Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Tashia and her Fiery Red Curls!!!


I know it isn't September anymore, but I am so behind on these Show Off September blog posts. I have been gearing up for my first workshop, filming videos, preparing for my trip in Texas and I completely fell behind on my Show Off September Project. Since I still want to see off these beautiful naturalistas, get ready for more fabulous naturals being shown off on Nappturally Chic Jere.  Meet the beautiful, Tashia Manuel and her beautiful and bouncy curls!.

NCJ: Hello Tashia!! Thank you so much for taking the time to share your story with us. So, can you tell us a little about yourself.
Tashia: I am a 24 year old bonafide city gal from Baltimore, MD with dreams bigger than this entire coast and a mind beyond my time! I am a post-grad holding two degrees in Psychology and currently working as an Administrative Assistant in Property Management for The World Trade Center Baltimore. Although I had both parents in my life for most of my life, my grandmother helped raise me since my parents worked nonstop. At a very young age, she taught me the principles and benefits of living a holistic, natural, and elegant lifestyle. Since it was ingrained in me, it wasn't hard for me to come back to my roots as I grew older. I am gifted in the areas of writing, dancing, painting and encouraging people so my hobbies always revolve around those things. I love traveling and am  zealous seeker of my purpose and calling in my life. 

NCJ: Wow Ms. Tashia, you sound like a driven woman on a one way path to success… love it!! Tell me about your hair before going natural. How did you feel when you first relaxed your hair. Were you frustrated with your relaxed hair?
Tashia: Before going natural, my hair was at its purest state. It was VERY thick, curly, and long (much thicker than it already is now in adult life) and had a mind of its own. It never did what anyone wanted it to do, it was always busting loose! It didn't help that I was an active child LOL. The women in my family saw my hair as a prized possession in a sense. I have several aunts in my family that are licensed stylists, so I never really had to worry about going to a salon until I was much older, which was a blessing. Unfortunately, I got my first relaxer between the ages of 6 and 8. I remember the reasoning being that my hair was so untamed and unruly after a while that they had to do something to "calm it down". So my father had a female friend who decided to handle that, without my aunts' permission. Throughout my life, I never really was frustrated with my relaxed hair. It was just a part of life for me at that point. A kind of "conditioning". I was conditioned to get frustrated with my hair only when I was in between perms and my roots were growing out. The women in my family did it and I was just following in their footsteps. It didn't start bothering me until I got to college, when I didn't have the resources available to run to my aunts whenever my hair needed maintenance.

NCJ: So, When and why did you decide to go natural?

image.jpegTashia: I went natural towards the end of my college career about three years ago. I made the decision in July of 2010. At the time, I was working part-time, still doing school full-time, and had just moved off campus to live on my own with a roommate. Things in my life were shifting, changing and moving so rapidly that I really didn't have time to run clear across town and wait for my aunts to tell me when they would be available to perm my hair. I typically only got 2 perms a year (no exaggeration) so there was always a lot of time in between for my natural hair to grow out like crazy. Around this particular time, I hadn't had a perm in several months, and my hair was starting to curl up. In May of that same year, I started experimenting with my curls, doing different styles and realized that I LOVED my hair like that! Unfortunately, I made the decision in July of 2010 to go to a Dominican salon for a perm and curl. Wrong move! Not only was their perm strong but they used so much heat in my hair that I thought I was going to melt in my chair from the hell on my head! My hair was BONE straight, straighter than it had ever been. The next day when I looked in the mirror, I made the decision to never get a perm again. Within that month of making that decision, I prayed to GOD that he would allow some new growth to grow from my head. The Dominicans had made my hair so straight that it took about a month to see any new strands grow. I wanted to get to know myself a little better, discover who I really was and learn how to love me a little better through thick and thin. And what better way to start doing that than to actually re-introduce yourself to the little curlies uniquely engineered by God and assigned to you? Thus began my journey!
NCJ: Wow… I’m so glad your curlies popped up again!! Did you slowly transition or did you do a Big Chop, please share your experience.
Tashia: I transitioned from July 2010 to March 2011. It was a challenging process to say the least but I am glad I had the patience to stick with it. For me, the new curly growth was my present and a glimpse into my future. The permed ends was my past desperately trying to hold on and suffocating for dear life. I had to work through my past by not letting it define or control me anymore and I knew I couldn't fully enjoy my present or future unless I let go of what didn't serve me anymore. While transitioning, I did research upon research about different styles, tutorials and the dangers that relaxers pose to women on an everyday basis and it totally freaked me out! Also while transitioning, I realized that if I was going to re-introduce myself to my hair in a more natural way, that its only natural to re-introduce myself to a holistic lifestyle. It went hand in hand. So on March 23rd, 2011, I went to my aunt and told her I was ready to chop my hair off. Best decision ever!
NCJ:  What was your biggest fear about going natural? How did you overcome it?


