Interesting enough, I have told this story many times of how we began this cascade of love, and I have yet to tell it here—in the place that manifested from the froth at the bottom those great falls.
My natural loc journey started pretty darn cliché on the “why I began my locs” scale. By my third year of college, I had snipped, cut, colored and styled my hair to the point of no return. I had officially grown tired of relaxing my hair. My hair had fallen into an unthriving state. I was done with trying to figure out how to style and keep my processed strands looking decent between relaxings. Nevertheless, I did not readily choose to go natural after coming to any of these realizations within myself.
No, my natural journey began to take shape around year four. Like many spiritual journeys, it followed a paradigm shift in my romantic life and personal perspective. This transition came a bit after my happily ever after shattered on concrete floor, between the time I maxed out a credit card in a day, and Frank’s sly tongue wriggled its way out of his mouth and into my mental.
At the beginning of this process, I had no clue what the outcome of my transition was going to look like. I could not foresee what natural style I would be rocking. After three months of trying to figure out what style resonated best with me, I started thinking seriously about locs. I had always admired locs—and all the many variations of types, textures, and stylings.
Thus, by the end of my official junior year, I had made my decision. I wanted to lock my hair. So, as soon as I arrived back in Saponi country I made my way into the city and into the salon chair of my tomin, my aunt—there, I placed my order.
At the time, she had very little faith in my decision—so little that she refused to cut my relaxed ends for fear I would change my mind before summer’s end. I obliged her love. Nevertheless, after spending my summer in the hellish heat of a motorsport camp and managing to perfect the struggle look of maniac lifeguard emerging from pool water on a smoldering hot day, I found myself sitting once again in the chair of my tomin. This time I was prepared more than ever for the big chop.
After it was all snipped and chopped I left the salon a new mahei—a new woman. For the first time conveying home, half watching the road and half glancing at myself in the rearview mirror, I realized how big my head really was.
However, none of that mattered because I was going back to university different, not yet entirely spiritually, but definitely physically and a wee bit mentally.
And while family and friends counted down the hours until I came back to their senses—I was busy making a commitment to myself and my itsy bitsy struggle-baby locs—one that said we would never part ways. Little did they know upon agreeing to be so ride-or-die they were already divine puns in for one helluva lovetrip…or was it little did I know …eh, Tomato—tomáto.
I grew up on the ragged edge of self-acceptance, where I was holding on to it, but it was easy to fall off. But as I found my way inside myself, I’ve been able to accept my own hair, my own shape.
—Tracee Ellis Ross
For more on my loc journey, wash routine, styles, coloring, and natural hair care products visit Nadira’s Locs ♥.
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