I know this is supposed to be a hair blog and it will continue to be, but I am up at 1:00 am on Tuesday morning, listening to Sade and MJ and really feeling empty inside. I’ve got some personal stuff going on with me, but MJ’s death really hit me hard. I feel like a small part of me has died since I grew up listening to MJ’s music. I think he was a very misunderstood man who lived a life that anyone of us would have found impossible, between the media scrutiny and never knowing if those who wanted to get close to him want to get to know him for who he was or for WHAT he was and what he had. Despite his eccentric behavior, he was a musical genius and will be missed by me and others in all corners of the world. Love you MJ! I hope you’re now able to find the peace you were unable to find while you were here on this earth. I wish you a peaceful journey…
A poster on nappturality asked me to post pics of my locs before I took them down. I have limited pics of my locs in their early stages because I wasn’t a really comfortable taking pics because I was overweight and really self conscious. My weight is still something that I still struggle with, but that’s another story for another blog.
It was difficult to look at these pics because i do miss my locs terribly, but I think the reason I miss them so much it’s because right now I’m in what I’d call the ugly phase of natural hair… when it’s too long to be short and too short to be long and I have no idea what to do with it. Like no matter what I do to it I still think it looks ugly. (UGH! I dont’ really like to use the word UGLY. Maybe awkward would be a better word to use.) I remember once maybe right after I began locing I was in Macy’s trying on a dress in the fitting room. The dress looked good (well as good as it could look on my 200+ pound body) and other things I tried on probably fit well also, but because my hair was sooo in that stage where no matter what I did to it it just did whatever it wanted to I just thought I looked horrible. To me it was the equivalent of putting on a dress and going out with a scarf on your head! I remember at the time thinking “What was I thinking! This was such a bad idea! My hair looks horrible! Maybe I should just go home and wash this out!” All of those thoughts were going through my head, but I remember getting on the train home and seeing a man on the train with beautiful waist length locs and deciding to stick with the process… I did and the results of that are the pics below. I think maybe I decided subconsciously to cut my hair, because I achieved what I intended to, beautiful waist length locs that showed that I could stick with the awkward phase of the locing process, have patience and persevere. (It’s amazing how much patience I had with my own hair, but have such a hard time transferring that patiences to situations in my everyday life. Go figure!) So I guess I figured it was time for a new journey… Anyway, here we go…
So here is an early pics of the locs. I’m guessing this was a year in, maybe less. This was late 2000.
Here they are a little longer… This was maybe 2003?
I think this was July 2004 in Brooklyn.
April 2008. This was the longest they were and this was the time that I decided to cut them. They were LONG and so heavy. They took forever to wash, twist and dry and it was impossible for me to keep a style like curls or waves because my hair just resisted being styled.
So… I cut.
December 2008. These are probably the last pictures I took with my locs. I took them down over a week at the end of December.
So technically when I took my locs down I had already cut my hair. For anyone who is thinking about taking down their locs this is probably the BEST process, to cut them first, THEN take them down. Honestly a good portion of even the short locs was shedded hair inside the locs that wasn’t attached to my scalp anyway. I would say about half the length of my loc was hair that was attached to my scalp, the rest of the hair ended up in a plastic bag in my living room.
I would suggest to anyone wanting to take down their locs to do a test on the locs that they already have. Take one, uncut, maybe towards the nape of the neck and take that one down… see what length of hair you get after you take it down… then cut the rest of your locs accordingly and continue. That way you’re not wasting time pulling already dead hair out of locs, hair that you’re going to end up losing anyway. Taking your locs down is a time consuming process, so the less time you spend taking them down, they better.
Hope this was helpful. Next time I’ll show you some of the variations of kinky twists I’ve been rocking since January.
I love seeing pics like these.
Model Arlene Hawkins, Harlem, 1968.
Kathleen, wife of Black Panther Eldridge Cleaver, Algeria, 1969.
Black Panthers at an Anti-Vietnam Demonstration, Washington DC, 1969.
Model, singer, novelist, actress Marcia Hunt, UK, 1969.
I started Friday when I got home around 4pm and finished up all of the front and about three rows in the back at around 1am. I did take time to cook and eat dinner, about an hour, or so. I had to go out with a scarf on my head Saturday morning because I wanted to go to Brooklyn for sample sale. I was NOT trying to miss the sale, I didn’t care WHAT my hair looked like. I got the dress I went for, then came back home and started twisting again around 4pm, finishing at around 11. I just tried to make sure my hair was really moisturized before I twisted it up and also lubricated the synthetic hair as best I could with a shea butter/olive oil/coconut oil mixture. I actually hate the feel of shea butter on my hair and hands, but I used it this time because I wanted to make sure my hair was moisturized. Every time I finished a row I sprayed it with Oyin’s Greg Juice, which I LOVE… it smells delish and moisturizes my scalp which is a bit itchy because of the synthetic hair. The hair does soften up over time, I’m hoping the Greg Juice will speed that up a bit.
