I'm a natural hair wimp.
I know this about myself and I embrace my cowardice freely. As with most things in my life, (and probably yours too), I know what I want more than I am willing to do what I have to do in order to get it. So why wouldn't I have the same attitude when it came to going natural?
Of course I did.
I've wanted locs for years. When my husband was still my boyfriend, he had quite gorgeous ones and talked to me about why he decided to start them. My reasons were far less enigmatic or enlightening, but I played along, pretending that my ideas of haircare were as "deep" as the rest of me. In fact, my original infatuation came from two things: a. a friend who was growing hers out with a passionate warcry about resisting creamy crack and b. sitting behind a woman in church whose wavy, waist-length, blonde-tinted tresses took my attention off of the sermon for ten minutes.
Once I'd decided that I wanted those beautiful tendrils for myself, my hopes dashed when I learned that both starting and getting rid of them would,(or could, depending on who you asked), involve me cutting my hair off! Um…NO. That ended that dream. No sir, you were not going to see me walking around with those itty bitty worms sticking out of my head. Not me.
I'm shallow like that.
So as the next two years passed, I would stare longingly at the hair of my sistas, wishing I had their guts. Meanwhile, my hair was dying a slow, brittle death from flat irons and Pink Oil, drowning under Mane & Tail, and resting comfortably on the bathroom sink whenever I brushed it. What's worse, was that I didn't even have much length like I'd originally whined about. Nope, it came to my chin at best, and was drastically uneven and unhealthy.
I was to the point where I didn't have any more patience for sitting in salon chairs while my best friend Nat worked her magic into sew-ins and glue massacres. I had grown so lethargic about it all, that I didn't even know what styles I wanted anymore. I just held firmly to my hangup about length, and let myself go into hock to afford the latest in human hair.
I believe I was sitting in my mother's dining room, trying not to cry from the burning of pores scratched too soon before a relaxer, that I decided I'd had enough. I wanted that plush fro, or those wavy locs I'd been dreaming about, darn it! I held on to my little plan for a month, and then my new-growth set in, and I reneged.
See? Told you I was a wimp.
The next month came and I, in rare boldness, ignored it. Usually my patience would run out about the time I couldn't pull off a successful brown-gel slathered ponytail. But this month I decided to push through it. My mother, and my friends would see my hair, shudder and then ask when I was going to "take care of it". I told them I wasn't. I was going to see how long I could keep myself natural. They laughed. See, they know how shallow I am.
As my hair continued to grow, I decided that I was going to find a way to get the locs I wanted, without cutting out the perm. I wanted to know how I could wait the longest time possible before taking any scissors to my head. My friend and stylist, Nat, called me a punk, and told me to just get on with it. I looked at her like Harpo talking to Mr. and said, "Naw sir, no fist touch my face", I ain't cutting a thing. I had been relaxer-free for a year, and my hair had morphed into a weird mullet-thingy that I hid under pretty scarves. At her request, I took the scarf off, she looked like she wanted to weep. We decided to braid.
She braided all my hair to the back and sent me on my way. I wept in the car. I looked like I was supposed to be on D-block 7.
Then I stumbled upon this picture in the window of a beauty supply.
I had never worn a wig in my life, but this little half-wig named Nita was eyeballin me something heavy. I figured I could take the braids I already had, in lieu of the flat-twists on the model, and make magic. I was never so right in my life! For the next year or so, I was the QUEEN of partially hidden natural hair.
When wearing styles like Nita, I would have my braids retouched ever so often so that they were neat, and have my scalp thoroughly cleaned. For straight styles, I pressed my edges to blend them, or gelled and wrapped them overnight. I replaced the wig when it got tattered, and I didn't look back. I was such a wig-head eventually, that I would wrap my hair in a scarf and wear a full one when I felt like it. By the time I actually had my hair twisted, having my ends clipped was all that was necessary to remove the remnants of relaxers. Yay me for sticking to something!
My locs will be two in September. I love them and my freedom from chemical slavery. LOL
I don't know how long I'll have them, but you better believe, I'm already trying to develop a strategy for how to do disassemble them without cutting them off.
I'm still shallow like that.
Writing since the age of eight, and a graduate of the writing program at Columbia College Chicago, Regina Townsend or Mrs.Tiye (pronounced Tee), describes herself as a "plain speech", writer. Following in the footsteps of writers such as Pearl Cleage and Zora Neale Hurston, Regina writes the way she hears, thinks and sees. Librarian by profession and writer by passion, Mrs.Tiye considers writing and reading to be one of the most personal forms of communication, entertainment and education. Visit her on ChocolateBrides.com, TheBrokenBrownEgg.com, and guest posting on blogs such as Glamazini.com, for her writing, or follow her on Twitter @SereniTiye