Midnight. After a night of fashion partying with the gays, my good friend Jon Valdez came back to my place. OH EM GEE! He’s a big furry care bear from Texas who wears bow ties and blogs about celebs and OM EM GEE-ness at OrangeJuiceandBiscuits.com, homegirl making it happen in the glorious land of New York City.
I fed him dinner (the Michelle Joni Crispy Ham, Avocado, Sunny-Side Up Egg and Multi-Cheese Sandwich Special), we hung out for a bit, and then after catching up on dreams, passions, careers and Britney Spears, we decided it’d be a fun activity to see how my outfit that night would have looked with the fro. To see how that one accessory would magically change the entire aesthetic. And to document it, of course.
I hopped on my bed first for some blondie poses. WHEEE! A spontaneous fashion shoot begins in one of my favorite places on earth – my bed! You should know: I believe ONLY in spontaneous photo shoots.
I love taking pictures but I also love being photographed. I want the camera to keep snapping and snapping and snapping and snapping. It’s an invigorating and empowering feeling, knowing that your movements and expressions will not pass you by – they will be frozen in time for you to reminisce later. You can relive. You can speculate. You can edit down.
It’s also an extraordinary exhibit of vulnerability to be photographed. Letting loose to melt into the most relaxed and natural poses your body knows. To know that the person on the other end of the lens is very aware of your movements, your awkwardness, your energy; what is sexy and what is unnatural; flattering versus fattening. Whatever is being captured is transparently YOU. To accept and be comfortable with that is to be very courageous.
I believe everyone should push past their comfort zone and try it – for their own mental and emotional growth. Vulnerability is sexy.
AND THEN: Through the loose lips of my quippy Texan bloggity bug came the words: “It’s like, before and afro.”
Whoah. I shuttered. Did he just say BEFORE…
My heart skipped, skipped a beat. It was genius. My mind immediately jetted to the reoccurring craving I’d been mulling over all summer long: The ravenous desire to start blogging again.
There was the self-photography tumblr I almost started in June. In July there was that other grand master tumblr plan to revive Devil Sticks from the nineties. I realized now the ideas weren’t bad, they just weren’t ripe. They were fragments, waiting to be pieced together at the absolute perfect time.
It had been three years since my last personal blogging stint/stunt… and I knew it, I just knew it. This was next.
The afro (and the events and happenstance surrounding it) had changed my life in just a matter of weeks. I had a new whole new understanding of myself. New eyes looking both outwards and inwards. YES, the afro absolutely deserved to be the central gravitational theme of my life story!
Hit the Macbook, GoDaddy-it rapid fire, beforeandafro.com… OH EM GEE it’s available!!! How is this possible!?
Jon tried to talk me out of it. “You are going to run a blog called ‘before and afro?’ This is the kind of thing people wake from the morning after and think, WTF did I smoke last night?”
Nevermind your jibber jabber! To be fair, he didn’t know the whole backstory. And yeah, it is a lil bit kray kray. But my mind was made up.
I bought it immediately, hugging and squeezing it in my mind, knowing this was the start of something amazing—an insanely honest dialogue between me and myself.
My kooky, afro-wearing, devil stick playing, narcissistic photo-obsessed self.
With so many befores in life… everything’s an afro.
Dress: Vintage, from Beatnix in Boystown, Chicago. Got this slouchy slice of beaded amazingness about a month ago, and this was my first night out in it. Ain’t nothing like the first wear, baby!
Purple headscarf: Vintage, from Mom or Grandma, or pulled from some big silk scarf impulse box near the thrift store checkout, or from whoever happened to leave the scarf at my place, bequeathing it to me at some unknown point in our past. Whoever or whatever it was, thanks! This was my first time wearing that, too.
Photography (and geniusness!) by Jonathan Valdez. Love you pookie!
PS. Which is better with this outfit: Blonde or Afro!?