Thursday, January 23, 2014

Blurred Lines and the BC (Big Chop)

 Hello Everyone,
Finally decided to do a post after all the threats and heat I've been getting from family, friends and fans (?).  I have been mega busy with work and when I do get spare time all I do is rest and sleep (I work in Ikoyi and live after Ajah so go figure).  I know in some bloggers opinion that's not enough reason not to sneak in the odd post evry now and then and I agree totally with them, if it's your passion then you MUST make out time for it.  I promise to try harder this year.

 Due to my role at work I always have to appear smart and formal because my clients are the always-formal-to-work types and I'm expected to dress accordingly. I'm one of those people that believe that you can still get wok done in a pair of  levis and a polo shirt, dressing all formal for work hasn't really made me work any harder (btw I work very hard, at least my boss and clients say so. lol).  This past Wednesday I decided to wear a pair of jeans to a work, I wanted to see if anyone would notice, I was looking forward to being told off by my boss and wondering if my clients would decide not to have meetings with me because I wasn't 'appropriately dressed'.

Short version of first interaction with Boss A:

Bex: Good morning Sir (I walk into his office making a beeline for his desk and standing in front of it so he can really see me)

Boss A: Morning Bex* (*he calls me my government name of 'cos not Bex), have you called blah-blah for the 11 am. meeting today?

Bex:  Yes Sir, I'm doing a powerpoint presentation, just need to tweak some slides and add some more stuff in (I dramatically hitch up my belt and wipe at an imaginary speck of dust on my knees, he still doesn't notice)

Boss A: Ok good. Um is your neck piece supposed to look like a collar? rather dramatic don't you think? (he goes back to his morning go at Candy Crush.  My jaw proceeds to drop southwards at this stage, he didn't notice! how could he not? He noticed the neck piece didn't he?).

I made two more trips to his office and he didn't say a thing, same thing with all my colleagues. Weird.

I went  for my 11 am. meeting and it was the same thing, nobody said a word, matter of fact two people complimented me on my outfit and one chick kept staring at my neck piece the whole time. Did I give a good presentation? Yes. Did I get the account? I'm 80% sure. Did I get respect? YES!

I understand that the industry one works in and the organisational culture dictates how one is expected to dress but personally I think some rules should be relaxed.  I can't wait till I get that call from Google begging me to come work for them, I'll simply throw away every suit in my closet and go shopping for jeans, tops and sneakers (lol) but till then I guess I'm stuck with pants, skirts, button-down shirts and sensible shoes....bummer.

 For my see-if-I-can-get-away-with-it experiment I decided to dress androgynously, sometimes I like to play gender bender by wearing men pieces and adding a feminine twist to it, kinda like blurring the gender divide but in a safe and playful way.

 I paired skinny jeans in a dark wash with a navy blue striped shirt, a dark blue blazer and red hot heels. I decided to give my outfit a little edge by accessorising with a glittery beaded collar neck-piece.




 The Big Chop

Let's not pretend not to notice the big (shaved) elephant in the hair! Yes I cut it! I couldn't wait to transition, I wanted to see what I was gonna be working with so one morning, I grabbed a pair of scissors and started cutting, was it scary? Did I hesitate and give a little sob before starting? No and No. It was exhilarating and liberating.  There was no sentiments, no "So long my dear fair locks" no fanfare, one morning I woke up with hair and by evening I was 'Hey Lupita'

Would I go back to 'creamy crack' once my hair grows to an appreciable length? Maybe. 

Would I start rooting for TeamNatural? Nope

I cut my relaxed hair because I wanted to re-grow my hair it as I've been suffering from hair loss since I moved back to Nigeria and because I could. Simple. No further explanation, I didn't feel more African or more confident after I hacked it all off, no konga drumroll or masquerade dance welcoming me back to my 'African roots' after the BC.

I don't think people should create groups and further deepen the divide that exists between us as women, what's with the whole light skinned vs. dark skinned and natural hair vs. relaxed hair thing war going on in the social media? If you want to go natural then by all means do so, it doesn't need to be a political statement, if you're not confident with relaxed hair then good luck trying to find confidence in going natural.  

 It's been fun since the BC though, my mum called me after my sis showed her pics of me sporting my new do and yelled I should have asked her first and gave a loud "hmmmmmm" (you know the hmmm that African mothers make when they disagree with something you've said or done or feel you should have consulted them on something) my dad was less dramatic and told me he didn't really care as I look beautiful either way (bless him). Reactions from people has been from wordlessly staring at me with open mouths to utterances like "why now" and "chei" and there's also the odd "welcome to team natural" from some folks.

My hair care is regime is simple, I co-wash once a week, do a protein deep conditioning every two weeks, I use a leave in conditioner every morning and seal in moisture with either coconut oil or castor oil (for growth).  The hair is a bit too short for twists (I think) so sometimes I wear wigs to give the hair a rest.  I massage castor oil to my edges every night as I suffer from severe hair loss in that area. I try to keep it simple as I don't do well with complicated routines.  I'm still trying to figure out what hair type I really am because the front is spongy and the back is softer and a bit curly. I'm a bit anxious as well...would I have a giant afro (like Foxy Cleopatra) or end up with a mop of curly hair (like curly Sue or Annie) this time next year?  What do you guys think?

 Thanks for reading my post and extended post.  Please don't forget to visit my food blog


Fashion Credit:

Blazer:  Zara

Shirt:  TM Lewin

Jeans:  Tommy Hilfiger

Shoes:  Zara

Watch:  DKNY

Neck-piece:  Tu