Brachymetatarsia: What is it?

Hi all!!!

Good morning and welcome back!

Today I wanted to update you on a condition I have had since I was in my mother’s womb. A hereditary condition called Brachymetatarsia.

What is Brachymetatarsia? According to Paleyinstitute.org, “Brachymetatarsia is a condition whereby one of the five metatarsal bones of the foot is abnormally short, resulting in a shortened toe…most commonly affects the fourth toe. If it affects more than one toe on the foot, it is termed brachymetapody.” Brachymetatarsia has a much higher prevalence in women than men, at a ratio of 25:1.

My Brachymetatarsia affected my 4th toe in my right foot(as shown below). I first noticed it when I was about 8 or 9 when I was playing barefooted and another kid pointed it out. I asked my family why I had it and they had no answers. The only people in my close, and extended, family to be affected by Brachymetatarsia are my little brother and I. I did not question it any further since no one had answers for me.

Brachymetatarsia of the fourth my 4th toe on my right foot.

Fast forward to when I was 14. I visited my pediatrician and she recommended waiting until I was done growing to give the toe the opportunity to grow into a full size before making any changes.

Well, that was hard because having ugly toes was starting to affect my confidence and self esteem. I never wore open toe shoes, sandals and flip flops were not shoes I ever thought I’d ever own. Sneakers and shoes that hid my affected toes were what I limited myself to. When I went to the beach I would bury my feet in the sand to avoid detection. Never played footsies with anyone.

I had a little bit of confidence in college and accepted my foot for what it was and surprisingly, no one gave me shit for it. That helped a little but I’d only ever take out my toes around my close friends. I once had someone ask me why I had only four toes on my right because they could not see the affected toe since it was so short. I laughed it off. We were in a group but the group already knew my condition, she was new to it. I could be mad or anything. I simply just explained to her and she never brought it up.

I am grateful for her. Because in that moment it showed that people are curious and sometimes they just need a quick education on the situation. I would be honest in saying I haven’t come across anyone who made fun of me for my foot. But that may also be because I was hiding them lol.

Come back for more updates on my condition. Are you affected by any condition you’d like people to be educated about? Let us know in the comments!

Brachymetatarsia surgery pre-op

First Week of 2021

Hi all!

So the first week of 2021 has been one heck of a week. But first, let’s make sure you are okay. How are you? How are you feeling?

I woke up this morning not knowing what I wanted to do. I did not update my planner for today so I guess I will be spending this morning just resting, which I have been doing a lot lately since I quit my full time job as a legal assistant. I unfortunately haven’t been feeling like myself (lol who am I?).

Well, since my morning is open I wanted to look back and reflect on how my 2020 went. The trials and tribulations of this year really stretched some of us to our breaking point in all aspects of our lives including health and finances.

2020 was a year I was hoping to accomplish many things. I wanted 2020 to be the year of traveling and building my business for me. Traveling abroad or just within the States. Sight seeing some mountains and foreign beaches is what I was looking forward to. But alas, the coronavirus shattered all of our plans. What we thought would be a one week at home to work is now turning into a year of hell.

The COVID-19 (Coronavirus) hit us like a brick. Just like the swine flu, it went global. The virus started from China but is unclear how it was contracted and spread to others. What we know though is that the virus was able to travel intercontinental. The virus is even in Antartica of all places!!! Italy took the hardest fall in the earliest stages of the virus spreading, killing off many of their older population and people with weak immune system. The rest of the world followed with their own sick and death toll charts.

In the US of A however, some of our dear citizens had the audacity to think the virus was a government ploy to take democracy and other nonsense away from America. As Americans we are so selfish and so individualistic that we just couldn’t fathom a virus is just a virus and that no one was out to get them. We lost so many lives this year alone to diseases and other factors, coupled with the outbreak of the virus and the world was taking a nosedive to hell.

How did the virus affect me?

I realized prior to corona I always wanted to work from home. When given the opportunity to do so though, I hated it. I enjoyed working for a few months from home. But since I had to work from my room, (which is also my oasis from negativity from work and outside world) I was stuck dividing my NYC tiny room between work and relaxing. It did not work for me. Under normal circumstances I wouldn’t be working from home as a legal assistant. But since there was a virus outbreak the situation became different.

Financially, I had full time job which I was immensely grateful for knowing not many people were able to keep their jobs. I was able to save some money and even purchased my second passenger car. This was not something I had planned but it happened and I could not pass up the opportunity.

I was also able to have a surgery I have always wanted to have since I was 14 on my foot (I had Brachymetatarsia on my 4th toe). I will update you on that in another post.

