So March came and went and I completely forgot to celebrate my 3 year loc anniversary! In the past, I haven't been big on celebrating my locs — or more specifically, their length. It seemed frivolous — birds fly, the sun rises + sets, and my hair grows a few inches every year. But in the past three years, I've been through some powerful and dramatic transformations. I graduated from college, left an abusive relationship, moved to NYC, and rediscovered my self + my light. And throughout the ups and downs, when I felt scared, or lost, or exhausted, my locs were my physical reminder that I was growing. And so this year, I'm celebrating.
WHY I STARTED LOCS
Back in 2011, after I did the big chop and went natural, I still found myself caught up in the concept of "good hair." I'd spend hours watching YouTube videos on how to achieve "frizz-free, manageable" curls. Eventually I realized that even though I claimed I was embracing my natural hair, I was still attempting to mold it into something it was not. In the end, I decided to loc my hair. I would celebrate and love my hair for all that it does naturally — kink, curl, tangle, and lock up.
March 24, 2014 — March 24, 2015
My first year of having locs, I almost exclusively wore them in bantu knots. Initially, I had no idea how to style them. After my first at-home wash, I attempted to re-twist them using clips, gave up, let them air dry, and just prayed that my hair sticking out in all directions qualified as "a look." Two days later, I went to have them professionally styled, but the appointment was expensive and they used so much gel that I felt like I was wearing a helmet. My hair texture is extremely curly, but sort of- soft, and so it gets dry/dirty quickly. I knew that I'd probably need to wash my hair more frequently than once a month (i.e., how often I could afford a hair appointment) and so I vowed to figure something out.
Thankfully my good friend, Maris, took me under her wing (as always — she's the real MVP) and taught me how to put my hair into bantu knots. As someone who is styling challenged, getting my baby locs to fit into one, tight ball on my head, all by myself, felt like a miracle. I rocked the style my entire first year and only switched it up when my hair got too long and twisting it around itself became painful.
Spiritually, my locs were the first step in an incredible journey of growth. Before I started my locs, I had a conversation with my friend, S, who is Rasta, and often spoke to me of her own loc journey and self-love process. I told her that while I was excited to start my locs, I wanted to skip "the ugly stage." S is a wise, soft-spoken woman — she is not typically long-winded, and so when she speaks, her words hold weight and power. She told me that all stages of the loc journey are beautiful, and that if I was worried about aesthetics, I should deeply evaluate why I was beginning my loc journey in the first place. I truly took her words to heart and to this day I feel as though my hair, in all of its stages, is beautiful and powerful. My hair has grown just as I have, and I deeply value the lessons I've learned since starting my locs.
March 24, 2015 — March 24, 2016
In the second year of my loc journey, I felt even more connected to my locs. My hair started to do its thing. My signature style changed from bantu knots to two-strand twists, and I swear my hair grew a 10 inches (though it probably just seemed longer because I wasn't wearing it in super tight curls anymore). I loved the way that my locs curled, spiraled, and twirled in all directions when I took out my two-strand twists — they were the perfect reflection of my bohemian, wild child spirit. I stopped photographing my hair as dilligently as I did the first year. Length-checks didn't matter as much to me — I could see the growth of my locs + my self in any photo.
March 24, 2016 — March 24, 2017
This is the year I collected charms from each place I traveled, and strung them throughout my hair. This is the year I took leaps of faith even though I wasn't sure where I would land. This is the year that I truly started to feel carefree and powerful. This year was one of the best of my adulthood thus far, and I truly felt beautiful in every moment. I was on the cusp of blooming into my best self, and it absolutely shows.
And so here I am now. My locs are falling a little bit longer and I'm holding my head a bit higher than the year before. I'm learning so much about myself on the daily and relishing in each new experience that comes my way. While I can't wait to see where my locs fall next year, surprisingly, I've been thinking of taking a few inches off of my hair. I've been feeling so light and carefree that I want my locs to feel the same. So we'll see. I'm learning that life is full of surprises. xx