Loc’d and Loaded

Why worship a god in a perm box when a God grows from my head in curly knots, I do not dread my dreads….” -Shelby Birch

I am a DREADHEAD.

Ya know, it took me years  to even claim a statement as bold as this one. Like many young  black girls, I hated my hair. I hated everything about it. I hated the thickness, the coarseness and its shortness -wishing that maybe *just maybe* by seventh grade I could have long luscious hair like Ariel from The Little Mermaid and whip it back and forth just to show off the inches.

Yes, my first #hairgoals were from an indecisive and naive fish girl

giphy (11)

I detested the grooming process. The combing the brushing the washing the pulling the cutting the screaming the yelling the groaning the moaning the “Sit still!” the “But it hurts, mommy!” the pain the cries the frustration the broken self esteem.

And just when I thought I could catch a little break….

My mom would gently and mercifully apply either Sulfur 8 or Blue Magic hair grease onto my oh so tender scalp….then ruin the moment when she ripped open my hair with 2 inches of new growth that was in dire need of a relaxer with that wicked orange rat tail comb.


Am I right, Kerry?

Kerry Meme


 I’ve gone through many different hairstyles over the years. Let’s stroll down memory lane for a sec:

The Bob and Bang (circa 2009)
The Bob and Bang (circa 2009)
The Weave/Braids (circa 2009)
The Weave/Braids (circa 2009)
pixie
The Pixie Cut (circa 2010)
The Fro – Big Chop Part 1 (circa 2010)
The “laid to the gods” Keratin Treatment that I DO NOT recommend for naturals (Circa 2011)
The TWA (tweeny weeny afro) - Big Chop Part 2 (circa 2012)
The TWA (tweeny weeny afro) – Big Chop Part 2 (circa 2012)

Side Note:


The most beautiful thing about black hair is its versatility. We are able to transform our hair into limitless creations that challenge and change the discourse of the beauty ideal. We are constantly evolutionizing and revolutionizing our hair by establishing the latest trends that is mimicked then appropriated by pop culture. Black hair is ALWAYS good hair and should not be viewed as anything less.


Amandla Stenberg can break this down further with her must watch video “Dont Cash Crop On My Cornrows.” Also, read about Zendaya Coleman’s genius response to Guilana Rancic who criticized her for wearing faux locs. 

{ Loc(s)/Lock(s) is  an alternative term for dreadlock(s) that refers to the process of hair coiling  into fused units to obtain its thick strand-like shape. Some prefer this term over “dreadlocks” in attempts to eradicate its negative connotation. I use these interchangeably, so do not get confused. All terms are okay with me}.

Now why did I loc my hair, you ask?  Simply put, I always knew I wanted them. Although I received my first relaxer in elementary school, I always had this fascination with natural hair. I was an unconventional child who enjoyed art, poetry and people who looked interesting. And sure enough, a lot of these people rocked this eclectic  hairstyle. Seeing how  hair could grow so long and look so beautiful increased my slight obsession (okay let’s be real…MAJOR obsession) with this look. Also, my aunt rocked this hairstyle for years and admittedly, I always wanted to look like her (S/O to Auntie Jenny for being da real MVP). My mom eventually loc’d up too, which basically solidified what I wanted to do. Now I know what you’re thinking:

“So, you only got dreads to look cool….”

giphy

No lol. I got dreadlocs because I wanted a new identity that I could be proud of. I wanted to look in the mirror and LOVE myself. To  love what I looked like in the most purest and natural form. Most women are afraid to admit that they feel that their hair makes or breaks their beauty. For some it does, and to each is own. But having locs taught me five things about myself:

  1. It builds character
  2. I had to grow to accept my God given genetics
  3. Confidence is everything
  4. As my hair evolved, so did I
  5. Dreadlocs is not  just a hairstyle… It’s a lifestyle.

Yea, when I first got my locs I was getting ZERO LOVE. Some said I looked like a dude. Some said I needed to comb them out. You be the judge:

dreads

But whatever the case, I held strong because I knew what I wanted for myself. People tend to forget that we’re constantly changing our identifies and self perceptions. My locs are a tangible and figurative  measurement of the inner and outward growth of this journey I’m (still) taking to discover myself and purpose. I’m not the same person I was 2 1/2 years ago, and my hair can attest to that.

I used to hate my hair. I hated everything about it. But now I can’t help but to LOVE it. I’m more than connected to it. It’s fascinating and versatile (emphasis on versatile) and funky and jazzy and dope and different and ethnic and  unique and historic. There aren’t too many people that look like me in the media. To be young, black, woman AND dreadheaded in the same body is overwhelming and sucky at times. But I’m going to be that representative for someone that looks just like me one day…and I’m looking forward to when that time comes. I may not be Ariel from The Little Mermaid, but in the next five years I’ll definitely have some inches on me.

Then no one can tell me nothin’

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