Choosing To Love My Hair
Why did I decide to start my locs? It is pretty simple. Like many Black girls and women across the diaspora, my hair and I have always had a love-hate relationship. If I’m honest, I hated my hair most of the time. I had a dislike for my hair because I did not know how to manage it. I hated that it did not have a natural straight texture.
Having hair that wasn’t naturally straight meant dealing with the smell of relaxers, remembering to apply globs of Vaseline along my edges to protect my skin. It also meant being cautious to avoid burning my ears with straightening combs and flat irons. Additionally, the fact that no one in my proximity knew what to do with their hair did not help in my journey to embrace and appreciate my hair.
So, I had no one to teach me what to do and, most importantly, how to love what grew from my scalp. During that time, wigs were commonly associated with older women, while weaves were considered more suitable for younger individuals. If you didn’t glue in your weave or slick your hair back into a weave ponytail with the Snookie bump, you were likely to face ridicule.
Wearing a ponytail was considered the only acceptable way to show your curl pattern. Having a wave effect at the roots of your ponytail meant you had the “good” kind of curls that we saw on celebrities like Jennifer Freeman and Christina Milian. I can still see my friend’s puffy ponytails that reminded me of a rabbit’s tail. I used to envy my big sister for having wavy hair.
Although she wore her hair straight, she never relaxed her hair due to its loose texture. She was the first flat-iron natural I had ever met. I remember how hurt we all felt when her stylist convinced her to relax her hair in order to maintain the shortcut that made her look like Rihanna. However, it wasn’t my sister who convinced me to embrace being a flat-iron natural.
When I went natural, it wasn’t because of a desire to love my curls. My beautician promised me she could make my hair twice as flat using her flat iron technique at half the price. I kept my hair straightened for years until I moved to a small town in California for university, where there was no one available to style my hair.
If you ever went natural, you know it’s not as easy as it seems when you do your first “wash ’n’ go” by literally washing your hair, going out, and then feeling disappointed when your hair doesn’t turn out like the hairstyles you see on YouTubers. It can be exhausting to be dissatisfied with an aspect of yourself, so I was fed up with it. The year before I decided to start my loc journey, I was suffering from significant hair loss in the back of my head.
I assumed it was from over-styling my hair with braided extensions, sew-ins, and crochet styles. To top it off, I was stressed out from the pandemic, moving abroad, and the feeling of missing my family. So, I left my hair alone and opted to style it in mini braids, using only my natural hair. I focused on basic care and maintenance. Over the past four years, I had been contemplating whether to start my loc journey.
I would often talk myself out of it due to my love of a good weave. However, when I saw myself in mini braids, it ignited a desire for locs. Still, I convinced myself to wait through one more holiday in one of my usual signature styles. During Christmas 2021, I wore a chestnut wavy bob wig, and I felt miserable throughout the entire time. It was at that moment when I knew I was ready to start my loc journey.
Upon returning home from vacation, I decided to wear my afro out on a dinner date as a farewell to my hair in its current state. The next morning, I washed my loose hair one final time. In the following days, I focused on preparing my hair for the upcoming journey. The excitement I felt and the support from my family helped dispel any lingering doubts I had.
I decided to start my locs with two-strand twists and random parting. I have not regretted my decision ever since. On days when I long for my loose hair, I look in the mirror and remind myself of how amazing my hair looks now. I feel both beautiful and unique. I am not sure how long I will continue my loc journey, but for now, Olivia (my hair) is here to stay.
Thank you for taking the time to read my post. I would love to read your thoughts and feedback in the comment section. If you found this post enjoyable, I invite you to visit my Pinterest for your daily source of inspiration. If you are feeling bold, check out my nighttime musings as a poetess. Join me there for a world of creative ideas and captivating content.