The Loudmouth Protestant

May 25, 2010

“Nothin’ On You” Girl vs. the Proverbs 31 Woman

I’m the whole package because Jesus of Nazareth.

I stay prayed up so nothing’s ever tragic.

I’m made by the creator, there is none greater.

I’m not trying to fool you, I’m just trying to school you.

If you want my number, better dial His first and go seek that water that can quench any thirst.

Yeah you’re fine and you seem really sweet, but I’m looking for a man who will practice what He preached.

My Remix of  B.O.B’s “Nothin’ On You”

Yeah I know, you probably came here really excited to know that there is a remix to B.O.B’s hit song “Nothin’ on You” and then were crestfallen to see it’s nothin’ you ever heard of. Sorry for deceiving you. I was compelled to write this remix after I heard the song and was caught up singing it for a whole day. While it is true that I AM “the whole package, plus I pay my taxes”, I considered that I don’t want to sell myself on that alone and there is more that speaks deeply to who I am. It’s easy to convince someone that they should be with you because you are beautiful, have a job, are charming, funny, etc. But, beauty is fleeting and charm is deceptive, so says a scripture most of us are familiar with. 

I once had a man tell me that when he heard Proverbs 31 read in a church service, it immediately made him think of me. He read Proverbs 31:30 to me, “Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” Being that Proverbs 31 woman is what most woman desire to be, but it’s quite another thing for someone else to identify the Proverbs 31 woman in you. At the moment he told me this I was speechless because before that I was too used to people being attracted to what their eyes saw and not what their spirit discerned about me.  It was largely one of the reasons why I fell so hard for that person, because he didn’t dwell on my outward appearance, he focused himself–as much as he could–on my inner woman.

As I write this I’m reminded that I’d rather someone see my heart, God’s heart and spirit within me, than my outward appearance. Admittedly, I do my fair share of  flaunting my beauty and charm, it’s human nature. But what I really desire is the person who can look past that and see more to me. That is what creates long-lasting, enduring love. I desire to be the person who doesn’t depend on her looks to get her by, but her character, her integrity, her faith, her heart, His spirit. That is attractive to me. I want and need to be more of the woman Peter spoke of when he said, “Do not adorn yourselves outwardly by braiding your hair, and by wearing gold ornaments or fine clothing, rather let your adornment be the inner self with the lasting beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in God’s sight.” I think we should all hope and pray to be the Proverbs 31 and the woman whose beauty is lasting because of a gentle and quiet spirit.

So, that’s my prayer, that myself and every other woman I know and don’t know would focus not just on being the “Nothin’ On You” girl, but the Proverbs 31 and the 1 Peter 3:3-4 woman.


May 8, 2008

Stuff Black Women Hate: Stylist Who Stalk

Filed under: beauty,life,randomness — nickisym @ 10:39 am

For the past couple of months I have been dealing with a hairstylist that specializes not only in great hair but great harassment. It begun as a nice relationship where I would come in to get my hair done every two weeks, but somehow she took my coming in with such regularity as a sign that I would always come in every two weeks. Recently she has moved on to assuming I am coming in every two weeks even when I don’t call to make an appointment. I realized she was getting much too comfortable with me when I received a text one Saturday morning that said:

“I thought you were coming in this morning. I am here until 5:30, let me know when you are coming in. Please let me know what’s up.”

I was shocked and quite annoyed that she assumed I was coming in even when I didn’t make an appointment. It took me a while to bounce back from this message until I thought about it and realized that she depends on clients like me to maintain her livelihood. Without my $75 she might not be able to make rent on her chair and if she doesn’t make rent on her chair, she can’t make rent on her home. But then I thought “I depend on me for my livelihood and there are times when I’d rather not pay $75 every two weeks to get my hair done because I have other expenses.” After all this internal dialogue, I told her that I wouldn’t be making an appointment for a few weeks because I was busy with other commitments–and this was a true statement. I left it on a “Don’t call us, we’ll call you” tone. I thought she would get the point…

Days later–even though I told her I would be going out of town–she texted me again to find out when I am coming in. At this point I was incredibly frustrated because it appeared that she was not understanding the importance of letting me have the upper hand in the relationship. This is a business relationship and I can choose to not see her whenever I want. We have no written agreement that says I will see her every two weeks. I felt like I was going through follicular harassment. And so, in my response, I repeated again that I am going out of town and will not see her for another week.

