natural hair

Things I Would Add to My Resume if I Could

It’s been a while since my last post. Part of that is because of election day anxiety (Jesus in God, the Saints, all of the Orishas, and more). The better part of that is because #BookMe2016-2017 has really been fruitful. I’m absolutely loving the projects I’ve been able to take part in and many of them have had me thinking about my own “professional identity”, both online and offline.

During my time at Kansas State University, I talked a lot about how we can use socioculturally centered theories to assist us in our career process. It was a two day stint of thinking deeply about this notion of “professionalism” which many scholars posit can be inherently rife with issues. Writer, Carmen Rios, says “Often, the way professionalism dictates we should act at work also falls in line with stereotypes and predetermined roles based on our race, sex, gender, or class” (2015).

My initial foray into Student Affairs work was in the realm of Career Services. So, I know all too well how delicate of a dance this is… especially when it comes to advising. For example, general advice posited that we should tell women to keep their hair off the face in interviews. But as a woman with natural hair that is not easily “swept up”, I realized that this advice isn’t always inherently helpful. The same went for gender and professional dress. The same went for the affordability of formal business wear. Lordt.

Yet, these are the waters we often find ourselves navigating and *sigh*, it gets deep. 

Earlier this week, I spent a few days talking with students, staff, and administration about some of these nuances. I spent the rest of the week thinking about how I bring my own identity into the work that I do (both formally and informally). So, today, we’re going forward with a light-hearted post, if I can help it.

Resumes are often used to navigate current and potential forms of work (I’ll leave it to you to interpret what that work is / could be / looks like). However, here are some of the things I would add to my resume if I could:

  • Interdisciplinary bridge-builder – Because all of my seemingly random interests and levels of expertise would probably fit really snugly under this title. It’s pretty much like when I studied “Integrative Arts” in college. Folk didn’t usually know the details of all it meant… but I could always say it like I was out here doin’ the damn thing.
  • Language

    Because if I could add that, I would. I’m also conversational in Beyonce gifs. Beginner’s level in all other gif forms. (Because when you’re fluent in Prince gifs you have a large spectrum of reactions to choose from). One of my personal faves:
    princegif3

  • Teaologist – Do you have a headache? I have a tea for that. Folk on your nerves? I have a tea for that. Your hands ashy? Tea. And lotion. But first, tea. I didn’t get the nickname “The Apothecary” for naught.

    (Head over to Amazon to purchase the Lionel Richie mug and the Mana-tea infuser).

  • Musichead – It has been a longstanding value of mine to spend as little time as possible listening to trash music. Live instrumentation is important and I feel like our ears need it. In just a few minutes, I can likely come up with some dope music recommendations to fit your preferred style and genre. I will also encourage folk to stay on their note, and that’s important in life. It builds teamwork competencies. Cause don’t nobody want you jumping up on their note all the time.
  • Natural hair and organic beauty product tester – If there were a such thing as a “tab” at Lush Beauty Products, I would have one. If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me about natural hair care regimens and products I use, I would be sending big bucks to my past student loan providers. Sooooo…
  • Petty Theorist & Petty Flow Chart Co-Curator – I don’t talk much about #pettyflowcharts here but it’s one of my favorite side projects. However, I literally spend time with a good friend curating flow charts to help people get clear on a variety of things. I can’t add it to my resume because… well… petty. But it sure is fun!
    petty-flowchartYou can check these out on IG: https://www.instagram.com/pettyflowcharts/
  • Churchy Linguist – Fluent. Can I get a degree in this? I feel like that’s a possibility. Being raised in an eclectic nondenominational Black church afforded me an entire lexicon of churchisms that I randomly use in everyday life. Last heard at a keynote speech: “I’m feeling moved in that direction”. Announcing a performance, as an MC: “Please clap for them, as they come”. Recently seen on Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/terrynredd/posts/10112034039704854My friends and I have a running joke that I am “Culturally Churchy, Theologically Complicated” because my spirituality includes sacred texts, rituals, and practices from quite a few traditions. However, I just cannot shake churchy linguistics. Pray my strength.
  • Crystal Collector – Beginner’s Level. Because who is tryna be out here with their chakras out of balance? Not I. Go talk to my friend Ebony Janice of the Free People Project about why it’s so important to balance those chakras.
  • Headliner for the Shower & Car Concert Series – Some of you may know this, and some may not. A few years back (like… a GOOD few), I provided background vocals for a few local Philly artists. A while before that, I was the director of the student-led gospel choir in college. I don’t sing formally at the moment. (Bae does though, check him out). However, my car concerts are on. point. To me, at least.What would you add to your resume if you could? Leave it in the comments below! Or you know, wherever else you find me on these Internet streets.

Featured Photo Credit: Createherstock.com

Prayers for Natural Hair Care

I’ve unpacked a little of my journey of growing up in churchy spaces (of various denominations). So, if you’re familiar with the Faith & Spirituality category of this page, you’ve seen my more formal processing around the topic. I’ve also written quite a few serious posts about natural hair care. (I passed out about 5 times when I got a feature on Curly Nikki!)

But, to be clear… this post ain’t that!

This is sheerly shenanigans and peak cultural churchiness. My hope is that you get a few good cackle-laughs, though I have not comprehensively covered all of the “dangers, toils, and snares” that naturalistas face.

