Sunday, November 23, 2008

I'm thankful

I'm really thankful for lots of things. I have a family that I love, and that loves me. I'm thankful that I have a good amount of vacation left this year, so I'm going to be off work a good bit (lol). But right now, I'm really thankful for my locks, because they represent a change in my life for me. I was with a friend yesterday, and she said to me that she noticed that I "made a turn" that started with my locks. In the past I've never stayed with anything for any length of time, really, but now I've stuck with the locks for over a year. I've been vegetarian for 11 months. I've been exercising at minimum 3 times per week since August (which, for me, is a lifetime). And those small successes give me the confidence that other things I want to improve in my life will happen in time.

Monday, October 20, 2008

A Real Freeformer

I've gotten a few personal comments asking me a few questions, and this post is inspired by some of those questions.

I don't mean to disappoint. I'm a freeformer, but ...

... I'm not spiritual - I didn't start my locks because I believe that they're the ultimate natural hairstyle. I don't believe that locks are Jah antennae. I don't know about the 47 laws of Maat (or however many there are).

... I'm not conscious - Sad to say, but I'm not. I'm so not conscious, I don't even know what it means to be conscious. :-( I am a worker bee. I am a sheep. I don't know about politics. I'm voting for Obama just because he's black. I watch BET (Okay, just kidding, I'm not that bad. I DO NOT watch BET).

... I'm not afrocentric - I don't know all about dread history. :-( I don't know all about Rastafarians (although I'm not completely ignorant to them). I am not a black power type (although what that has to do with dreads, I don't know). I don't know a lot about black history (although I'm working to learn more). I don't say "ase" or "peace, brother/sister" or call my husband "my king" or wear ankhs or cowry shells.

... I care about how I look - Well, okay, I don't wear makeup or arch my eyebrows, so maybe I look (and am) low maintenance, but I'm not totally forsaking personal grooming.

... I'm not vegetarian - Well, okay, I AM vegetarian, but not because of the locks.

I'm a freeformer, and to me, that just refers to how I do my hair. I started them by just washing and going, and I don't twist to maintain. Anything else that is assumed about me because of how I wear my hair is just that ... an assumption.

Note: Okay, I am being a little silly here at times, I was just trying to make a point.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Do you know what today is?

It's my anniversary. My locks anniversary.

It's been a year. I made it, lol. I was one of those who started locks over and over again, and never made it past a few months. This time, however, my mind frame was different, and I was ready to make things work. Cutting or combing out my hair was not an option, so I had no other choice but to try to analyze my thoughts. Thus, this blog, of course. After the first few months, everything was so easy for me. And now it's still so easy. I just wash, condition, separate, and oil. I really don't style my hair. I thought I was going to do something for this occasion, but I really didn't feel like it. Anyway, I don't seem to have anything else to say, so here are a few pics.

Me being silly.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Meet the Fam

(Note: I've updated this post a couple times with a few more pictures).

It's been 10 months for me. :-) So close to a year. I thought I'd show off a few of my special locks.

There's stumpy there on the right. I have no idea how he got that short, when every lock around him is twice his height. He's at the crown of my head.

Here's a lock that was originally two locks. I'm thinking I joined them at around 3 months, although I really can't remember. However, now, you can't really tell that they were originally separate. This one is one of my favorites.

Here are a few of the largest locks on my head. They aren't huge, of course. I like the size of these best.

And here are a couple of the really small ones on my head. These I think I will eventually join to some other lock close to them.

Now, I estimate that my hair is locked halfway up each lock for most of them, although there are a few that are still locked only very close to the end. I always heard that freeform locks lock faster than other types of locks, but now I don't believe it. Maybe if I started with shorter hair, that would have been the case, though. Who knows.

And here are a few locks that are quite weird to me. Closer to the root, the lock is thick/regular. In the middle the locks are ultra thin. Then they get thicker again at the ends of the hair. I have no idea how they got this way. I'm trying to fight cutting the thinner parts off, and just see how they develop.

And a few days later, decided to join a few locks that were too small for my taste. Now I have around 5-7 more two-headed dragons. I did it by latching the new growth of both together, and twisting together the locked portion. When I got to the last one, I remembered about wrapping the loose hairs around the locks, and I did that towards the end of my hair, and that worked well. I'm showing a pic of one that I joined.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Afro ... oh how I missed you

Me waving through the unlocked root hair.

So, I washed the twists out of my hair. I'm glad I twisted, though, it really let me know that I really don't want to do it anymore. And the afro's back. And it feels so good.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

So ... umm ... yeah

So, I've been complaining about my afro-locks for a little while (if not on this blog, in my head). So I decided to palm roll my whole head. For the first time since I started these locks. I'm trying to decide if I like it now. No more afro-lock, but it's quite flat to me. Time will tell. I guess I can't call myself a freeformer anymore. I do know that I don't plan to do something like this more than twice or so a year, cause twisting my whole head definitely kicked my butt. I am glad that I did it though, because going through my whole head like that let me know that I wasn't separating thoroughly. And I found several locks that were really smaller than I wanted them. And now I am really able to see how much of my hair is locked, and how much of my hair isn't. And now sometimes I really wish that I had started with twists or braids, because some of my lock sections really are irregular, I just found that out. But then again, I try to remember that I really don't like doing my hair but once in a blue moon.

