Monday, January 29, 2007

I got my first retightening done on Saturday, January 27. My consultant came to my home and for 2 hours and 42 minutes we talked and really got to know one another. We were laughing, joking and just having a ball. I mean, during the consultation and installation we talked a little bit but for some reason we just really felt connected now.

I wish someone had told me that the retightening hurts. I mean after my installation my head was a little sore, but after this retightening my head hurt. Reminded me of when I would get my micros and kinky twists. Guess what? My consultant is Retightening Certified. Yeah! She can teach me to retighten and I won't have to travel to Atlanta.

Only damper was she is still trying to figure out what she is going to do since the incident with the complaint about her running a business in her home. I know I still harbor some discontent with the neighbors. She said they basically were letting her know they don't want her in the neighborhood. She has only been there since the week of Thanksgiving. A good two months. Anyway, we did schedule our next appointment, although it may be cancelled. She may have to stop doing Sisterlocks, even though it is not what she wants to do. I told her I didn't want to get a new consultant and will continue to pray this works out. We click and I just feel I was SUPPOSE to go to her, I was lead to her. Anyway, it is in God's hand. And if anyone has any information or recommendations about any of the Certified or Trainees in Alabama let me know.

Oh, by the way it only took me 2.5 hours to wash my hair. My consultant was like what the heck was I doing to take so long the first time. Laughing all the while. That's okay though, I am gonna get better. I did try the terry cloth bands, but I must have gotten the cheap ones from Sally's because they left lent in my hair, so um, I will not be using those again. Although they were easier to use. (My consultant saw some of the lent in back of my head that I couldn't see and got them out). Back to the rubber bands.

Oh yea, I am still loving my hair. Yeah, I am looking a little weird in the above photos, but hey, I was tired and I really need to get someone to take my pictures.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Well my consultant called me today with some bad news. Let me preface this with I interviewed my consultant and we discussed the details and such twice before I started my journey. Anyway, she does Sisterlocks out of her home and she just moved to her neighborhood last month. Long story short one of her neighbors called in a complaint to the police stating she was running a business out of her home. She said she was livid that it happened. Now she is out of sorts trying to decide what to do, because she doesn't want to do anything illegal.

She lives in an area of town where they are very particular about things from the way your yard is groomed to I guess you giving black folks a since of culture. Anyway, it will affect me getting my retightening done on Friday, which is not good with all this new growth. Then it will possibly affect my retightenings after the next one. She is trying to decide what she is going to do and hopefully try to either get her own space or store front. Worse case scenario - I'll have to find a new consultant, which means traveling. I just don't have that kind of time. Jeez!

I guess I am upset because I started this journey after a year of deciding what to do with my hair and 6 months of research and 3 months of waiting. I just don't want my hair to suffer because some folks are being nosy and she is the only one of color person in her subdivision.

She will call me tomorrow and reschedule my retightening next week (which is not convenient for me b/c my aunt, who I take of, is having surgery. Hopefully everything will work out and I'll keep you informed. All I can do is pray for the best.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

529 more or less

It has been almost 2 weeks since my Sisterlocks® were installed and I am still having a love affair with my hair. So yeah, I love my hair. I just don’t love this itchy and dry scalp. I guess that will be my burden to bear.

On Thursday, January 11th, I went to the movies to see Dreamgirls, and it was fantastic. So I have a shot of me made up and dressed to have fun and let me SL’s make their debut. And it was wonderful. No negative comments. Even had a man compliment my eyes. What does that have to do with my hair? Well, since I stop wearing my kinky twists they seem to be brighter from the compliments I have received. (Picture in Grey sweater)

On MLK day I decided to wash my hair for the first time. Um, that was an unexpected chore. It literally took me from 10:30 am until 5:00 pm to finish my hair. There has gotta be a better way. I bundled my hair in 26 bundles. Due to my dry and flaky scalp I had to wash the individual bundles (well the scalp of the bundles) first w/Nizoral then rinse, rinse and rinse. That was 2 hours. Then wash my hair with the Sisterlocks® starter shampoo then rinse, rinse and rinse. Then I had to count my individual locks and the grand total is :::drumroll please::: 529 give or take some. I was watching TV and was just plain tired at that point. I have a picture of the final product after I separated and counted them. (Picture w/purple tank)
My first week of work was fine as well. Most of the remarks were complimentary. The first remark folks would ask would be, "When are you gonna get your braids?" or "I thought you were getting locks." Most folks had to get a second look, no touching though, and they seemed to like. Both jobs really liked my hair.

Now, the picture with me in the black is from last night after book club meeting. We discussed Knockin’ Boots by Tracy Price-Thompson and enjoyed chili and array of delicacies as we talked about the book and our upcoming literary event.

