Relaxed to Natural: The Journey So Far

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I’m on my way into the seventh month of my hair transition, and so far, it hasn’t been that bad. If someone had told me a year ago that I’d grow out my relaxer, I would have laughed and plastered my car with “creamy crack ain’t wack” bumper stickers.

I’ve tried to approach this journey with an open mind, but there are a few things I wish I had known when I started.

It’s NOT cheaper. At least not yet. A friend gave an enthusiastic endorsement for natural hair, saying it would be budget-friendly.

“You won’t have to pay for relaxers, so you’ll save money.”

There are two things she didn’t count on. One, my stylist charges more for natural hair. Two, my unrelaxed roots don’t take well to temporary color treatments, so I had to upgrade. Add in the cash I’ve spent to build a moderate stash of at-home haircare products, and money is flying out of my wallet like it has wings.

Two textures means two solutions. My first attempt at a twist-out resulted in thick waves at the scalp with stringy ends because I over applied styling product. My relaxed locks couldn’t absorb it all. Now that my hair is a mix of textures, it takes multiple products or techniques to get a consistent look.

There’s no such thing as too much conditioner. Or, if there is, I haven’t reached the limit yet. My natural hair needs every bit of my heavy-handed application.

There is a such thing as too many YouTube videos. There are thousands of product reviews and demonstrations online. Some contain valuable information while others don’t. It’s easy to get overwhelmed.

Whatever my friend(s) did, it probably won’t work for me. Hair texture, personal preferences, and individual efforts factor into the final style. If something doesn’t work, it’s no big deal. There are plenty of options.

What doesn’t work now may work later. As my natural-to-relaxed ratio increases, I’ll revisit some things that didn’t work so well the first go round.

The pic above isn’t my fav, but it shows one of my more successful efforts at a flat twist-out. I’ll keep you posted as the journey continues.

Lessons From a Drive-By Dance Mom

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Sunday’s recital marked the end of recital season. And other than a couple of hours spent in an overheated dressing room, it really wasn’t that bad.

After a trying two seasons at another dance studio, I vowed this year would be better. The old studio was too far away; the class started early on Saturday mornings, and we were always late. The computer system was often down, so there was usually a discrepancy on my account balance. It never failed that we received our newsletter the night before any major deadline, so I made several last-minute runs for tights, ribbon, or glitzy hair clips. I hated it.

The new studio is less than 10 minutes from home, and classes start later in the day. E-mail updates arrive no later than a week in advance, and there is a lovely online payment system.

I didn’t use these perks to my advantage. I allowed my frustration with the last school stunt my relationship with the new one. I checked out and literally became a drive-by dance mom. I drove past the front door for weekly drop offs and pick ups. I sent Hubby in my place whenever possible.

I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it either. There must be a middle ground between the all-in dance mom and the drive-by model that I employ. Perhaps these things will help me the next time around.

Read. Read. Read. I’m so thankful the studio provides regular electronic updates, but they are useless if I don’t read (and heed) them. In some cases, I need to read them twice and set reminders for important deadlines (costume payment dates, dress rehearsals, etc.)

Check costumes and shoes right away. I picked up costumes nearly a month ago, then I put them in the closet. I found out during dress rehearsal that one of the them needed adjustments. We had to jerryrig it with safety pins.

Volunteer. I don’t have work at the studio every weekend, but it’s important for me to get involved. Mini Me loves dance; she’s warmed up to the school (finally) and has made a few friends. I don’t want to miss it.

Divide and conquer. This school does four performances. Mini Me danced in two of them. Hubs and I each went to one show so that Lil Ma could stay at home. Bringing a toddler to a two-hour dance performance is a really bad idea. Plus, it kept us from getting burned out.

Buy flowers. Shouldn’t every prima donna get flowers on opening night?

We have a few weeks off before the summer session begins. That’s plenty of time for us (me) to gear up for a good year. I think I should buy one of the studio’s dance mom t-shirts or a bumper sticker.

Ok. I probably won’t do that. But, I will do a better job of being engaged.

Happy Fathers Day: Five Reasons I Love This Guy

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The Organized Me has been trying to keep an editorial calendar. The Creative Me has been ignoring it as inspiration pushes other directions. Both Organized and Creative forgot that Fathers Day is this Sunday.

