All Articles Tagged "growth"
It’s a question that we’ve all asked ourselves on more than one occasion and during different phases in our lives. Even if we don’t use those same words or don’t verbalize the question out loud, our actions, choices and doubts are fueled by this quest to answer this broad question. We pretty much start wondering this from the time we awkwardly enter the school cafeteria and look for a table where we belong. Trying to figure this out can make us style our hair a certain way, date that boy, break that rule, join that club or pursue that degree. It can ultimately take us to the life we have now.
Even as grown women, we still ask it. We just swap the cafeteria for adult circles amongst our friends, colleagues, co-workers and society at large. No matter how many years go by, we still ask: “Who am I, really?” And until we can answer that question, it’s impossible to believe we’re amazing.
As women, we are moms, wives, sisters, friends and confidants, but we sometimes feel guilty for not knowing more about ourselves. As women we are expected to be selfless and to focus on others.
Read the rest of their inspiring piece on ESSENCE.
Do you ever feel selfish by taking a moment to give back to yourself?
This is why I can’t give up on Kanye quite yet. Despite his temper tantrums when he doesn’t win awards, his unorthodox/unacceptable outbursts, the superficiality in some of his more recent music and his current side-eye worthy relationship, I still appreciate the “humanness” that is Kanye West. If you ever stumble across a person who claims that they’ve never said something they later regretted, never acted out of character or never embarrassed themselves, then you’ve stumbled across a liar. We’ve all acted a fool a time or ten.
But this humanness I’m talking about is Kanye’s willingness to think and even question his own practices. Check out his recent tweets in regard to his use of the word “b–ch.”
I like to believe the best in people, until proven wrong. So though, this could possibly be a way for Kanye to command some Twitter attention, I believe he really analyzes his music and himself in these ways. And I appreciate that. Words can be tricky. Some will argue they’re not that important. Some will say they mean everything and then still, there are people who say it depends on who’s using them and the intent behind the words. For me, personally, I loathe the word “b–ch.” It makes me cringe nearly every time I hear it. And as you know, in today’s culture, with today’s music and television shows, we hear that word a lot. But I can’t stand it. I tell people I have a “b–ch” quota. If I hear it too much in a song, I can’t enjoy the music. I hate to hear women refer to each other as such, though I understand it. And you can forget about me accepting such a word from the lips of a man, whether he means it to be endearing or not. The thought sickens me. So needless to say, Kanye’s song “Perfect B–ch” was a womp for me. I can’t understand why a man would refer to a woman he claims to love as an animal…a dog at that. I know they say the dog is man’s best friend, but traditionally and even in the modern sense, calling someone a dog is far from flattering.
But you could call me some type of hypocrite because I have to admit I’m rather fond of the “n-word.” And I can’t quite explain why. I’ve known the history behind it since before elementary school. I’ve studied it again, through Randall Kennedy’s book “Ni–er” and I’ve even been called one, by someone who didn’t use it with any type of affection. But none of that has stopped me from using–and liking to use– the word. I’ve witnessed old ladies use it with expertise, Chris Rock explained the difference between black folks and “n-words,” and it was my own grandmother who told me that you don’t have to be black to be one. The word is loaded with richness. A richness that I like, a richness that nearly compels me to use it. Granted, I have rules behind it. Never in front of mixed racial company, never in front of my parents and any others who may be offended by it and often in a spirit of jest. This disconnect, using the word, knowing that some feel about the “n-word,” the way I feel about “b–ch” is called cognitive dissonance. It’s a very real thing. Look it up when you have a chance.
I say–or write– all this to say that I like what Kanye tweeted because Kanye is like me. I question the words I use and why I use them. So since Kanye opened up the floor for discussion, let’s continue it here, what do you think about the word “b–ch” and the “n-word”? Do you use either of these words, why or why not? If yes, how so and how often?
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By Jazmine Denise
“Your standards are ridiculous. The man that you’re holding out for doesn’t exist. You are going to die old, lonely, and bitter!”
This is what my ex from over three years ago said spitefully through the phone. “Okay. Thanks for the dating advice!” I calmly replied before ending the worst phone call ever. “Old and bitter. Oooh scary,” I thought to myself sarcastically. Old, lonely, and bitter is a kryptonite that looms in the back of just about every woman’s mind, because when we think of our futures, we like to envision love and happiness. As a result of this fear, many women are willing to offer up their time, energy, money, body, and God knows what else to men who aren’t actually worth their time. These relationships usually end in turmoil (and possibly with children in the picture) and the woman is left to pick up the pieces wondering where she went wrong. Albert Einstein once defined insanity as, “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” It is my personal philosophy that this theory should be considered in all aspects of life, including dating and relationships.
