Shelli of Hairscapades Dishes on Finding True Love

Not only is she blessed with gorgeous long, luscious, locs, supple skin and a beautiful smile, Shelli of Hairscapades now has another precious adornment… her fabulous fiancé Weusi Baraka. Shanti and I met Shelli this past summer at Curly Nikki’s NYC event and we were so happy to see her man there in full effect and in support of his boo while beaming with admiration. So, since relationships often come up on our blog we decided to pick Shelli’s brain about what makes her relationship work…. pens and pencils ready ?

 Hey lady! Introduce yourself for those who are lost in the sauce and don’t know the know.
LOL! Hi, my name is Shelli and I’m the natural hair blogger behind Hairscapades.com!

How did you and your fiance meet?
Well, we originally met 11 years ago … 2001, I believe. He was Talent Management on HBO’s Def Poetry and my best friend was one of the poet’s recording. He was this short guy with a fro almost as big as him. LOL!! We were peripherally connected through that friend for 8 years, because he and she worked together every two years on a Midnight Poetry show at the National Black Theatre Festival in NC. My friend would say that he always asked, “How’s your friend with the pretty smile?” But, that was about it. Well, in 2009, I attended the theatre festival for the first time and sparks flew. I remember saying, “But he’s so little!” And my friends kept saying, “YOU’RE LITTLE!!” LOL!!

When did you realize Weusi was the person you wanted to spend the rest of your life with?
You know, I don’t know if there was a specific moment. I haven’t been in love many times in my life. In fact, I’ve only really been in love two other times. And, both of those times, it was like love on first date. You see how that worked out!! LOL!! With Wei, it was gradual and almost kind of snuck up on me. It actually happened when he was staying in Paris for two months … I just missed him so much and was so happy when he finally returned. From there, I guess it just evolved and I realized, this is my heart.

 My mother told me that every woman should have a list of non-negotiables when it comes to men and relationships. For example, he has to like and want children, he has to be independent and self sufficient and so on and so forth. Do you agree and if so, what were/are your non-negotiables? Or do you think having a list limits us and could potentially result in us missing out on someone great?
It’s so funny. I never consciously had a list until 2009!! The spring before Wei and I started dating, I ended up having lunch with a colleague who I didn’t know that well. But, she was a total doll and we ended up having this heart to heart. I think I was bemoaning being 37 or 38 or whatever and still being alone. Well, she told me that she had just been watching Oprah (I think) and Oprah said to write a list of the things that you want in a partner and put it in your lingerie drawer. She said to look at it periodically and visualize your life partner. You know, that whole power of visualization and speaking things into being thing. So, I did it! I think I did it that very evening. And, it’s still in my drawer. I just pulled it out, but I’m torn about sharing it because Wei never wanted to see what was on my list!! LOL!! So, I’m not going to tell you the whole thing but I will say that #1 was, “Believes in God & Jesus and wants to live life to God’s standards, even if [he doesn't] always meet them. (Wants to grow)” Next on the list are “Loyal; Honest; Smart (not brilliant per se, just enough so it challenges me to be better or matches me) – college degree not necessary, but would be nice; Makes me laugh; POSITIVE.” That’s exactly the words written on my piece of paper. There are a few more, but I’ll leave it at that. Let’s just say, Wei doesn’t have everything on the list, but he has the non-negotiables and the things that are missing, he’s working towards.

As to the question of whether every woman should have a list … ummmm …. I think that it can be problematic for some. My list was very basic, general and realistic, I think. It was helpful to me because some of the things on the list were put there because I learned what I DIDN’T want by going through bad relationships. But, I think some lists are so specific and so demanding that they can be limiting and prevent a woman from giving someone a chance who might be perfect for them and just what they need. You know the kind I’m talking about, “Millionaire, owns a luxury car, two houses, chocolate brown skin, six pack, nice toes, has all of his teeth.” Shoo’, a snaggletooth can be sexy, you ain’t know?!?! LMBO!!! I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist!! Okay, but seriously, you know what I’m saying. I think a list can be a good thing or a bad thing. It all depends on how it’s used and if the person writing it has some flexibility on some things and choses non-negotiables that speak to the character of a person and not materialistic or superficial things.