Wash Day Supplications
“We come to You, knee bowed, body bent, hair tangled and / or stretched… asking You to bless this wash day. Let the soap lather appropriately. Let not mine eyes experience the troubles of shampoo burning them. Strengthen my arms, even now, so that I can lather on and see what the end gone be. Let the conditioning and sealing of my hair ‘be acceptable in Thy sight’ 1. The strands that Thou has wrought together, no breakage shall tear asunder. It is so”.

Prayer for a Set Style:
To the One Who Watches Over All Late Night Perm Rod Sets,
It’s been years since we’ve connected. However, I’m hoping you remember the true-to-the-gameness that I once possessed. You saw me through many sets before the natural hair vlogging craze and even before there was a Youtube. Should I have waited until dark o clock in the morning to embark on such a venture? No. But as I sleep, let this 3b-3c-4a blend curl reach its maximum potential to Slay. Thank you for the naturalistas across the world. To you belongs the fleekness, both now and forevermore. A-yaaaaahs”.

Bonnet Blessings
“Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord, my bonnet on to keep. And if it falls before I wake, I pray the Lord my rod set takes. Amen”

Declaration for the Restoration of Edges:
“God is a God of restoration. They that have laid their edges down by the riverside (or gotten them snatched) shall recover them one hundred fold. Every lace front, braid extension, too-tight ponytail, trace of chlorine, winter dryness, wool hat, etc. that has tried to come against thine edges will not be able to prosper! It is so”.

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Photo Credit: J.O., Group Chat Shenanigans

Psalms, Hymns, and Shenanigan Songs
“Blessed be the gel that binds / Our coifs in peak Coif form”2
“I come into Target alone / While the sales are still on the rows… es”. (Walgreens and Target = natural hair product central for me)3
“I stretch these braids to Thee / Protective style, I know / If it withdraws mine edges from me / Ah! How then shall they grow?!” 4

Length Check Thanksgiving:
“In this time, in this space, in this moment, we pause to say Thank You. In this year alone, I have given a good measure to Carol’s Daughter, Miss Jessie, and Kinky Curly products. Now, my hair is ‘pressed down, shaken together, and running over’ 5. We just want to say Thank You”.

A Note on the Practice of Anointing With Oil:
Readers, do you think there is any way we could start requesting that ministers anoint with coconut oil? Do they understand how healing that oil is for your skin, your hair, your entire life? Because this would basically be me… at altar call… once I stop fellowshipping at Bedside Baptist and 11-o-clock Brunch Ministries on Sunday mornings:

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Found this deep in the InstaGram archives. Readers PLEASE tell me who the prophetic person is that initially made this piece! Also, shout out to Trader Joe’s for having the $5.99 jars of Coconut Oil.  

This list is nowhere near exhaustive, but I have actual life-things to do. So, perhaps there will be a part two because… options: Prayers for Lost Bobby Pins, Loc Maintenance, Praise for Protective Styles, etc. For now, I would love to hear your natural hair care prayers! Leave them in the comments below!

Photo Credit: CreateHerStock.com, Additional quotes and materials are hyper-linked

 

 

 

Hair Stylin’ & Profilin’ – Making Identity Conscious Decisions at Work

It has been a busy week and weekend, filled with writing deadlines, but I’m excited about the opportunities! I talked about navigating microaggressions in the workplace over at Black Career Women’s Network, reflected on the difference between vulnerability and overshare in blogging over at BrownGirlBloggers.com, and worked with the amazing staff at NACE.org to publish a piece on natural hair & identity politics in the workplace!

On the topic of identity politics and natural hair in the workplace, I noted:

In my professional life, I have chosen to wear my hair naturally… Though the options are endless, these styles include anything that allows me to least amount of manipulation to the way my hair naturally grows…

I cannot count the times that my students, particularly women of color, have asked in hushed tones, “So….I’m meeting a recruiter/employer tomorrow and I’m hoping to get a job. I wear my hair naturally. So, what do you do—what should I do—about my hair?

It is one of my favorite questions, but it is always a loaded one. The trained ear will notice that these students are not just asking for fashion advice. They are trying to figure out how to navigate identity politics. They are looking for understanding on how they might “assert or reclaim ways of understanding their distinctiveness that challenge dominant oppressive characterizations…” as Heyes asserts. They are looking for ways to be authentic in spaces that may be largely homogenous, and in professions that may be largely male. Questions about hair are typically never just about hair…

In the article, I talked about how I walk students through these important decisions, including encouragements to a) acknowledge the validity of their experiences, b) research the company & its culture, and more. However, I did not include any pictures of the various ways that I have decided to wear my own natural hair during various occasions in my work life. Some of the examples you will see below reflect what I was doing at the moment; as someone who has been working in student affairs, we have weekly hours in office in addition to supervising or hosting events that might be formal and / or more casual in nature. Thus, you will see that my hair reflects a range of these kinds of styles, from formal to casual:

Style: Yarn braids inside a wrap. I have dressed that outfit up or down, depending on the circumstance. In the workplace, I would choose a more subtle pair of earrings, but I wanted you to get a good idea of the hairstyle itself.

Style: Loose twist out

Style: Updo (supervising a student group’s formal event)

Style: Simple bun. This style is actually pretty clutch for interviews as well, as it sits off your face but also allows you to manipulate your curls without heat. I simply used a bit of Ecostyler Gel for the edges and rolled the hair up.

Style: Headwrap

Style: Salon straightened (low heat, flat iron)

Style: Loose updo

If you have natural hair in the workplace, what are some of the styles that you love? Does your style vary, according to the professional occasion? If so, how?