I knew I was over my locs way before I cut them.
I truly believe that the universe has a way of expediting a decision when we’re putting something off and after almost of decade of rocking the style, it became clear to me that I had reached the end of this particular journey with my hair.
Living in New York exposed me to all of my insecurities. Existing within this melting box of cultural exchange allowed me witness all of the varieties of beauty that my Southern/Midwestern roots deprived me of.
In both South Carolina and Indiana, there were two types of girls, Black and white.
But in the city, there were Ethiopians with chiseled features and velvety skin. Dominican women with long, blown-out hair and curvaceous physiques. “Hip” white girls who embodied wealth through their lackadaisical style and breezes of expensive perfume. And there was me, the Black girl from South Carolina with a budding self-esteem that may or may not withstand the torrential storm of the “Ideal City Girl.”I hate to blame everything on my hair, but as a Black girl who has been at the mercies of pressing combs, weak edges, and Saturday afternoons spent on the couch cushion getting her hair braided, I think I deserve a pass. When I decided to get my locs, it was a decision birthed out of spontaneity as opposed to deliberate planning, and I kept them around because they were the version of “me” that I and so many others had grown used to.
This in turn made cutting my locs that much more difficult – and radical – because of the attachment my friends and family had developed with my hair. From the young girls at school who shared how I "inspired them to start their locs,” to the guys who found themselves allured by how “sexy” my hair was; after a while, I started to feel like I wasn’t being seen for who I really was because my hair would be the topic of every discussion.
I needed a change. I researched local shops that specialized in loc coloring because I thought, if I wasn’t ready to fully commit to a big chop, then maybe a new color would spice things up. The beautician I decided on had these beautifully colored, fire-red locs that caused me to (falsely) assume that if she could do that to her hair, she should certainly be able to do the same on mine.
BIG FREAKING MISTAKE.
Through the course of bleaching and adding heat to my roots to “speed up the dying process,” homegirl singlehandedly destroyed my locs. The color faded after only two weeks and I was left with some kind of goldish-purple-red hodgepodge of tinted vomit. Not to mention the bleach weakened my already fragile temples, and to the touch I knew my hair had reached a point of no return. I didn’t recognized my hair anymore.
Needless to say, this was the sign I finally needed to go through with my big chop; and oh, I'm so glad I did.
It’s been 11 months since I took the plunge of cutting off my locs and I feel like a whole new woman. My hair is flourishing into a wild forest of curls and I’m completely in love with it. I’ve never seen myself like this before; I’ve never known my true hair texture until now.
I love seeing how I can perfect my wash-and-go and how I can hide my hair away in box-braids or twists to later reveal the growth it’s undertaken in just a few months. Most of all, I love how confident I feel by embracing my own natural look, free from the people bondage that plagued me for almost a decade.So, to anybody who’s ever wondered if I would grow my locs back, the answer is a clear and decisive: no.
That was "me" for years, but I’m going to ride this loose natural wave out for a little bit. Maybe I’ll do faux locs, rocks some wigs, wear some cornrows or shave it bald, who knows!
Historically, Black women have had to battle with the ability to possess full agency over their hair. From it being too kinky, to shaming hair-weave-killers, to dictating what colors and texture are "appropriate" and "politically correct." We just need to allow Black women to exist with the styles they find fitting to them and leave it at that.
I've never understood why every move we make with what the hair that grows out of our head has to be clocked, measured, and overanalyzed. That's why you see so many women on social media just up and go full Caillou on us because they're finally realizing their power and taking back ownership of their identity.
Having #hairgoals or a "Hair Crush" is all good, but never grow too attached to anyone’s hair and make it your idol; heck, not even your own.
Even though it took me 9 years to grow my locs out, it took less than 15 minutes for them to be cut and gone forever. Think about that…
This version of me is comfortable in her own skin because she knows that her hair is her crown; and no, you can’t touch it.
Before you go: Let me know your thoughts on this post in the comments below! Have people ever put your hair on a pedestal? Have you ever been afraid to change up your style because of what people would think? I want to hear!
Peace, peace, peace,