Women are often accused of consistently assuming the role of the victim when it comes to relationships because we constantly put ourselves in the same types of situations with the same types of men, which ultimately deems us the same results. However, when a woman has an “AHA” moment, recognizes her worth, and sets standards for herself and the men she dates, she is accused of being bitter and too picky. Although these “AHA” moments often come after she’s broken free from a negative relationship, I in no way feel that this has anything to do with bitterness. Bitter could be used for the woman who sits around saying (and saying on social media platforms made to be soap boxes) that all men are dogs, but when a woman tries to raise her standards to increase her happiness, why is she bitter? It is my opinion that “bitter” is a derogatory term that is often used improperly and hurled at women to wound their self-esteem and make them doubt themselves and what they thought they wanted in a relationship.
While I am not encouraging anyone to go out and develop a ridiculous or unhealthy set of qualifications for the men that they date, it is my belief that standards are crucial. Standards are what set the foundation for any dating relationship. They set the ground rules for what you will and won’t accept. They help you to get what you actually desire instead of settling for whatever he wants and any old Johnny that comes along looking to waste your time. To take it a step further, it is my belief that it is not standards that make women bitter, but lack thereof. Can you imagine getting to the end of your life and realizing that you’ve never had success in the love department because you’ve been dealing with the wrong men all of your life since you never set any standards? You let them treat you any kind of way, do anything they pleased and talk to you every kind of way because you didn’t want them to leave. I could see it now. Someone’s old aunt sitting around on her front stoop drinking a Coke and smoking a cigarette talking about, “Child, none of these men ain’t no good!” Depressing, I know. But, honestly, are all men no good or did that person possibly make poor dating choices? So the next time someone accuses you of being bitter because you have standards, proudly reply, “I’m not bitter, I’m better, and I’m not looking back.”
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It has been a whole year since I stopped relaxing my hair. It’s been an interesting journey of sorts.
My first relaxer was at the age of 10, and every time I received a touch up since then, my scalp would burn. No matter how mild the perm was, no matter how short the time was that people tried to keep it in, I would still get burned. I was just extremely sensitive and would dread the whole relaxing process.
A lot of people ask me why I decided to stop putting perm in my hair; it’s actually a pretty sad story. Last year, I was rocking a very short haircut. I’ve been chopping my hair off since I was a sophomore in high school. Before I cut all my hair off I had long straight hair that went a little past my shoulders. My mom, like many mothers, was really against me cutting my hair at first. Maybe she thought I’d look less feminine, maybe not. But after enough persuading, and me agreeing to pay for it myself, she allowed me to chop it all off…or at least enough for a drastic difference.
I went through every short phase imaginable. When Rihanna got the asymmetrical bob, I got it too. Then she got a cool, short pixie cut. So did I. Halle Berry and Toni Braxton were my hair inspirations too, and because of them, my hair was a wide variety of lengths over the last four to five years. Having a short haircut was hard to maintain because I constantly had to get my hair trimmed. On top of that, it needed to be relaxed consistently to look neat. This was not good for a poor college student on a tight budget.
My whole natural “awakening” was by accident truthfully. My sisters were natural, I had friends who had been natural for years, but me, I did whatever to my hair, whenever, however after a while. In all honesty, I wasn’t a fan of the naturalistas who were overly aggressive and acted like you didn’t love yourself with chemical in your hair, so for years, I was pretty defiant. But after going a long time with stalling hair growth, I stopped trying to make my shoulder length hair work and started chopping it off in college. Mushroom cut for a while, cut it again. Long top short sides for a while, cut it off again. I had no problem with people going natural, but at the time, it just wasn’t for me.
I had a texturizer that I adored about a year and a half ago. But getting to the adoration part of it was a struggle. When I got it, they literally had to give me a bald fade for it to work, so I went through an “Am I pretty?” struggle for weeks. Once it started growing out, I was certain it was fabulous. Almost six months later it became this big, curly, uneven fro. I refused to go through the same process to have another texturizer treatment done, so I thought, maybe if I can even this unexpected fro out, I can still rock a texturizer but keep all the hair I had grown (a wealth of new growth popped up by six months–Nigerian hair for you).
