My Locs Helped Me Find Myself
While I will never regret starting locs, I'd be lying to you if I told you it was a simple decision.
It all started 20 years ago, when as a little girl I saw my older cousin at a family function. He had these beautiful, braid-like things on his head. I asked my mom what they were. Could I get my hair like that?
My mom said, "NO WAY!" You see, I had thick, beautiful, straight (from chemical perms) hair -- which is prized in the African-American community. Even when I turned 18 and decided I still wanted locs, my mom wasn't a fan of the idea. As a momma's girl, I highly value my mom's opinion, so going natural and growing locs was a major decision to make, considering that I didn't exactly have her cheering me on.
I can't put it all on her, though. At 18, I loved my thick, straight, shoulder-length hair. As a dark-skinned girl who often didn't feel pretty because of my skin, I guess I'd say my hair was my badge of honor and main source of self-esteem. When I went off to college, I decided that I would not perm my hair; I would start locs when I came home for the Christmas holiday.
Well, let me tell you, that didn't happen! Instead, I went months without a perm, flat-ironing my hair and wearing it in braids. But as soon as I came home for the holidays, I went to my beautician (who refused to do natural hair) and got a perm. I was addicted to the perms: "the creamy crack."
I left the salon thinking my silky straight hair was fabulous, but a week later regretted my decision. I went back to college with my mind made up to not get a perm -- but I failed again, partially because I didn't know what to do with my hair or who to go to for professional help.
Nonetheless, by the end of that semester, I was wearing braids. I came home, found a salon that specialized in natural hair, and began a six-month journey of growing out my natural hair. There were a lot of naysayers, but I was extremely proud of myself for sticking to it. On January 19, 2005 I went to the salon, had the permed hair cut off, walked around with an afro for a few hours, and my loc journey officially began! honestly haven't looked back since.