one of the first things people tell you when you start your loc journey is there will be some bad days and some good days. you will question your decision multiple times as you go through stages of itchy scalp, dull hair, uncontrollable frizzies, and a host of other things based on the length, thickness, and texture of your hair when you start your locs. i heard all those words and internalized them, but i was not prepared for my locs to make me feel so damn unpretty.
But if you can’t look inside you
Find out who am I too
Be in the position to make me feel so
seriously, for the last few days i’ve ben staring in the bathroom mirror asking myself where did i go wrong. i looked like a struggle scarecrow with the tiny, tightly coiled starter locs springing from my scalp. don’t get me wrong, i’m all about the journey. but the more i thought about it, the more i disliked my locs.
i know you’re not supposed to compare your loc journey to someone else. this process is all about learning to accept and love yourself. these are two areas i don’t tend to struggle in regularly. i can honestly say i am absolutely in love with who i am and how that shows up in real life. i’m a work in progress, but i tend to not let external things affect how i feel about myself. i love me regardless. me as a child was a hot mess of low self-esteem. me as an adult woman is dope af..
so it was really hard for me to reconcile these feels i experienced when i looked in the mirror. and it wasn’t so much staring at my face in the mirror as much as it was taking selfies of the back of my head. let me explain. i have thinner hair. most people don’t believe me because my hair gives the illusion of being thick. it’s not. at all. so, when my stylist and i talked about installing my locs, we decided pencil-width would be good. that turned out to mean i would have less locs because my hair is just not that thick. the first few days i didn’t really mind the number of locs on my head. my hair is almost bra length (damn you shrinkage) so the hang time was good and i had a good number of locs.
but then i committed the cardinal sin of going on youtube and suddenly the stars in my sky collided and crashed to earth. compared to many of the people documenting their loc journeys for the world to see, i discovered my loc count was on the low end. yes, people count their locs. i only counted mine because i realized my locs didn’t look as full as others. now, this goes back to the whole don’t compare your journey to someone else because there are so many factors at play. many of those i have already mentioned. i had about 68 locs on my head. most people were sharing they had at least 120. that was almost double what i was working with! so i started searching the interwebs to find out a good number to start. my biggest concern though was would i have enough locs to allow for the versatility in style that i desired. that number turned out to be at least 100.
ya’ll know i can’t stand combing my hair. once my locs are mature, please trust and believe i will still be in my stylist’s chair every three to four weeks getting my hair did. ain’t nothing changing there. going to the salon is an important step in my self-care routine. so if my locs didn’t help me achieve my desired goal, would the journey have been pointless?
i was three weeks into the transition when i finally trusted my gut feelings, when i listened to my truth, and talked to my stylist. i told her how concerned i was that i just didn’t have enough locs. i didn’t want to question her judgment because she knows my hair as well as i do. she laughed at my scarecrow characterization, but she immediately gave me instructions to untwist my starter coils, wash and condition my hair, and come back wednesday for us to retwist them smaller. she even said she wouldn’t charge me to retwist. she wanted me to love my locs and feel comfortable with them so she had no problem starting over.
starting over. there is a saying in the fitness world that goes, if you don’t want to keep starting over, stop quitting. that makes sense, right? of course, you can’t make it to the finish line if you have to keep going back to the beginning. because i don’t like to quit things i’ve started, i really struggled with making this decision to start over. i thought it meant rejecting my particular loc journey; that i wasn’t embracing the lessons of loving myself completely. it was really messing with my head.
but one day i decided enough was enough. first, there is nothing wrong with starting over! when you realize something isn’t working on your current course, the wisest thing you can do is admit it and change. the sooner you do that the better. thankfully, i was able to silence the voices of others in the loc community and listen to my own voice. part of loving yourself completely is trusting and heeding your voice. ya’ll know i love to talk, but it’s not just talking. listening to your voice is granting yourself the freedom and courage to speak truth from your depths. that voice doesn’t have to sound like everyone around you, but it must be authentically yours.
for me, this loc journey so far has not been about the looks so much as it has been about trusting my voice and then speaking. this is my loc journey. mine alone. if i’m not comfortable or happy with it, then i’ve already missed an opportunity to fully embrace the journey.
i can’t tell you how good it felt to untwist my hair last night. nothing in this life is permanent; not even death. we always have the choice to start over. we always have the freedom to listen to our voice. we always have the opportunity to speak our truth. it might not be easy, and it might not be popular, but it is always an option.
to all my loc’d sistahs who have offered their support and love as i’ve started this journey, thank you so much! your words of encouragement have meant so much to me. i had to draw from them as i wrestled with making my decision to start over, but at the end of the day, when i looked at your pictures on the book of faces and saw the other side of your journey i realized that i needed peace at the start to experience joy at the end.
i’m looking forward to next wednesday when we do this all over again. locing my hair definitely feels like one of my best decisions. i’m happy to share it with nicole and marshae and latisha who are fairly new in their journey. and i’m over the moon to join the ranks of some of the most powerful, accomplished, black-girl-magic-displaying women on the planet who rock their locs like a queen rocks her crown.
I was told I was beautiful
But what does that mean to you
Look into the mirror who’s inside there
The one with the long hair
Same old me again today