Today was a good day!
According to my Sisterlocks® consultant, Sunday, July 24th is my Sisterlocks Birthday since my install was completed on that date. We began the installation on Saturday, July 23rd around 3:00 pm, but my emotional preparation occurred hours, weeks, months earlier. I’m so very happy that the install is finally complete, and I am looking forward to the transformation of my locks over the years. This blog post is quite special to me. It is the beginning of a personal transparency that I never believed, in a million years, I would explore. You’re going to see images of me, some quite unflattering, that I don’t usually share with virtual strangers. I fully anticipate personal growth and coming to grips with some image issues I have endured most of my adult life. I’m looking forward to coming full circle. It is a journey about me, and me alone.
The install begins with a deep cleansing. Here is the shampoo that I was asked to clean my hair and scalp with, four washes, until it was “squeaky clean.” I had trouble finding it because it was not at my frequented Walgreens on Union & Pauline on the regular shampoo aisle. In fact, I could not find ANY clarifying shampoos on that aisle. Today’s savvy hair product consumer looks for “hydrating,” “moisturizing,” or “conditioning” shampoos, which coat the hair follicles and strands. This particular clarifying shampoo was located, several aisles over, with the $1.00 finds. I was pleased that it was economical, had a nice clean fragrance, and did what it should, remove all traces of built-up product, oil, sweat, and environmental dust and dirt.
Once my hair was thoroughly shampooed, I took a few photos of my hair in its “‘fro” state; the last time I will see my natural hair “free” and without product. To be honest, it was actually the first time I had seen my hair dry and without product. Since my Big Chop last December, after a shampoo or co-wash, I immediately apply oil which springs my curls and coils to life. This state of hair being was new to me-the dry ‘fro. Despite the change, don’t I look happy?
Once I arrived at the salon, I sat through a parting ritual which took about an hour (it seemed). My dry, clean hair was sectioned for grid patterns. I haven’t seen parts in my head since taking down my pre-Big Chop braids in December 2015. As a preventative measure, I took three regular strength Aleve with my breakfast just in case I experienced any discomfort. I will admit that pain relievers are a must have whenever I used to get my hair micro-braided. Without a doubt, they were NOT needed on Day 1 or on Day 2.
Once we began the install, my consultant, who was not feeling very well that Saturday, quickly tackled one section at a time, starting in the center of my head and moving to the back. My initial thoughts were that my hair was all over the place, and while I know there was an intricate grid pattern, I didn’t quite understand how they would end up “settled” and going in a styled direction.
Before our six hours for Day One ended, all of the back was completed. The next day, we started early and by 10 am, the first side was completed. I was excited because I could actually see the work in progress at this point.
Day Two arrived, and I was thrilled to be on my way to the salon. Here I am as I was preparing to leave my house to see my consultant and to complete my install on Sunday, July 24th.
It takes a patient and methodical professional to stay focused while locking hundreds of parted and sectioned locks. We took frequent stretch breaks, talked about my new role within the district, and of course, chatted about my Frank. 😍😘
Finally, the moment I had been awaiting arrived, and she was finished! Here are some shots of my hair before it was styled. You’ll note a few spaces, which is natural in a grid-patterned ‘do. My spaces are much more pronounced with braiding. Because my hair is pretty dense, with my baby locks, the spacing was minimal. Note the individual “‘fros” at the end of each lock. Those ends will transform over the course of the next few months, and it is where my lock will form.
Styling was an invigorating ritual of massage and manipulation of my locks. The massage felt good, and resulted in a more polished look which made me feel, not only grateful that the 11-hour install was over, but that my newfound hair freedom could begin. Here are a few photos of the final look.
My instructions were to NOT get my hair wet and to contact her if, prior to my follow-up appointment (included in my install price), I had any slippage (undone locks) around my edges which is common with short hair. At night, I should wear my “Loc Soc” or sleep on a satin pillowcase. I have two satin pillowcases, a crimson one and a cream one, that I rotate. 🐘💃🏽 Here is the “Loc Soc” brochure. I am pictured above and below wearing mine at the start of Day 2.
My husband, Frank, didn’t see my hair on Day 1 or on Day 2. He has not embraced my natural hair, so in my quest to evolve in the most positive way I know how, I donned my Loc Soc all day on my Sisterlocks birthday. Was I uncomfortable about my new look? No. Was I hiding from him? Perhaps. ☺️ I had less than 24 hours to reveal my new look, and it was for a precious few hours that it was just my own.
Interestingly, yesterday was our New Leaders official cohort photo day. I wore blue, because according to our national facilitator, Glynis, blue is a “warm color.” Here I am, in my baby Sisterlocks glory, ready to face my work day and to “go public” with my new look.
Today was a good day for one more reason. As I kissed my Frank goodbye on my way out the door, he said to me for the first time in several months, “Baby, you look good.” Validation? No. But, does it feel good? Hell, yes! 😬