Tashia: Prior to me coming to the decision to chop my hair, my biggest fear was simply…cutting off all my hair! For all of my life, my hair had also been very long, luxurious and admired and I identified with that deeply. I was known as the girl with the pretty hair down her back. The girl whose hair looked as perfect as weave but wasn't. Even when I went on bouts during my relaxed days where I would cut a little here and there, I always identified with my hair. It was a big part of me. My other fear was that when I cut off the majority of my hair, that I would look weird without it. I was scared that my facial shape was too round or "fat" to rock and pull off super short hair successfully. I overcame it by simply cutting it without fully thinking about it! Haha. I remember that weekend like it was yesterday. My aunt told me that we would see how much we needed to cut off and if we needed to do it gradually we would, according to how comfortable I was with it. At that point, I was BEYOND tired of dealing with two entirely different textures on my head so part of me...MOST of me was ready to let it go. So on a Saturday night, me and my aunt sat in her basement/salon as she starting snipping away inch by inch. She kept asking me was I ok and to my surprise, I was! She kept snipping away as I watched in a hand mirror until all the perm was gone. I was left with a full 3-4 inch bush. To help me love my bush a little more, she dyed it a sexy red. I was in love! I felt liberated! I felt like I was coming home to ME! In less than a week, I was traveling to a photo shoot with my super short hair and rocked the photo shoot like the new person I was.
NCJ: Beautiful!!! So, what are your favorite styles and favorite hair products .

Tashia: One of my favorite go-to styles are Bantu Knot Outs, Twist-Outs, Wash -n- Go's, Bohemian braids and Protective Styles. If I had to choose my ultimate favorite, It would definitely have to be Bantus. From that base style, I am able to create all kinds of up-dos! My favorite hair products right now are: As I Am Coconut Co-Wash, Elasta QP Olive Oil & Mango Butter Leave-In Conditioner, Elasta QP Olive Oil & Mango Butter Curl Defining Pudding & Eco-Styler Gel (Olive Oil). My other favorite and simple products include my homemade "Water Spritz Mix" which includes a mixture of  water, Coconut, Apricot, Castor, Jojoba, & Grapeseed Oils with a little bit of Peppermint Essential Oil to promote hair growth. I always interchange these oils and change them up when the mood fits me.
NCJ: We have a lot of favorite products in common…wow!  What is some advice you would give to other new naturals or those thinking of going natural.

Tashia: My advice? DO it! Don't over think it, don't analyze it, don't worry about it! Take the dive and give yourself permission to get to know YOU. Allow yourself to completely fall in love with your natural God-given beauty. Let yourself become inspired from something that grows from you, for it is in this growth that life begins to spring in other areas of your life. You are SO deserving of that discovery! 
NCJ: I love your advice! So honest and refreshing! What is the biggest lesson you have learned about yourself and your hair through your journey.

Tashia: I would have to say the biggest lesson that I've learned so far is to be patient with my progress. This journey has taught me that life naturally has its ebb and flow and that the only way to flow freely through the current of life is to simply keep flowing and moving through it while embracing each stage and experience that I encounter!
NCJ: Beautiful! Do you have any social forums that will allow other naturals to keep up with all of your fabulousness?

Tashia: Sure do!
Feel free to follow me!
Instagram: @NativeWindSong
Pinterest: pinterest.com/NativeWindSong

NCJ: Thanks so much for sharing your story with us!! Wishing you all the best with your education and your aspirations! Stay beautiful and nappturally chic!!
Hugs and Love,


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