All Your Best Stuff Comes From This Place

I was an intense kid and I learned early on that it wasn't a 'cool' thing to be so I did my best to conceal it.

But everything stayed with me. I felt that I carried not only my own problems around with me but those of everyone else. The homeless man on the street. The elderly woman looking sad and confused in the grocery store. The family that lost everything in a house fire. I thought I was weird for obsessing over all these sad things all the time. But I needed to take my time with them and let the emotions flow through me. Same with joy. Just as I had a deep capacity to explore sadness and pain, I felt intense joy at what others considered to be small things.

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I used to tell myself to be patient.

I'd say, "Your turn is coming. Blessings are on the way."

This mindset kept me envying other people's 'turns' and overlooking today, in favor of some tomorrow. 

On Changing Generational Perceptions of Natural Hair

CN says- that's my Boogie rockin' two-strands!

by Keora Bernard

About a year ago, I experienced naturalism in a profound way. I was confronted with the recycled mentalities that still exist among households of color about having coarser textured natural strands. Instead of doing my own hair, I decided that I would let my next door neighbor do my hair. Like many naturals, doing our hair is a laborious process and we relish the idea of having our scalps massaged and letting another person work through our dense terrain of curls, kinks, and coils.

Additionally, my girlfriend who is Latina, also decided to get her hair done by my next door neighbor. My girlfriend wanted bangs to be cut and her hair to be curled. On the other hand, I opted for a braided hairstyle, choosing to continue with my weekly protective styling routine. At the household, there were two younger girls who watched my girlfriend and me in awe.

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Real Life is Not Picture Perfect

It's always been important to me to be thought of as pretty and polished and nice to look at.  Sounds vain, but as a woman, perhaps you can relate.  I talked about the roots of this a bit here.

With that said, I work diligently to position myself as a champion for shameless self-possession.  I celebrate all the many layers.  And some of those layers ain't pretty.  Feeling pretty is like happiness.  It's a choice and a feeling that comes and goes depending on what's going on.

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Redefining Yourself, for Yourself.


"People like me more when they think I'm pretty."

I can't tell you when, but at some point in my childhood I began to believe this was true. This is what the media, my environment and even my mother taught me.

The media taught me to compare myself to touched up, perfect images and the more I looked like them, the more acceptable and loved I would be. It taught me to fix myself to fit certain standards of beauty and that life would be more charmed and happy if I did.

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Try This When You Feel Stuck and Unmotivated

I thought I was lazy. I had many interests and ideas but I rarely saw anything through to completion. I saw fellow students and coworkers who were passionate, totally turned on by their work, as I looked on, wondering how that felt.

I just wasn't inspired.

I played the student/employee role well, but inside I always found myself on this spectrum between overwhelmed and underwhelmed, never quite comfortable with my world the way it was.

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Sometimes Things Have to Fall Apart to Come Together

 by GG of AllTheManyLayers

When you pray and ask for growth and then everything falls apart. Smile up at the heavens. Make peace with the process. Have faith.

Sometimes I look at myself in the mirror and I don't feel beautiful. I look around at my life and it seems messy and ineffective. And yet I feel so brave. Proud of all the fears I've faced. This kind of beauty is different than what I've known before. It's not pretty. But it's more real and more meaningful than the surface beauty I once craved.

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Little Girls, Natural Hair- "I want her to grow up seeing me embrace me."

 by Christian Byshe' of

My little girl is growing up in a household where mommy walks around the house with a lopsided kinky twa while simultaneously doing laundry, feeding the unwanted guinea pig, and furiously tapping away at her computer. Her view point of natural hair will be totally different because it is pretty much all she knows. She has never seen mommy perm her hair nor have I ever straightened her hair or complained about her kinks. Mommy has a different mindset towards curls and kinks and it’s one of acceptance and appreciation. So Kenzie is less likely to view her natural curls as a burden or as something that should be altered.

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Three Questions.

I enjoy watching other people. I’m fascinated by how they move and interact with one another.

Maybe that’s one reason why I enjoy reading and watching biographies. The statement “Every life has a story” is one of my favorite sayings. My social media page includes this statement, but it ends with “I’m living mine.”

I guess that is the question “Am I living mine?”

When I look at my life today, like many others, it’s nothing like I expected it to be. I think about this revelation from time and time. But it’s only until recently that I’ve come to a deeper revelation. The reason why I’m not where I thought I would be is because when I get real honest with myself, I would have to answer one of three questions:

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On Being Alone-- The Sexiness of Solitude

"Certain springs are tapped only when we are alone. The artist knows he must be alone to create; the writer, to work out his thoughts; the musician to compose; the saint, to pray. But women need solitude in order to find again the true essence of themselves...

...The problem is not entirely in finding a room of one's own or the time alone, difficult and necessary as this is. The problem is more how to still the soul in the midst of its activities. In fact the problem is how to feed the soul." - Anne Morrow Lindbergh
I love my life. I do. I'm blessed beyond measure and am surrounded by love. One day I'll look up and see my three grown children all around me and I'll wonder where the time went. I'll miss them and want them to come home more often. I know it.