The story goes on from here and even includes her harassing another friend of mine whom I referred to her. So, needless to say she is skating on thin ice. She has texted me twice this week and I finally told her I will not be seeing her and I will contact her to schedule an appointment. I am deeply disturbed by her tactics to get clients into the salon without considering what is appropriate contact. Because of this she may be on the verge of losing a client. And the really sad thing is, she is a great stylist. But no amount of knowing your way around an ionic flat iron and expensive styling products can make up for lack of tact.

April 23, 2008

Accutane Account: Going on Month Six

Filed under: beauty,life — nickisym @ 12:34 am
Tags: ,

And the beat goes on with my ‘Tane trial. 

Last month, I switched doctors because my usual doctor was out of the office on vacation. This stand-in doctor took time to ask me how I was feeling about the treatment to which I told her that I think the trial is bunk and I am not seeing the stellar results I thought I would. With tears welling up in my eyes I explained that while I understand this is a process, at four months I couldn’t understand why my skin wasn’t clearer.

She understood completely what I was going through–of course she would she is a doctor that gets paid for recommending these crazy drugs to patients. But instead of just increasing my dosage she decided to add another medication to the pile. She suggested that I get on a birth control pill so that the BCPs and the Accutane can work synergistically. The ‘Tane will work where the BCPs aren’t and vice versa. This seemed like a good enough solution as I told her that my breakouts were the worst when my cycle came around. She also suggested that I get a hormone test because of the possibility that I could have cyst on my ovaries or something of the sort that could be causing side effects in other parts of my body. 

So now I am finishing out my first month taking the ‘Tane and the BCPs and I am definitely seeing better results. My skin is definitely clearing up and the left side of my face is completely clear, but for some reason my right side is still a bit on the congested side–possibly because I sleep on that side. It’s not too bad…About 4 pimples on my right cheek and one above my right brow and one on my forehead, so I guess that is pretty good, right? Sure, if only the perfectionist side of me could be satisfied with subpar results. 

Another thing that has been helping me through the process is a wonderful exfoliator from Boscia that I purchased a few weeks ago. Partnered with a Boscia Toner and my usual Clean & Clear cleanser, my skin is a lot less red and lot more beautiful brown girl kissed by the sun. So things are moving along at a steady pace. I have about 1.5 months before my first summer wedding so I am praying that all will be well by then. I am still very much keeping the faith so stay tuned…

February 20, 2008

Accutane Account: Day I Don’t Know

A commenter on an older post about my Accutane process just reminded me that I need to give some updates on how I am doing. I haven’t said anything about the process because there has been nothing groundbreaking to report. Since Day 13 when I felt like curling up and sleeping through until day 45 because my face was throwing up all over itself things have drastically changed. While my skin is not crystal clear, it has cleared up compared to what it used to be.

Right now I am experiencing some breakouts which could be due to a few reasons. There were a few days–not consecutively–where I messed up on taking my meds. I either took both the 40 and 20 gram together before I went to sleep or I took two 40 grams together which isn’t good because the doctor put me on 60 grams a day not 80. The other reason for the breakouts could very well be because it is that time of the month or because I am stressed. I don’t think it is the latter but a colleague told me that your skin’s reaction from stress can occur further down the timeline.

Nevertheless, I noticed that when I do get pimples they gang up on one another in what I like to call–and I am sorry folks I really do have to call it this and I hope God will not strike me down–cluster(fill in the blank with an expletive that begins with an “F”). I had no choice but to call them that because they seem to be very friendly with one another and they like to stay so close to one another that sometimes they morph in the Power Ranger of pimples and turn into one large robotic zit. It’s annoying, but it’s nothing a good cleansing, lots of water, and patience won’t take care of.

I’ve been able to manage the chapped lips very well although I must give a word or warning to those in the early stages that might be tempted to peel their lips themselves, “don’t do it!” Peeling the skin off your lips is the equivalent of burning yourself and picking the wounds, it will hurt for quite a while and leave a bright red strip on your lips for about 2-3 days. Just get some Aquaphor or Carmex and keep it moving.

