Decoding: "Don't Touch My Hair"

 Credit: Solange Knowles

Credit: Solange Knowles

 

Disclaimer: There are certain friends that touch my hair without permission and I have no problem with, but that’s because I feel comfortable and have a relationship with that person. Additionally, 9 times out of 10 they understand that it’s not okay to rake through my hair with their hands to cause frizz or mess it up, but instead scrunch to feel (or play with it). 


 Source: http://tallncurly.com

Source: http://tallncurly.com

I recently had a conversation with two of my co-workers about the way we feel when certain people touch our hair. All three of us being women of color, agreed that we have experienced random people trying to or asking to touch our hair, at least more than once. When Solange’s “Don’t Touch My Hair” came out,  we were immediately able to relate. We discussed why and when it was a problem,  who and why we only let certain people touch our hair and why it felt weird when a person that didn’t have the same hair as us asked to touch it. Lastly, how it felt even more uncomfortable for us to have someone inch their finger over to our crowns like E.T. did the moon, as if we were some sort of strange statue or museum exhibit. I don’t mean to be dramatic here, but to be honest, hair is something that I directly relate to culture, experiences and different eras of criticism. Also, please understand that even if you are of color, touching another woman’s hair without her permission (or close relationship) still doesn’t always make it okay. 

 Source: http://tallncurly.com

Source: http://tallncurly.com

Despite personal space and the lack of relationship being a major factor in the reasons some women feel uncomfortable with others touching their hair, other topics also come into play. Questions like: “What are people thinking when they ask to touch my hair? Why do they look at it so strangely?”are often thought of. Although the touching of textured hair is normally unintentionally offensive (unbeknownst to the toucher), it can sometimes make a woman feel a certain way. This explains the reason why many of us are only comfortable with certain people touching it. People that know us, or that we’re extremely close to (for example: a lover, sister, best friend, etc.). 

Time and Effort: Since my big chop in Summer 2014, I have become extremely interested with the way curly textured hair works. After a year of heat damage, I spent about a year learning how to get my hair back to its natural curly state. I continuously worked towards keeping it healthy. Take for example a gardener, and their process: He/she plants their seed and watches it grow. He/she invests his/her time into it, he/she nurtures it, and makes sure that it is all taken care of. Now imagine the hours spent taking care of it and researching how he/she could improve and preserve the life of that garden. A gardener is to plants as most women are to their hair. Our crowns are an investment. 

In my attempt to explain why touching a woman’s hair (especially a woman of colors hair) is so personal, I have decided to decode “Don’t Touch My Hair” with direct relation to my own experiences and perspective. 


 Credit: "Don't Touch My Hair" 2016 (Solange Knowles) 

Credit: "Don't Touch My Hair" 2016 (Solange Knowles) 

 

“Don’t Touch My Hair, 

When it’s the feelings I wear

Don’t touch my soul, 

When it’s the rhythm I know” 

The way that a woman wears her hair is symbolic of her feelings. More often than none a woman can associate her confidence and mood with the way her hair feels and/or looks. Hair is literally the feelings that we wear. "The rhythm I know" is the way I choose to wear it, the way I choose to express myself. 

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“Don’t touch my crown

They say the vision I’ve found

Don’t touch what’s there”

A woman's hair or lack of (to all my beautiful shaved hair women) is her crown. Most take great pride in it. It’s a part of her personal space, it is a part of what defines her. Hair is a journey that allows you to explore yourself, your style and your personality. How do you feel most comfortable? What suits you? Why do you like your hair like this. It’s the vision you’ve created of yourself, it’s a story about you. 

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“They DON’T understand

What it means to me

Where we’ve chose to go”

People that touch women’s hair or negatively judge the way a woman wears her hair don’t understand the vision described above. They don’t get why the woman chooses to wear her hair that way, they don’t understand what it means to the woman that wears it the way SHE chooses to wear it. It’s personal. 

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“You know this hair is my shit

Rode the ride, I gave it time

But this here is mine” 

You know, this hair is mine. It belongs to me and only me, it is a part of me. What I choose to do with it is my decision. The way I choose to wear it is my decision. Rode the ride, I gave it time — I put thought into the times I was judged and given suggestions on how to wear it — but this here is mine (not yours). I, do with it as I please. 

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“Don’t touch my pride

They say the glory’s all mine

Don’t test my mouth

They say the truth is my sound”

In conclusion, please don’t touch my hair. The glory that is my hair, is all mine. When you touch it, you’re testing me. When I say something about my problem with you touching it, expect me to express my pride, glory and crown being touched. It will be truthful and blunt. 

 

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Remember, to explain to others why it's not okay when they touch your hair. "They don't (always) understand" what it means to you. 