Every fiber of our beings changed in a course of a year from abnormal level of stress. And that is not taking into account those that passed due to the virus. After some time people just flat out did not believe the true risk of the virus. Our presidential administration was a joke and that is not just the presidential administration but the government in total. Yes, some of our officials actually cared about us but if commander in chief does not then there’s very little help our state officials can provide. We are currently in the 21st year of the century. Technologically speaking we have made plenty of advances but I thoroughly believe we care too much about the outside world (Space and aliens) and allocate more funds toward the health sectors. 2020 alone showed me how I’ll prepared we are for quite literally anything that affects our health. PPE supplies became political in a pandemic, like what??!?

Enough of my rant. How did your 2020 go? We’re you able to keep yourself afloat? How are your family and friends and how are you handling the current events? Let’s chat!

2020 was a B*tch!

Welllllll, It goes without saying 2020 was such a terrible year for all of us with the exception for the millionaires and billionaires. There were many deaths from both the virus and injustices. We cried our hearts out from lack of recognition from our governments and we continue to be on the last list of things our appointed representatives, including the president, care about – both in health, wealth and wellness.

I had promised to update the site did not keep up with my word… for that I am sorry. I have no other explanation other than I put other things before my blog. I have grown so much in between my last post and now.

I am formally back. I am sure you have heard enough news about 2020.

Let’s move forward.

-Hilary

The Side-Effects Of Relaxing Your Hair

PUT DOWN THAT CREAMY CRACK!

Trying to go natural but don’t really have reasons to out down that creamy crack called a relaxer? You need an intervention and I am so happy you decided to come to me because I will list the six main reasons why you should quit that creamy crack.

Growing up our mothers relaxed our hair to make it easier to deal with, not realizing the dangers they were putting us into by relaxing our hair. The relaxer straightens your hair, ridding your textured hair of all its glorious texture, it’s fine curves and kinks and coils. This was the acceptable form of our hair both by society and by our own standards.

The conversation about black hair is very controversial. From not being able to wear it in public to the styles being banned in schools. We have had to fight to be able to wear our natural hair how it grows from our scalp. Black women and their hair will always remain controversial. 

Relaxers were accidentally invented by an African American man named Garret Augustus Morgan. Mr. Morgan, was trying to find a way to ease the friction on his sewing machines in his tailors shop. The friction of the needles will often cause the furs of the coats he was repairing to be scorched. He applied the solution and notice that the furs were a lot straighter after the application of the chemical. Morgan then went to his neighbor and tried the solution on the dog’s fur. After running a few tests, he decided to test this solution on himself. When it worked, he quickly established the G.A Morgan Hair Refining Company and subsequently sold the cream to African Americans. Morgan went ahead and invented many more things that we still use till this day, example: gas mask. 

There are negative side effects to applying relaxers to your hair and scalp. Scalp burns and hair breakage are not the only things we need to know about when it comes to applying relaxers to our hair and scalp. below are 5 ways you can seriously damage your health by applying relaxers:


1. Breakage.

When we were little, the relaxers put into our hair made our hair so brittle and weak it never really grew past our shoulders. We often hear people say: “I had long as a child but my mother relaxed it and it broke” and since we don’t know any better, we continue the cycle well into adulthood. And our hair still do not grow past our shoulders. No need to wonder why it never grows past our shoulders. We all follow the golden rule of black hair: Wear a bonnet to sleep!!”. Though we do wear bonnets, our hairs still suffer. We can then safely say bonnets were not the problem.

2. Burns

When you usually apply a relaxer to your hair, a telltale sign that the product is ready to be washed of is signaled by a burning sensation on your scalp. It starts off as a tingling sensation, then the burning starts. If you are not quick enough to wash it out, it will burn your scalp! Leaving you with sores, scabs and tender scalp. Do not forget the scars it may leave after the sores starts healing. Yeah, you do not want to go through that.

3. Thinning Hair

Whenever you relax your hair, it thins out. Relaxers work by penetrating the cuticle and loosening the natural curl pattern of each strand. This will then leave the hair weak, dry and brittle, which eventually leads to breakage.

4. Dryness

The dryness you will experience is due to all the natural barriers of your hair being broken down. Relaxers basically erase your hair’s natural curl pattern and exposes your hair to the bare air. Your hair is now weak and brittle and cannot absorb and keep any of it moisture. The result is dry brittle hair breaking off at the slightest touch.

5. Reproductive Problems and Respiratory issues

It has been proven that the creamy crack can lead to Uterine Leiomyomata in African-American Women. Uterine Leiomyomata are tumors of the myometrium that are responsive to estrogens and progesterone. A study conducted in 2012 showed that African American women who used relaxers were at higher risk of Uterine Leiomyomata than those who did not. The type of relaxer you use is also very important as it was found that women who often used lye relaxers were at a much higher risk than those who did not. Lye relaxers contain sodium hydroxide, a chemical used in, and highly effective, commercial drain and oven cleaners, and soap and detergents. A 2013 study, also concluded that usage of chemical hair relaxers does cause adverse effects and is “not a myth.” – You might want to think twice about that before applying to your scalp. 