It's crazy, I'm also feeling kinda guilty for twisting my hair. It's like, for me, freeforming is close to the ultimate in locking hair, and I took a step back by twisting it. Silly, I know. I've said before that I don't have anything against other methods of starting or maintaining, and I don't, but I guess that thought is still there in the back of my head. I mean, it's not like I was freeforming for religious reasons, or care nothing about how my hair looks.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

9 months (and why I'm still locking)

As I've said before, I've tried locking numerous times. I've tried locking various ways. And I've always cut them off or taken them apart. This is the longest I've kept locks in (yay me). And I believe that I'll be growing locks for years to come. The following are reasons I feel that I've been successful this time.

1. Locking freeform

I've tried locking a few different ways (coils, braids, twists, and freeform). And locking freeform is me. There's nothing wrong with locking in other ways, and you can have beautiful, healthy locks starting them with many different ways, in my opinion. But, this was the best way for me. I like how my hair looks, I like how it feels. I like not doing much maintenance on my hair (shampoo, condition, oil, separate). I feel unique with my locks.

2. Introspection

Writing regularly in this blog has helped me get out my feelings about my locks. And knowing that I have this blog has helped me think about things more deeply, even when I don't write them down. For example, I have had fleeting thoughts of taking them down (the thoughts never lasted long). But when the thoughts came, I tried to analyze them ("Girl, you know you have a big bump on the side of your face, and you're not feeling cute today. Don't take that out on your locks." lol)

3. Support

I'd like to take this time to thank my online friends (you know who you are). It was good to have people to go through the process with. We understood each other, because we were locking in the same way. Others maybe didn't lock the way I did, but read my blog anyway, and said nice things. Still others offered needed words of advice. Thanks to all of you.

4. Feeling pretty

For me, this can't be underestimated. I've had issues in the past with this. I can't fully analyze why I feel more attractive to myself now, but here are just a couple things that helped:

4a. Having longer hair

First, I should say that since being natural, I've had short hair many many times. I did a big chop in 1999, which left me with about 1-2 inches of hair. And since then I've cut my hair short a number of times. So I'm not afraid of having short hair. I just really think I look better with long hair. Yes, there may be subconscious reasons for this. But I haven't completely figured those out, so I'm going with the long (okay, big) hair. Kudos to those who can lock with short hair, and they look good in it. I just can't.

4b. Tomoka's Twists

I've locked in the past, and always at some point I get bored with my hair. I want to do something with them, dress them up somehow. But, I'm style challenged. Especially with locks. What do you do with them? I'm still trying to figure that out. But anyway, in the past, a few times I've unlocked because of that. And then did a set of cornrows or twists and remember that I really don't want to spend THAT much time on my hair. Soooo, this time, a couple months into locking I blogged about not knowing what to do with my hair to style it, and carmennc came along and shared her website with me. I brought a few of her Tomoka's Twists, and have been in love ever since. They've made a few cameos in my blog here, here, here, and here. I have 6 different Tomoka's Twists, and one Tomoko's Tie. They're simple to use, and so beautiful to me. Some people may think it's silly, and such a little thing, but I'm glad they found me when they did. They helped me get through some days when otherwise I might have thought my hair was ugly. Thanks, carmennc.

5. Stronger sense of self, and knowing I look good

Don't ask me how, or why, but this time around I really have a "take me or leave me" attitude. Accept me as I am, and we'll be ok. Maybe I was just tired of not doing what I wanted to do because I was thinking about other people. Now, though, I'm not concerned about what the people at work think about my hair. I'm professional, I do my work, and my hair has nothing to do with that. When friends or acquaintances have questions about my hair, I answer them matter-of-factly. I don't think, as I did in the past, that they don't like my hair, and are asking questions out of disgust. I realize that it's something that most may not have seen, and are simply curious. When a guy in the grocery store stares at me, I don't automatically think he's looking at my hair. I think he's looking at ME. LOL. When my husband tries to touch my hair, I don't shy away, I let him touch away.

At any rate, I know some people don't come here for my thoughts, ha ha. Here are some pics. The hair's still moving along.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Caring about what other people think

I may have talked about this before, but I think I will mention it again. Often I get questions or comments about my hair saying "Does your husband like it?" "What do the people at work say about your dreads?" "Man, I couldn't go [to church, the supermarket, some other public place] with my hair looking like that. People would look at me like I was crazy." "My mom tells me that she doesn't like locks, and that they're dirty, so I took them down." and I could go on and on.

