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Well, hello.

I see you’ve made your way over to my cozy little corner of the internet streets. 

Welcome.

My name is Andra Renee, but you might know me as @haircousin on Instagram where I’ve talked about all things simple Natural hair care, tight curl education, styling, cutting, and working in the salon for the last 3.5 years.

Allow me to introduce you to the person I’m becoming and invite you on my journey of exploring my curiosities, reclaiming my joy, and uncovering the magic that makes me uniquely and brilliantly me.

I’m eager to share with you all that I’m learning, experiencing, and unearthing as a 25-year-old living in the city of Chicago—which brings me to my intention for this space.

You can think of this blog as my online diary where I express my full self and openly share my process, my thoughts, my hopes, my fears, my gifts, and my treasures.

As a recent divorcée, not only have I lived with someone else for the last 25 years, I’ve never taken the time to get to know myself as an individual, apart from my relationships to other people and apart from all of my doing.

I’ve either been known as such and such’s daughter, granddaughter, and wife OR the scholar who always does excellent in school and will go on to do AMAZING things…not to mention a whole lot of other identities in between that’ve never accurately reflected my inner world.

And while none of those things are inherently bad, they haven’t allowed me to create my own identity or live as the most true version of me—so I decided to embark on the journey of naming myself for myself. (Did you catch the Lovecraft Country reference??)

One thing about me is I am VERY curious and always asking questions, so over the last few months, I’ve been getting to know myself by asking questions like:

“What do I like?”

“What do I want?”

“What does my soul want to experience?”

“What lights me up and makes me feel good?”

“What sounds, aromas, textures, flavors, and visuals make me feel at home in my body?

“What would it look like for me to live a joy-centered life instead of being obsessed with work, grind, and hustle?”

“What am I here to learn?”

And of course, “What brings me pleasure?”

Now, in order to let you in on the story behind title of this blog, let me share a definition of the word that I deeply resonate with:

pleas·ure

/ˈpleZHər/

noun

“enjoyment and entertainment, contrasted with things done out of necessity.”

Listen, I absolutely LOVE this definition because it captures the essence of where I am on my journey which is the opposite of all the obsessive rule-following I’ve been doing my entire life.

That being said, an essential part of my self-discovery process has been choosing to be honest about my Shoulds.

My “shoulds” are all of the standards in my life that I’ve worked tirelessly to live up to because someone else taught me to—whether that was my parents, teachers, church folks, or peers.

It’s all of the things I’ve done because I HAD to or I felt obligated to in order to make it in the world.

Well, little by little, everyday, I’m releasing my shoulds in exchange for this truth:

“There is no right way, there is only the way that’s right for me.”

I’m yearning to experience new people, new places, new connections, new feelings, new tempos, new flavors, new stories, and feel embodied through all of my senses and that is exactly what I’m choosing for myself.

My most recent and fascinating discovery has been realizing my “shoulds” are ALWAYS in direct opposition to my pleasure and self-trust.

And because I’m growing more and more aware of that, I’ve been giving myself permission to reject other people’s expectations (and even my own) when they don’t align with what brings me joy, satisfaction, peace, pleasure, and gratitude.

I’m doing things because I WANT to, because I desire to—and affirming that wants and desires aren’t things to be ashamed of, they’re to be owned and explored.

All of this to say, I wholeheartedly believe life is an opportunity for each and every one of us to experience more and more freedom of body, mind, and soul and The Pleasure Experiment is how I’m doing it.

Whether you’re in a similar place in your life or you just came to be nosey, I’m glad you’re here.

Let’s see where this journey takes us, shall we?

À la prochaine/Until Next Time,

A.