My Crown of Glory is fabulous because it knows no boundaries!
My hair journey began with the hot comb. My naturally kinky curls could barely stand a chance against the regular sessions of hair straightening that I was forced to endure by my impatient and frustrated mother. As I aged, the hair comb transitioned into relaxer treatments. I believe I was under the age of ten when I had my first relaxer (a chemical process used to permanently straighten the hair). By sixteen, I had grown tired of the same old routine of my mother processing my hair and similarly burning me in the process I might add! The hair scabs and the lack of mercy that I received from the creamy crack (a slang term for relaxers) led me to chop off all of my hair when I was a sophomore in high school. I grew my hair naturally for two whole years in a love-hate relationship that ended with my reversion back to the relaxer by senior year.
I didn’t struggle with self-image so much throughout my life because I never really understood the real importance of being seen as ‘beautiful.’ I was always more interested in making the grade in school or having a good time than worrying about the way I looked. I always felt that everyone has a unique look and accepted mine as good enough for me to feel content. I really didn’t experiment with make-up (and I still don’t) or get heavily involved with fashion trends. I hate to say that I just didn’t care, but I simply allowed other things to gain my attention. I generally stayed around the same weight most of my life and didn’t ever diet; my weight fluctuated between the school year and summer break as my eating habits became more frequent with more free time. I attribute this carefree attitude to my mother, who would carelessly joke about my weight if I became heavier than normal, which was well received by me as I accepted and appreciated her humor. I also had extended family that reaffirmed my beauty, so I never felt the need to compare myself to other young ladies.
My health story has stayed constant throughout my life. In simplistic terms, I have always been very unhealthy. I was raised on fast food and restaurants where chicken tenders and French fries were always a favorite. I rarely ate home cooked meals because I grew up in a household where home-style cooking was a true rarity and my grandmother (who never eats out and always cooks real meals) lives approximately 600 miles away from my hometown. Even when I did make it to grandma’s house for the holidays, her soul food cooking which was undoubtedly full of carbs, grease, and fat soothed my soul but probably damaged my body. The only exercise I got came from dreaded PE classes, and an occasional two to three day failed challenge of ‘Tie-Bo’ to rid of my summertime gut before school started again. As an uprising sophomore in college, these eating habits have stuck with me, but to a lesser degree. I eat when I have time now, (usually twice a day), and I eat what I’m used to; chicken tender combos at Metro Diner are a definite favorite. Lately, I’ve been trying to fit in a salad once or twice a week too so I can have a ‘balanced’ diet (I know…don’t judge!). I have committed to take one LSPA class each semester. Last semester I took yoga and now I’m taking pilates, which is a great physical improvement that I’ve witnessed the results to in addition to walking around everywhere in the city. Regardless of this small feat, it is obvious that I have a long journey ahead to getting and staying healthy!
My hair is currently relaxed and thus permanently straightened. I endure relaxer treatments every six to eight weeks to keep it straightened.
My health dream is to partake in exercise initiatives and consume foods that are not only nourishing to my body but will also produce longer, healthier hair and a better quality of life.
Tia is majoring in Psychology.
Images by Zinhle Essamuah 2013 ©