high school

Les Miserables

I want you to close your eyes and imagine something. I want you to picture an awkward, overweight, black teenager, around 15/16 years old in 1997-98. Her hair is wild, broken off in some places, sticking out in others. Her clothes fit, but are the complete opposite of ‘Cool.” Her parents buy for her what they can, but plus sizes for teens are not what it is today.  Imagine her at school. She’s smart, but her grades are mediocre at best. She has friends, but she fits in nowhere. A lot of the Black girls in her classes are mean and vindictive. It will be another 5-6 years before she realizes that a lot of their mean and hateful words were from pure jealousy. In the meantime she is barely surviving school.
Her father is in an out of her life. Her mother is always either at school or at work, hardly any time for her. She is on her own.
This girl was me. I was so lost for so long. I had a deep-seated loneliness, and a craving to be accepted anywhere by anyone. Don’t get me wrong. I had morals, and convictions, and held steadfastly to them (read: I was terrified to have sex). But I was different. I saw things around me differently than other people. I still do.
From age 14 to age 18 I participated in a program called Upward Bound. The highlight was every summer; you got to spend 6 weeks on a college campus. The campus I was on was Indiana Wesleyan University. You spent time in classes that mimicked what you would be going into the next year. The core classes, Math, English, and Science were the main ones, but you also got to choose ‘electives’. One year I remember taking Spanish (it was the only foreign language they offered, I took French during the regular school year). We have some free time, which I spent on computers, in chat rooms, watching movies, hanging with friends.
Two years I was in the choir as my elective. I can’t remember what we did the first year, other than the song “Dancing in the Street.” The second summer I was in choir changed my life. It changed who I was as a person.
I’d listen to musicals before. Not much however. The only two musicals I knew before this were “Oklahoma” and “The Wiz.” Our instructor introduced us to this musical called “Les Miserables.”
“He stole bread and went to prison. He kept trying to escape so they added time to his sentence. Eventually he was in prison for 19 years. All for a loaf of stolen bread.” I giggled as she told us the story. Then, we listened to the songs we would be singing. For the first (and not the last) time in my life, a chill shot through my body. Every hair on my body stood on end. This man’s plight was my plight. I was in a prison for 4 years. 4 years of high school, of misery, of being different and ostracized for it.
Then Eponine’s “On My Own.” As I am now 30 years old, I realize that every girl sees herself as Eponine at one point in her life or another. But as those lyrics blasted from the CD player, it was as if she put my soul upon the altar for everyone to see. I was Eponine. She was me.
I ended up playing Eponine for our brief musical performance. I belted each of those words as if they were my last. I showed no fear, no anxiety, because this was me. This was who I am, and this musical allowed me to show that.
The summer ended, and I was back at school, but that musical still had a hold of me. I eventually purchased (from my meager savings) what I thought was the entire musical (It ended up being the abridged version) and listened to it CONSTANTLY. I knew every word, every inflection of every song.
It sounds silly, but knowing there were people out there, who felt like me, who felt the same way I did made my life a little easier. I may not have a place in Kokomo, but it was a big world out there, and there were people out there just like me. I shed my skin of insecurity, hopelessness, awkwardness, and became stronger. I stopped caring what people thought about me. I knew who I was, and nothing anyone said, or did was going to change that.
I may not have achieved greatness, but I have carved out an amazing life for myself. I have stayed true to who I am. It was a musical that helped me find out who I am. It also led me to music I would have never heard on my own (*snort* on my own).
I went and saw Les Miserables in the movie theater this past weekend. I am not sure what I expected. What I did not expect was to be transported back to that 16-year-old girl, discovering a completely different world for the first time.  I sobbed as everyone died (They were not kidding when someone said the name of it should be changed to “Everyone Dies: The Musical”). I felt the love of Cosette and Marius. I felt it all, and felt changed again.
I know this isn’t a hair or product entry. But I had all of this in my heart. I needed to share, to make you understand who I am, where I come from, and how I got here. Thank you for taking the time to read it.

What hurts the most



From the time I was in the 5th grade, up until the end of high school, I was a social pariah. I was awkward, weird, and just plain odd. In two short years I went from a smiling bright happy girl, to a miserable angry person. I stayed that miserable angry person for many many years. My choices in clothes, in music, and in pretty much everything reflected what was popular. Well, as much as it could. We were poor.

