Photo courtesy of www.carolsdaughter.com
My Evolution of Self
The launch of TransitioningMovement.com
is such an "A-Ha" moment for me. I started Carol's Daughter in 1993, under the premise—Beauty by Nature. A simple belief that beauty is inherent and God given and every single person on the planet is beautiful. My products were made out of desire to enhance that natural beauty and also to help you to love yourself even more by taking care of your hair, your skin and
At the same time I started this brand, there was a movement taking place, the first "going natural" movement that had nothing to do with transitioning and everything to do with making the change right now. Women cut off their hair, braided it, locked it up and overnight, drastically altered their appearances. This was a much smaller movement, as many women could not commit to such a drastic shift in their look. There were jobs, partners, spouses, careers and family to consider, and turning up at work on a Wednesday morning with an almost cleanly shaven head was not an option for most.
For me, this "radical" shift was almost 20 years too slow. I had been there, done that back in the late seventies, early eighties. I always wanted to be different. Always. The more different the better. I was fortunate enough to travel in the circles of some of the true pioneers of natural hair—Anu Prestonia and Khamit Kinks, Tulani Kinard and her Regal Movement and a dear friend of min, a master braider and loctician Erica Alake Jones. For almost two decades I wore my hair in every braid style you can imagine. Teeny, tiny cornrows, with teeny tiny beads on the end, micro braids, twists, goddess braids, and I even went through a period when I had locs. I spent many hours, sometimes more than 30, getting my hair done in these intricate and involved styles. I was stared at on subway trains and buses. Women whispered behind my back and over my shoulder, speculating as to how much money and/or time I had spent on my hair. I found it to be quite comical.
My delve into my African roots via my hair lead into a discovery of a local African dance class in my neighborhood, and suddenly I was surrounded by all kinds and manners of different, and I loved it. Oils that smelled incredible, Shea butter for my skin that someone brought to class from a recent trip to Senegal and sold precious little cakes
of it to other classmates, beautiful fabrics in many different styles and patterns, a new way of dressing, and I was well on my way to being talked about every time I left my house. Neighbors wondered what was wrong with me and why I was so different. I was joyous. I had found a way of expressing myself through dance, my hair, my scent, my clothes. Everything about me was new and different and exciting—and I embraced it. I wasn't even 20 yet, and I had changed my whole life. I became a vegetarian, studied yoga, along with my dance and began to meditate. I stayed on this spiritual journey of self discovery for about six years, and then I needed a new kind of different.
I was in my 20s, and I hadn't done anything yet. I walked around New York's West Village, and I loved the look of punk. I loved lace and dark black eyeliner and funky, crazy hair, and I was tired of being peaceful and calm and reflecting. I needed to be bad and be a rebel. For me, that translated into relaxing my hair. I hadn't done that in
more than 10 years. My cousin used to go to a place called Mari Luz in Bushwick, Brooklyn, on Gates Avenue. Mari Luz was the owner, and she was from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and she and her chicas
could do some hair. I was different again—and I loved it. I began to hang out and go to clubs and dance until the wee hours of the morning and enjoy myself in a different way from my days of introspection and tofu.
All of this experimentation was so good for me because through it all I learned how much the world around us judges us based on how we look. We are a certain type of person because of how we wear our hair, what we eat, to whom we pray, and whom we love. In my lifetime I have been many people, and still always me. The most important message about TransitioningMovement.com is not just about an alternative for your hair. It is about the freedom to discover all of the people inside of you so that you know who you are and who you want to be and who you
want to love and how you want to live.
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