Of course I am aware of possible perceptions of me because of the dreads. However, I'm not going to let those perceptions rule my life, I just keep them in mind, depending on my objectives of certain things in my life. For example, my job. I'm a software tester for a large computer company. I don't interact with customers. I just interact with other testers, developers, project managers, my management, etc. My look is not a part of my job there (I'm not a model, after all), so who cares what they think. Some people walk around in shorts in the summer (with their pale legs and varicose veins). These 40 something chicks trying to recapture their youth are in short skirts (which I think is a bit much). I know a dude there with a mohawk (yes, a mohawk). One biker dude wears entirely too tight jeans with his leather jackets. Combovers abound here. Bad perms and weird hair colors are not unknown. There is actually a girl that I always instant message, email or call instead of going to her office because her office actually stinks. And I'm supposed to be concerned because my hair is in freeform locks? No, I am not. When I see someone that looks a little different, I may laugh to myself, then do whatever work I have to do with them and/or keep it moving. And I'm sure others do the same with me. Now, if my look were somehow a part of my performance, that would be another thing (i.e. I'm a salesperson in HickTown USA, and I can't get any sales because people look at my hair, hold their nose, then slam the door in my face). But then again, I don't see myself working in that kind of job because control over my look is important to me. And when I have to search for a new job in the future, they're going to be seeing my hair in the interview because I want to know that they won't have a problem with it.

As far as my husband liking my hair or not, that's a funny thing, because I do want to feel attractive to him. Luckily, he likes my hair. Or maybe not so luckily, because when I met him, I had natural hair, and he told me that he loves natural hair, and wouldn't want it any other way. That's part of the reason I dated him in the first place. And while we dated, before we got married, I did different things with my hair (cornrows, twists, and even freeform locks) and he didn't have a problem with any of it. So I knew for sure that he wasn't blowing smoke when he said he loves natural hair. Natural hair is very important to me, so I chose someone that loves natural hair, so my hair isn't an issue in our relationship. Now, if I had a relaxer when we got married, then later decided that I wanted locks, then maybe we would have had an issue. Thankfully, that's not my situation.

Social situations are another time when people sometimes care. It's interesting. For me, my friends may not think it's the best hairstyle I've ever had (I've had compliments when I wore small twists or small box braids, but no compliments on my dreads). But they are still my friends. And it goes both ways. Two close friends I have here in New York have relaxers, and I still love them. I'm not saying nothing on anything I'm sure they did on purpose regarding their look. And if I'm at a party or something and some idiot I don't know turns up their nose at my hair, well I really don't want to be around them anyway. But then again, I'm not really a social person anyway, so I don't have to deal with that either.

And you know what? When I want a professional look, or don't want my hair to be distracting, I can do that with my hair. I think a headband ties my look together nicely. I can't wait until I can do 1 ponytail or a bun, because I think those are good looks as well. And if I'm in a situation where I really don't want so show my hair, there's always a headwrap (although I don't know what kind of situation that would be, and it hasn't happened to me yet).

I really have the feeling that I am in charge of how I look, and I'd be really resentful worrying all the time about what other people have to say about my appearance. That's not to say that I don't take pride in my appearance. I do. I groom myself, dress, etc. But I have the final say on how I want to look.


Here's an example about caring too much about what someone else thinks. I recently saw my mom. Why, oh why was I trying to hide my nose ring from her for the first hour? I was making sure she was on one side of me, and talking to her without looking at her. Ridiculous! First of all, I am 31 years old, and out of the house, with a husband and child of my own. Second of all, this is not the first piercing I've had, and I've done other things that I know she wouldn't care for (not going to church, tattoo on wrist, etc). The crazy thing is, I know she saw it, and she didn't even comment (she probably realizes by now that I go my own way).

Monday, June 09, 2008

8 months

I was bored (and SOMEBODY asked for an update) so I decided to upload a few pictures.

Okay, yes or no on wearing two ponytails to my company picnic this week.

Umm ... yeah, I think I want to at least act like I tried to have a semi straight part. And that one longer lock is quite irritating to look at.

My hair is still very afro, but locked at the same time. Sometimes I'm tired of the afro part, but here it looks cool to me.

And of course I had to clean my mirror before taking these last two pics. Note the glass cleaner in the lower portion of the pic and my lack of a smile.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Another Video

I made another video talking about my hair, basically answering a few questions that I've gotten about my hair. I kind of rambled a little, I think, so I had to split it up. The first video is around 9 minutes, the second video around 3 minutes.

Also, a couple more pics

Sunday, May 04, 2008

No more locks

So, I finally had the dream that I've heard other dreadlocked people have ... my locks were gone. In the dream, I was visiting my dad and stepmom, and I combed them out and had my hair straightened for the visit. The disturbing part of the dream for me was the fact that I was primping and preening and combing my hair in the mirror. I was loving it, lol. Of course, when I woke up I was happy to realize it was a dream. I really wonder why I had that dream.

Anyway, it's been 7 months of lockdom, and I have my same few pics. Please excuse the quality, these weren't taken with my regular camera, and I couldn't get the camera lens completely clean (my daughter likes to mess with that camera). Also, in the interest of full disclosure, I latched about 10 locks right in the front of my head (about 5 on each of the first 2 rows). I was really tired of seeing only the tips of those hairs being locked. Afro-lock was not cute in the front to me. I tried to do it loosely, and I didn't latch it all the way to the root. Also, I don't intend to continuously maintain my hair.