So when I took that texturizer to the man at my dad’s barbershop, with the help of the overzealous barber, I found myself unexpectedly natural. There I was, in the barbershop with an eerily perfect spherical and kinky fro with no more of the fake, silky curl I had an hour before when I walked into the barbershop (it was on the floor). I thought to myself, “Oh snap! Am I natural?”
While I could have chosen to go back down the same route and try for a relaxer again, it occurred to me that my TWA wasn’t all that teeny after all. So I went to the store, bought a few products and started my natural journey. It has been a year since I made the decision to stick with my natural hair, and I can’t say how glad I am that I did it. After a lot of ups and downs, some braids, a dry winter, and a sad trim or two at the salon (“I’m not draping anymore!” I thought), I, like most people have learned a lot about my hair, have grown proud of it, and actually plan to get locs this weekend (woo-hoo!). I’m sure what I’ve learned you can relate to if you’re growing with your natural hair as well, so yes, let’s share.
By Chrissi J
Everyone asks about what they can do to make their hair grow, and to keep their hair moisturized, but are you checking to make sure your hair has shine? The kind of shine where your locks are shining when you step out in the sun? Try these tips to keeping your hair all aglow no matter what time of the year.
Cold Water closes your hairs pores so that your hair will reflect light rather than absorb it. The water doesn’t have to be freezing ice cold, but try giving your hair a cool blast after you shampoo & condition.
Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine Anti-Frizz Serum smells great & works wonders for most textures, especially fine hair. I would especially recommend it for straightened hair… It’s a gloss and isn’t heavy at all. For longer lasting and the shiniest of results, massage the Garnier ‘Sleek & Shine Anti Frizz Serum’ into your hair when it’s damp. No worries though, you can also use this product on dry hair as well.
Coconut Oil is great for all hair types & textures. It’ll definitely give you shine & moisture. You want to make sure that you only use unrefined coconut oil, and use it when hair is moist for best moisture penetration. Coconut oil is also great for hair growth and helps prevent hair loss. If you’ve ever had any severe breakage, try massaging coconut oil into the area and watch your hair grow back!
Grapeseed Oil coats the hair and is very great for shine. Grapeseed oil helps to repair brittleness and is a God-sent product for fine and straightened hair. It’s so light and doesn’t weigh the hair down at all. It’s not greasy or overly-oily and you can use it while your hair is damp or dry. You can also use grapeseed oil for a hot-oil treatment.
Almond Oil smells great and is also great for shine. Be careful not to use if you’re allergic to nuts though! Almond oil also great for hair growth and has been said to prevent hair loss.
Castor Oil is great for shine and maximum moisture. If you have straight hair, loose curls, or sometimes even fine hair, you’ll want to steer clean of this for everyday use as to not overdo it. But castor oil does make a great conditioning treatment for all types of hair. Soak your hair in castor oil for about 15-30 minutes after you shampoo and rinse thoroughly with warm/hot water. Castor Oil also great when used to twist locks!
Chrissi J is a hair-care specialist currently based in New York City, specializing in creative natural hairstyling and overall hair care. She is the originator of the Keepin’ It Kinky Campaign. Check out her work and videos at Keepin’ It Kinky and through her YouTube page.
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By Chrissi J
“Why Won’t My Hair Grow?!”
There are several potential answers to this commonly asked question. Unless hair has been permanently damaged for some chemical or health-based reason, our hair is and always should be growing in one way or another. Growing slow, growing fast, growing in crazy directions–it should be growing nonetheless. Everyone’s hair grows on average about ¼ inch every month. If your hair seems to be growing less than that, here are some explanations as to why that may be and tips to help.
1. Breakage- In my experience, this is the number one reason hair seems not to grow. A lot of times we forget to moisturize the ends of our hair so they dry up and break off. You must remember that the curlier your hair, the less likely oil is to reach the end of the strands, so that’s where you need to step in. It is just as important to oil the ends of your hair, as it is to oil the scalp.
2. Split Ends- Split ends can be caused from lack of moisture, heat, chemicals, and plain carelessness. It’s important to trim chemically treated hair every 6-8 weeks, and natural hair every 3-5 months, and make sure to keep hair moisturized to avoid split ends. When hair splits at the end, it splits all the way up the shaft causing breakage and creating a thinner strand. Wearing weave and extensions can also cause split ends, so you will want to trim a little every time you take your extensions out.
3. Scalp Build Up- Grease and other heavy products can clog your scalps pores, stunting the growth of your hair. Your scalp needs to be able to breathe! Use light products that penetrate your scalp and hair. Try to use all-natural essential oils and avoid grease, wax, or jam. If heavy product is required for styling, be sure to shampoo or clean your scalp with an astringent at the end of the day.
