Overcoming A-stigma-tism: (An Affirmation) For Blackgirls Who Have Considered Suicide When Closed Eyes Are Enuf

An Affirmation Via the Genius Of  
(This was not written by Antoinette or Shanti)
 Sometimes you can’t see yourself clearly until you see yourself through the eyes of others.”
I see you.
You are beautiful and you don’t even know it.
I mean it.
You are!
If no one has told you yet today, consider me the first.
Sometimes just hearing the words can make all the difference in the world.  I know what it feels like when no one tells you that you are beautiful.  I know how powerful those words can become when someone uses them against you… wielding them like a sweet weapon used to keep you in line, threatening to destroy you with the silence that you feel so deep when the words stop being spoken.  “…with your fine self,” …”with your pretty self,” “with your ___________…”
The world stops telling blackgirls they are beautiful after while,
if it ever tells us at all
Mama doesn’t say it
either because she thinks you already know it
or because she is preoccupied with getting by
Daddy might not say it
because he is too busy calling out somebody else’s pretty
After elementary school, when you need to hear it the most
friends won’t say it
out of fear that your pretty might be prettier than theirs
 In high school the words are hidden beneath innuendos that imply your pretty is conditional
But it’s not
By the time you are in your twenties you are so used to being presumed ugly that it is internalized
Looking back at myself, I had no idea I was a pretty blackgirl
I was too busy trying to be invisible
apologizing to myself &
overcompensating for what I thought was wrong (with me)
Don’t make that mistake, don’t accept the hype, don’t believe the bullish
Don’t let the absence of words cloud your vision or keep you from seeing (yourself) straight.
Don’t wait for a man, or a friend, or a father, or a stranger, or a woman you like to tell you
Tell yourself
And mean it
Pay attention to who you are, what you have overcome, what you have survived.
You are a remarkable, beautiful, precious genius!  Everything about you is wonderful.
You are just the way you are supposed to be
You are not a distortion or a mistake
You are loved.
And worthy of love.
And forgiveness.
Sometimes the stigma of so much pain and disappointment and worry and sickness and stereotypes and struggles and self-hate and sacrifice and lack and discrimination and blackness and femaleness and being different pass down
legacies of loss or shame
that weigh you down
but I have a remedy
for astigmatism (not seeing yourself clearly)
for the stigma (of past choices or limitations)
of feeling misunderstood
for the –ism that feels attached to everything you do
and everything you are
It’s a perception problem
You need a new lens
so you can see yourself
Stop in front of a mirror today
Open your eyes all the way
Don’t stop looking until you see it
Your capacity and possibility
Your mahogany-skinned beauty
Your charcoal eyes
Your frizzy/wavy/kinky/curly/straight hair
Your wide nose
Your luscious lips
The pot in your belly, the junk in your trunk
The marks that stretch from here to there
And the moles and marks that are uniquely your own
 You are beautiful
And being beautiful-black doesn’t mean you have to be strong
But be awake
Be present
Be open
And be forgiving
Open your eyes
See yourself
& love yourself
in all your magnificence and fury
And when you do, and tears rush into an open smile
Show another blackgirl
How badass beautiful she is
Tell her ‘til she rolls her eyes at the ridiculousness of it all
When she doesn’t hear you, because she’s not used to the words,
Tell her again
Tell her ‘til she throws up her hands, shakes her head, and smiles in sweet surrender
to the fact that being all of who she is
is (and always has been) enuf

Real Rap: Cowardly Men

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Why do some men do this? WHYYYYY? I can’t for the life of me understand it? This has happened to me and probably all of you reading before. I have been in situations where these cowardly lions have claimed to have gotten ‘scared’, where they were just straight up playing me and telling me what I wanted to hear and where they initiated and began a full-fledged relationship only to eventually back out. In the end, I questioned their motive. I often felt like I was fed false hope in order for them to receive the love that they wanted from me, not that they had any real feelings invested in the relationship that we had or were building.
 I have even been witness to men going as far as to profess their love to a woman, lay down with that woman with the intention of impregnating her and building a family with her only to in the end, be unfaithful, unclear and shaky about what they actually want from her, the relationship and for themselves. They then offer the most infuriating and haphazard explanation for their actions such as, “I f*cked up but I’m trying. I don’t want to loose you. I love you. One day I know I will be ready and I can only hope you are around for that”. What??? I’m not lying y’all I have loved ones that this has happened to… some kind of slap in the face huh? 
With this type of deceit and inconsistency running rampant within our community and our relationships how does one protect themselves from the lurking and alluring cowards out there? And why are they awakening our love without any intentions behind it?  To trap us? To increase their masculinity? What is it?
Take heed my friends. Take heed. Ladies, send this to your potential boo or already established boo and see what his response is. If it’s not to the effect of “Absolutely”, “Mmmmhmmm”, “I agree” or “He’s right” loose him. Read the signs and boogie bounce baby girl. You’ll save yourself a lot of heartache in the end. I’m sending mine out now.
In the voice of so many beloved Around the Way Curls in every hood every where ask yourselves: 
Sound Off Below

