Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Reflections on Going Natural and Getting Locked

This was an "essay" I posted in Lockitup back in July. I thought I'd share it on my blog. Straight from the heart!

Most women want to have natural hair, locks, twists and the whole nine, but as many of us have experienced on our own, we initially allowed misconceptions and other people's perception of us and themselves cloud our decision-making process. You can add to the list, but as I reflect, when I first wanted to get my hair locked five years ago, there were a variety of things that plagued my thoughts. Some of you may or may not have experienced some of the things I did. A lot of the drama occurred in my own mind.

I thought…

1. My hair was nappy, which equated to a negative perception of myself.
2. Braids were acceptable, because they didn't make my hair appear so "nappy" (I even permed the edges so my hair would match the synthetic or human hair). Deep huh?
3. I wanted to feel good about myself with the way I looked and going natural didn't give me that kind of motivation, desire or feeling.

4. I didn't want to endure the stares, questions and opinions of others if I went natural. As we all know anytime we change any look others are used to seeing us in, there is always potential opposition.
5. I didn't think I would look "pretty" or "nice" or "neat" with natural hair.
6. More so than our non-black counterparts, the grief mostly came from family and friends.
7. I remember when I first got my hair two strand twisted, everyone just “stared”. They didn’t know what to say as to not offend me with their opinion of my hair style. Maybe it was a Texas thing.
8. The curse of wanting straight hair because it was more "socially" acceptable always lurked into my thoughts.
9. I did not have a healthy understanding or appreciation of my natural roots, no pun intended. :-)
10. I looked in the mirror and when I saw nappy roots or edges, I considered my hair and myself ugly, unattractive, and unappealing.
11. Looking in magazines and on TV, the percentage of permed straight hair out weighed natural styles, with the exception of braids (with other people's hair in my head).
12. I was scared and fearful of the potential outcome, especially if I didn't like it.
13. I was afraid of rejection by others.
14. I was not willing to endure the suffering (growing pains) while the change was occurring.
15. Although I saw my sister with dreadlocks for like ten years+, it never occurred to me I could have the same freedom although I longed for it.
16. I knew that at some point I would go completely natural, and each step I made moved me to the next level. So I wore braids with natural hair underneath for years.
17. I saw the spirit and confidence of others who wore natural styles and I felt like I was left out.
18. When I saw sisters and brothers alike who wore dreds, locks, or natural styles, they seemed more in tune with themselves (their spirit) and less pretentious.
19. Having friends or family say, "Girl, your hair is nappy, you need a perm" or "why don't you just get a texturizer", or whatever always seemed to urk me. It was like I cramped their style because I wanted my hair to be natural.
20. Although I knew how much drudgery was involved in getting my hair braided, unbraided, finding a good braider, taking care of my hair in it's natural state, I kept braids in for over ten years all the while watching my hair thin out on top with only my fear and laziness to blame.

Now I threw this list together from just freethinking. There were probably more things I struggled with to get me over the hump and getting on with life concerning my "hair care drama", or as my sister Jen calls it, "chemical dependency". It took a series of steps to get me to where I am today, and boy am I thankful.

As women we ought to do ourselves a favor and begin to tell ourselves the truth about how we feel about ourselves. I guess the question is, "Where is the love?" Can we love ourselves no matter what state we are in? Can we tell ourselves the truth and if the truth is a "lie", meaning that we are lying to ourselves, can we face that "lye" head on and tell the truth? I don't know, but I'm thankful that the closer I get to "Truth", the more free I be! Freedom has it's privileges, don't you think?

T.W.'s reply in lockitup:

I think you just about covered the myriad of feelings we all went through before
making the BIG decision to get SLs. Even now I have those moments when I feel
"less than ____" (fill in the blank with "attractive" "accepted" "socially
acceptable" or whatever) because of my hair. But believe me those moments
quickly dissipate and are becoming far and few between. But then too I see the
sistas with the perms and long braids or weaves parading around, flicking their
hair and putting on a front that they are "attractive" "accepted" whatever, but
I have to admit I feel a tinge of pity for them because I see them as being fake
just like the white girls with the collagen lips. "C'mon, you and everybody else
knows you weren't born that way," I want to say to them. Even my 71-year old
mother, bless her heart, told me she just didn't feel attractive when she wore
her hair in a TWA. She'd rather press the mess out of it and have it laying greased and stuck to her head in, what I would never tell her, is really the most unattractive look, always concerned about the weather making it "go back". Umph, umph, umph.