It would be a huge miss on my part not to salute my other half. (I won’t say better half, because he’d never let me live it down.) We’ve been together for 12 years, and for nine of those, we’ve been parents. I won’t lie and say it’s been easy, but I will say I can’t imagine taking this journey with anyone else. Here’s why:

1. He puts God first. Need I say more?

2. Family is a close second. Hubby will do whatever it takes to provide for us. It’s the main reason he took a job that sends him out of town so much.

3. He wants to be my partner. For real. We make decisions, both big and small, together. He supports my efforts to reach personal and career goals, even when it means he has to take on more responsibility at home. All I have to do is ask him. (This is the hard part for me, but I’m working on it.)

4. He actively participates in tea parties, conversations about Hello Kitty, and car-ride renditions of Let it Go. We have two girls. These things are a must.

5. He tells us he loves us. Every day. Multiple times a day. It’s awesome!

This year, Fathers Day includes helping a friend move and sitting through two sets of the same dance recital, so it’s doubtful we’ll get to celebrate. I owe you one, Honey!

 

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Dance Mom Blues

I was miserable.

The windowless changing room at the local community theatre was crowded and hot, and my hair’s twist out was quickly becoming a thing of the past. The air was thick with humidity and excitement. Fifty girls scurried about, changing into multicolored sequins leotards and tutus. Stray green feathers and purple fringe littered the linoleum. Tap shoes clacked to various beats at a painful decibel. A group of ballerinas sang “Little Sally Walker” repeatedly for 10 minutes straight.

Whenever recital season comes around, I feel like Danny Glover’s character from Lethal Weapon – too old for this. The other moms in the room looked shell shocked. Maybe it was the heat, or maybe they felt just like I did.

Being a dance parent is a J-O-B, and it takes a level of commitment and God-given patience that I do not possess. There are five good reasons the Dance Mom Life is not for me.

1. I already have a job. Making it to a 4:30 p.m. dress rehearsal is no easy feat when I work until 5:30. Mini Me expressed an interest in competition dance, and there was no way we could swing it. Travel, extra classes, and additional performances don’t fit into our current schedule.

2. I have a toddler. Lil Ma is too young for dance class and too impatient to sit through a three-hour rehearsal, two-hour recital, or even a 15-minute parents’ meeting. I have to arrange for her to be elsewhere, and that adds more complexity and stress to dance events.

3. Hubby travels. A lot. We divide and conquer when we can, but Hubby’s job sends him out of town frequently.

4. Chaos makes me nervous. No matter how organized the dance school, there is bound to be chaos when you combine girls, glitter, sequins, and songs from the Frozen soundtrack. I can’t deal.

5. Recitals are long. Too long. This year’s recital has 52 dance numbers. I wish I were kidding. Mini Me’s in three performances, and the last one is about halfway through. When the recital is over, I’ll be running for the nearest bottle of Merlot.

But it’s not about me.

 

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I accept the title of Dance Mom because of Mini Me. She loves dance. And as much as I grumble about how much dance parenting stinks, I wouldn’t change it. (Well, that’s not totally true. I would shorten the recitals by about 35 dance numbers.)

 

 

Changing my world, five minutes at a time

Happy Thursday! Today, I’m revisiting a post from a few years back. I was overwhelmed, buried under a demanding job, family needs, and undone chores. This was my pledge to take control. It helped. A lot. I think I’ll be revisiting this idea during the summer. Shifting camp schedules, vacations, and a promotion (heck yeah!) could be a recipe for overload.

DivaScript

Life is becoming more complicated by the minute. More often than not, life gets in the way of living life, if that makes sense at all. I have a full-time job, a part-time job, a family, and a long-ago abandoned list of hobbies. Sometimes I feel as if I’m running in circles. There are mornings that I’m lucky to leave the house with my hair combed.

I’ve got a list of things that I want to do, but I can’t get to them for one reason or another. Cleaning my oven, reorganizing my closet, finishing my daughter’s baby book. So I’ve decided to tackle these things, one project at a time, five minutes at a time.

Five minutes? I know, it might sound crazy, but sometimes five minutes is all I’ve got. Plus, I’m a little like a crocodile (or is it an alligator?). I have short bursts of focused…

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