I’m Burnt

Not sure if you guys noticed, but the site’s posting schedule was a bit off this week. On Monday, we shared some tips on how to make the decision whether to transition or to big chop, which is the kind of advice post that’s reserved for Wednesdays. So why the switcheroo? Well, there are actually two main reasons… time to get personal.

Two Mondays ago, I wanted to post a video of my updated hair regimen, which includes both new products and techniques from my last regimen video over a year ago. I know, shame! I made the video and had it edited and all, but what had happened was… the quality was piss poor. Now back in the day I would’ve just uploaded it (who remembers when I used to record videos on my MacBook camera?) but you guys deserve better. I can’t preach a my lifestyle, let alone show you how I deklassify my hair (see what I did there? tehehe), if you can barely see what’s going on. I’ve bought a larger memory card to hold me over while I save up for a fancy camera, so expect the regimen video the next time I wash my hair.

Right, about my hair. I don’t know if I’ve run out of excitement or ideas, but I also haven’t been posting YouTube videos because I’ve got nothing new to say. Since my birthday hairdo I’ve just been wearing braid outs or bantu knot outs, which the occasional updo here and there. I intentionally wore my hair down and out for a few weeks to give my poor tension abused hair a rest, and was/am applying castor oil on my nape to help strengthen and regrow my breakage back there. But I, and every other YouTuber with natural hair, have already made at least one twist out video, so I’m not convinced repetition is necessary. I have been trying out new products, and posted a few reviews, but style wise, ain’t nothing new going on over here.

The last exciting thing I did with my hair (not counting the birthday do) was my self-installed Havana twists. Before that, it was my hair color, which happened in the middle of July. For someone who frequently changes up her look and has a Tumblr displaying hundreds of natural hair dos, this is a damn shame! I considered loose twists inspired by MsTanish1, but for whatever reason I didn’t feel like doing them anymore. I haven’t done a flat twist updo in a while, and while think one would look awesome with my new length, I really don’t want to strain my poor edges (unless I do large flat twists… hmm). So yeah, writing an update post on my hair is kinda tough when there is no update. I sense a protective style coming in December so I need something, or a few things, to hold me over until then.

My Life

Y’all. The grad school struggle is REAL. I mean, people warned me that it wasn’t a game, but they neglected to mention how weeks could go by without you being happy about the state of anything school related. It’s a never ending game of trying to read the absurd number of pages assigned for each class, pretending you read said pages during your two hour class discussion with your four other classmates (that’s about 24 minutes of talking per person!), attending lunchtime seminars and presentations that awkwardly ruin your workflow, and applying for fellowships that your work tangentially qualifies for just so you don’t have to work twenty hours a week for the remaining six years that your program will take. Yeah, for all the people who try to encourage me by saying I’m almost done, here’s an announcement: this doctoral business takes 6-8 years!

On top of that, there are the internal and external struggles of being a woman of color in an elite institution and competitive field. On my own part, there are constant feelings of inadequacy and unpreparedness that stem from being one of the youngest people in my program, not having a master’s degree like most of my peers, and often being the one POC (person of color) in my classrooms. This is exacerbated by the fact that I work on research pertaining to race, racism, and health for African Americans, so I’m hypersensitive about how I’m viewed as a representative of my race (whether I signed up to represent us all or not). Externally, there are people and structures who try to keep me down, and I won’t spend a lot of time on this because it could be a whole different post, but I’ve found it hard to find mentors who I can talk to about school and my research goals, as well as my personal life struggles. It’s like I’m expected to ignore the fact that I am a young, unmarried girl with other dreams in life besides reading books on 13th century Mediterranean maps. The above whinings are just the tip of the iceberg.

Bottom line: I’s tired. I’ve been in school for twenty years straight. The end is not near. My cuddle buddy is over 5,000 miles away. And I’m presumed incompetent. I am beyond burned out. I’m burnt (and it’s not due to drugs).

