Sunday, 21 July 2013

R&S: 'Natural'

Over the past few years it's like black women have finally realized how truly funking fly they are and I have been observing how women where I live have been coming into themselves, which is an absolutely beautiful process! From my personal experience I have noticed that this emerging dialogue of self love is deeply rooted in changing the way we talk about, interpret, and experience our natural (unprocessed) hair. As I mentioned in a previous post R&S: Genie Locs the Story of a Queens Crown I have had my crown for around 11 years now, and because of that I have felt very disconnected from this conversation. My crown is no reflection of self realization and I never intended for it to make a statement. Yet I find that more and more people assume that my hair is some political statement of self acceptance:
"I love me a natural sister"
"I am so happy to see a young woman accepting who she is!"
"How long have you been natural?"

So I have been asking myself, for real tho, what is this thing called natural that everybody keeps talking about? If I have a face full of make-up am I still natural? If I daily eat processed foods am I natural? If I clean my house with products that pollute the environment am I still natural just because I have unprocessed hair? Y'all know how I feel about saving money and within this I have come to find that being natural should aim to be a more holistic lifestyle and not just about how we look, present and see our selves. It should aim to include how we treat both our bodies and natural environment and look at the effects of what we put into them. After all the state of our environment greatly affects us and our health, including our hair! So my R&S project is...natural cleaning products!

I have to apologize I didn't mean to build up all that suspense to bore you with cleaning, but I am really serious! Improving the health of your living environment and ridding it of toxic and abrasive chemicals is just as beneficial as cleansing your hair from harmful chemicals such as perms, dyes and products. While admittedly cleaning your house does not have the same social meanings and realities as black women's hair, I would welcome you to think about the parallels between the two.

1. It is far cheaper than buying chemically processed products
2. You reduce the amount of pollutants you use and expose yourself to
3. It is a lifestyle change that forces you to think about how to treat and value your environment/body

I always think, why should I clean my house with highly toxic products that clearly state that if I have had prolonged exposure, have ingested, inhaled, or has caused skin irritation I should call poison control? And then they try to tell me I can cook on and use these surfaces daily? Yeah right. In the same way people have stared to ask why we should use hair products that damage, strip, dry and thin our hair. The only difference between the two is that the outcomes of using toxic products in our hair are more or less visible we can see, feel and touch the damage. As opposed to exposure to toxic cleaning compounds where it is harder to identify tangible negative outcomes. You could alternatively buy all those eco-friendly products, but they make investing in less toxic eco-friendly environments really inaccessible by being grossly over priced. Forget em! I have a 'natural' money saving cleaning method that only requires two products!

1. Baking Soda
2. Vinegar

Vinegar is acidic and acts in the same way as bleach, when you leave it and let it soak it is an effective disinfectant and cuts grease. Baking soda acts like soap and easily scrubs off and lifts any kind of build up of dirt, and can be used as a deodorizer & laundry freshener. You can also use baking soda to cleanse you hair, whiten your teeth, bake, exfoliate your skin, clean fruits and the list goes on. Both are non-toxic, non polluting products that you can find at any dollar store, and are used for purposes beyond cleaning. Each is like a 100-in-1 multi-purpose product! All this 'natural' goodness for just one dollar each! I'm about it! In short changing the way we talk about, interpret and experience our selves should be linked closely to how we do the same to our environment as it also influences and impacts us physically. What ever natural means to you it has the potential to shift towards having a healthier, more respectful and positive relationship with our environment, and just as equally with ourselves. 

love your natural environment, love the natural you and your wallet will love you too!

Smiles :)
Tuly Maimouna

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Meno: Eco-friendly?

wooden necklace w/ teeth
 I was recently approached by a classmate of mine who asked me to make some pieces for an organization she works for. They are looking support local crafts persons who make eco-friendly products. I was surprised to be approached because I have never really thought of my products as eco-friendly, but after a short conversation I realized that being 'eco-friendly' is a large concept that encompasses many different components. If you have been following my blog for a while y'all know how I feel about recycling and saving, but my point of view was more from personal economics. I never thought that being broke helped to reduce my environmental footprint! 

Instead of throwing away a necklace of mine that had broken, I decided to take it's best parts and make something new! I love wooden beads, they have a beautiful look that no other material has. This recycled black and white double stranded necklace is detailed with four teeth, so I decided to call it meno which in kiswahili means 'teeth'. I like to wear this on days when I am feeling fierce! 

Now, not only am I saving money & looking fly, but through reusing existing materials I am to a small degree reducing my personal eco-footprint!

Reduce, reuse & look fly!
Tuly Maimouna