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Hair Matters

Many of you know my story but for those of you who don’t, I used to have little to zero self-esteem. There were years where I was bullied and unbelievably depressed. I hated myself, my height and every part of me. I couldn’t see past what my high school world was telling me and believed every lie they told.

As years went on, I found my confidence and fully embraced that God created every single part of me (including my height) for a purpose. That nothing about me was a mistake and ALL of it was wrapped into a one-of-a-kind Alicia that was the only one who could accomplish the purpose that God had chosen for me…

or so I thought…

until it came to one part of me that nobody had seen in years…

my hair.

Yes. The long tresses that you have seen in every photo of me were not mine. I have been wearing a weave for a little under 9 years now. Almost a decade of taking it out and putting it back in because I was afraid to show my real hair.

Afraid! Alicia…how can you tell me to be me and embrace every part of myself when you can’t show the hair that God gave you?

The answer is…I can’t. And that is one of the reasons why I had to take it out. But before we get in to those reasons, let me give you a little back story…

As you can see, both of my beautiful parents gave me curls.

As you can see, both of my beautiful parents gave me curls.

My mother is Caucasian and my father is African American. That usually equates to what society likes to classify as good hair. You know, the perfect curls flowing down your back just throw water on it and leave the house kind of hair. The expectation of my light skin and light eyes matching the texture of my locks was immense. However, my actual texture is very tight and not extremely easy to style and care for. Thus, pressure set in. Not only for my Mom to style it correctly, but also for me to do everything I could to make it appear to be good. This resulted in many unhealthy hairstyles, fights between my Mom, the comb and my hair and ultimately a series of relaxers that killed my follicles. From the age of 4-18, I was in a losing battle with my bad hair.

My Mom and I would battle every day with combing and styling my hair.

My Mom and I would battle every day with combing and styling my hair.

Enter college. I moved from Beaverton, Oregon to Stockton, California where the culture definitely changed. I went from being the darkest kid at my school to being one of the many beautiful skin tones that walked my campus. It was there that I first saw someone wear their hair naturally. It was a concept that never even entered my mind. It was also something I was not ready to do but it was an option I was now aware of.

Enter corporate world. After college, I began my first corporate job. While natural hair was not prohibited, it was clearly not embraced. I found myself wanting the sleek tresses that everyone else had and got my first weave. The positive response was overwhelming not only externally but also internally. I had FINALLY found hair that would act right and I could make look how I always envisioned that my hair should be. It also allowed me to grow out my perm and safely go natural underneath the tracks (which I will touch on later). To me it was a win-win and up until 2 weeks ago was constantly my hair.  

But what I didn’t realize was that during those 9 years I had completely denied an entire part of me that made me, ME. I had a false construct of who I was. The sewed in hair had somehow really become a part of me and boy did it show the moment I took it out without putting it back in…

First appointment after taking out the weave. The curl pattern is trying it's hardest to come out.  About an hour after this photo it puffed back up into a ball of frizz. It will take time and training to uncover and maintain my natural curl.

First appointment after taking out the weave. The curl pattern is trying it's hardest to come out.  About an hour after this photo it puffed back up into a ball of frizz. It will take time and training to uncover and maintain my natural curl.

I cried, sobbed and immediately got depressed. I couldn’t post a picture on social media, refused to go out, felt ugly and the same feelings of low self-esteem that I had in high school started rearing their ugly heads. It was a very surprising and violently visceral reaction to something that wasn’t even mine to begin with.

First photo I posted on IG. It took me 5 days to get the courage up. As you can see, I am still holding on to dead ends in this photo which can slow the growing process down and hinder your natural curl from forming. I later cut those bad boys off.

First photo I posted on IG. It took me 5 days to get the courage up. As you can see, I am still holding on to dead ends in this photo which can slow the growing process down and hinder your natural curl from forming. I later cut those bad boys off.

2 weeks later, I am still embracing it. Worry filled questions enter my mind; Will men like me? Will they still think I am pretty? Will you think I am pretty? Is it going to be hard? Can I maintain natural hair? Do I have the time to maintain it? Will my curl pattern ever come back? What will my curl pattern look like? Will it ever grow? How long will it take to grow? I mean…I could go on for days.

But at the end of the day…it’s just hair people!  Why do we put so much weight into it and furthermore why do we think it makes us who we are?

In addition to tall fashion and life, I will be exploring these feelings on this blog because apparently hair does matter. It matters to me, it matters to society and it matters to you. This natural hair journey is going to teach me far more than just about hair and I feel like it’s a journey that I need to share.

