Today was my first day in the new cancer research lab. Studying myeloma, but that is not important. At least not for this post!
I had a wonderful experience! Not only because I enjoyed learning about the research, but because felt like nobody was judging me or was startled to see that I was (1) black (2) female (3) looked very young and (4-my favorite) that I wore a head wrap! I wanted to show them right off that I was going to be my normal unique self! I think they respected that and also respected the fact that I was confident, friendly, scientifically literate, and willing to learn! I hope that every part of me stood out, my look, and my ability to be a positive addition to the lab! There are so many things to worry about when you are pretty much alone (ethnicity and culture) in every aspect of our life, so I have decided to just be me, and worry about one less thing! This time, it went over well, I just hope it stays that way! Or at least continues to get better.
In a few more months it will be one year since I started my locs. It has been a truly happy to be nappy experience, but let me tell you about these locs. I have gone through several stages. I tried to keep them manicured for a few weeks, by going to get them retwisted every 2-3 weeks, then I did DIY for a while, then I semi-free formed for a while, then they and I went crazy ,and I removed about 2/3 of the locs in the back and sides. I’ll explain each phase in detail and where I am now:
Stage 1: Retwisting Religiously (tongue twister for ya)
- My hair dresser who I mentioned in an older post, agreed to give me a discount for retwisting if I would come in every 2- 3 weeks. That was the catch. I had to come in fairly often and spend $35 each time. Not bad if you are not living right at the poverty line on a grad school grant. That would have been almost like having an extra bill per month totaling up to $70. I can’t even do it!
Stage 2: DIY Ditty
- I was used to fixing my own hair anyway, so I thought that I could wash and twist my new locs myself. This worked somewhat, but I think 2 things happened. (1) I may have twisted in the opposite direction than my hairdresser had started the locs, which is kind of a problem because although the locs would still loc, they would be weak at that point where they had to change direction. Also, the shorter locs didn’t know what to do. I’ll come back to that in stage 4. (2) I could not see what I was doing in the back of my head. My shorter hair would come totally a loose after washing, and I would struggle with getting the parts back straight in the back. So this leads into Stage 3:
Stage 3: Free-form Fail
- Free-forming is letting your hair naturally loc by just washing and going; no combing, no parting, no twisting: (see Bob Marley, Lauryn Hill?) Semi-free-form is doing that for about 1-2 months, then going to get them retwisted (or DIY). A while ago, I noticed that my hair was thin on one side, and at the back (near the nape) of my head. So I thought I would let these areas alone for a while, and let them grow out how they want to. Let them thicken up with new growth, and without me trying to get them tight and right. By this time, my crown, was fully locked and happy. One day after washing my hair, my scalp in those same areas just did not feel right. I was worried that this area would never lock up…I wanted to be a free spirit, and live, look, and feel organic, I also felt that something was not right, especially when it looked like my hair had not grown much in over 6 months!
Stage 4: The break-down-take down
- That same day, I decided to comb through the area that would not lock. I wanted to see how much of my hair was an afro and what I was really working with. I was astonished! It was more than half unlocked! AHHH! OK, OK Calm down. I just could not beleive it. It has been alost 9 months, and more than 1/2 my hair was an afro…BUT that was not my worry. I knew that I would have to wait up to a year AT LEAST to see my hair lock completely. The problem was that the other 1/3 was FULLY LOCKED! Like: shake-dem-dreads-locked! It was crazy. I thought I should shave my head and start over. Or shave it like this:
- I almost did, for real! I contemplated what to do. I wanted to continue to free-form, but I did not want to have to tend to the 2/3 part different than the 1/3 part; and what if they looked vastly different over the next year? I was clueless. I went to get advice from the hair dresser, and she gave me the option of plaiting, and/or interlocking that 2/3. I went with plaits… tight plaits. This was about 2 weeks ago, and I just washed my hair Tuesday. I used a tight stocking cap, Dr. Bonner‘s solid soap, and rinsed really well. It WORKED! Everything stayed twisted and plaited. Finally! So the plaits don’t really need much maintenance. If they start to unravel, then I quickly plait them back, but other than that, I hope the new growth will come in ready to be twisted to RIGHT (I got it going now!)
From now on I will:
Go with the flow
Be happy to be nappy no matter what!
Glycerin is great! It really softens my coarse hair. I am wearing a blown out Afro, and I am loving the look and feel that this natural product has for my hair. I was a little weary about blow drying my natural hair since it is so kinky; I just knew the heat would break it off. But applying the glycerin and mango butter protected it and even 2 days later, it still feels soft. Yay!
At night I section my hair in small Afro puffs so I won’t have a big matted bush when I wake up to the beautiful sun! I use an afro pick so the sectioned spaces are filled in. Voilà!
This WOW is not necessarily a good WOW! I tried this product for the first time yesterday. And I had to try it again today. Lets just say, I did not get it right the first time, and I am not sure even this time if it will come out the way it should. I have very thick, thick, thick, tight, tight, tight curly hair. I don’t have long wavy hair at all. Maybe when it grows out more, it will fall better, but for now, I have a nappy bush. I love my nappy bush because it is healthy, soft, manageable (I can comb right through it even with a rat tail comb when it is wet), and mine! I have a feeling that these KC products are for people with really short TWAs or long (tight or wavy curls) hair that can fall in a spiral fashion.
I washed my hair 3 times yesterday with the KC shampoo, and applied Knot Today, and KCCC. I sectioned my hair, and I thought that I followed the directions properly. I made bantu knots so that I could sleep without matting my hair. The next morning I took down the knots, fluffed a little, and YIKES! WHITE FLAKES GALORE! not cool! But I had to do something, so I pushed up the edges for some sort of style, stopped touching my hair because that made the flaking worse, and went to work. I vowed that I would get this technique right, so today, I washed my hair again (hoping that it would not dry out…the weather has been warm though), applied a very small small amount of KT, and used a spray bottle to wet my hair ALOT before I applied the KCCC. I even watched a few trusty YouTube videos to see if I should use a comb or just use fingers to work it in… Fingers. I tried me best; while it is wet, it looks pretty good, but that is what I said yesterday too…and the next morning it turned out looking like my head was in the dryer with white towels! So we will see how this turns out tomorrow morning when its dry!
So since I spent almost $50 bucks on this line of products, I said I would at least give it a few weeks, if I wash my hair every week. Sometimes my hair needs to get used to a certain product. I had been using Giovanni for a year or so, and this is a big change. I hope it is a welcomed one, although if and when money becomes an issue, I will have to veer back to what I know.
Well, I know these perks may not seem that important or interesting to people that do not know what black women go through with their hair; however they are very significant to me, and I am sure they are many more perks that are significant to other transitioners and natural hair chicas. I wanted to list a few here:
1. You can walk in the rain without an umbrella, and without completely loosing a new permed style.
2. You can learn to swim, if you don’t know how (Had the throw this one in there; it relates to no.1)
3. You don’t have to go to a salon or by a boxed perm to keep the styles you want to wear
4. You can get to know my hair like it was (or at least similar to) when you were a little girl.
5. You can utilize a variety of natural hair products that are especially for your hair
6 . You can wear your hair in various styles that do not require you to sleep standing up…yall know what I mean 🙂
7. Natural hair makes you look younger