I may have my moments of feeling "less than", but it is a better feeling than
the way I used to feel when I would get compliments on my weave or braided
styles. I always felt insincere and awkward saying "Thank you." Now when I get
compliments on my SL's a very sincere "Thank you" seems to come from somewhere
else in my being. I'm me the way God intended. Those who have problems with my
natural look.....that's just it....their problem.

Christmas 2005

I spent Christmas in Galveston, Tx with my goddaughter and her family. Her name is Kalee. I've had her in my life since she was nine and she'll be 21 next year. She's growing up to be a beautiful young woman. I lived in Webster and the Clear Lake City area right on Bay Area Blvd. for six years before moving to Sacramento, Ca in 2000. So Houston is like a second home to me.
The tall handsome man standing behind Kalee and me is the Rev. Michael T. He's like a brother to me and a real good friend. He and I agreed when Kalee was thirteen years old to become her godparents. So when we'll all able to gather in the same place during the holidays we try and take a picture together. Came out quite nice, I'd say. Hope everyone had a Merry Merry and blessed Christmas! Posted by Picasa

Friday, December 23, 2005

My Sister Jen's Weave

My sister Jen for the first time in her life, got a weave. For anyone who's familiar with weaves, you can get them sewn in, fused, interlocked or glued in. She decided she'd get them sewn in. Most folks who get weaves, inevitable go out and buy some fake or other person's human hair to achieve the "added" hair fullness look. They may buy it loose or on a track. My ingenious sister decided she'd save money and time driving up to Dallas, or down to Austin or Houston and just do the job herself.

Because she has worn dreadlocks before and has done the palm rolling (cool Palm Rolling site here)and two-strand twists and all that jazz, she felt compelled to combine her already rather girthy Sisterlocks. She felt that they were too thin and wanted some nice thick locks. She never took into account that the pain she'd been enduring the past two years from getting retightened was perhaps from having too large a lock to experience ease when the retightening tool was pulled through her new growth.
Nonetheless, she twisted about a dozen sets of thinner locks together. Some I was able to separate before they fused together, others, her magnetized hair interlocked with each other nicely. More pain was experienced when she tried to retighten her hair and yank not one, but two strands through. Eww!

Well, without even reading the posts on Lockitup about folks sewing in hair that had broken off for whatever reason Jen came up with the novel idea of cutting off her extra strands and moving them up to the front of her head. The part of her hair that has yet to fully lock is the front, in which the texture is like “white girl’s hair”(very straight) and very dense. If you can find a part, good luck, cause there’s a jungle in there.

Needless to say, she grabbed needle, upholstery thread and her hair and added length to the short stops up front. The result is a kind of spiky hair in your face kind of look. She didn’t have to go to a stylist to get this look. It just kind of resulted in it from her transplanting hair from the back to the front. She just loves it. I love it too cause she’s not crying about how short and stubby it looks in the front anymore. It does look like a "cut", but it's not. I like, I like.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Braided, Banded, and Shampoo'd

OK, Here's what I did Monday night. I braided and then "bantu'd" each braid or plait, as Jen calls em'. She did the same. I then got under the dryer and read until I was plum tired. I read all most to the end of Bud, Not Buddy, by Christopher Paul Curtis.
A teacher I sub for a Carver Academy let me borrow it because she said my pre-teen series, Shay's Stories, remind her of his writing. After finishing the book, I understood what she meant.
This was the result the next day: It was wiggly, squiggly and crinkly a little anyway. I even tried to stuff all that full hair into a black corduroy hat that didn't have enough elastic in it. When Jen and I went up to Carver, the kids were like, "Eww Miss Evans, your hair is pretty!" They could tell immediately cause lazy daisy here just barely puts on lip chap when I go to sub, let alone get all doodied up. I find myself always educating the kids about my hair. They seem so fascinated and of course want to touch it. Sometimes I let em'. Enlightening them is what's most important. Especially my young black females. I think it's cool that they see such comfortability, healthy self-esteem and peace in my sister and I when we're out and about. Any misconception or lie about being natural and locked gets blown out da water!! This is braid, weave, perm land and hard to grasp for most.
And after sleeping on it last night with no cap on, there's still some fullness to it. I think if I would have two strand twisted the hair instead of plaited it, it would have come out different. I guess if you click on the picture you can get a better view of how it turned out. Hope this holds til' Christmas.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Gone overboard with the Picasa2 Collage

OK, I will admit, I was just experimenting, but I love this collage with me, Jen and our Daddy in it. He dropped by before we headed to church this morning and I did my usual, grabbing of the camera to take some candids. You can tell our family has strong genes, for we both look a lot like our Dad. Now, do we look more like- Dad or Mom? You tell me. We took more pictures after church cause it was such a pretty sunny day. I like the colors Jen has on today. She's so chic! Posted by Picasa

Thanks for the inclusion, sister

Don't know what you have in mind, but I'll participate in the test.