Porosity Check. Low Porosity Hair Treatments

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The summer sun wreaks havoc on my hair color giving me red, orange and even sometimes purplish hues in my hair. So, I recently got my hair colored again at Aveda. The color was nothing drastic… just a nice chocolate brown for the winter. Anyway, I am always nervous about chemical damage when getting my hair dyed (even though Aveda uses mostly plant based products) so I decided to do a health check by doing the porosity test.
First, do you know what porosity is? If not, click the linkhere. In my opinion knowing your hair’s porosity level is by far more important and helpful than the hair typing chart and if you don’t know what the porosity test is it goes a little something like this:
  • 1. Fill a glass container with room temperature water.
  • 2. Pluck a strand of clean hair from your scalp. Be sure that the hair you are using is coming directly from the scalp and is not a strand that broke off from your hair shaft.
  • 3. Place the strand of hair in the water.
If your hair floats you have low porosity hair. Meaning, your cuticles are compact and somewhat closed. This makes it difficult for moisture to penetrate your hair shaft but once it does penetrate it is easily maintained
If your hair sinks to the bottom you have highly porous hair. Meaning, your cuticles are so far raised that they are wide open. Moisture easily penetrates your hair but also easily escapes it. So, you need to figure out your own best practices for sealing in moisture. (That post is to come).
If your hair chills somewhere in the middle congratulations you have normal porosity, none of this matters to you and life is easy! But keep in mind your hair’s porosity can and will change overtime so it’s a good idea to check back in every now and then.
around the way curls, porosity, natural hair, curly hair
Believe it or not I actually took this picture the following day and that ish was STILL floating.
The results of the test were that my curls floated on top of that water like oil. Ugh! So, my hair has very low porosity. Meaning, it’s resistant and water does not penetrate my hair easily because my cuticles are not raised but instead are compacted. What that essentially means is that my hair repels products/moisture instead of absorbing them which can lead to dryness, product buildup and wack ass curls. BUT, the results also led me to believe that dying my hair did not cause any damage because my cuticle structure is still strong and intact. (At least that’s what I’m going to tell myself).  So, there are pros and cons to this discovery.
Ways to Treat Low Porosity Hair
  • Steam is a gentle way to lift compact cuticles and send moisture inside your hair shaft. If you don’t have a hair steamer then turn the shower on and sit in the bathroom while it fogs up. Add a deep conditioner to your hair while you steam for added moisture.
  • Add some heat! I have sad this time and time again. My diffuser mixed with my leave-in conditioner are the best things that have ever happened to me. The heat much like the steamer, lifts my cuticles and allows moisture to penetrate my hair to penetrate. The diffuser also helps to protect my hair as it distributes heat and airflow more evenly than a regular hair dryer.
  • The use of baking soda is something that some people are still on the fence about while others profess their love for it. I’ll keep it simple baking soda is alkaline and because of that lifts the hair’s cuticle. Many low porosity naturals add it to their conditioner during co-washes and such. Be sure to rinse it out thoroughly and then use something acidic to reseal your cuticles like aloe vera juice or and ACV Rinse.
  • Don’t go HAM with protein treatments. You’re hair is already compact with protein so adding more will further seal your cuticles. Use protein only when you are noticing damage and need to rebuild some of the hair’s foundation.
So, it was time to get the good ol’ Huetiful Hair Steamer out, lift up these cuticles and pump some moisture into these dessert like curls.
huetiful hair steamer, low porosity, natural hair, curly hair, antoinette henry, around the way curls
Listening to that new Miguel Album & playing Adorn for the 1000th time
After the steamer.
huetiful hair steamer, low porosity, natural hair, curly hair, antoinette henry, around the way curls
huetiful hair steamer, low porosity, natural hair, curly hair, antoinette henry, around the way curls
My curl pattern is still on some irregular stuff but I’m sure with a couple of treatments I’ll be back to normal. I swear I’m going to one day try that baking soda trick but I can’t front. I’m hella nervous about adding ACV to my hair. Just the sound of it scares me.
What is your hair’s porosity and how are you treating it?

