Around 2013 or 14, I decided to get a major haircut. I had a hair goal of my curls reaching shoulder-length. Once I surpassed this goal, I became bored, and slightly frustrated with my hair. Many of my decisions are thorough and calculated. Because I wanted to experience life with short hair, I researched short hairstyles that would look excellent whether I wore my hair curly or straight. Once I landed on a style and worked up the nerve, I sat in the stylist chair and told him to cut it. I prepared my argument in favor for a fabulous cut. I knew he would talk me into keeping my length, but, to my surprise, he pulled out his clippers and shaved off a big chunk of hair in the back so I could not change my mind. Once I got home, I was in disbelief. This is the shortest my hair had been so the shock of such a drastic change left me spent. I devoted hours scrolling through the interwebs, desperate for guidance. After months of searching, and trial and error, I stumbled onto the Instagram page of Phylicia Sadarin aka askProy. She seemed to have complete authority of this style. The variety she gave her tapered fro was LIFE! I combed through her pics and her blog with such diligence, and did my best to replicate her styles in order to make this cut my own instead of it owning me.
While I became a faithful follower, Phylicia created a new brand called dear dope chick, and I felt that she was speaking directly to me. I immediately subscribed to everything she offered – Instagram, Facebook, and newsletter. Along with her t-shirt, I purchased and still distribute her dear dope chick affirmation cards.
Dope – a slang term meaning very good.
Dope is a word I use frequent and often. I know the power words carry and happily wear them as a revelation of who I am and what I represent. My lapel pin and t-shirt collections grow as I continue to explore my connection with words.
As Phylicia expanded her dear dope chick brand, via a newsletter, she encourages her readers to live their best lives by being their most authentic selves. For me, she morphed from short hair/tapered cut guru to life enrichment specialist. Along with the newsletter, she began sending words to provoke, challenge, spark, or motivate. Being the logophile that I am, I was stimulated and stirred.
Each week, dope chicks receive a word and are instructed to meditate, journal, pray, or just breathe the word. There are been several words that I thought about journaling or blogging but never followed through.
For the week of May 25th, the word is self-regard. It is a noun that means regard or consideration for one’s self; self-respect.
Initially, I was going to post something about something. In light of this week’s events of the police brutality that resulted in the loss of life of a Black man from Minneapolis, Minnesota, my original idea faded to black as self-regard grew before my eyes. It became too big to ignore.
Social media has become oddly more addictive than normal (despite the current pandemic.) A new hashtag created. TikTok videos bounced away from the trendy dances or comedic skits to tearful revelations and truths. Endless posts of quotes of Malcolm, Martin, and Baldwin peppered through users’ feeds. Repeated views of the cell phone footage of the unthinkable crime. Reminders of others who died by the hands of those sworn to serve and protect re-emerge. The world is on edge. COVID-19 is still relevant and real.
I remember watching Keep Your Eyes on the Prize, a documentary about the civil rights movement. At 14 years old, it was hard to fathom teens peacefully protesting in my city of Birmingham, AL for equality and aggressively being met with hoses and dogs. Now at 39, it is insane to witness little to no change. The self-regard of my status an American carries a different weight based on the color of my skin.
My Black is definitely beautiful, and my melanin is oh so magically. My life as a teacher allows me to merge my race with my humanity as I attempt to nurture little lives that develop a love for learning. My personal goal is to provide a strong foundation that helps make life easier for parents, thereby strengthening families, establishing loving communities, and hopefully creating a better world. I am surrounded by administrators, co-workers, and students who will never know my life as a Black woman. I work in an upper middle class community whose residents seem to live in a bubble set on a hill. I constantly regard my position as a teacher within this bubble. I work in high self-regard as a black teacher within this community and hardly shy away from the words I choose to wear on my lapel or chest. I am aware that my race is on display but do my best to operate, teach, socialize, communicate, and interact as a dope human.
I can’t breathe. Justice. Equality. Say their names. Racism. Black Lives Matter.
These words has weaved their way through so many conversations this week. Actually, they have been repeated too frequently this year. People are told how to feel, how to express, what level of self-regard to displayed on or off social media. As soon as I saw my haircut, immediately I felt regret. I was given unsolicited disapproval or acceptance of my decision. Through all of that, I tried to convince myself it was the best decision because there was no turning back. Every time I hear about another Black life cut short, immediately I feel disappointed. Black people are given unsolicited advice or consent as to how to react. I try to convince myself that justice is inevitable because the decision we make today will result in a better world for my niece and nephew. There is no turning back.
I am tirelessly and unapologetically Black. I am a woman with a high self-regard as an African-American. I am a dope human being.
Get Love. Give Love. Be dope.
This is a unsponsored post. Dope pin can be purchased at radicaldreampins.net