…life from my perspective
I went in there on a Saturday, early in the afternoon and spoke with the color director. I had like 3 photos of the honey blonde highlights I wanted in my hair. I will admit I was a bit skeptical because I didn’t see any black people sitting in the chairs and add that to the fact that the “color director” was Indian. To quell my fears I asked her, straight up, did this salon have any experience color treating black hair that was as tightly coiled as my own and she said “absolutely.” She then went on to say, “our clients run the gamut and I personally have experience coloring and styling African-American hair.” She sat down with me, felt my strands, gave me a patch test and explained to me the procedure and color mix she was going to use to ensure I got the color I wanted. I felt secure I was gone be something fierce after my next day appointment. So the next afternoon, after the color treatment, wash, condition, blow out and trim, my good ole Indian stylist turned me around in the chair to embrace my “new you” and lo and behold, my damn hair was coppery-orange. I asked, “what is this?” She said some shit about the lighting in the salon giving my new hair color a lighter hue and despite the fact the highlights didn’t come out EXACTLY as I wanted, the color really complemented me. I said, “is that right?” She mentioned that it was a nice, soft, spring color that brought out my eyes or skin complexion or some shit. So I went home and gave myself some double strand twists, put on my satin bonnet and went to sleep. When I woke up the next morning I said to myself, nah…this ain’t it sun. So on lunch, I marched my tail right back in that salon and demanded my money back. They refunded my 75 GBP = $125 and asked if they could fix it. I declined and cried on the train back to uni.
Lydia is of Irish descent but spent most of her childhood and teenage years in Canada. Because of this she’s Catholic, doesn’t have that irritating bloody British accent AND her hair is curly. I walked into the lab after my color fiasco and said, “Lydia look!” She replied, “what?” I said, “I’ve got orange hair though I requested honey blond highlights.” THEN she said “ooh.” So we talked and talked then she hipped me to her black hair stylist who does hair out of this black-owned salon. She gave me their info and assured me they could fix my issue. She raved about their knowledge and services and urged that I make an appointment. On the day of my appointment I strolled into the salon, and Jackie, the owner, looked at my hair and said “OH NO! Who bleached your hair?” I explained to her what the Punjabi did and she said “stylists who are not experienced with color treating black hair don’t realize that most black hair has red undertones. This forces the color mix to be 2-3 shades lighter than what you want. Your hair has been severely damaged so we need to cut out the damaged strands and start all over.” And just like that, that voluminous puff that I’ve been growing out since May was gone in under an hour. I knew I could either keep the length but risk more damage or start anew with folk who could assist me in growing my hair to be as healthy and long as it could possibly be for the time I’m here. I left the salon and cried again when I got home.
“I HATE YOU SO MUCH RIGHT NOW!”
Since being here I’ve become obsessed with my weight and frustrated that I cannot push away the bread from the dinner table or keep the chips out of the lunch sack. I’m upset with myself that I’m not running as frequently and as far as I used to back in 2009-2010. I suffer with self-doubt and wonder whether I can not only complete my program but finish being told I did very well, knowing I produced some of my best work. I have poor body image and experience anxiety when reality sets in that I can’t stop by my Mama house to get a hug, a bowl of greens and some bread and butter. I’m forced to acknowledge my cowardice when I realize I missed the moment when I should’ve said something instead of letting what he or she said “ride.” I confront my controlling behavior and fear of failure every time I cry alone at night trying to figure out why this journey is so fucking hard. And to top it all off, I got my left upper molar pulled on Tuesday and these marks sent The Kid home without ANY medication! NO Vicodin , NO antibiotics, NO nothing. The dentist said Ibuprofin should suffice and my body has enough antibodies to fight off any infection. As a result? My mouth STILL hurting! Let me tell you something. Before I came to this place, I pictured myself having dinner on the Amalfi Coast with a rich white Jew, sippin’ wine and listening to Illmatic as I rode shotgun in his Range Rover Vogue – BUT THAT AIN’T HAPPENING! My money funny, this research is so difficult it seems to be written in a different language, I think so much sometimes my head hurts and I long for hugs from my sons or an afternoon walk with my dog. This shit cray.
I know NOW shit is real out cheah in these streets, so I acknowledge my challenges and give praises for my blessings. I’m going to Kyiv, Ukraine (former USSR) on Monday for 2weeks to attend the fuel cell school. I get to see these fools HOV and Ye in concert this June so I can witness how Niggas in Paris respond to Niggas in Paris. Yeah…they done brought that Watch The Throne foolishness over here and I WILL BE front and center to see it all. At the end of June I’ll be in Switzerland for a week to present a poster for the European SOFC conference and in November, I’ll be in Italy for a month as part of the Pioneers in Practice Program; I applied and was accepted. I remember telling Z back in 2009 I would KILL for an opportunity to live abroad on the company’s dime – I got my wish. And while things ain’t going quite like I planned, I AM NOT going home and I AM NOT giving up – that shit ain’t in the playbook. Z and I were chopping it up over email this morning and I wrote to her that love and progress are cyclical. Then I reassured her and myself that all the things I am feeling are healthy. I’m convinced that them people who walk around cheery-eyed ALL THE TIME talking about “Praise Jesus and God Is Good” are fake and/or suffering from heartache and are on the verge of a mental breakdown – no ying without yang. I’m learning that we can be our own harshest critic and we shouldn’t concentrate too much energy on the things that cause us pain. Instead, we should acknowledge the adversity then figure out how best to use it for good. I strongly believe that where there’s progress there’s growth and just because the growth isn’t readily identifiable doesn’t mean progress isn’t occurring. I’ll never forget The Minister said there is a difficulty factor associated with achieving greatness. If that’s the case, I’ll take this difficult experience in stride if it means I will emerge even better than I was before this journey began. What I’m trying to say is, think great to achieve great so you can be great. Until tomorrow youngn’s….