I’m Queen of the Week – in Blogland!

But I’m still a regular gal in real life.  Check out Dee’s feature on me at her  Natural Free and Fierce Blog.  Among other things, she asked me what my 4 favorite products are.  I had a good chuckle. Four products? Where do they come up with these numbers?

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I’ll be back soon, I promise

Focusing on the job search has distracted me.  I need a day job to fund my passions,  natural hair being one of them.

Other people touching your hair

No one in my recent adult memory had asked if they could touch my hair until this past Saturday when Ron asked.  Ron is a new acquaintance and we were both at a Sacred Circle Dance training planning retreat in Byfield, MA.  Ron, an ebullient southerner from Texas who had recently moved from Virginia to Lowell, MA has been dancing for 8 years.  At a meal he said “I’ve (it came out as Ahhve) been dying to ask….would it be okay to touch your hair?”

Touching the President's Hair

I was delighted! Since I’ve been natural, no one has asked to touch my hair, yet I touch it all the time because I’m in love with its tactile qualities.  So of course I said yes.  And later when he touched my hair, I encouraged him to  press into it, to scrunch it so he could see for himself how unique and different and beautiful the look and feel of it is.

Touching or stroking the hair can evoke all sorts of emotions.  This is one touchy subject for many naturally curlies.  Essence.com just posted an article on it, No, You Can’t Touch My Hair.

At the same Sacred Circle Dance group, one of the women who I will call Kim (not her real name), arrived a day late so that she could attend her brother’s funeral.  When she told us her brother had committed suicide, I was speechless with compassion for her.  Ellen, our leader and my teacher, asked us to put our hands on her, a group touch if you will.  My hand found its way to her slightly wavy short gray hair and proceeded to gently stroke it.  I discovered it was coarse and wiry like my sister’s but also a little silky.  Kim began to weep when she felt the loving hands on her – touching, stoking, gently patting or squeezing her hair, arms, shoulders, hands, elbows, back.

I already knew the power of a loving hair stroke.  Years ago I belonged to a group of women, all childhood sexual trauma survivors who met monthly at each other’s homes to free write.  One of those days I was at Mereth’s home and I just could not write.  There was a disruptive energy blocking me. I couldn’t even stay in the room and went upstairs to lie down in a bedroom.  A little while later Mereth came up to check on me.  I was taking a tense, wide-eyed nap.  She sat down on the side of the bed and slowly and lightly stroked her palm down the side of my hair.  My tears came in a torrent and the disruptive energy was gladly released.

Hair is dead, yet there is immense emotion when someone touches or strokes it.  It is an intimate thing. Hair holds your energy aura.  Ron’s desire to touch my hair came out of  his delight with it, his curiosity, and his desire to connect with me.  Mereth’s stroking of my hair came out of empathy, caring and a need to comfort.  My stroking of Kim’s hair was done with loving intent.  I knew the power of it when done with love, and that is how I communicated my love and compassion for her deep pain.

When was it right for someone to touch your hair, and when was it just wrong?  What did both of those feel like and what was the toucher’s intent?  Talk to me, if you will.

Don’t Quit Your Day Job

I didn’t. Instead, I got laid off today. I’m sharing it here because a few weeks or months from now I want to return and see in print exactly how I felt this day…surprisingly, pretty darn good!

Yes, there was shock. Being in a room with five others experiencing the same thing. My mind distanced itself from my body a bit and went into auto-pilot.  It became difficult to write my information or hear what the outplacement guy was saying. My body just wanted to stay still and recover.

After that — I felt free. My body recovered, my mind linked back and I started to feel almost–exhuberant.  My mind was planning, checklisting…thinking, even as I packed my stuff and talked with the operations manager and my supervisor. No awkwardness whatsoever.  It also seemed that each person involved was doing their part in a caring, thoughtful way.  The only jarring note was the HR Director, who is always on-site during layoffs, was linked in by phone due to some plane issues (Icelandic volcano-caused, I think).

In the coming week, I’ll be updating my LinkedIn profile and requesting the recommendations my managers offered (while the memory and the guilt of laying me off are still fresh). I may do a Youtube elevator pitch or introduction.  I’ll contact the outplacement firm and begin to update my resume. I already called my former life coach and asked her to work with me again for 3 months. And I have a spot reserved in an upcoming small 6-week peer support group of career changes/job seekers called Success Teams.

I will also be grieving the loss of the physical act of going to work and working with the wacky, strange and wonderful guys on my team.  After almost 11 years of working for this company, I know I need to find or create a new structure, fast. It helps that I have a fast approaching deadline and an article to write.  Check out my latest on www.Curlstylist.com — I interviewed  three rockstars of the curly world on curl highlighting techniques — Christo, creator of the Curlisto haircare line, Denis Da Silva of Devachan, and Antonio Gonzales, master stylist at Orlando Pita Salon and a blogger and columnist for www.Curlstylist.com.

I got laid off, but I feel like life is good. I feel taken care of.  It feels like God cleared the decks, gave me a soft landing and created a safe, open space for me to do…what? Follow him, and create whatever he tells me to.

An anthropological introduction to YouTube

Here is a wonderful introduction to what a Kansas State University working group led by Dr. Michael Wesch calls digital ethnography, the world of mediated cultures and networked individualism.

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