Have you ever made a decision that was just for you? A decision that was so selfish, so self-absorbed, so about you and only you? As women, we rarely consider how we are impacted by our own decision-making because, more times than not, we are making the best decision for the wellbeing of others, not necessarily for our own wellbeing. Women express ourselves in multi-layered ways. Over the years, I’ve worried less and less about what others think of me; however, my career and my work with students and with teachers has always been the image I most strongly clung to in order to define my worth. Since I decided in my mid-30’s that parenting a child was not going to be one of my life experiences, I dug in deep, face forward, toward the goal of being the best educator I could be. It’s in me, it’s my calling, it’s what I think about when I am happy, and it’s what I think about when I am sad.
But, what does all of this have to do with my Sisterlocks. Well, as my hair continues to transform, so does my opinion about my hair and my womanhood. Here’s an up close photo of my baby locs on Wednesday, August 10, 2016 right before bedtime.
I understand that my baby locs require a certain amount of healthy eating, sound nutrition, water consumption, and general care, which will maintain a healthy look and growth for years to come. However, I’m really talking about that internal stuff. You know, how you feel about yourself-no matter the condition of your hair.
Here I am on Thursday, August 11, 2016 returning home from work. The gray hairs are quite noticeable now as they wrench away from the confines of each baby loc.
You can see how my babies have thickened throughout, but especially on the top. My current pictures, for Week Three, are pretty reminiscent of my ‘fro a few weeks earlier-kinda frizzy, kinda disorderly, kinda free.
But, what’s going on with my hair? When I decided to Big Chop in December 2015, I took a huge risk. For some time now, I have understood that my husband, Frank, was not too fond of short hair. It wasn’t quite clear to me if his distaste for short hair was connected to short natural hair or just short hair, in general. In my mind, I kept going to a space of when we first met, I had shoulder length hair, but for the bulk of our dating experience and for years prior to even knowing him, my hair was always short and relaxed. I remember when we got married in March 2012, by August 2012, I came home with a short, freshly cropped, relaxed ‘do. He hit the ceiling.
For me, when I decided to wear my natural hair, the shedding of my relaxed tresses left me feeling a bit vulnerable. I knew, even before I did it, that it would not be well-received by my husband. Internally, I struggled with, “Is this really about him not liking short hair or is more about him not liking me with my own natural and short hair?” Therein lies the struggle-the one of unconditional acceptance of the person you profess to love. So, if Frank’s issue with my hair was really about him not liking me, in my natural state of being, the battle, the risk, the sacrifice was truly worth it to me. He was going to love me, as I am, or he would have to face himself, his biases, his God to justify why I was suddenly unattractive, unworthy, undeserving of his love-ALL BECAUSE OF MY HAIR. That’s when I understood, for the first time, that it wasn’t really my problem. It was his. What’s perhaps more important here is that, on more than one occasion, he expressed his distaste for my ‘fro. I dealt with it, I stood by it, but I didn’t shrink from my decision. I was going to do what I wanted to do with my hair. Period.
Here are some photos of my hair on Friday night, August 12, 2016. I had been outside for several hours for a football jamboree. I sweated quite a bit, but my hair seems relatively unscathed.
Where my hair is its thinnest, across the very front and closest to the temples on both sides, the grid pattern is still noticeable.
In the back and very top, I would have to manipulate my hair to see the grid pattern. The change in just a few short weeks is jarring. Sometimes, I’m not very sure what’s going on with my hair, but I know that whatever is happening is welcomed and a part of the process.
Which brings me back to my original question: What’s going on with your hair? My Frank asked me this question a week ago today. It’s very interesting to me because I have not felt compelled to share one iota of my hair transition with him since I big chopped last December. In fact, when he asked me, in that very frank way he addresses me, I was a bit startled. I began to explain what my hair is doing, what my hairstyle is called, why it is a perfect choice for my lifestyle, and I even showed him several pictures of my favorite “LocEnvy” divas who are enjoying the personal and styling freedom of Sisterlocks. His only reply? “I like it. I can live with it.”