Now, why did I decide to do it? Here are the main reasons…

1. My 10 year old Niece had never really seen her Auntie. She had seen me with someone else’s hair on my head for her entire life. How can I teach her to love every part of herself when she had not seen me love ALL of me?

2. YOU. I truly believe that you were made for a specific purpose and that God made absolutely no mistake while he molded every single part of you. Who am I to tell you the truth when I myself am not living it?

3. Safely Growing out my natural hair under the weave was going nowhere…fast. While I grew out my perm completely, after 10 years my hair should be down to my butt and it wasn’t. My hair was shredding into a bundle of split ends and my edges are thin and completely damaged by heat. It is natural but far from healthy.

This is after the dead ends were cut off. My hair is very damaged and I can't wait to make it healthy again! This is probably the last time you will see it straight in awhile. I can't wait to see what the curls look like now that the dead ends are cut off.

This is after the dead ends were cut off. My hair is very damaged and I can't wait to make it healthy again! This is probably the last time you will see it straight in awhile. I can't wait to see what the curls look like now that the dead ends are cut off.

4. I was in captivity. My weave options where either down or in a ponytail. When the wind hit, I was constantly covering up tracks. I couldn’t itch my scalp. I had to constantly worry about blending the hair that was out with the weave. There was little versatility in the way I could style my hair and so on and so forth. It was time.

Bring on the hairstyles! I have a feeling this bun will be in full effect while I grow out my locks.

Bring on the hairstyles! I have a feeling this bun will be in full effect while I grow out my locks.

5. I want to abolish the construct of good and bad hair that I have adopted from society. Who started that and why did I believe it? I want to make sure I don’t pass that down to my Niece and Lord willing, my future children.

6. Listen Hunni…you know I am waiting for my husband to find me and when he does I want his hands all up in this hair.

With all of that said, I am not speaking for everyone that wears a weave. Do you boo! I am in no way knocking weaves or any other way of styling hair. I plan to explore all kinds of styling from clips, braids, faux locs, wigs and even weave it up on occasion. BUT for me personally, the time of denying my natural hair is over. I am tired of the fight and let her win. She is me and I am her and I am not afraid to show it. I am the master of this journey, am wonderfully made in every way and am now presenting all of me to you, practicing what I preach and loving every part of me from my hair follicles to my toenails.

Let the journey begin! Thanks for crawling, walking, running and sprinting it with me.

Saving Alicia Jay

Alloy tall style white dress Alicia Jay 2.jpg

On January 3rd I wrote:

In the past month I have had an urge to share more. I feel like God wants me to expand this blog to talking more about our tall lives than just style. What may seem like a small shift of a couple of paragraphs, is going to do great things inside my life and I pray in those that read them. A resolution that I have is to stretch and become more vulnerable and I refuse to let my fear overcome what I know God wants me to do.

Well, my fear got me yall. It’s January 26th and I have been avoiding this blog like the plague. I have no idea why because what I am about to share is one of the things I am most proud of in my life.

Yes, it may have cost me some so-called friends, it may have caused me immense frustration and it may have been the reason for many of my breakups but it is something that I have known from a young age was meant for one person and one person only.

Yep.

My virginity.

I am a 6’6”, black and white, super single, 34 year old virgin.

No, I am not going to preach to you about how virginity is the only way to go. It’s a personal choice that I made for me and I am just here to tell my story. If you draw anything from it, great! If not, no problemo.

My story of virginity is definitely not the typical media version that you see. Its real, filled with emotion, hormones, close calls and pure love and devotion for someone I haven’t even met yet. This story is what virginity is really like in 2015. And guess what, I am going to write a book all about it.

Now, I have no idea when this book will be finished but I do know that I would like to share the journey with you. It’s something I need to get out on paper and share because look, I am not going to be single forever! God will send me my husband and I need to tell the story of being a virgin while I still am one.

Don’t worry, I will still be posting personal style shots, talking tall fashion and dishing about our tall, fabulous lives but my journey to publishing my first book on real virginity will be intertwined in the thread. Saving myself for marriage is one of the things that makes me stand tall every day and I can’t wait to share my story with each and every one of you.

Ok…let me post this before I lose my nerve. It’s hard to get personal but God told me to and you sure can’t say no to Him!

