Starting Your Dreams Later In Life and Embracing the Detour

Jenee Darden speaking at Creative Mornings I know it's been a while since I've posted anything but that's because of my job. I'm working as a reporter covering Oakland and I host an arts segment on the radio where I get to interview amazing artists from around the Bay Area. Plus I'm publicizing my book  and building my speaking career!  You know what's funny? I thought this would all happen by the time I was 27-30.  Nope. That wasn't God's plan for me. I'm finally beginning to do the things I've wanted to do and I'm almost 40 years old. Some people reading this who are 40 will say 40 is still young. But some younger people reading may think 40 is nearly ancient. But I'm writing this post for those who like me, thought their career and personal dreams would come true much early in life. I'm here to tell you not to give up.  You know, death inspires life. A number of my relatives and friends have passed away, ranging in

Natural Hair and the Spa Experience

I had the best spa experience in my life so far. And it was mainly due to putting my straightening comb on sabbatical and went natural.  My life has been far from a crystal stair lately.  When someone treated me to a free massage anywhere of my choice, I booked an appointment at The Claremont Hotel in Berkeley with the quickness. My mind and body were crying out for some calm and release.  I’ve been to spas and enjoyed my experiences, before but this time was different. I packed a bathing suit in my tote bag and nothing else. No comb, doo rags, hair gel, grease, scruniches, brush or shower caps. Nope. Just my bathing suit and a worry-free hair attitude. 

I arrived to the gorgeous hotel and walked downstairs to a paradise of white terry cloth robes and cucumber water.  My massage was heavenly. I got the full body treatment. The masseuse massaged my scalp and I didn’t care. A few years ago I would have been concerned about her lavender-oiled hands messing up my straightened hair. I didn’t care this time and let her fingers rub through my fro. I think her hands got stuck in my kinks a few times, LOL. Hey it is what it is.  I don’t recall my scalp ever being massaged.  My God it felt goooooood. 

Next stop was the steam room. In my pressing days, I wrapped a towel around my head and stayed in the steam room for a few minutes.  I’ve always liked steam rooms but didn’t want to risk my straightened hair, that I spent $50 on at the salon, getting nappy. So I deprived myself of a simple pleasure.  Ahh, but it’s a new day.  I reclined on the stone tile steps in the steam room and loved every sweaty second.  The only towel I used in the room was to sit on.  Black natural hair loves water. My hair embraced the moisture and my skin left with a priceless glisten.

I put on my swimsuit and simmered in the whirlpool.  No black scarf on my head. No shower cap. My hair was out, wild and free.  But the best moment of the day, the moment I gave God a “thank you” was when I bathed in a majestic 6-head shower.  I turned on the ceiling dome head and warm water gently rained on me. There was no way in hell I would have done that a year ago. No way.  I spent at least 20 minutes in the shower, occasionally twirling under water drops.  I felt free and at peace.  A year ago I would have walked away from that shower, with a plastic cap on my head a little disappointment because I couldn’t enjoy the full experience.  God forbid I spend 20 minutes in a shower getting my hair wet, only to spend a couple of hours washing, blow drying, pressing and flat ironing it again.  Thankfully, I have freed my mind and hair.

I floated out of the Claremont Hotel that day worry free, smelling of lavender and a little ashy.  Next time I’ll pack body lotion in my tote and conditioner for co-washing in the shower.  Spas are meant to be relaxing.  My past hair worries took away from the full, relaxing experience. Ahhh, but it’s a new day for me.


  1. I went natural two years ago, and boy is it LIBERATING!!! You get rid of so much stuff, and your hair becomes healthier as a result. At least that's been my experience.

    Now, I've not had a spa treatment like that in some time, so you've encouraged me to book a visit. That shower sounds like heaven, and the steam room sounds even heavenlier(?) for my scalp.

    The joys of being natural. Is this something you're considering?

  2. Hi Amaya,
    I went natural last year which is why my recent spa experience was so amazing. I didn't have to worry about my hair. I agree that going natural has been liberating and my hair is full and healthy. :)

  3. I so agree! I am natural and love the freedom my hair brings- I don't mind when it rains or if it too breezy outside and I love going to the spa for massages or facials which are even more enjoyable because my hair is not an issue. I am planning on going for a 'Shirodarhar' (spelling?) experience next which involves a steady stream of warmed oil being poured onto your forehead. It soaks into your hair and of course it's massaged in I believe. I have always wanted to try it but was put off by all that oil in my hair; now I will consider it a pre-shampoo hot oil treatment, lol!

  4. Lilli,

    I looked up "Shirodhara" because I was curious. I saw the explanation on this site

    It's an ancient treatment from India to help relieve stress, anxiety, depression or insomnia. Like you said, they pour oil on your forehead, then it runs through your hair and you're given a scalp massage. Girl, 2 years ago there is no way in the world I would've considered this. LOL That would've been too much oil for my hair! But it's a new day for both of us. Enjoy your hot oil treatment (wink, wink) and let me know how it went. I want to try it.

    A Shirodhara sounds more like a hair relaxer than that creamy stuff burning up black women's scalp. LOL

  5. LOVE this blog post, lady you are my neighbor (San Francisco). Bookmarked and linked!

    Have you tried Elisas hot tubs on Noe at 24th...private outdoor hottub and wooden enclosed sauna...heaven for those time when you want to steam with conditioner. Again, thanks for the great blog post I am going to link it on one of my FB pages. Peace!

    1. Hi Dee Dee,
      i'm now seeing this comment. I have not tried Elisas but I will keep it on my short list. Glad you liked the post. And I love what you're doing with your website.


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