Fairy Tale or Fraud? Meagan Good’s, DeVon Franklin Talks Sex & Celibacy

He was on some serious No Commitment No Cutty.  Ladies, could you refrain from sex for over ten years while trying to find your true love and life partner? Do you think it’s necessary? Could you marry someone without ever having sex with them? Does sex tend to over shadow everything else? Where is the romance? Where is the pursuit? What happened to the idea of getting to know someone? And is it possible to really get to know someone if you’re quick to jump in the sheets with them? Are you really taking them for face value or is the “D” trumping everything and clouding our judgement? Are we really on some “Ima put it down, you gon’ fall in love” ish? 
PS. In my opinion, Meagan Good is one lucky woman.

Behind the Scenes of the Carol’s Daughter Transitioning Movement Documentary.

shanti, around the way curls, carol's daughter, transitioning movement
Shanti getting that face beat by Lakeisha Taylor. Photo stolen from  Cipriana of Urban Bush Babes
“Designed as a series for Transitioning Movement, this series would be the first show of its kind, a show that, when put together, defines, entertains and exposes viewers to natural hair terminology and hairstyles in a comprehensive way, while getting a sneak peek into the lives of women who share their own candid, incredibly diverse hair stories. Our target audience is the transitioning woman or woman who’s thinking of transitioning and is wondering “What exactly am I going to do with my hair?” and “How can I achieve my own, unique look?” –Carol’s Daughter
This past Saturday we had the pleasure of shooting the up and coming Transitioning Movement Documentary brought to you by Carol’s Daughter. Now that I think about it, it’s really dope that we were able to participate in this little piece of documented history. I grew up always being told that it didn’t happen unless you document it and it’s really a great thing that the folks over at Carol’s Daughter acknowledge that what we are witnessing today is indeed historic and worth being archived for the future. This uprise of natural hair acceptance and exposure is an indication of self love within communities that in the past, have only been fed self hate. And remember, “The worst thing about that kind of prejudice… is that while you feel hurt and angry and all the rest of it, it feeds you self-doubt. You start thinking, perhaps I am not good enough.”(Nina Simone) And as a result, we are collectively becoming more empowered, self aware and whole. 
So, big ups to Carol’s Daughter and the Transitioning Movement Team. You are appreciated (2Pac voice). And it was such a pleasure to get a chance to really sit down and kick it with some of our fellow bloggers and vloggers. We were honored to be in your company. And lastly, Hey Fran Hey, Cipriana and Chescaleigh together are some funny mutha suckas and honorary Around the Way Curls. #comedy
(Excuse the Photo Quality in advance. I was working with my iPhone)
heye fran hey, chescaleigh, Cipriana, Shanti, natural hair, bloggers, carol's daughter
The ladies chillin before the round table.
The beautiful Tara Aura
The beautiful Tara Aura
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Cipriana getting that face beat.
antoinette, around the way curls, transitioning movement, carol's daughter, natural hair
Me getting that hair tossed by hairstylist Dailey Greene.
carol's daughter,transitioning movement, around the way curls, natural hair, antoinette, shanti
Chillin with no make up on/that’s when we’re the prettiest/ I hope that you don’t take us wrong. Photo stolen from  Cipriana of Urban Bush Babes
shanti and antoinette, around the way curls, natural hair, transitioning movement Carol's Daughter
Boo lovin after hair and make up. I’ll spare you the mean mug pictures.
The livest, most fun and helpful crew eva! Photo stolen from  Cipriana of Urban Bush Babes
hey fran hey, chescaleigh, transitioning movement, carol's daughter
Fran and Fran. Photo stolen from  Cipriana of Urban Bush Babes
around the way curls, shanti and antoinette, natural hair, carol's daughter, transitioning movement
Shanti being sucked in to the wonders of the iPhone. Photo stolen from  Cipriana of Urban Bush Babes
hey fran hey, chescaleigh, urban bush babes,around the way curls, carol's daughter, transitioning movement
Out in Bed Stuy, chillin on the steps, drinking quarter waters, it’s gotta be the best.
hey fran hey, chescaleigh, urban bush babes,around the way curls, carol's daughter, transitioning movement
Mean Mug.
hey fran hey, chescaleigh, urban bush babes,around the way curls, carol's daughter, transitioning movement
Gansta’s Paradise
hey fran hey, chescaleigh, urban bush babes,around the way curls, carol's daughter, transitioning movement
Naturally Hood
We’ll keep you posted on the documentary’s release date : )

Quote of the Day

“You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead, pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well people can’t take their eyes off you.”
-Maya Angelou

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