Relationships can be hard and a lot of work. What do you think keeps your relationship so strong and how do you know when you’ve put in all the work you can and that it’s time to move forward?
I think what makes our relationship work is that we both want to be happy and try to surround ourselves with positive people and experiences. He’s super laid back and I’m pretty laid back … for a woman!! LOL!! I think the fact that we met in our late 30s (I’m 40 now and he’s 42), we both know who we are and what we want. So, there was never any game playing or facades. It’s cliche, but communication is sooooo important. It’s definitely not always easy. I struggle with it. I HATE to fight … with a passion. So, I’m wont to hold in my feelings when I’m upset because I don’t want to get into an argument. And, I’m a talker. But, when I’m mad about something? I don’t say anything. So, Wei has to push me to tell him when I’m upset with him sometimes. But, he not only does that. He wants to find out why. On the other side of things, I have to push him to talk about things that are bothering him externally. He tends to keep things that he is working through to himself, but I can always tell when he’s doing that because his demeanor changes. And, when we have these conversations where we’ve had to push each other a little, we are both able to talk. We don’t speak over each other. We don’t scream at each other. We don’t curse. It may be solemn, but we just talk. And, sometimes there is no answer. No resolution. But, at least those feelings and thoughts aren’t boiling inside until the pot boils over!! At the end of the day, we love and are thankful to have each other. And, whenever I get disheartened or down, he tells me, “God’s got us!” LOL!

How did you know that the love you were in wasn’t just love but healthy, true love?
I was in a really bad, roller coaster, Superman highs, subterranean lows, on again/off again relationship a few years before I met Wei. As I said above, I’m pretty laid back. I don’t fight, I don’t fuss (at least, I didn’t ;) ) … shoot, I’ve been nicknamed, “Sunshine” by three different guys. I don’t enjoy being angry or miserable, so I get over things quickly. My mom used to say anger rolls off of me like water off of a duck’s back. I just like being happy and living as stress-free as possible. All that being said, I was in a relationship with a man who I thought was great and sweet and sensitive and funny. Turned out, he was constantly upset by something I did or said. He also thought that the world was out to get him and had so much anger and negativity about EVERYTHING. He had me walking on eggshells for fear of hurting his feelings because of his insecurities. It took me two years to finally see how dysfunctional he was and, hence, our relationship. After that, I realized that I needed someone that could see the positive in life and lived with that always in mind. Wei is definitely that person. He is my calm and my peace. When I’m in his arms, I’m home.

Do you believe that there is one person for everyone or many people one can make it work with?
I don’t believe that there is only one person for every person. I think this is a huge world and that there are tons of amazing people out there. The trick is MEETING them!! LOL!!

What impact has the inception and success of Hairscapades had on your relationship and how do you balance the two?
Wei has been my supporter from the door! He is 100% behind me with the blog and is always pitching ideas on how to make it bigger and lucrative :) !! He attends events with me, guest blogs for the site (his feature is, S.O. He Says where he discusses hair, our relationship, does interviews, etc.), tells everyone he knows about it and often is the reason I get products to sample and review!!! The one challenge is balancing spending quality time together in the midst of working, blogging and life!! We often sit on the couch, side-by-side, not saying a word as I work on my computer and he on his. He often tells me that he’s writing his guest blogs so that I don’t have to write as much and we can go to dinner and a movie : ). It doesn’t really work though!! LOL!! I’m still trying to figure out how to balance working a demanding management job, blogging, maintaining a clean house (laundry is in various states of disarray as I type), eating healthy and exercising. Balance is definitely a work in progress. And Lord help us if/when we have a kid *fingers crossed*.

When it comes to natural hair, is your fiance very knowledgeable and in the know or is he supportive in letting you do your thing without having any real interest.

LOL!!! Okay, he isn’t VERY knowledgeable, but he knows a thing or two:). He definitely knows about henna and how time-consuming it is. He likes the conditioner in the blue bottle. He loves the Ouidad Double Detangler, and the little shampoo brush, though he doesn’t know what either is called. He’ll point out hair that he thinks that I’ll admire. Also, he had very, very long locs back in the day, so he knows a little about natural hair care too. However, he doesn’t take much interest in his own hair and has to be reminded to put something in it since he keeps a low ‘fro. LOL!! Anywho, as I said above, he not only supports me, he is all up in the Kool-aid!! And, I love it:)!!