Around the end of high school, like my last semester, it was as if someone cleared a film from my vision. I realized that I would no longer see these people every day. I cared nothing about them, and they cared nothing about me. That was the God’s honest truth, with the exception of a few people. I was done. I was free. I could be whoever and whatever I wanted to be.

Turns out being me isn’t anything fancy. I am a girly girl. I am smart, crafty, and nerdy. I am stylish. I have a wicked temper and a kind heart. If I am livid at you, I just won’t talk to you anymore. You have been deemed no longer worth my time.

All in all I think I turned out pretty good. I am confident and self aware. Sometimes though, it takes one comment to take me back down to where I was when I was younger. Usually it is from a ‘loved one trying to help.’

So I am sitting here, sad, pissed off, and hurt, by someone who is supposed to love me most. I’m sure I will be over it in a day or so, but for now, I am just going to sulk and be emo.

Me Time!

Ever since the birthday that wasn't I have been taking time out to do things for me. I usually make excuses though. I am at the end of the semester, and with five classes on my plate (one at a different school), I have to keep up. I hadn't done much to my hair in a while though, and so.. it was time. A couple of nights ago I pre-pooed my hair with coconut oil and walked around with that god awful processing cap on my head. You guys have no idea how much I hate that thing.

I worse it until it was time for bed. I then went to shower and co-washed my hair and detangled with the wide toothed shower comb. I got out the shower and combed through it again using a double toothed comb and moisturized my hair using Belle Butters matcha green tea butter. I threw my hair into 5 thick twists, put my bonnet on and hit the hay. The next morning, I did some homework, and watched "The Secret Life of the American Teenager. A little off subject, but do you watch this? Maybe I am getting old, but none of the guys are handsome. Ricky has a pompadour, and Ben is gawky. Jack is okay but he is a manwhore, and the one that Grace is seeing is wonky eyed. I am however in love with Adrian's eyebrows. They are shapely and well defined, and I am jealous.

Mine are shapely, but don't stand out with my skin tone and I am just jealous. 
While Secret Life was on, I retwisted my hair into smaller twists. It is not the prettiest look, and when it is like this I just stuff it under a satin scarf and put a hat on, but my hair is taken care of, protected, and loved.
How do you treat yourself?

A flashback to high school. I am a stronger person now.

I was an incredibly awkward teenager. I was (am) short, I was (am) fat, and I was (am) bookish. I played the clarinet, I read all the time, and you couldn't keep me from a computer. People tended to make fun of me as a result. A lot of the black girls in school made it their personal mission to make my life hell. I was miserable my freshman, sophmore, and junior year. By my senior year I had realized something. I was going places, and they would be stuck doing the same thing that they were always doing. This is pretty much true. Quite a few of them have not done a thing with their life. They are doing the same things they were doing while we were in high school, while I have moved on, stronger, wiser, and more confident in me. Sometimes though, niggling insecurities make their way back.

My husband and I had date night last night. We went and saw the Adjustment Bureau, and then went to eat at Scotty's Brewhouse. We were seated behind a group of black women with long straight hair down their backs. If you are on my Facebook page, you would know that I had two strand twisted my hair. I untwisted it, put in a headband and clipped in a flower. I felt cute.

I heard the ladies giggling and snickering behind me, but I didn't pay much attention. As we got up to leave I turned around to say something to the waitress, and they were looking at me. The three whose back was facing me while we were eating had craned their necks to see me. They were just gawking at me.. and possibly my hair, Not entirely sure. I flashed back to that moment back in high school where they were cruel and mocking me. I came back to the present, and I smiled and they turned back around immediately. I just walked out. 
Indianapolis is not a huge mecca of culture. It's very conservative and it makes me sad. To be different, gets you looks. 
The difference between the past and now? I don't care. You can snicker, and laugh and giggle, and talk about me behind my back. It shows how childish and immature you are. To show you can't accept differences in people, shows how cruel, small minded, and harsh you can be. You have taken someone's beauty standard, accepted it as law, and mock anything that is different.  You are nothing to me. You were never anything to me. So why should I care? I don't care. I've grown up... and I love me.