I really do love my hair and will have some one take some pictures of my hair so you can see up close how they are flourishing. I have my first retightening on January 26th, which means I must wash my hair Thursday. I just hope it doesn’t take all night because I gotta go to work!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Today... (top) Last night after finishing... (bottom)

18 Hours and 45 Minutes over 4 days

I am finally done. I am FREE!!! I am FREE! I am so excited and exhilarated. When Tammika finished my hair, she said, “Welcome to the family!”. I’ll never forget the experience.

Now I had hoped to give you daily updates, but that just could not happen. When I’d get home after 5 hours of sitting, I would be exhausted. However, I relished with the completion each day, because I knew in the long run it would be worth it.

I got my starter kit and will mail off my form for the Sisterlock® birthday certificate. Tammika gave me a little quiz and we set our initial tightening for January 26th. Due to my dry scalp, I have to use a shampoo for my scalp and then use the starter shampoo for my hair, oh boy. However, I am going to try out some of the remedies mentioned on Lock-It-Up, because I am already itching. I knew I should have used my IC Tea Shampoo because that Johnson’s baby stuff ain’t strong enough. Oh and Tammika took pictures for her album and of course I forgot my camera, so I had to take my own. FYI - I am not scalpy...

Tomorrow I will continue to enjoy my vacation and take in Dreamgirls and let the world see my new hair, the new me. Oh yeah, I LOVE MY HAIR!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Day Two

This is day 2 of my installation and approximately 10 hours of sitting, reading, watching television and brimming with excitement because of my journey. But, um, as much as I am use to sitting for hours since 1997, this seems to be the hardest for me. I guess in the back of my mind I realize that I will not have to do this again.

Anywho, for those reading my blog, I did my research and I talked with my consultant on the phone twice, then we had a 2 and ½ hour consultation which included tester locks last month. I started my Journey on January 5th. My consultant, Tammika is a wonderful spirit-filled woman, who has a spiritual awareness, which I hope will rub off on me. Since she does this part-time, I understood from the jump the installation process would be done over several days. We only work about 5 hours, and really that is about all I can stand. So we will start again on Monday and either finish Tuesday or Friday. Although, she says if she is almost done on Tuesday we can finish on Wednesday. Either way, I am off all next week on a much needed vacation and even though I will spend several hours getting my hair done, in the end it will be worth it because nothing could be better than taking some time to do something for me.

As you can see from the photo she began in the front and you may not be able to tell but her parts are done very well. (This is a new digital camera and the pic is still blurry!) I am also able to see what wearing kinky twists did to my hair on the corners of my head. I have about 3 locks that are small and will have to be babied. My fault…but I am learning. Until…


Friday, January 05, 2007

My Hair Journey...The Beginning
(Pic to left is me with my afro puff - I'll take better pics later, had to get at least one with the puff!)

In 1997 after being accepted to law school, I decided that I needed a carefree hair style which didn't involve 5 hours or more of my time every month to get my hair done. So I decided I would get micros. Well, my first set of braids were less than desirable because they weren't exactly micros and they didn't always stay in my head, meaning it was nothing for me to find an errant braid on my car seat or like once on my car window when I was getting out of my car. Embarrassing.

So I called around trying to find a shop where I could get me some real micros, I found one who in turn referred me to Brenda Robinson. The lady on the phone assured me Brenda could handle my request and since she was booked 3 months out, that was my best bet. I called Brenda that day and from the moment we talked on the phone, there was a connection. Brenda was funny and I could tell she had a bit of hood in her so I was going to enjoy the 8 hours it would take to get my hair done. So at 6 am on a Saturday morning I began my real introduction to micros. Brenda was dynamic in that she talked and worked at the same time. She even was able to do the back of my hair that had been previously shaved and now sported about an inch and a half of hair. Um, it did hurt though. So from 1997 until January of 2004 Brenda did my micros. We were friends, because when you spend hours with someone you can't help but get to know them and friendships will happen. So when she died in March of 2004, I had to decide on what to do next with my hair because as much as her daughter could do my hair, she just wasn't Brenda. Brenda was reliable, loyal and my friend.

In June of 2004 I started wearing Kinky Twists done by a braider here in the city. However, during this time I was thinking about getting dreadlocks. I just wasn't ready to do them yet because I wanted to get that "legal" job without the hindrance of my hair and I didn't want to go bald to start locks. As much as I liked my kinky twists I also didn't like the disloyalty of the braiders. You see I would switch between two shops when one couldn't take me. Let's not even mentioned the fact my sides are thinner now due to their constant pulling to make sure every strand of hair was twisted kinky. Also, the costs seemed to be creeping up a bit too much for me. For example the last time I got Kinky Twist they were $215. I wore micros which I paid $150 (although I really only had to pay $100) and they lasted 4 - 5 months and KT only last 2 months. You can do the math. Not cost efficient.