Be Blessed!


Saturday, December 17, 2005

Oh Oh...Who's hair is longer???

Posted by Picasa

Finally finished retightening my hair - Whew!

Yeah, I will admit, I was trying to do too many things at one time, but I was determined that today I was gonna be done with the wig so I can concentrate on other things like writing and uploading stuff on Ebay to make it through the holidays. Now, before I'm done "experimenting", I am going to try and roll my hair up with some tiny tiny rollers; the ones I used when I first got locked. I hope my hair doesn't turn out looking too much like Shirley Temple. We'll see.

Jen assured me that she and I will both be in ponytails by Summer 06'! Waaahhoooo!! My very own ponytail!!! I can't wait!!! Posted by Picasa

Collage of 12 Month Difference in Hair Color

I was uploading pictures in the archived section and realized I took pictures of my hair on December 17th 2004 and December 17th 2005. Deep huh? I remember taking all those pictures since getting locked and thinking, "am I being a bit narcissistic?" But regardless of my reasons, I'm glad I did because I can see clearly how my hair has progressed and how the dye has contracted over the past year. I'll be adding my six month pictures and perhaps compare them to the year and a half. I know that will show a big difference in growth, texture and the whole nine. Well, glad I have my trusty Picasa2 Collage and pictures to share.

The photo of my in maroon was taken last year and of course the one in white two weeks ago. You can see how much new growth I have by less dye showing up. As I've said before, I am glad I dyed my hair, but I really believe if I hadn't I'd have my "ponytail" by now. Oh well!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Why I call it a Journey

I always say, we are always headed in some direction. That very statement implies we are on a "trip" or a "journey". Along the way we experience bumps in the road, forks in the road, breakdowns, we run out of gas, the engine gets overheated, we need to "refuel", we need a new overhaul, and in most cases we have to stop and ask ourselves, "Am I going in the right direction?"

Upon that answer, we have to tell ourselves the truth and the truth may mean, starting all over, and doing things the right way. A journey. That's a good place, especially when you at least have an idea of where you're going. Most journeys we can never be fully prepared for, but with courage, we can make our way! The men of old said, "the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step." I am thankful for all the men and women who have decided to take that first step and going a direction that leads them to freedom and not bondage. May we continue to take courage no matter how small the first step may be.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Retightening Day

Throughout today since I did not have to substitute teach, I blogged, caught up on emails, read, situated bills, and retightened my hair.

I have about 1/3rd a ways to go which is the front left side. I always start on the right and work my way around my head. I always seem to lose steam midway through. Being lazy about retightening your hair does not pay. I have some really thin locks (at the root) and have had to combine em' to save em. When the funds get right, I will have to make a trip to Gigi's so she can hook me up!! I don't have the energy to go on for tonight, so I'll have to work the rest out between tomorrow and Thursday. I wonder if I will have wavy locks in the back where I braided em' down. We'll see in the morning. It is always a good feeling when you are freshly retightened. As usual, I can't wait for the entire head to be done. Practice does make perfect. Nite! Posted by Picasa

Retightening hurts!

Well today I am trying to retighten my hair and between painstaking long periods of holding my arms up over my head, I am blogging. As a writer, I am supposed to be writing daily. My problem is I have written tons but most 80% of my writing is in manuscript form on paper, meaning it has yet to be transferred to a word document. Therefore, there's really no need for me to think I need to be writing something new, for my goal daily should be (until I get the money to pay someone) transferring my written stuff to electronic text. But, until then, I'll just switch back and forth. With that being said, I want to share some of my "verbal" text on my blog. We recorded the spoken word at the DFW Gathering II. Unfortunately Jen's computer crashed and we lost it all!! Shucks!

Monday, December 12, 2005

Bun for Destini Berry

OK, I know I'm like a long ways away from having a "real" bun, but I wanted to at least give it a shot in honor of Destini Berry today! I know it's cheezy, but what the hay! I wish Destini all the best in her journey in the world of ballet.

Posted by Picasa

Poem/song for Destini Berry

Keep Dreaming
Written by Maryee

Whatever dream You've given me
I won't keep it inside
No matter how scared I may be
I won't go run and hide
And if this dream really is
what it's meant to be

I'll do all that I can
to make it a reality
(to fulfill my destiny)

I’ll keep writing
I’ll keep singing
I’ll keep running
I’ll keep winning
I’ll keep playing
I’ll keep dancing
I’ll keep dreaming

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Back Day one and Back/Side Year 2

Brunsli wanted me to show her a two picture collage. Well, Picasa2 doesn't allow you to do that unless you use the contact sheet option in the collage settings and that look cheezy. I ditched that option and just decided to do a two-picture collage, not trying to be doubly vain...