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Thank you Solange, I feel you girl. 

Ring the Alarm: The Road to 5:30am Comfort

People always tell me that waking up and working out is something that is totally impossible for them. Believe me, I understand – this was me (sometimes still is). I’m not too sure what started this journey of waking up and getting fit but I feel like it might be because I was constantly looking at Instagram photos and Snapchats of friends that took it upon themselves to transform after college. Guys that were pretty normal size during college suddenly turned into the incredible hulk. Girls that were just your average size made healthy gainz and now look incredibly healthy / glow’d up! I thought, “‘Wayyymennnt’ this could me!” So I did it – I decided to take the challenge.

 Follow me on Snapchat : @spikeleena

Follow me on Snapchat : @spikeleena

 

The place that I go to is somewhat of a mix between a cross fit and high interval cross circuit training class. It’s tough and it makes you sweat like no other, especially during the summer, but this is what I stuck to. Prior to this I was spinning. It has taken me quite some time to find workouts that I actually like doing. If you find yourself in this predicament: find a workout you really like, then be sure to dissect the workout and pick what you like about it to help you understand similar workouts you might like. Try to incorporate some weight training with the cardio you love and remember to take a break day. Not too long of a break though, because you’ll lose rhythm.

So I began my journey. Here I was a morning monster that hated getting out of bed in the AM, challenging myself to a week of waking up at 5:30am (to eat) for 6:30am workouts.

 

Here’s what helped me wake up:

 

Recognizable faces: I found that I felt more encouraged to workout in a class. The instructor got to know me and started to ask where I was on an off day, this made me feel more guilty about missing class and kept me wanting to come back. Be sure to meet your instructor. Tell them about yourself and what you are there to learn and do. If you’re working out alone, find something to hold yourself accountable. Always find that extra push!

Feeling Good: I felt better throughout the day at work. Commuting to the city is extremely stressful sometimes, and having that time to myself in the morning really helped me find my Zen and rhythm. By the time I finish class, I have enough time to get home and shower in time for work. Not rushing out of my house because I just rolled over FEELS GOOD.

 

Bye-Bye Acne: I was suffering from terrible acne up until a few months ago. As I started to workout, I noticed that a ton of my acne went away. Disclaimer: I also began to moderate my sugar and dairy intake (I don’t drink milk). Nonetheless, I truly believe that the biggest factor in stopping my acne was working out. I would get a good sweat in and really release all the stress from the previous day. The happiness I feel from working out transitions into the new day. It’s a healthy cycle. Ridding my acne is where I really felt a difference in my self esteem, energy and stress.

 

Energy: I felt good overall. People always told me this would bring energy and I’d look at them like they were crazy for waking up to workout before work. Believe me, I know. I promise I was you. But I felt better, rejuvenated, accomplished, had a WAY better attitude and my back completely stopped hurting at work! Headaches went away.

 

Discipline and Consistency: Do this for a week and I promise that you’ll feel guilty for missing a day. You’ll think about working out all day if you miss just one session at the gym.  The continuous motion of waking up early and feeling good throughout the day will keep you coming back for more!

 Source: Spongebob Squarepants, Nickelodeon /  WWW.HCS.HARVARD.EDU

Source: Spongebob Squarepants, Nickelodeon / WWW.HCS.HARVARD.EDU

 

Last but not least, losing weight: This was obviously one of the biggest goals I had for waking up early. However, I never realized all the factors that caused this to happen. The following things allow you to lose weight, and here’s why waking up early helps.

 

-        You wake up for breakfast. If you’re accustomed to waking up late and skipping breakfast, this will get you into a habit. You need to have energy in your system to burn for a workout, so even a piece of toast will help.

-        Sleep: Man is that essential. The first day I went to bed at like 2am, what a MISTAKE. I was so groggy the next day. Waking up early will force you to go to bed early because you’ll be so tired. And let me tell you, you’ll have THE BEST sleep.

-        Water: I suck at drinking the recommended intake everyday, but after your workout your body will cry for water and that’s all you’ll want to drink.

-        Health is wealth: You’ll definitely cut back on all the sugar and crap you were eating before. You’ll think twice about the workout you had that morning and this will allow you not to eat the crap throughout the day. This is in comparison to when I worked out at night and would say to myself throughout the day, “Well, I’ll workout later.” Now you can say, “I worked hard this morning, I can’t eat that.”

-        So far I’ve lost 7 lbs. in two months. The first two days will be tough, but after that it should feel better and better.

Jeez, I always write so much on my posts, sorry! I hope this is helpful to you. Start your 7-day wake up and workout challenge tomorrow! Please let me know how it goes. I’d love to hear from you!

 Xoxo, Mil.