In 2005 I was talking to one of my cousins from Detroit about wanting to get dreadlocks but not being able to find someone in Montgomery to do them the way I wanted and plus I didn't want to be bald. She suggested Sisterlocks® because you could have permed hair and they were more versatile and small enough not to be a problem on any job. Well this summer I finally started researching them and began an earnest attempt at getting ready for a new hair do.
You know in Montgomery finding a consultant was going to be a challenge. I found a certified consultant and a trainee. I contacted the trainee but she didn't respond so I called the certified one and we talked for about 20 mins and I liked her vibe. However, she asked me questions that I couldn't fully answer which meant I needed to do some more research and she gave me some book titles to purchase and offered to meet with me and discuss this journey I was about to start.

Needless to say I purchased the books, did more research, and joined an online group Lock-It-Up to begin a more comprehensive study. So for 2 months I contemplated, prayed and started to begin my journey to this more natural hairstyle.

For me, this meant getting rid of the Kinky Twists extensions and wearing my own hair for about a month and a half. It wasn't easy because I realized that I had preconceived notions about my hair. I believed in my subconscious that long straight hair was the epitome of beauty. I took down those braids, washed my hair and put in this curly cream that was supposed to give my hair some deeply defined waves so I could wear my hair loose and fancy free. Sheet, that mess came out looking a nappy azz mess! I was distraught. I was like I can't go to work like that. So I went in search of a beauty supply store open on Sunday. Found one and was amazed to find a hair piece that would go with my now truly all natural-no-perm hair. Now at first when the worker showed me the nappy piece I was like, "Do you have something straighter?" She was quick to tell me that the afro piece was closer to my hair texture and would really be cute on. Of course, I lifted that one eyebrow and then something in me just snapped. How the hell am I gonna ask for a straighter hair piece, when I am about to start wearing sisterlocks? What happened to the natural is the way to go attitude I had during my research? I was appalled at my behavior and it had me questioning my decision. So I asked the worker to let me try on the afro piece and I was pleasantly surprised - It LOOKED GREAT! I thanked her profusely before I left because she made me realize that this journey I was about to embark on was not going to be easy because I was going to have tear down stereotypes and let go of my past addiction to the 'crack cream'.

Since I am wearing my real and natural hair after not wearing it since 1997, the comments have been interesting. I was told I looked like Peebles from the Flintstones, which I laughed about because she was cute. I have been told I need to get a perm. I was like nope, this is my hair and I don't have to have straight hair. I was asked why I wasn't going to continue to wear my hair like it is now and, why not wear my hair that others like, if it is pleasing to others? First of all, I cannot wear an afro-puff with my hair in a ponytail forever. It is not healthy for my hair. Secondly, I don't wear my hair for others, I wear it for me. I am not in the habit of doing things for the expression of others. Not in my nature, plus a man, because that is what Mr. Moore was hinting at, must like me for the person I am on the inside and not judge me on my hair. I have been told my eyes are now brighter, I looked really cute with the new hair-do and it is nice you can wear your own hair and be okay with it.

Why do I want Sisterlocks®? I want to become one with who I am as a person. This year has been a challenging one and I have lost a portion of my true self as I try to do too much. I want to grow up again and I feel I can do that while growing with my hair. I will have to deal with the bad hair days, the good hair days and days when I will question my logic on going on such a journey when I could have just read a really good book. I want to experience the true texture of my hair as it performs its amazing feat of locking within itself. I want to look in the mirror and really see the person I am now, with my added layers of disappointment, fear, stress, depression and true happiness that I know lurks within my being. I want to not be a slave to a beauty shop, African braiders and excessive chemicals. I want to get healthy inside out. I want my whole being to represent me.

I have nothing against folks who get perms and wear there hair anyway they want, hell I used to be them. It is your choice. However, for me it was time. I remember how thick my hair was when I was a child. I remember my first perm and how my hair actually touched my shoulder without having to have my hair washed, plaited into big ugly braids and a hot comb sizzling through my strands of hair and enveloping my senses with the arid smell of burnt hair, ears and foreheads. I want to not have to worry about getting to an appointment on time or being in the beauty shop for hours because your stylist has overbooked, yet again. I don't want to wonder why my hair is breaking off in the back of my hair, showing thinning due to a perm. We as a people know how we want our hair and it is our choice to choose and as I learn I am going to pass on my knowledge of the affects of not wearing our natural hair has on us physically and emotionally.

I know some folks are going to hate this journey I am on. Others will applaud my determination and conviction. Just know this, I am doing this for me and it is not something I am taking lightly. For me it is traveling on a road less traveled, one that doesn't have a buddy system to make the trek easier. I only ask that people accept my choice and know that I am being true to me. "I am not my hair, I am not this skin, I am not your expectations no no, I am not my hair, I am not this skin, I am the soul that lives within..." "Does the way I wear my hair make me a better person? Does the way I wear my hair make me a better friend? Does the way I wear my hair determine my integrity? I am expressing my creativity. Lyrics from India.Arie's I Am Not My Hair... Until next time...


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