10. Lastly, what advice do you have for young woman looking for a love in this day and age?
Oh wow. That’s a hard one and I don’t know that I’m one to be dolling out advice about relationships and looking for love. But, the things that I would say to any and every young man and woman are, be genuine about who you are as a person and know your self-worth. Don’t pretend to be someone you are not to “get” someone, because they’ll eventually find out who you really are. And honestly, don’t you want them to love you for who that person is? The self-worth is so important because if you don’t value yourself, no one else will and it makes it easy to find yourself in an abusive (whether physically or emotionally) and/or dysfunctional relationship. (Shoot, I have a good amount of self-worth and still ended up in a relationship with someone who had me scared to talk, because I might talk over him and hurt his feelings!!) So yeah, be YOU and know that you is a pretty awesome person!!

 For more info on Shelli visit her blog here. And to read more about her engagement click the links below. They are sure to make your heart skip a little. (In case you didn’t know, I’m a sucker for love and a hopeless romantic)

http://hairscapades.com/2012/02/15/an-anti-valentines-day-love-story/

http://hairscapades.com/2012/02/17/off-topic-on-engagement/

Married, engaged, kinda boo-loving or single…Let us know, what are your secrets to maintaining a healthy hearty relationship? 

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14 thoughts on “Shelli of Hairscapades Dishes on Finding True Love

  1. “It’s cliche, but communication is sooooo important. It’s definitely not always easy. I struggle with it. I HATE to fight … with a passion. So, I’m wont to hold in my feelings when I’m upset because I don’t want to get into an argument. And, I’m a talker. But, when I’m mad about something? I don’t say anything.”

    This had me nodding my head in agreement with EVERY syllable!

    I think that communication is key. My S.O. and I had a discussion yesterday where I brought something to him that was bothering me and we talked it out. It’s a new relationship and we are both talkative, but I abhor conflict. I will talk it out in my head how I would bring it to the other party a million times and never say anything. At the end of the talk, he said that he felt like we are going to be able to last because it doesn’t matter what the topic is, we can talk it out without getting upset, plus he loved me even more after our talk and more than that, he liked me! SIDE BAR: Which I think is also a big part of maintaining a relationship as well as being yourself so they like YOU!! – Not some made up person…lol) Being able to communicate how we feel without fear and with love is of the utmost of importance. I felt empowered to know that I can share things with him that may cause conflict without there being a shouting match or grudge match to follow… Communication is the key to any relationship… IMHO ;)

  2. This is really beautiful. I’ve been married for 10 years and been with my baby for 15. We were married young. Both 22 at the time. At the time we were married our peers could not understand why we would get married and we were so young…when you know you have a good thing why wait?? We are still inlove,blessed, have two wonderful children, and HAPPY. It does happen. The key to our success has been to look to God first, and each other second and not worry about everyone else. It’s and old saying but true, COMMUNICATE. And always laugh and smile together.

  3. I am so happy for Shelli! And Thank you ladies for such a nice interview!
    I can relate totally to Shelli and how you can lose yourslef in a relationship when you want it to work. It is so important to be confident in yourself and if he tries to brin you down, give him the boot! Shelli congrats on your engagement and I wish you both all the love and happiness in the world.

    • Thank you so much Prieta! Yeah, that relationship was crazy! At the end, I was like, “What the heck was I thinking?!?!” I knew there were red flags from the start, but I just sooo thought he was the one. You summed it up perfectly!! Thank you again for your wonderful wishes!!

      Shelli

  4. Shelli, reading you story is such an inspiration to me. God has me in transition, and I have a list. I didn’t want to make one but was pressed to do so. I too have recently crossed paths with a old friend, not really thinking of it as more than friends, we are developing something quite nice. I’m scared to look back on the list. I thank you for your words it confirmed somethings I was praying about… you are more than awesome. From the moment I saw you on CurlyNikki, you have made a lasting impression. Also funny how Wei is my cousins close friend. Who would know!! Jasmine

    • Awwwwww Jazz!!! Thank you so much and wishing you all the best on your new relationship!!! You are an absolute doll and I hope that you get the perfect person for YOU!! And, the Wei and your cousin thing??! That was sooooo crazy!! And, soooo awesome!!

