We Are Not Our Hair–It Changes Too

As a little girl growing up in East Texas I loved my neighbor’s hair. Miss Adell had hair that went almost to her waist.  I called it water wavy hair.  It was hair that harsh chemicals and heat never touched.  To get a flip or something special she would put those famed pink rollers in it.

Even as she grayed her hair to me was her crown and glory.  After a bout with cancer with chemo treatments, her hair came out.  I never saw her during that time, but I did see her when it started to come back, and it came back straight. It was still beautiful and was getting long again, but it was straight.  It was then I realized something important.

Her personality had not changed, she was still Miss Adell, still just as beautiful as ever. She was not her hair, she was the neighbor that I loved–hair or no hair, straight or wavy.

I met the beautiful Paulette Leaphart on Facebook.  I saw this beautiful bald woman who had this megawatt smile that could light up any room.  At the time she was fighting breast cancer. After seeing more beautiful pictures of her with and without hair, wearing alternative hair, caps, hats and all that is in between I knew she was not her hair–she was Paulette.  She always knew she was her own beautiful woman–she was a fighter, in fact, she was a champion.

Years ago I met a lady who always wore alternative hair–she suffered from alopecia areata. She would change her look as quickly as she could.  Then one day she decided that she was not her hair, and off came the alternative hair. When the wigs came off it seemed that the smile grew brighter, and so much more.  She knew she was not her hair. Her hair has started to grow back, but she knows who she is with or without it.

As we mature and hormones go wacky our hair changes.  It can become thinner, drier, brittle and yes it also turns gray.

While watching the movie “Black Panther”.  I saw this beautiful woman with no hair. She was strong, she was confident, she was fit, she was fine, she was everything–she was not her hair.  One of the best moments is when she is so uncomfortable with her alternative hair.

As I write this I am in the process of trying to decide what I want to do with my hair. Just like a lot of women of a certain age, it is a work in progress.  For almost a year I have not put a relaxer on it.  Color has not been on it for about two years.  I have finally figured out “I am not my hair”.

As with everything else our hair changes.  Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.  We are not our hair.

 

Letting The Silver Shine In My Hair

I finally decided to do it.  It wasn’t easy to let it go, but somewhere deep down inside I knew it was time.

India Arie told me that I was not my hair, but did I believe her?  I can remember to the date that my hair color changed from dark brown to red.  It was about the week after I graduated from high school.  I know this because my mother and I had discussed it for what seemed liked years.  Back then my Aunt Bonnie and my mother both colored their hair, and since I wanted to be them, I wanted to color mine.  My mother said that after high school graduation I could do just that.  From that week on my hair was some variety of red.  Most of the time I colored it a medium red, but occasionally it got a little light.  I was never fond of the darker shades, but I loved my red hair.

After I informed my daughters that I was going to stop coloring my hair, my youngest daughter suggested that I go natural too.  I told her one step at a time, and letting the silver shine through was the first step.  When the gray started to come in, I can honestly say I really didn’t remember what I looked like with my natural hair color.  It made laugh when my hubby told me he married a redhead, and I reminded him that I married a man with an afro–a big afro, and he was now sporting a ball head.

I’m not going to say I will never color my hair again–I am a woman of a certain age, and I can change my mind.  For now I have decided to let the silver shine through.  Who knows natural and blonde may be my next adventure.  Besides I can be a redhead whenever I want–I have enough alternative hair (wigs) to be almost every shade of red they make.

silver-hair-3-2

 Remember “thisisyourbestyear”, you are not your hair.

 

 

Breast Cancer Awareness–Prayers For Paulette And Her 8 Children

Bishop T. D. Jakes says it’s your Destiny, you know that happening that was not planned. Rev. Jerome B. Price said it is God talking to you. Who knew that browsing Facebook would lead to something thought-provoking for me, and hopefully for you.

Paulette 19I came upon this site–Prayers For Paulette8Children.  Well you know me, I am assuming there is a mistype, and it should read Prayers for Paulette & Children.  Don’t ask me why I thought that, I just did.  Maybe because I saw this beautiful. bright-eyed young lady with the gorgeous smile smiling at us on most pictures, and besides who has 8 children?  As I read more, I found out this beautiful lady was Paulette McKenzie Leaphart, and yes she has 8 children, and yes they do need our prayers.   Paulette is a breast cancer survivor, she is a fighter, a warrior whose faith continues to keep her, but above all she is a mother of 8 children both biological and adopted.

The following is my interview with Paulette, and I hope I give her and her children the loving justice they deserve.

It took a while for Paulette and I to start the interview, we started by me inboxing her on Facebook, and  connecting by phone to set up the interview. Paulette lives in the Big Easy, and from her tone, she loves New Orleans. 

Paulette’s life before her diagnosis was great, she was beautiful and talented with 8 great children.  She was happily Paulette 15living her life–that is until in a dream God told her she had cancer. Yes, Paulette said God told her she had cancer.  There were no symptoms, but she knew it was the voice of God.  Getting her doctor to believe her was another story.  After finally agreeing to have her do her first mammogram, and it coming back negative, her doctor tried to assure her that she was cancer free.

Paulette knew what she knew, and she was not cancer free.  After seeing how persistent she was he agreed to have her do an ultra sound.  After the radiologist came in and looked at the ultra sound, Paulette knew he had found something, but he did not tell her. A few days later she got a letter telling her to go in to see her doctor because they had found something suspicious. Her doctor performed a biopsy since they had found a tumor–finding breast cancer.