Lastly, my hair has been shedding quite a bit but thanks be to God it is never enough for anyone to tell that I am losing hair and this is three months into my course. I have two maybe three months left and I am pretty sure my doctor is going to up my dosage to 80 grams for next month so maybe I’ll have more to say then. But the most I can say now is the ride hasn’t been nearly as bad as some people made it seem and I say thanks be to God. I haven’t had any bouts of depression, suicidal thoughts, social withdrawal, aggression, or any of the mental side effects they documented. Even the bone and joint pains I experienced went away when I decided that I wouldn’t let it stop me from serving in my dance ministry. So for all the folks on it, keep the faith.

February 18, 2008

Yes, You Can

I noticed that some of you have been searching and landed on my blog while trying to figure out if you can relax your hair while you are on Accutane. Well, as a black woman that needs a relaxer about every 6-8 weeks and one who has been on Accutane for the last three months I am here to tell you that it is indeed possible for you to relax your hair while on Accutane.

Before I started the medication I made sure to ask my doctor if it was permissible and and she let me know that she has had plenty of patients that get relaxers and other chemical processes done to their hair while on Accutane and they have experienced no adverse side effects. Of course the first time I had to get a relaxer while on the drug I was kind of scared that I’d be the one patient whose hair would fall out but fortunately that wasn’t the case. So all went successful with getting the relaxer but I have noticed that when it is time for me to get a touch-up and my hair is particularly difficult to comb through I am more prone to extreme hair-shedding.

Now I am not sure if this is a general issue for most black women on the drug–who get relaxers–but I think it is something you should watch for. Also, it is extremely important that you keep your scalp adequately moisturized. I have found that the hot oil treatments my stylist has been giving me is working wonders. That and the fact that I drink plenty of water and I take Biotin everyday. So with all those precautionary measures you should be alright. Please let me know if you have any questions.

December 13, 2007

The Accutane Account: Day 13: The Process

So it is day 13 on Accutane and I feel like I want to curl up in bed and just sleep until about Day 45. No the Accutane side effects of depression aren’t kicking in, but the side effects of “it gets worse before it gets better” is in full effect. In the middle of last week I noticed that my face was practically throwing up all over itself and I wanted to just die. With each day it has gotten worst, to the point where I don’t want to look anyone in the eye for fear that they will just take pity upon me and throw me a dollar like I am some poor charity case. Yes, it’s an exaggeration but when your face starts to retaliate against you there aren’t many other ways you can feel.

In the midst of having a face that looks like I reverted back to my years in high school–and even then it wasn’t this bad–I started to reflect on what it really means to go through this process. My dear friend reminded me of “the process” when she saw me fretting over my skin on Sunday evening. She said calmly and gently “It’s just part of the process.” She said nothing else but it spoke volumes to the way we as a people deal with “the process.”

Months ago in a sermon a preacher said that we look forward more to the promise than we do the process in regards to the molding that takes place when you enter the body of Christ. We must suffer in this great walk of faith and endure some trial and tribulation in addition to the immense joy that we will experience being in fellowship with God. I know that I always look forward to the end without really paying attention to the process it takes to get there. This is problematic because at this point I am not even preparing myself throughout the process, I am just waiting until the end. In all honesty, I’ve been waiting for five months to get here without really thinking about what it is going to take to get through the five months. I am so hard-pressed for clear skin that I am not even paying enough attention to the fact that there will be some road blocks to my results.

But now, I am taking more time to consider this process especially as it pertains to being patient. Of course I am ansty right now because I want my skin to clear up but I know that I just need to be calm about this situation and realize that this all takes time. So while it is killing me inside–okay I know that is a really severe way to describe it–I am going to hang in there. It’s like Job said “Though he slay me, yet will I trust him.” If I truly believe God intended for me to go through this Accutane course, I have to trust that he’ll never put more on me than I can bear.

December 10, 2007

The Accutane Account: The First Ten Pills

As of today I finished my first ten-day round of Accutane and I feel pretty normal with the exception of having extremely dry lips.