Blanca

TALL Asymmetric Body Concious Dress - ASOS (size 10) (Also comes in a strapless version HERE)/Neck piece and cuff - Forever 21/Shoes (size 12) - Preview International via Nordstrom Rack/Clutch - Thrifted

Photo credit: Shannon Warf 

I live for an amazing white dress. They are super hard to find because white isn't the most forgiving color in the world. The wrong cut and you will grossly misrepresent yourself. That's why I absolutely fell in love with this white hot dress from the ASOS Tall line (did I mention it's only $41.92).

It has super clean lines, the fabric is very forgiving and the arms are super long! Bottom line, it's a show stopper. Now, please believe I have a nude body shaper on underneath. Not so much for the shaping but for the foundation. After all, it's a white dress and my Mama would kill me if I didn't wear something underneath to make sure you couldn't see through it. Slips are not my thing, so I opted for the body shaper (that I picked up from Target for $16.99) and it worked out beautifully.

With a dress like this...who really need accessories!? Thus I opted for simple, metallic pieces that compliment but don't steal the show. I love a great metallic piece because it gives a pinch of pizazz but still keeps it neutral. 

What do you look for in a white dress?

Wu Wear

I don't know about you but lately I have needed a little wu saw in my life.  A little yoga, a little neo soul, a little hot bath (actually a LONG hot bath), A LOT of prayer...basically anything to take the stress out of my life.

One color that is usually associated with CALM is white so I thought I would put together some tall fashions that I like to call Wu Wear.

OMjoy:)

TALL IN WHITE (left to right, top to bottom). TALL SLEEVELESS TWIST STRAP DRESS ($59.50, Loft.com), HEATHER SKINNY JEAN ($89, HeightGoddess.com), SHIRRED WAIST TIERED MAXI ($59, LongTallSally.com), NAYA WILLA SANDAL (top shoe, $134.95, Nordstrom.com), PEACOCK FLOWER GLADIATOR SANDAL (bottom shoe, $26.99, Payless.com), SATEEN ONE-BUTTON JACKET ($158, BananaRepublic.com), SLUB KNIT-T ($19.95, Gap.com), BCBGENERATION EVA MEDIUM SATCHEL ($98, Zappos.com), LINEN EXPOSED BUTTON WIDE LEG PANT ($31.90, Alloy.com), TINLEY ROAD MULTI-CHAIN NECKLACE ($18.99, Piperlime.com), SEA BREEZE FEATHER EARRINGS ($28, CandidArt.BigCartel.com) and BETSEY JOHNSON ANIMAL WAYFARER SUNGLASSES ($55, UrbanOutfitters.com).

TALL SLEEVELESS TWIST STRAP DRESS at LOFT.com. $59.50. Sizes XS - XL.

HEATHER SKINNY JEAN at HeightGoddess.com. $89. Hurry! After the 4th of July the price will be $129. Sizes 27-33. 35", 37" and 39" inseams. Shown in optic white. Also comes in Indigo and Shadow.

SHIRRED WAIST TIERRED MAXI at LongTallSally.com. $59. Sizes 6-18. 44" length.

NAYA WILLA SANDAL at Nordstrom.com. $134.95. Sizes 4-12. Narrow, medium and wide widths. Shown in white. Also comes in lunar taupe and black.

PEACOCK FLOWER GLADIATOR SANDAL at Payless.com. $26.99. Sizes 6-12. Shown in white. Also comes in airforce blue.

SATEEN ONE-BUTTON JACKET at BananaRepublic.com. $158. Sizes 4-16. Shown in white. Also comes in pluto.

SLUB KNIT T at Gap.com. $19.95. Sizes XS-XXL. Shown in optic white. Also comes in olive, purple basil, true black knit and verveine.

BCBGENERATION EVA MEDIUM SATCHEL at Zappos.com. $98. Satchel style. Also comes with an adjustable, detachable, cross body strap. Shown in white. Also comes in mocha and dove.

LINEN EXPOSED BUTTON WIDE LEG PANT at Alloy.com. $31.90. Sizes S-XXXL. Comes in 32" and 37" inseams. Shown in white. Also comes in black. TINLEY ROAD MULTI-CHAIN NECKLACE at Piperlime.com. $18.99. Free shipping and returns.CANDID ART SEA BREEZE FEATHER EARRINGS at Candidart.bigcartel.com. $28.BETSEY JOHNSON ANIMAL WAYFARER SUNGLASSES at UrbanOutfitters.com. $55. Shown in oyster. Also comes in blue.