Wednesday, August 09, 2006


Like all of the major changes in my life, this one happened with almost no effort on my part. Sure there was months of talking, thinking, imagining, retreating, dismissing and reading. That's always my Phase One. Phase Two typically involves creating a timeline, determining the financial implications of my endeavor and executing my thoroughly thought through plan. Phase Three - completion.

I don't think I've ever gotten to Phase Two. Typically I go straight from Phase One to Phase Three and friends marvel at how I got to be so lucky as to skip the hard part.

Without me realizing it, this journey began on April 1st. I had survived winter coat + wool scarf. I had recovered from too tight at the edges. I was coping with stress + digging (no, not scratching...digging...with whatever was pen, metal letter opener...whatever). The morning of April 1st, however, I found out that I was NOT coping well with winter coat + wool scarf Part Deux.

I pulled out all of my trusty coping tools. I avoided looking at myself in the mirror. I reminded myself that it would grow back and it would be healthier. I promised myself that next winter I would take more preventative measures. I tried not to cry.

And then I saw C. Coolstein.

Oh my gosh, you cut your hair!!

And the dam broke. Don't worry, I didn't start crying openly in the bar. But I was weeping, wailing and moaning on the inside.

A conversation followed, during which my girl asked me why I didn't just go natural...locs even. I couldn't handle it. I snapped - conversation over. Is she f-ing kidding me? Hello, say it with me, people: "Corporate America".

But the seed had been planted. And it wasn't a bad idea. Upon further review (and execution of Phase One) I determined that it was actually a pretty good idea.

In theory.

Like I said, the universe has a way of taking care of my business for me when I'm too stuck on scared to do it myself. When I sat in the chair Saturday July 29th eagerly awaiting the harsh, smelly chemical that would instantly transform me from African Cheetah to Business Barbie, I had no idea that my scalp had other plans for me. That magically transforming process was over before it had a chance to start. I'm certain that she lit a match to my scalp, the burning was that instantaneous and intense.

Scalp is burning, scalp is burning,
look out, look out,
pour on water, pour on water

And just like that, Phase Three began. The African Cheetah was born again. My journey began with no steps (unless you count the swift and deliberate steps I took to the shampoo bowl, demanding that that relaxer be rinsed out immediately).

For twelve days I have tried to hide the TWA that has taken up residence under my hairstyle; I have cursed the stupid, dumb, itchy, nap....kinky African Cheetah hair; I have apologized to my tresses and begged their forgiveness and long term cooperation; I have obsessed over the possibilities; I have handed this journey over to my inner goddess.


Blogger iaintlying said...

Did you ever stop to think that if you changed your attitude about your hair, it would change. I mean you just gotta love on it. Love it. It is part of the sum of who you are. View it as part of the glorious you, not some wild animal. Your hair is as unique as you are. Let it know that it can be itself. You'll be amazed it what it will do.

12:30 PM  
Blogger Piscean Princess said...

Yeah, my attitude changed as soon as I knew that relaxer wasn't gonna take. (I wonder if you're misunderstanding my African Cheetah references? Please advise...)

Trust me, I am beside myself with excitement about this. But I have never gone for more than a week with new growth that I can see and feel. It might take me a minute before I'm able to love all things kinky. Particularly since I am still trying to rock my usual hairstyles. Odds are, the relaxed part will get cut quite a bit Saturday, then the following week, I'm getting braids. I'm sure that the love affair will be jump started once the braids are in.

12:35 PM  
Blogger iaintlying said...

yeha, I WAS misunderstanding the "African Cheetah" reference. I believe now that what you are saying is that you are lovingly embracing your beautiful, exotic, natural self?
Let a sist know if she got it right this time! :-)

1:36 PM  
Blogger Damali said...

on Corporate America: it is malleable and everchanging. It is what we make it. There are many sisters and brothers w/locs or naturals being very successful in corporate (myself included) and because of that, the paradigm has shifted slightly. So whatever your decision-making process is on your hair, I personally think that wouldn't have to factor in. I would even go so far as to say that any large company that would actually un-consider you because of your hair, is actually doing so because of your skin. The hair would just be their "justification".

2:06 PM  
Blogger S* said...

I'm all about embracing kinkiness. I've mentioned before that I went natural before and what a wonderfully free experience that least until I got bored of it after 4-5 years. I always kept it short because I'm not into twists, braids or big 'fros. So I started "messing" with it again.

2:24 PM  
Blogger Piscean Princess said...

Ok, I knew I was gonna be running the risk of havin' to 'splain myself w/ this African Cheetah business.

Despite my constant claims of obesity, I'm actually a very smallish woman. I had to work really hard to be over 125 pounds - it's my gene pool, what can I say. So when I start feeling like I'm going to explode I start working out. And usually I can see results almost immediately.

So I was having a conversation with two friends about working out & losing weight & stuff. These friends are not Black and like most people, I doubt that they have ever been so slender that they were trying to gain weight. Anyhoo, I shared an exercise with one gal and exclaimed, "yeah and if you do it every day for like 2 weeks, you'll see a difference right away, I mean seriously, you'll go right from flabby to fabulous just that quick!". And gal #2 interrupted my get-skinny-quick claims with "um, get that 2 weeks nonsense out of here...not all of us are built like gorgeous African takes a lot longer to see results". So of course there was uproarus laughter when I realized that my friend had just called me an African Cheetah and before the day was over it had become one of many nicknames that she has for me and it was even set to music. Kind of like a jingle. Or my own personal theme song.'s not so much a reference to an animal (=bad), it's more of a reference to my beauty (=good). (Although, I must admit, she couldn't have picked a more flattering animal as far as I'm concerned. The cheetah was my favorite animal for many many years; the inspiration for many trips to the library; the subject of many book reports; etc. Fast & gorgeous kittys are cool!)

So that's the backstory.

Let's review:

burning & stripping hair = killing inner African Cheetah

allowing hair to be = embracing inner Africa Cheetah

2:42 PM  
Blogger iaintlying said...

I'm wit it! GRRRRRRR :-)

2:57 PM  
Blogger iaintlying said...

one more ting, could you email me some weight loss suggestions please. I'm trying to get a flat tummy and such so that I can have a pretty canvas for my tattoo!

3:02 PM  

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