Friday, May 22, 2009

Economics and Class

So I am sitting here watching Oprah and today's show is about "class" and how people that used to be "upper and/or middle class" are now feeling like they are lower class with our current economic situation. The whole "class" system has always baffled me. I have never completely understood it. See I grew up "lower class" by all standards. My mom was a single mother raising 2 kids in "the hood", working 2 jobs to make ends meet, and trying to go to school. Although everything around me screamed "lower class" (ie: the part of town we lived in, our gov't house, utility disconnections, etc.) My mother, allowed my sister and I to maintain what we perceived was a "middle class" upbringing. We went to private school from K-8. When we were old enough to want trendy and name brand things my mother got a job at the store that we liked to shop at to provide us with whatever we wanted. (she made many sacrifices for us) Not only that, but all of my neighbors drove real nice cars, wore the newest clothes, had the most stylish hair do's, the nails, etc. and in my hood, it wasn't the outside of your house that mattered. It was all about the inside. So a neighbor might have an unkept yard and a house with no curb appeal, but once you stepped inside their front door, you'd be in like a mansion with chandeliers, big leather furniture, sculptures, & big screens. to me...we were doin alright!! Back then, nobody spoke of 401k's, savings, stocks, bonds. I had no knowledge of those terms growing up. All i knew is that I had my own room with a boombox and a phone, was on the cheerleading squad, never wore the same outfit twice, and got to the beauty shop occasionally for a "do". My future looked bright...I did what i was supposed to do, excelled, and carried myself in a certain way. Got a scholarship and went to college. It was there that I learned that I wasn't as high up on the social, class scale as I thought. It was there that I met other people that actually really had money. They weren't on scholarship, their parents actually paid for them to be there. They also had finer things than I did. Designer handbags, new cars, real jewelry that they didnt buy "hot". This is where things started to flip for me. Since I was on scholarship I had to do Work Study which means I had to clean buildings on campus, serve food in the cafeteria, whatever they wanted me to do basically. I got to experience how those that "have" treated the "have-nots" nothing overly blatant...maybe just a look or glance or vibe that let me know...that I was lower. In todays economy, as Oprahs show pointed out, people are seeing themselves lose the class status that they enjoyed before and are now having to work jobs and be in places that they looked down on before. This situation has taught America, the same lesson that I learned in college... that class status doesnt really matter. The only thing that matters is what kind of person you are and how you treat other people. If this recession is what it took to teach this lesson then obviously the lesson needed to be taught and I hope that we all can learn something during these times.

Next Time:
Are people really in the socioeconomic class that they think they are in? In other words... Are you really upper/middle class if you are up to your eyeballs in debt, loans and credit cards???

Coming Soon:
Confessions of a Black Trekkie

...Stay tuned :-)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Hair Journey Continues!!

Wow! My hair journey has been kicked into high gear! Not only have i been able to test and review several new products, but I am learning about what ingredients to look for in certain products and which ones are important for healthy hair (No Petroleum, No Cones, No Sulfates!). Some of the techniques that I have tried have given me magnificent results (Stretched Out Afros, Twist Outs, Curl Refreshers, Shingling, etc.) I have expanded my hair supplies to include various things that I didnt have before (Rat Tail Comb, Ouchless headbands, Bonnet, Wide Tooth Comb, etc). One of my new necessities include: 100% pure Shea Butter. I haven't developed a full list of staple items yet but I am getting there. Some the newest products that I have enjoyed are:

Carol's Daughter - Khoret Amen Shampoo, Conditioner w/Sea Moss & Smoothie plus Hair Milk (and for the body...Mango Melange Shea Souffle, Body Jelly)

Taliah Waajid's Black Earth Products - Herbal Cleanser, Total Body Shampoo, Enhancing Herbal Conditioner, & Loc It Up

Paul Mitchell's - The Conditioner - Leave In Moisturizer

Lush Cosmetics - Curly Wurly Conditioning Shampoo

Biolage By Matrix - Hair Conditioning Balm

Here is a short list of Natural hair terminology that may not be new to you but it was to me!

BC - aka Big Chop. this is the first step to your natural hair journey. It means that you have cut the perm out down to the new growth to start anew!

Co-Wash - Using Conditioner to wash your hair instead of Shampoo. This process cleans your hair without stripping it of the natural oils that exist.

PrePoo - Shampooing your hair with something like a Clarifying Shampoo prior to using your normal shampoo.

Shingling - Applying product, usually a Leave In Conditioner, to your hair in layers for full coverage.

Stretching - Manipulating your hair in a way that stretches your natural curls to show length.
(more terms to come!)

I haven't gotten my oils (Coconut, TeaTree, Jojoba, etc) locked down to an understanding yet. But I am learning about different oils and their benefits.

Most importantly I am having FUN! The exploration, the pampering, the ME's all been enabled!!! Developing an afinity for the natural me has opened the doors to other needs, such as skincare and physical health, It's hard to explain, but I guess I could say that any improvements that you consciously make for yourself affects your ENTIRE well being. One step at a time, but the path has been shown to me.

Much Love!