Living Outside the Stacks

Navigating through life away from the library

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Life {My Word for the Year}

Life {Living Outside the Stacks}

I’ll be turning 40 in March, this has been a difficult thing for me to accept. Forty has always symbolized something I never wanted to be: old. please read that word with the appropriate amount of shuddering and nose crinkling I remember looking at the forty~something~year~old women of my youth and thinking they were looking at me with something that bordered on pity, mingled with contempt, and tinged with jealousy. And they looked frumpy. Looking back, I realize that was just my own youthful misperception of grown women. In reality, they weren’t paying me or my silliness any attention. As for looking dowdy, everyone in the 80s and 90s looked old compared to now; chalk it up to the heavy makeup, big hair, and thick shoulder pads. And, truth be told, that neon wasn’t helping anyone either.

In the last few weeks, as I’ve watched the news and listened to stories of  lives ended way too soon, I’ve realized something: forty is not old. Forty is a blessing; a blessing that not everyone is given. Psalm 103:15~18 {NIV} says:

(15) As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field;

(16) the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.

(17) But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children ~

(18) with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.

So I will accept this blessing of life and the wrinkles that come with it. The grays, I may have to fight until I come across the last bottle of dye. But I want my life to be one of gratitude for the continuous gift of His eternal love, mercy, and grace. I know that He did not spare my life from premature birth, car accidents, and cancer for no reason, Jeremiah 29:11 tells me that He has plans for my life. Therefore, my vow to myself and to God is to live this life that He has blessed me with to the fullest.

2013 is the year of LIFE!

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Easy Twist Out Tutorial {Natural Hair}

I’m doing it again. I’m giving up the Creamy Crack (aka hair relaxer). I know, it seems like I do this every couple of months but this time I’m determined to see it through. Last time I lasted a full year and was completely natural, then I went to my mom’s and the rest is history… As much as I loved being able to control my hair with the relaxer, I was seriously missing my curls.

Easy Braid Out Tutorial {Living Outside the Stacks}

And I started to develop a bad case of hair envy. Have you seen my Pinterest board? I’m obsessed. Check it out here.

I’ve been transitioning for 6 months now and so far my favorite style is a twist out. It allows my relaxed hair and natural hair to blend seamlessly without a lot of manipulation. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned in the last 6 months, it’s this: DO NOT OVER STRESS YOUR HAIR. If you work your hair too much, it gets frizzy.

Here’s how I achieved the look in the picture:

  1. Washed and conditioned my hair with Organix Coconut Milk Shampoo and Conditioner
  2. Towel dried my hair. I know a lot of natural hair bloggers say not to towel dry your hair but I can’t work with sopping wet hair.
  3. I put a deep part on the right side of my head then went over the edges with Shine ‘n Jam conditioning gel.
  4. Then I put a good heaping handful of Beautiful Textures Curl Control Defining Pudding in my hair. I made sure I covered my hair roots to end.
  5. For the flat twists, I put 4 on the right side, one down the back and 4 on the left side. I rolled each twist with rollers. I sleep with a silk scarf on my head every night to protect my hair.
  6. The next morning, I put a little Africa’s Best Hair Oil on my fingers and then untwisted each braid.
  7. To get my hair really full, I pull each section apart, not all over, just random chunks.

Easy Braid Out Tutorial {Living Outside the Stacks}

This hairstyle will usually last me about a week with little upkeep. If I don’t retwist, my hair will get bigger and the curls will become less defined. If I retwist every night, my hair will look basically the same as it does in the pictures all week.

I don’t know how often I’ll update but I will try to remember to at least take a hair picture or two once a month.

What’s your favorite go to hair style? 

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Racism, Black Women and Psychology Today

DaenelTHave you ever read something that was so completely ridiculous that you weren’t sure whether to be angry or stunned by its stupidity?  Yes?  Good, because that’s how I felt when I read evolutionary psychologist, Satoshi Kanazawa’s blog post, “Why Are Black Women Less Physically Attractive Than Other Women?” in Psychology Today.  They’ve since removed the article, but there are cached versions out there.  I won’t link to them because I don’t want Psychology Today getting any traffic from my blog.

The post basically states that black women are less physically attractive than other women because they have more testosterone in their systems than women of other races.  *blank stare*  This increase in male hormone is due to genetic mutations that have occurred over time because people of African descent have been around longer.  Kid you not.  Let me clarify personalize this for you so you can understand just how vile, dehumanizing and racist this “scientific report” is.  Kanazawa is saying that my sisters, my daughters, my granddaughter and I are less attractive than you (assuming you are a non~black woman who is reading this post) because our bodies contain more of the male hormone  than yours.  He also states that this increase in testosterone explains why black men are more physically attractive than other men.  I can almost hear the auctioneer pointing out the potential breeding possibilities of the big black buck in the shackles….

That this post was published bothers me but not as much as the fact that it was published on the website of a respected journal like Psychology Today.  I mean, seriously, how did that editorial meeting go?

Editor #1:  “Looky here, we got us a fine piece of scientific research on why black women are so ugly.”

Editor #2:  “Hmmmm, looks good to me.  Let’s print it.”

Editor #1:  “Alrighty then, how ’bout we go have ourselves a rally?”  *high fives all around*

What the heck were they thinking?  This is the type of foolishness that led to the enslavement and subjugation of blacks for hundreds of years.  This “scientific theory” is what led to the slaughter of millions of Jews during the Holocaust.  Did they really think they’d be able to sneak this by the masses and no one would have a thing to say?

When I look at my sisters, my daughters, my granddaughter, my friends of color and myself, I see beautiful women in all shades of brown.  I see tenderness and strength, I see attitude and heart, I see all the things that make me proud to be a black woman.  But I also see women who have been denied the truth of their beauty for far too long by magazines, television shows and now psychologists who say they aren’t good enough.

To Satoshi Kanazawa and the editors of Psychology Today, I only have one thing to say “Black is beautiful and we wear it well.”


To read the reactions of others around the blogosphere, check below:

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