Of course the pictures on the left were taken the day I got my Sisterlocks put in (11-28-03) and the ones on the right were taken last week after I got out of the shower. It was still wet, so that my be why it may look pretty long to you. I suppose if it were straightened, it would be close to ten-twelve inches. I suppose... Hopefully this is a better version of a before and after. Much better IMHO. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, December 10, 2005

The Big Fall

It's the coolest part of the Sisterlock journey when your hair no longer has a mind of it's own. They call it the rebellious teens stage where no lock is ever in it's right place. Then one day when you least expect it, your locks just fall right in place. They finally lay down!!! Posted by Picasa

Monday, December 05, 2005

Happy Birthday Blaqkofi!!!

Blaqkofi graciously opened her beautiful home to bunch of women (about 18 of us) yesterday for food, fun and fellowship!!! We had such a marvelous time. She was so giving, she allowed us to also share in listening to her handsome son Kory play the keyboard and relax in such an inviting and intimate atmosphere. Beautiful, inside and out, I'm wishing you the BEST BIRTHDAY day ever!!! Many blessings, my sister!!! Posted by Picasa

Group Picture at DFW Sisterlock Gathering #2

Fabulous ladies!!!!
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New Sisterlock Friend Detra

Now it's one thing to hear about folks whom you've inspired, and it's another to meet them along the way. Detra saw my fotki photo album and was motivated to go on cross over to Sisterlock kingdom. That put a smile on my face. I met Ms. Detra along with her adorable neice last night. She and her locks were on point. She is just as sweet in person as I felt reading posts on my blog and lockitup from her. I am excited for Detra in her journey and look forward to following her growth! Way to go Detra!!! Posted by Picasa

Different Women, like minded spirits

I have to quote GiGi, when she said last night, "Locked women carry a different kind of conversation." That's not to say women who aren't locked can't carry a conversation, but one must admit, there's a higher level of freedom to be real when sisters striving to find their "real" selves come together. There's no room for pretention and insecurities here!!! We all have had to go through the same struggle of de-brainwashing ourselves about our true beauty. No lyeing here! Don't let the media fool ya! Natural is in!!!! And being locked is a NEW MOVEMENT.
 Posted by Picasa

Some headshots of Sisters locked

I tried my best to get headshots of everyone, but looks like I didn't get everyone. Here's the ones I managed to get before everyone left. LaChanda, GiGi, Sharon, Jen, Diane, Beverly, and Shirley were workin' it! Cute huh?? Posted by Picasa

GiGi's Sisterlocks

I wanted to add a picture of the back of GiGi's hair. Isn't it cute? She's ready to wear her hair in a bun on the 12th for little Destini. Folks, she's been wearing locks for I believe around 9 years. At one time her locks were all the way down her back. I just can't wait til' I can at least get this beautiful style myself. GiGi is beautiful inside and out! By the way, she's who taught me how to retighten my hair!

Beautiful side views of Beautifully locked women

Marilyn, Tra, Sharon, and GiGi, locked and lovin' it!! Posted by Picasa

Empowerment and Entertainment Anyone??

Well, here's collage #1 of yesterday's fun filled afternoon/evening at the DFW Sisterlock Gathering #2. DFW Consultant Gretchel "GiGi" Johnson, started it off with a ten minute motivational speech that set the stage for the electrifying energy exerted the rest of the evening. Tra read a poem called Vampire Love, from
All About Love, the chapbook that has poetry and commentary about self love from Dr. Cornwell herself. I read an original piece called In The Mirror, along with another piece from the All About Love chapbook called Testifyin' which had everyone shouting, screaming and bustin' a gut. Narissa, LaChanda's sixteen year-old niece, broke it down with a powerful original piece with attitude and class! She had all the ladies snapping their fingers afterwards. Blaqkofi added spice as well reading, So Address Me As Such, by Renee Johnson and any women who didn't feel they had dignity collected some for themselves after she was finished. The only thing we didn't have was singing. OK, ladies, don't hold back next time!!! I know there were some singers in the house.Posted by Picasa

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Is that a ponytail I see??

OK, earlier tonight I was spraying my hair with water, tea tree and vitamin e and decided to grab a scrunchy to pull it back. This is what I came up with. Now my heart's desire is for me to be able to throw my locks back into a ponytail and "hit the road". Now, I know this is a lil' premature, but I believe it's gonna be cool when I can look back on this picture today and chart the growth for when I can have a "real" ponytail. Can't wait!! Posted by Picasa