Paulette 16Even after hearing she had breast cancer, Paulette remained calm because she already knew. When talking with her doctor, she was informed that she had a very aggressive cancer, it was stage 2, grade 3.  The doctor told her it was a fast-moving cancer, and because of her family history and the type of cancer, he suggested a double mastectomy.  This was the first time Paulette was at a lost for words, she thought she had been prepared for anything, but a double mastectomy had not ever crossed her mind. Even though she trusted the doctor, she immediately went for a second opinion, and they agreed with the first doctor–a double mastectomy was advised. The surgery was scheduled, and immediately after the surgery there would be breast reconstruction or so she thought.

The doctor who was to do the reconstruction surgery reviewed her files and came to the conclusion that reconstruction surgery would be too taxing on her body since she had other medical ills one of which is a blood clotting disorder.  Paulette thought that this can not be happening, but the doctors explained why they could not recommend the reconstruction, and she agreed and was okay with it.  She had made peace with the idea, but she still sought a second opinion who told her of another procedure that could be done for reconstruction–she decided not to do it.  She was at Paulette3peace with her decision, it was hard, she cried, got angry, but eventually decided no reconstruction was best for her.  In her own words  she told herself “Baby Girl, you still got your sexy”.

When it came to telling her children about her breast cancer, it was hardest telling her youngest daughter who is now 8.  Her baby had just gone through seeing someone die from this disease so her only reference to cancer was death.

Her oldest daughter started the Facebook page because she knew they all needed prayers.  Paulette’s first time reading the page was about 3 months after the surgery. After reading and responding to comments, Paulette decided to take over the page herself.

When she had to lose her hair it was hard for her–after all she is a woman. She did everything to keep her hair, researching, buying products, but in the in the hair came out. She was determined that cancer would not win this battle since it was gong to come out, she thought I’ll cut it off myself which she did, and the barber did the rest.  Even her youngest daughter decided to be just like her mom.Paulette 13

Even though it has been hard for Paulette and also hard for her children, they constantly draw strength from each other.  They had been without a home for a while. Since Paulette did not have health insurance, she had to decide on medication or a roof over their heads. Notice that I did not say they were homeless–they always had the love of family and friends and each other, but most of all they had their faith in God.

Her life has changed, but it is not for the worst.  She has been hit, but not knocked down. Paulette has decided to share every step of her journey with others in the hope they can draw strength from her testimony.

It seems that even In the mist of all her troubles, there were those who are determined to do more to make her unhappy.  Paulette did not lose weight, the treatments made her gain weight.  She even seemed to always be smiling so she can’t have cancer some people thought.  It was amazing to me that people could be so cruel, but again her faith in God keeps her strength up.

On good days she takes her youngest children to music and dance while continuing to make their new house a home.  They all attend church together.  I ask Paulette why she decided to adopt children when her children were just about adults, and she told me it was a promise she made to God when she was an abused child.  Her children keep her strong.  Even though they are children, they step up to fill in the gap when Paulette is unable to do so.

Her doctor says she is in remission, but can’t say for sure if she is cancer free.  Paulette says there is no need because God told her she is.

To see more about Paulette’s story, go to her Facebook Page at : https://www.facebook.com/Prayers-For-Paulette8children-468487063257460/timeline/?ref=br_tf.

Her story will inspire you.  I look forward to meeting Paulette and her 8 children in New Orleans when she celebrates her 50th birthday.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.

For two of the bravest women I know–Carol Cooper and Renae Ruffin.

And So It Goes

It’s been a wild and crazy ride with the ladies of So Fit.  We’ve exercised our way around North Texas. We’ve gotten up before dawn, gone on weekend retreats, done boot camps, yoga, Pilates, walked in every walk there was and more. It’s been just about 15 years for me, and longer for some of the ladies.  We’ve lost and gained members, but we always continued.

As a group of friends we’ve been together through births, deaths, marriages, graduations, many different hair styles and colors and everything in between.  Three of us even completed the Austin Marathon.

As women of a certain age, we all know that exercise and proper nutrition are so important as we mature.  I know that we all will remember that ‘thisisyour(our)bestyear” as we find other avenues to continue on our journey to fitness at any age.

To Gray Or Not To Gray

Gray hair can be beautiful.  It seems that if you gray early in life it comes in prettier. My gray came in later, and is so very dull.  The article below talks about going gray.  Take a look and enjoy.

http://www.salon.com/2014/06/02/my_feminist_revolution_at_40_why_i_let_my_gray_show_and_why_its_a_political_act/

Are you letting your gray show or not?  Why or why not?  I’m the first to admit that I’m not there yet.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.

Nicole Ari Parker’s Hair Saving Product

I went to see Nicole Ari Parker on Broadway in A Streetcar Name Desire. She was awesome, and I have always loved her body of work. She even has a very handsome hubby (Boris Kodjoe). I just thought I would put that in.

She is now coming to the rescue of millions of women who do not exercise because of what can happen to their hair. After you read the article, let us know if you try it and let us know if it works.

The article is:

http://blackdoctor.org/12890/nicole-ari-parker-save-your-do/?omcamp=es-bdo-nl

Remember I wrote about the hair predicament some time ago. If you have time take a look and laugh alone with me.

http://thisisyourbestyear.com/2012/08/03/stop-the-madness-exercise-and-our-hair/

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.

Summer Heat and Women of a Certain Age

Being a woman of a certain age and living in Texas in the summer hair and makeup can become let us say hard to maintain.  The good thing for me is that I have not worn liquid makeup in years. It can get so hot in Texas that even wearing alternative hair can make you feel like you are in your own personal summer. So you must find another option.

For a lot less than $10 I found a cute little straw hat that works good for me. I pull my hair back, put on a little moisturizer with sunscreen and add a pair of sunglasses, and I am ready to run errands in the Texas heat.

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What do you do to maintain hair and makeup in the summer? Share with us. 

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.

***Notice the car seat in the back for Honey’s baby?