      Shelli

  5. That is such a beautiful story of love!! I just recently got married this past July, and my husband and I believe that communication can make or break a relationship. We both are in college ( I am 19 he is 20), and it is very hard trying to balance school, work, practice,and child. Communication helps a raltionship mature, creates less arguments, and a overall Happy, Healthy Realtionship.

  6. I just got married this past March, but my husband and I have been together for five years on the 19th of this month and we were friends for three years before that. I think we are best friends above everything else. And we value that relationship. We talk about EVERYTHING. Communication is key.

    We also appreciate that if we had started dating when we first met, we probably wouldn’t have lasted as long because we were so much younger (especially me), but we’ve grown up in to our own people, which has also caused us to grow together.

    And he’s been so supportive of my natural hair journey from start to finish. :-)

  7. Pingback: Around the Way Curls Gets Me to Dish on Love « hairscapades

  8. Aww this is too sweet! I’m very happy to have come across such an amazing write up of an amazing couple! For me, one of the most important aspects of maintaining and enjoying a healthy relationship is to put God before EVERYTHING ELSE in your life. I’m not super religious or anything, but I believe there is a Being greater than I and He knows my needs better than I do. I prayed that He would help me recognize those needs, acknowledge my desires in a partner, and allow me to understand and appreciate my blessings.

    What I did and currently do is:

    -Acknowledging my (REALISTIC) desires in a partner. Before entering my relationship I sat down and wrote a few things that I found to be desirable in a relationship. I’m not talking about a book, an essay, or a formal memo-This wasn’t a “Dear Santa, I want (insert Mr Perfect)….” list-I’m talking about a torn piece of paper from one my college notebooks with a list of qualities I wanted to bring forth and I wanted him to bring forth as well. I had to work on myself (still a work in progress). But above all, I had to understand what it was I was seeking in a partner, and also accept that I wanted those traits in a partner-that it was okay to desire certain (REALISTIC) qualities in a man.

    -Allow him to play his role-I can be a bit controlling. And-up until meeting him-I was use to having ALL control over EVERY aspect of EVERYTHING in my life. I had to learn that because I’m not the only person in this relationship, I have to be open to doing things HIS way (which works very well, take’s the pressure off of me! YAY!) I’m not the only person in this relationship-not the only person putting work into this relationship-not the only person this relationship affects and benefits. I had to learn to STEP BACK-and let my man be the man he WANTS to be-and let him bring the qualities he WANTS to bring to the relationship.

    -Access my feelings-without going into too much detail-I have a family (and HAD a colorful array of female associates )FULL of controlling, man-eating women. The “I don’t need a man to take care of me…” “I’m independent I can do it ALL by myself…” “I don’t need a man telling me what to do…” type of females who are (as you can probably guess) LONELY AS A MUG! Sad to say, when I first entered this relationship (4 Years ago AND COUNTING!!!) they would stick their nose up at that fact that “I needed a man to complete me” (Which wasn’t the case) I WANTED a man, I desired a partner, I wanted my own personal version of a Disney Princess Happily Ever After Prince Charming-WHAT’S WRONG WITH WANTING, OBTAINING, AND MAINTAINING A HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP WITH NONE OTHER THAN YOUR VERY OWN CUSTOM-FIT-TO-YOUR-NEEDS PRINCE CHARMING? (He’s not perfect y’all, but he is my Prince Charming!) Absolutely nothing! I allowed myself access to my feelings, and recognized them, acknowledged them, and stopped allowing others to tell me how I should feel, what I needed, and how to go about getting what I needed. Just because you want to be the I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T chick Webbie rapped about doesn’t mean I have to want the same thing. I want a man to go out of his way (realistically) to make me feel special (in the same way I go out of my way to do the same for him). It’s what I want, and it is a realistic, reasonable, request, and these three things are a few of what has made, and is keeping my relationship healthy and fulfilling.

    =)

  9. I just love me some Shelli! I would say that patience and communication are 2 key ingredients for any successful relationship. Patience is something I am constantly working on and it is definitely not easy! Someone else commented on this briefly, but I also believe in gender roles. I want to feel protected when I am with my man. I have learned alot about myself within the last year, and what I think will help me in my next relationship is maintaining the “no commitment, no cutty” (lol) and also making sure to adhere to my “non-negotiables” (a list of things I will not put up with). =) Keep up the good work ladies. And, again, congrats Shelli!




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