If you want to read more about the damaging effects of chemical relaxers, you can visit https://www.science.gov/topicpages/c/chemical+hair+relaxer. Here, you can find numerous articles about the effects.

Gapped Tooth Girl

Growing up, if someone doesn’t point out the difference in your physical feature, you’ll always think its normal until you grow old enough to notice them. Same with teeth. Especially when you have a gap in between your front teeth. 

Children’s teeth have gaps in them because as they grow, their jaws are getting bigger but their baby teeth stays the same causing some gaps in their teeth. As their baby teeth falls out, they start to grow their permanent teeth and those new growths fill in the gaps. This doesn’t always happen though. 

The gaps found in adult teeth, also known as diastemas and can be found in the upper or lower front teeth and sometimes in both. Though we see many people without these gaps, know that having them does not mean there is anything wrong with you and that it is an absolutely normal occurrence. But I do agree there is a stigma around gapped teeth. Some find it very ugly and people even go as far as making fun of people with gapped teeth. We therefore develop insecurities around our gapped teeth and what ends up happening is, we close them either as kids or as adults.

See, growing up in Ghana my aunts and uncles always adored my gap. To them, it was a sign of beauty but to me, it was ugly. I always wondered why I had it and no one else in my family did. I would see people on TV and instantly gravitate toward their teeth. I would see how straight, white and perfect they are and wish I was like them. Magazines always showed models with teeth as white as pearls with matching chiseled faces and they were instantly god’s and goddesses. I would read through these magazines and instantly wish my gap was not there. I would pray to God to close my gap before I woke up the next morning. 

The gap, in some cultures, are considered the epitome of beauty. In Ghana and Nigeria, they are signs of royalty. Too bad they don’t teach us this when we are young. We see the people on TV and their pearly whites. After watching so many “perfect” people on TV, I began to compare myself to them. I always looked at their teeth first and I started hating my gap, then other parts of my body. I began to internalize the idea that if I don’t look like the Barbie doll my mother bought me or the girl with straight, white, and most importantly, gapless teeth on TV, then I won’t be considered beautiful. I had the white and straight part down. I just needed that ugly gap in between my teeth gone! It makes me look and feel ugly.

I remember at the age of 12 years old i asked to go see the dentist because I wanted to close my gap. My dad looked at me and asked if it was absolutely necessary to close the gap. I insisted it was absolutely necessary. But thank goodness we were poor!! We couldn’t afford braces and insurance wouldn’t cover it because “mY tEetH wErE alrEaDy StRaiGHt”. We couldn’t afford the Invisilign or any other cosmetic procedures.

I was stuck with ugly thing forever!

I was forced to accept my gap and move through life. I went to school and events as usual but my insecurities about my gap affected the way I smile. I never showed my teeth. I would always give a shy smile and when I laughed out loud, I would cover my mouth. I did this throughout high school and college. I would be told I have a beautiful smile and instantly offer rebuttal as to why it is not “beautiful “. It’s a smile, but not a beautiful one.

Little by little, I noticed there were more people on TV starting to look like me. They had gaps!! One of the first celebrities I saw with a gap on TV was As Uzo Aduba (Crazy Eyes from OITNB). In an interview she did with NBCNews, Uzo described begging her mother for braces. Her mother, just like my dad, declined her request for braces. Instead, she sat her down and explained to her the beauty in her gap.

Another notable celebrity with a gap on TV is Michael Strahan. When I first saw this man I had no idea what to think. I just said to myself, BOY!! HE IS BOLD!!. Michael is a retired pro football player who went on to co-host and was, for four years, the co-host of LIVE! With Kelly and Michael until his departure in 2016. When asked why he did not close his gap his answer was no matter how flawed his smile was by Hollywood standards, it is as much a part of his identity as his football career. 

How can we ever forget the one and only: MIKE TYSONNNNN

Mike Tyson, with his extensive history in the boxing ring and Hollywood, still refused to close his gap. Why is that? He did not care what Hollywood or anyone had to say about it.

I learned from these three and many more that I need to accept myself and my gap first because it may not be Hollywood’s standard but they are mine. My gap may be ugly to some but they are not living with it and my gap is rather different. My family tried to tell me it was beautiful but all I could focus on was how ugly it looked just because I was comparing myself to those on television. Everyone has that unique thing about them and I choose to accept my gap and enjoy its uniqueness.