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3 Reasons Why Your Natural Hair Journey Has Been Frustrating

 Photo Courtesy of Nelly

Accepting your natural hair should be exciting, not stressful. With all of the societal pressures placed on women, women of color, women of color with textured hair, we do not need to add to those expectations. There is a thin line between defining your own beauty and trying to forge unrealistic expectations. Hair care advice is far less overwhelming when taken with a problem and solution approach. There are bigger things in life that warrant stress and your hair should not be one of them.

Unfortunately, there is a misconception that natural hair requires more work than relaxed hair. Well, let’s give some context. Of course relaxed hair is easier to maintain if your upkeep only consisted of a shampoo, daily conditioner, a blow out, and flat iron. That is not a fair comparison if your relaxed hair was poorly maintained, which was the initial trigger for a lot of women to go natural. Going back to a relaxer is not as easy as you think, but I digress. There is nothing wrong with gaining more knowledge from and watching YouTube videos, but it is important to discern what you should incorporate into your regimen and what to file away. In an effort to help you regain your sanity, here are three reasons why your hair care journey has been frustrating.

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When You're More Sensitive Than You'd Like to Admit

 by GG of AllTheManyLayers

Life is O V E R W H E L M I N G when you don't feel free to be yourself.

When your imagination is suppressed, and your creative E N E R G Y becomes anxiety.

Pretending to be U N B O T H E R E D, when inside you're crumbling.

Feeling out of place and M I S U N D E R S T O O D,  not knowing how to find your path.

In your heart you know who you are, but your mind throbs with D O U B T.

Wondering if something is W R O N G with you because you feel so deeply,  T W I S T E D because you see from a different angle,  B R O K E N because you feel incomplete.

S E A R C H I N G for the words that are just beyond your reach.

Wanting to make P E A C E with who you are, express yourself without F E A R, and use your most natural instincts to make a  D I F F E R E N C E..

But that voice inside keeps saying your possibilities are I M P O S S I B L E.

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Is It Really Real?


 by GG of AllTheManyLayers

Somewhere along the way we decide who we are and what our lives are going to be about. Nothing wrong with that, right? The problem comes when we create a substitute life or an image that we present to the world (and to ourselves) that is not real.

The substitute life is made up of the identities, judgments, expectations and assumptions we develop to deal with life as we see it. We want people to see us a certain way, we want to avoid certain situations, we want to control what happens and what doesn't. Over time we develop coping mechanisms and defensive walls to protect the image of this substitute life.

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Removing All Obstacles That Keep You From Yourself

"Certain springs are tapped only when we are alone. The artist knows he must be alone to create; the writer, to work out his thoughts; the musician to compose; the saint, to pray. But women need solitude in order to find again the true essence of themselves.” - Anne Morrow Lindbergh
I used to talk on the phone a lot.

It was an escape for me to hop on the phone with my girlfriends and chatter away the stress of the day. It was comforting and familiar, but it ate up a lot of time that I could have used to process what was going on in my life.

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You're Not Crazy, You're Introverted.

I've always been shy and self-conscious, afraid of embarrassing myself. I cannot remember a time when I didn't feel this way.

I wanted to be perfect. I wanted to look perfect, fit in with everyone and never miss a beat. Say-all-the-right-things perfect. Always-get-the-joke perfect. I never lived up to these goals, but in my head these were the things to strive for.

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What If I Die Before I Get it Right?

I have all kinds of irrational fears.

I'm not good enough, smart enough, strong enough.

I can't focus long enough to complete a big project.

I can't handle having lots of money.

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The Big, Bigger, Biggest Problem

My problem, your problem, everyone's problem...

Is that we think we are not supposed to have any problems.

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Real Hair Talk: "I Regretted The Big Chop"

 by Kanisha Parks of

To be honest with you, I had no idea what “natural hair” was. It was foreign, but eye-opening, the idea of not getting relaxers anymore- something I had been doing since I was eight years old. To my understanding, a relaxer was just something every young black girl did. The best thing about getting a relaxer was not having to endure stomach-turning braiding sessions or ear-singeing pressing comb experiences with my mother anymore. Relaxed hair was easier, more convenient, and just all-around better: or so I thought.

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What Meditation and Sex Have to Do With Writing

I won’t beat around the bush. It’s damn hard to get in the mood sometimes.

You know you’ll be happy once you get going, you know it will feel good and you will be refreshed when it’s done, but getting into the mindset of doing it is challenging when you have so many things on your mind.

The stream of consciousness is random and never ending: School shootings. Laundry. That funny look your neighbor gave you this morning. Your health. The ozone layer. Racism. What happens when you die. Deadlines. Bills. On and on and on.

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When We Judge Ourselves Most Harshly


"A writer – and, I believe, all persons – must think that whatever happens to him or her is a resource. All things have been given to us for a purpose, and an artist must feel this more intensely. All that happens to us, including our misfortunes, all is given to us as raw material, as clay, so that we may shape our art." ~Jorge Luis Borges

I was young and I was a new single mom and I was late on my rent every single month.

First apartment. First real responsibilities. Living with a roommate. Trying to figure out this grownup life. In my mind, failing terribly.

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