music terminology. I will brush up on that.

In the meantime, it provides me with poetic inspiration and would definitely have a spot on my “If My Life Had Background Music” list.

If this stimulates your mind, try these other beatmakers for size:

Suff Daddy – The Gin Diaries

Chimp Beams – Menina

Nicolay

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