For a short period of time my skin seemed to be making minor improvements. Some of my pimples went down but I could also feel emerging pimples below the surface of my skin waiting to rare its ugly head. On top of this rollercoaster skin episode, I saw that my hair was shedding more than usual last week. I mentioned this on a previous post and said that I wasn’t going to freak out too much and I didn’t until I saw that it was still happening at the end of the week. By Friday I had enough of combing my hair or running my hands through my hair only to see many strands in the comb or my hands. I called my doctor on Friday afternoon and asked her what this could all be about. We went through all the possibilities. Trauma? No. Death in the family? No. Dietary changes? No, save for my switch to pescatarianism about two months ago. Stress? I am trying not to.

That just about ruled everything out. She told me to take 2.5 mgs of Biotin–a vitamin good for hair, skin and nails and also try Rogaine. I took her advice and went to the store later on that evening to find both. Didn’t find the Biotin but I found the Rogaine and decided that I would bypass it because of the price–$47. I figured–and the doctor told me this–just to give it some time. So finally today I went to GNC and purchased some Biotin. So we will see if it helps. I do pray that it does because I am on a pretty low dose of Accutane–40mg–and if my hair shedding is due to the Accutane I would hate to see what happened if they increased my dosage.

So folks, I ask that you pray for me in this time. You know how desperate I am for clear skin but pray that I don’t let this become my god to the point that I sacrifice other parts of myself for it. It’s quite tempting to do so, that’s for sure. Day 11, here I come.

December 1, 2007

The Accutane Account: Day 1 The Devil is a Liar

Yesterday was my first full day on Accutane. I made sure that I had a big lunch because I’ve read that meals high in fat ensure the pill’s maximum concentration. It was a great opportunity for me to order from one my favorite cheap Thai spot in the city, Viang Ping. Of course after taking the pill I didn’t notice anything, but when I got home later on in the night and took a shower, I came out to notice that I had what appeared to be new pimples. I freaked out for a bit, but I kept on saying that God is bigger than this and the chance that the pimples are from no more than six hours on the pill are very slim. While at a friend’s party later in the night I noticed that my lips were getting dry. It’s like I could feel them transforming into the dry chapped lips that everyone says is a side effect–this is the inescapable part. I am not sure if this is it or if the cold weather warrants it but I am prepared either way.

This morning I woke up and I felt very dry. Again, I momentarily wondered if this is part of the side effects in action already but then I realized, the heat is on full blast in my room, I was covered up all night long and I don’t have a humidifier so of course I feel dry. (Side note: My doctor told me that I should get a humidifier for my room, but I didn’t think I’d need it this soon.) Nevertheless I always struggle with being very dry internally in the winter because the heat pumping out of my NYC vents is treacherous. Regardless I kept the party going and tended to my morning business of unwrapping my hair.

As I unwrapped it I noticed hair falling all over the place–side effect of hair thinning is possible but on a smaller scale. As you can guess I momentarily freaked out–let me define what this means, I didn’t start screaming or crying, my freak out involves silence and contemplation but it is intense. I thought about why I could be shedding and I figured a few things, I am in need of a relaxer so my hair is quite thick at the roots and hard to comb through not to mention I did break a sweat last night while dancing so it could be a bird’s nest in there by now. I forget what my other reason was but I wrote it off as a new-growth issue and vowed to not worry about it until I go to my stylist next week to get my relaxer. Only then can I measure the amount of hair I am losing because if she notices it is more than usual shedding than we can be concerned.

So, that’s pretty much how the whole day and morning has gone so far. I just ate a nice fatty breakfast–I might be bound to gain some weight trying to eat these fatty meals–and I am ready to take my next pill. I realize at this moment that everything I have described is most likely more about my overactive imagination and a small part of me expecting these things to happen because the devil doesn’t want me to have confidence in God. Well, prior to my writing this I prayed to God to free me from self-diagnosis and continue to protect me. My mantra right now is: God is bigger than Accutane.

November 6, 2007

Accutane v. Adonai

Filed under: beauty,God,waiting on God — nickisym @ 12:49 am
Tags: , ,

By now most of you know that I am a very transparent person. I’ve often considered renaming this blog “Truly Transparent” because I think my transparency has spoken more volumes than my alleged loudmouth-ness so what am I going to talk about tonight? Skin care of course.

