I once had a conversation with my sister about how I envious I was that she and my mom used to go to the beauty salon together when we were younger. We are 10-years apart, and I was “too young” to go with them. I remember being 5 years old and waiting in the car with my father every Saturday while my mother and sister got their hair done.
I always thought that one day, when I was old enough, I would have the chance to go to the hair salon with my mom, too. However, when I got older, my mom started transitioning back to having natural hair – this was well before the natural hair phenomenon – and going to the salon every week wasn’t a priority anymore. As a result, I spent all of those hours that I thought would have been in a salon at home getting box braids or cornrows from family friends.
While the other girls in school were getting their hair relaxed and wrapped, my natural hair was either pulled up in a bun or braided. My friends would have hair styles that I wanted but couldn’t afford and I always felt that my hair didn’t look good enough.
I ended up relaxing my hair at the end of eighth grade, but it still didn’t look like all the other girls’ hair. It lacked body and I didn’t know what to do with it. I got what I wanted but I felt as though I was back to square one. Once again, I spent most of my teenage years with my hair pulled back in bun or in box braids.
In college, I got a job and could I finally afford to get my hair done on a regular basis. Not too long after, however, I decided to go natural and I kept my hair in braids to grow out the relaxer in my hair. For the last 15-years, hardly anyone has seen my natural hair. Managing it has been a life-long struggle and an issue that constantly provokes anxiety in me.
For years, I’ve wanted to loc my hair although several people in my life steered away from doing it, including my mother. She was worried about how I would be perceived by society because there are so many stereotypes surrounding them - people with locs are considered to be dirty or criminals. However, as I braided and unbraided my hair over years, I’ve always gone back to that innate desire to loc my hair.
I believe that locs are beautiful, and there are so many different ways you can style your hair with locs! I felt that this was what I needed to do to finally gain the confidence that I so badly needed when it came to my hair.
I scheduled and canceled and scheduled and cancelled so many loc appointments over the years, unable to fully commit to my decision. Finally, after having a conversation with my family during a holiday vacation, I decided I was going to do it! I follow several locticians on Instagram, so I picked one in my area and started a conversation with her. I explained my fears and laid out my expectations – she really listened to everything that I had to say and was open and honest with me. I felt comfortable!
I scheduled my appointment and didn’t tell anyone. I felt that I lived with hair insecurity long enough and I wanted to make a decision for myself without anyone else impacting it. When the day arrived, I was nervous, but ready! I felt that it was time for me to finally have the hair I’ve wanted for so long. The process took a few hours, but I was more than satisfied with the results.
It took many years, but I finally got it right. I love my hair and I’m happy I started my locing journey. This process taught me that I should trust myself. I knew all along what I wanted and how I wanted to present myself to the world. Yet I listened to everyone else’s opinions and internalized my insecurities. I’ve learned that following your own path is never wrong. Not every decision leads to a desired outcome but there is value in all the leaps of faith we take.