So now I can now spend the rest of my summer thinking about something else besides hair. The twists are long. And BIG. And I’d kinda prefer that they weren’t so long… and big. (And get your mind OUT of the gutter! LOL! ) But right now anything beats all that constant thinking about hair. Just tonight, instead of washing and DCing and twisting or something, I cooked my meals for the week. I’m happy with my decision to put the twists back in. I HOPE to be able to stick this out until January. I’ll still update the blog with my regimen while I have the twists in, length checks, new sets of twists, bla bla bla…
One last pic of a little tiny coil I found in my hair while I was parting. It was just so cute and coily and for a hot second I almost thought about reconsidering the twists. But then I remember this last week of sheer frustration and kept right on braiding…
Some final length checks before I say goodbye to my hair for a few more months… I just finished shampooing with diluted Dr. Bronner’s Almond Castile (to get rid of the products and things I’ve put in my hair over the past two weeks), and a 45 minute DC with TJ’s Nourish Spa condish mixed with one tablespoon each of coconut oil, olive oil and honey in prep for braiding tomorrow evening… I also soaked the synthetic hair in acv and condish to get rid of the coating and to soften up the hair. I picked up this hair from another BSS instead of going back to the one in my neighborhood. I compared the hair I got there to the hair I got at my local BSS… let’s just say that the hair I bought at my local BSS looks and feels like SANDPAPER compared to this new hair. I can’t believe I put that sandpaper in my hair!!! From now on this is probably where I’ll go to get hair for twisting.
The top of my hair is about 6 inches. I measured it with my ruler, but I couldn’t get the angle right to take the pic because I was in the bathroom by myself doing self portraits and I didn’t feel like making all that effort. The other two pics are of course my right side and the back. I’m hoping for about 11 inches on top before I take the braids down for good. For now the plan is to retwist either my entire head or just the front when needed, new set of twists when needed and washing and conditioning weekly or bi weekly, and moisturizing daily or every other day. I just want to make sure that all this work with the twists wont be in vain when I eventually take them out… Still want to take care of my hair even in the twists. The last few sets of twists I had, I can’t lie I’ve been laaaaazy. And I can’t do that.
My head hurt all day yesterday with my hair like this. I’m not used to having my hair pulled so tightly. Plus puffs are booooring. Every other natural chick is rocking either a puff or a twist out. I hate the way both of those look on my hair and that’s partly due to the fact that I don’t really want to rock natural the way everyone else is rocking it. **sigh** But here are the pics anyway… and a few more from Monday’s French Roll. I LOVE how shiny my hair looks in some of the pics… I think that was KBB’s Hair Milk. Good stuff!
I can’t hang. I just picked up some hair from the beauty supply store and will be putting the twists back in this weekend. 😦
I was excited to see my length and growth after 19 weeks of hiding my hair, but I’m finding it difficult to be constantly thinking about my hair daily. My locs were basically free from all this drama, even in the initial stages. I just left them alone and they loced and did their thing. The only time I had to worry about my hair was wash day which was once every two weeks in warm weather, and every three weeks in cold temps. Loose natural hair is a WHOLE nother ball game, daily cowashing or co washing every two days, moisturizing, twisting, bantu knotting, sealing, dcing, twisting, twist outing, shaking, shingling, raking, combing, finger combing, detangling, shampooing, lo-pooing, no-pooing, and on and on and on. Not to mention product junkie-ing, and label whoring. Use this! Don’t use that! No mineral oil! No petrolatum! No sulfates! No combing! No brushing! But WAIT! Comb with this comb! With THAT brush! Not that I’m doing all of these things daily or have even done ANY of these things since taking out my twists, but all of these processes take thought and time and at this point in my life – where my house is a mess because there are dishes in the sink and clothes on my trunk that need to be put away, I don’t have the desire to spend hours in my hair. I work out, pretty much daily, in the mornings, and if I’m spending my nights prepping hair for the next day, then go to the gym in the morning and worry about wetting my hair with sweat before I get a chance to take it down, then styling is pointless. Plus, I go to the gym to work out HARD and SWEAT. Worrying about my hair will stop me from doing that and I’ll be damn if I continue to be a fat ass because I’m worried about my hair. With my locs I never had to worry. With my twists I never had to worry.
The “ugly” or awkward phase of natural hair… when it’s too long to be short and too short to be long… that’s where I am now. I’m pleased with my growth since January, but the manipulation and constant “extras” tell me that I am not ready to release my natural hair.
I’m kinda upset about it. I am sure there are plenty of women who have gone through this phase w/o braiding their hair and have come out perfectly fine on the other side. If they can handle it, why can’t I? Why is this time so much different than when I had my started locs which were shorter than my hair is now? How was I able to deal then but having such a hard time now? Am I more vain now??? LOL! Who knows. But honestly though, it’s the constant DOING of my hair that’s the problem, not so much the look of it. If I were able to find a style that i thought looked good and could keep for more than a week I’d be pleased. But it’s just not happening for me, so back to twists I go.
My original plan was to keep the twists in until January 2010. 6 more months. 24 weeks. Well 26 if you count these last two weeks in June since I’ll be braiding up over the weekend. In any case, yeah… It was fun while it lasted. 😦
In the meantime I just got a box of brand new products from Qhemet’s 20% off sale, AND some products from Oyin and KBB. I wonder if these will keep until January if I don’t open them and store them in the back of the closet. Does anyone know?