This post is going to be in two parts. First, the backstory... and there's a lot of it. Then a 2nd post with pictures of the "journey".
So. I promised myself I would begin this journey probably sometime during the summer. I told my (then) boyfriend - we're not together anymore - first, then trickled down the list of closest friends Nana and then of course, facebook. I had decided that the next stage in my journey of growth would be to get rid of my locs that I'd been growing since sometime near Valentine's Day, 2005. However, I would not be cutting them off. I would be UNLOCKING them.
First the outrage came lol. Comments like WHYYYYYYY and NOOOOOOO etc, etc. Then came folks forbidding me to take down my locs and folks who thought I would be getting a perm. I had to reassure everyone that I'm natural for life... and explain what I would be doing, and why.
It's actually pretty simple. The purpose is to be moving into a new stage in life and the next stage of me. I had had these locs for 7 years. For anyone who knows me anywhere near personally - which few people actually do because I'm just not the type to whine and complain and make myself the victim, etc etc but that's another story for another time - they know at least a morsel of what I mean when I say I HAVE BEEN THROUGH A LOT over the last now 8 years pretty much. One could actually stretch it out to probably a good 10 or more years, in fact or 15. I won't go into the grand details of all the main things that have made my life growing up tumultuous but I will highlight that what caused the most turmoil over the last 8 years or at least since I left home in Newark, NJ to go to college - as the 3rd person to ever attempt to do so and yet the 2nd to do so at a top tier Division I university - at Boston College in 2004 was drama with my biological parents, drama with relationships, family members and myself falling ill from time to time and close loved ones passing away. And yes, you read it right. I got here in 2004... and I'm still here finishing the same degree. So if that's any indication of the craptasticness that's occurred since me being here, then imagine as much as you'd like. Let me just say that for the majority of my life thus far, my parents have been batshit crazy. I grew up one of those kids caught between "family" disputes because my parents were teenagers who had no business doing WHATEVER they were doing and I ended up being raised by my grandparents - again, a story for another time - and there's also all the child support business involved which in and of itself is extremely hairy because my father also owed tens of thousands in arrears because he was a vagrant drug addict till I was about 15 and just an all around deadbeat douche. And then there's my mom who I love with all my heart but my entire life she's been crazy as a bag of cats and vindictive as hell and purposely sabotaged shit while I was in school (and I'm going to leave it at that). Most of that mess I would have never had to deal with if it had not been for the requirements for filing for financial aid... having to use your "custodial" parents' tax information. Apparently, my grandparents never had custody of me. Ohhhhh joy.
So in brief, hella drama with my parents - which actually became a brawl almost to the death between my mother and I, once - that almost drove me insane, court appearances that got so frequent that school administration gave me a leave of absence for nearly two years after my first junior year in college, faculty at BC and North Star Academy (my high school alma mater) assisting me with those court appearances and even testifying - shoutout to Dan Bunch, Mr. Kendis and Mr. V - on my behalf, my final EMANCIPATION from my parents leaving me as an independent student and person altogether, having to always work to support myself because I had no other support - not even gonna go into how ridiculous the child support shit was because even when it was coming, my mother would keep it on purpose -, having built up a life and credit for myself only for my parents' bullcrap to tear it all back down and throw me into huge debt, having periodic illnesses some of which the doctors still have no idea what they were and being left with the medical bills for all the testing for them, shitty boyfriends one of which was sexually abusive and a few of which were psychologically abusive, watching my grandfather who raised me as his own both develop and die from an extremely rare, aggressive cancer, and the same for my uncle and other grandfather, all who helped raise me as their own being more father figures than my actual father ever had.......
THERE WAS A LOT OF SHIT TIED UP IN THIS HAIR! I'd experienced ALL THAT and then some in 7 years. Even an aborted pregnancy.
I'm one of those folks who believes that my energy and the energies of all that I experience is tied up in everything that is in, on and grows out of my body. To that end, I needed to get rid of all that dead hair that contained all that dark energy. I have grown into a place where I am much more stable, have rebuilt almost entirely and have grown TREMENDOUSLY as a wombman! I have grown politically, emotionally, spiritually and many other ways. I have "changed religions" so to speak... tons of things. I was allowed to come back to BC to finally get my degree and this is my final semester. Senior year.... FINALLY! I am an entrepreneur at Omo Oshun Ewa and community organizer among other things. Also, my personal relationship with my biological parents - whereas other folks probably would have given them their ass to kiss after all that - has become much more healthy. That was more-so for myself than for either of them. It will always be a work in progress.
So... down to the "how"... Because after all, you clicked this to learn about HAIR. Not my damn life story LOL! But I didn't want to cut my hair... it had become "my Samson" as I called it. I wanted to experience my hair!!!! My entire life I was a victim of that self-hate that we've been taught as African people, descendants of slaves and all of that, about our own self image. Black women like me my entire life told me about how horrible my hair is. I remember my Nana combing, detangling and pressing it when I was little. She insisted it stay natural. My mother took it upon herself to perm it anyway and the rest is history. So most of my life, my hair's been permed, braided, cut or loc'd. I have never truly known my hair.
I had known since high school that it could be done, just not how practically. A younger teacher in my high school - who never taught my grade - had locs once, while teaching there. I wanted them too at that time but my family being how they are and my grandmother being how she is, that was NOT an option. But I saw Ms. Stoudemire comb her locs out one by one over the course of however many days. So remembering that, and researching the process on youtube and google for weeks and weeks, I decided to finally do it. And I would do it over Xmas break. But I started it actually sometime shortly after New Years because I was tied up doing other things.... and now, a little over a month later my hair is finally free!