4. Diet/Medication- Everything that goes into our body effects what comes out of it… including our hair. Make sure to maintain a healthy diet full of live foods and drink a lot of water. If you’re taking medication, speak with your nutritionist about taking vitamins. Biotin and Vitamin E are both great for hair growth.Chrissi J is a hair-care specialist currently based in New York City, specializing in creative natural hairstyling and overall hair care. She is the originator of the Keepin’ It Kinky Campaign. Check out her work and videos at Keepin’ It Kinky and through her YouTube page.
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Another relationship lost. It’s something that I’ve become quite familiar with ever since my first day as a freshman in high school. On that day, my first love called me up after dodging me in the hallways all day to tell me that our summer loving was coming to an end and that he wanted to break up (and by the way, he wanted his jewelry back as well). To be honest, those next few years of high school hurt a lot until I did some honest soul-searching.
With other relationships came more breakups, but more than simply slaying my exes with the insults that I never said directly (“Your breath stank anyway! You should be happy you had me! THIS is your new girlfriend? I’m just saying you can do better…”), what really helped me was taking a good hard look at all of my relationships and understanding what I could learn from them about myself (along with my “I Hate Men” mixtape complete with the sounds of Tamia, Kelly Price and a pissed off Foxy Brown).
One of the biggest things that can sink a new relation-ship (get it?) is the heavy burden of past issues. Some may say the best way to get over an old relationship is to start a new one. But what they leave out is that this out of the blue new relationship should be the one you revisit with yourself. When you serial date and jump from relationship to relationship, you lose the ability to look at each relationship on its own because you’re too busy comparing it to the last one. Before you decide you’re ready to move on, check your baggage by asking yourself the following:
Incessant love songs, cheesy romantic comedies and cuddling couples on the street would all lead you to believe that being a single woman is an existence characterized by endless desperation, constant loneliness and deep, dark despair. But for most well adjusted women, that’s far from the truth. Sure, there are moments of self doubt and insecurity; but for the most part, there’s plenty to enjoy about your solo dolo lifestyle.
1. Thank God I don’t have to shave my _____.
Fill in the blank. Every lady knows that when a man’s involved you take a little extra time making yourself presentable. And that includes what’s underneath your clothes. Making sure you’re hairless or trimmed up right is vitally important. After all, an overgrown bush could really turn someone off. When you’re sure that you and your lady friend won’t be entertaining in the near future you can give your razor a bit of a break.
By Charlotte Young
From famine in Somalia to genocide in Sudan and bombings in Nigeria, the media puts out a very bleak image of African development. But in economic reality, this couldn’t be further from the truth. For investors in the global market, much of the real growth and opportunity is stemming from Africa.
Marketwatch reports the continent is “home to a host of fast-growing economies.” In addition the growth possibilities have the potential to provide large returns.
Plamen Monovski, chief investment officer of Renaissance Asset Managers, one of the biggest investors on the continent, relays that the images of Africa “are rooted in the past” and the “BBC effect.” “But Africa is now the last frontier left in the market. Nowhere else has the same kind of growth potential,” Monovski tells Marketwatch.
The media seems to neglect Africa’s stories of triumphant and success as it zeroes in on political unrest, poverty and hunger. But after enduring 30 years of stagnation and decolonization, Africa is growing rapidly. There are 11 African countries that now see growth rates higher that 7 percent annually, which is higher than the rates in East Asia. Nigeria, one of the largest countries in Africa, is growing at 9 percent a year, one percent below the magic percentage when economies really begin to take off. Three countries have already reached a 10 percent growth rate.
In addition, while many countries worldwide are facing labor shortages, Africa boasts of a rising labor force. With secondary school enrollment also rising, the continent will be able to see a generation of more educated youth as well.
All of the growth does not negate that there is truth in the media coverage. Governments across the continent have their share of problems, but what government doesn’t? China has continued to succeed economically without a democracy and many Asian nations also face corruptions.
African infrastructure is not always the best, which can provide a setback to companies seeking to build presence. But with investments comes financial capital to improve upon roads and broadband connections.
Those that are forward thinkers understand how important it is that Africa continues to grow. With or without personal attachments to the continent, Africa’s success is important to everyone. Its rise could help to alleviate much of the despair around the global markets and end the threat of another recession. As investors know best, there’s nothing like an emerging market. Only they are capable of the “explosive growth,” that provides the fast expansion effect desperately needed around the world.