There’s Hope

Don’t get me wrong. There are many great things going on in my life, both seen and unseen. One of which is this site, which reached 25,000 views sometime this past weekend (which was also it’s 3 month birthday), in large part due to my recent features on BGLH & Curly Nikki! I’m also having a lot of fun helping you all work through your various hair issues (although its not cool to hear fellow naturalistas struggling). Honestly, you guys keep me sane, and the growing blog community warms my heart.

My family is also THE BOMB dot com and is unreasonably supportive of everything I do. A lot of people are surprised when they learn that my Nigerian parents aren’t making me get a PhD. I’m doing this nonsense to myself. In fact my mom is so supportive of the blog that she frequently mentions how she passed along my business card and said I was the best thing for hair since the jheri curl (I kid) to some poor, unsuspecting individual just trying to buy milk, get a pedicure, or praise the Lord. She even asked for more business cards! I know you’re reading so hey Ma (but no, this doesn’t mean you get free prizes)!

Moreover, I’ve been reminded that God tends to bring out greatness during the worst and most trying moments of my life. I took the SATs that helped get me into Harvard the day after I tore my ACL. My best friend and I became close after my ex pushed her in a club. I started my YouTube channel and continued uploading videos amidst gossiping and trash-talking, and it’s grown into a brand. There’s a blessing in the storm, and I’ve just got to stay strong.

[blockquote author=”Galatians 6:9, NLT”]So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.[/blockquote]

So… what should I do with my hair, and how else can I fix my life?

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  1. If it counts for something, you inspire me to walk tall among people. Living in singapore makes it even a bigger deal that u r black and everyone turns to you for the stupidest of things but people like you remind me how important it is to be yourself, stand up for yourself and enjoy life nevertheless. Behind you 200% because u’ve made a great difference in my life 🙂

  2. One of the best reads all day. May God continue to impart his strength and endurance when you are tired. One Love, you just inspired me to keep on pushing.

  3. Just a few words of encouragement from Tupac: gotta keep your head up!!!
    You sound like a nice, grounded, subtle and intelligent woman (at least from what you’ve been showing).
    i remember your main goals when starting your channel on YT were:
    a) to inspire other women to take pride in their hair. I guess we can give it a check 🙂
    b) graduate…which you successfully did
    First you set up goals then you reach for them before actually reaching them. Im confident that you’ll do the same with these new goals because sometimes, you just have to push through before getting what you want, keeping in mind that other might not help you.
    Law school was the same but eventually you just meet some of those heaven sent and they just help you remember what it was you’ve been reaching for and rebuild your confidence in what you are doing to get to that.
    Loved ones also take a part even though you might not wanna worry them…but its their place to be of support.
    Hang in there and focus on priorities. No one would blame!

    1. I COMPLETELY forgot about the fact that I ever mentioned goals on YouTube, you’re a great subscriber! Thank you so much for reminding me, and for encouraging me. It’s great to hear other women in similar places but also staying strong and moving forward, so you inspire me!

  4. The coolest thing about this article is seeing this cute girl happy, excited and showing off/drawing peoples attention to her NATURAL hair. Mind you, this pictures follows the quote at the end of the article. Wonderful piece of writing. This is truly what life is about.
    Thank you baby for this article because it has blessed me and I know a lot of your readers will draw inspiration from this. It is always good to know that we are not the only one struggling with life issues. Hearing these from other sisters give us strength. Stay strong and remember- The Joy of the Lord is your Strength: Nehemiah 8:10.
    Love you always- Mom

  5. Aww I liked this post and I felt inspired towards the ends. I would just say, give your best to your studies. Then commit it all into God’s hands. Pray for him to place the right people/mentors in your life throughout this program. Godly people that can understand your situation and provide help and encouragement. Prayer goes a long way and God is faithful. Also, take time out for yourself so you don’t burn yourself out {but I know that’s easier said than done}. I will def keep you in my prayers. I love your blog and I am happy about all the attention it’s recieving. One evening I took some time to look at A LOT of your You Tube videos/tutorials if not all…lol I said to myself “Where as this girl been all my natural hair life?”…lol I didn’t find out about you until the BGLH feature and I felt late! But I am so glad I did either way <3 Keep on shining and pushing through because God is definitely on your side. God bless you 🙂