From naps to locs

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

So I've been natural for two years and I need a new look y'all. I did the big chop back in 2007 and studied abroad in Costa Rica a few months later. Before I went to Costa Rica, my friends, family, and acquaintances asked "WHY DID YOU CUT YOUR HAIR???" My mother was the funniest of all because she told her entourage that a "lwa" (voodoo term of ancestral spirit) was claiming me but that's a whole different story. My response was always "I dunno, you know me I like to change my look so why not". However, I didn't really know why I cut my hair and didn't adjust to my new look and didn't feel "beautiful" anymore because I thought I took my femininity away, my hair was short and "nappy", and I was surrounded by people with long straight hair. Thus, I felt completely alienated, alone and misunderstood in Costa Rica (especially when I was the only black person among my peers and I didn't have hair swaying with my hips when dancing to salsa, merengue, and cumbia). I started a journal and wrote about how I was not liking my study abroad experience and kept whining (someone should have offered me some cheese with my wines) but suddenly it hit me. I wasn't enjoying my experience because I didn't feel good about myself and was alienating myself because I was feeling different. I was blaming my surrounding however it was me all along. I had to learn to embrace my new look. I kept writing in my journal of our I regretted not going to Astou hair salon (she's the hottest African esthetician in Boston) to get my hair braided that would last for the whole semester, or not carrying my 3 wigs in my luggage. I told myself to stop this non-sense because I knew better than that. I was a mere agent in our society who believed in society's perception that straight hair is more attractive. I was feeling that I was rocking the bad hair. But what is good hair? I started learning to say that I got rid my my bad chemically processed hair and was now growing the healthy good hair that I was born with. Why carve the white's standards of what is beautiful when I can rock the vitality and versatility of my natural beauty. I met a lot of Jamaican descents in Costa Rica who tried to lock my hair, however I wasn't ready for that drastic step yet. I wanted to learn to love my natural hair and wanted to know how to take care of them. In 2008, I started the phase of braiding my own hair but that's starting to get boring to me. Hence I believe that 2009 is the year where I make the commitment to lock my hair. I prepped myself by watching several videos on youtube, reading articles and blogs about transitioning and I know that I am meant to be locked. In my nappy hair exist exotic energy and ever since I went natural my artwork and my present became known because of my inner strength and confidence. I started learning more about ME and began reading spiritual books by Iyanla Vanzant (my 2nd mom). I mustered the ability to see, think and act clearly. I've found freedom to be the person that God created and learned to stop feeding into the master narrative of what is beautiful. Hence it is time. I learned to love myself unconditionally and I'm ready to make the commitment and will continue to discover my genuine self.