For those of you unfamiliar with the first word in the headline, Accutane is the most powerful acne drug on the market. It is touted as being the one drug that can–with a several-month course–banish acne from problem skin. But with that much power also comes problems. The drug can produce incredibly heinous side effects, the most severe of which can find an individual tempted to commit suicide. A little off-putting? Not to some. The most common of all side effects experienced are extreme dry skin and chapped lips, but it’s a small price to pay for clear skin, I think.

So my current battle is my consideration of taking this drug. Some of you may know me and have seen me and so you might think–“Oh it’s not that bad, you don’t need to take such extreme measures.” But you see me when I am on at least two medications and there are rarely times when my skin isn’t doped up on acids. If not for my continuous use of such drugs, I probably wouldn’t see the light of day. But I have reached my wits end with my skin and in an attempt to take control of it, I spoke to my doctor about Accutane a few months ago. He told me to take some time to think about it while he prescribed me another course of action–an oral and topical medication–believe me I’ve tried lots of stuff. Once he told me a little about the drug, he handed me a little card listing all the side effects on one side and pregnancy warnings on the other. I read it on my way to work and though I was shocked at the severity of the effects and even the fact that this drug could kill a fetus, I decided it still is not enough for me to not consider.

So one week ago I followed up with my doctor and he saw that it was clearly time for me to go on Accutane–my skin is like a tempermental kid, if you don’t give it what it wants, it acts up. We talked about the percentage of his patients that have the heinous side effects, and the side effects that I might experience and within minutes I was on my way to starting the process that could change my life. I start in a little less than a month and before then I have to do two blood test and fill out some papers promising I won’t get pregnant. But now I am wondering if I am not trusting God enough to be my healer? Or is this what he would have me do since he created the person that invented the drug to heal millions?

You see I have encountered a few people who have said they prayed for their skin to clear up and in just a matter of time it did. I don’t know what else they did besides pray over their skin, but I guess it doesn’t matter if you truly believe in the power of God. After I heard about the first person who told me they prayed about their skin, I tried it, but I just felt really strange about it and I also figured that God is a helper not a doer so if I am doing all I can in the name of good skin, won’t he help me in that, not just magically zap it away because I say so.

I’ve been praying to God that His will be done in the situation and that he would heal me and make me comfortable in my own skin for the time being. I’ve prayed that he would equip me with self-confidence on days when I don’t feel beautiful because I feel my skin is louder than I am. I want to say that I am at a lost but I know that I am not. I would like to think that my taking this drug is not going outside of His will but who knows. All I do know is that I long for the day when I can wake up, look in the mirror and clearly see who I am underneathe it all. And it this point, I am willing to get that by any means necessary.

October 28, 2007

There Are No Short Cuts

Filed under: beauty,life — nickisym @ 12:24 am
Tags: , ,

Today I spent a good portion of my time in a hair salon attending to my business. Unlike other trips to the salon this one was daunting because I spent the majority of the summer taking short cuts with my hair. I was nervous prior to going because I knew that I wasn’t taking care of my hair the way I should have. I went to an alternate salon because I was being a cheap skate and because that salon knew how to get me in and out in under an hour and a half. But I found out the hard way that convenience is not a good look when it comes to having good looking hair.

The stylist I visited today told me that my hair was in need of repair. While it wasn’t badly damaged, my day at the salon costed me more than I intended the spend. Usually I would be very nervous at the prospect of spending over $100 to get my hair done because I see it as an extravagant waste, but I knew there was no other recourse.

With the thought of spending a pretty penny on my head I decided to open up my Bible to calm my nerves and I was glad that in the midst of my reading my stylist came over to me and said “That’s the Good Book.” She said it in a manner that wasn’t cliche or fake, I felt her spirit was in agreeance with mine. She was also very gentle with the way she explained the process she was taking with my hair and I really felt like she had my best interest in mind.

My trip to the salon today taught me a lesson that one should never trade in quantity for quality. Clearly I should have known this a longtime ago because being a woman of color, our hair is nothing to take lightly. But hey, better late than never.

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