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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Good Sunday Morning...

Hi everybodies! I should be getting ready for work right now, but I'm sitting here bloggin' and looking at my YouTube page, counting subscribers and such. A good friend of mine stopped over last night (I wasn't expecting her) and it was such a surprise to see her! I was just stunned--I haven't seen her or talked with her for at least a couple of months (our schedules just constantly clash). Anyway, she has locs (somewhere between 3-4 years, I think) and she was just astounded at the growth of mine in such a short time. She was one of the few sistas that supported me in my venture and was one of the first people to see my coils when they were first put in and miniscule and I was sporting the "tres scalpy" look! LOL I can remember her laughing at me just a little and saying that I would have a hard time locing because my hair is much softer than hers--she has a really coarse texture and mine is more wavy than a really tight kink. Much as I love her and much as she loves me, she honestly didn't think my hair would loc very quickly.

Well, she was very pleasantly surprised and pleased for me and she just couldn't get over how much progress I've made thus far on this journey. I really value her opinion. She has what she terms "ghetto, mammy-made locs"--locs that she started herself, no meticulous parts, no guidance really, she just one day decided to grab and start twisting. She had permed hair at the time and didn't cut the ends off, she just kept twisting and twisting and twisting until the ends stayed twisted and the new hair began to loc. Her hair looks fantabulous! And you know what? She also views the growth and transition of her loose hair into locs as a spiritual journey, just like me. As her locs grew strong and long, so did she and she grew in self acceptance by leaps and bounds. I personally have a hard time understanding how some can view this experience as just a fad or just for fashion and not also about growth on an emotional/spiritual level. I'm not hating on those that loc for these particular reasons, I'm just saying that I can't fathom this not having some type on impact on one's emotional/spiritual outlook. I say this for the simple reason that we, as women, do tend to get a little emotionally involved with our hair, especially if it ain't lookin' as fly as we would want it to! We obsess over it and have an almost compulsive need to keep it looking just so and when it doesn't cooperative, we get bent! Those of us on this loc journey are currently at or have been at the "fugly, ugly" stage at some point in this process--you can admit it. You know what I mean--the "baby" coils/braids/locs aren't doin' what we want them to do, they are fuzzy and standing all over the head, they aren't neat, etc. And we get emotional about it--what do we do to calm it down, cover it up, make it behave? And then one day it hits us--forget about it, let it do what it gonna do and it will one day transform into the proverbial swan. Don't obsess and don't hate; just accept and move on. The same for the spiritual transformation--having to care and maintain locs physically puts one in touch with oneself and, in my opinion, encourages some introspection, meditation and inner quietness that allows one the time to return to one's spiritual core and to cultivate strength there. This is/has been such a strongly emotional/spiritual experience for me that I just can't really put it all into words. I have gained such strength so far and I hope to continue to increase that strength. My girl friend remarked that I just seemed to be glowing with an inner peace and serenity and she has been privy to some of my most deeply held insecurities and fears--she's seen the worst parts of me, and she is totally blown away at my new-found spiritual "grounded-ness" and peace. God was/and still is working on me in a big way through this loc journey and I thank Him for that. Thanks be to God for allowing me to experience Him in such a way as this.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Just A Quickie Entry...

Hey everybody! This is gonna be a quickie entry since it's been a while for me. I am finally getting back to "normal" (whatever that is) from my mom's accident, work catchup for being off with her, etc. Now, of course, it's time for me to start prepping my store for inventory--whew! Does it EVER end?!? Anyway, I'm falling more and m ore in love with my hair on a daily--no make that hourly, basis! It seems to be growing really fast. My assistant manager (she's a person of the caucasian persuasion) says that everytime she sees me it seems like my hair has grown another two inches LOL! The process has yet to lose its fascination for me...

You know, late last week a young sister was in the store and I noticed that she had sisterlocks; she's shopped in the store before, but I hadn't seen her for about a month or so. I walked up to her and complimented her hair and asked her how long she'd been locked up. She replied "I've had them for a month." And then she said "...But mine are Sisterlocks" in a somewhat condescending voice, as if MY hair wasn't a viable option in locdom or something! WHY oh WHY do we insist on separating ourselves against ourselves? As if Sisterlocks are any better than any other type of loc? Now mind you, I had just washed and twisted mine the day before (my day off from work) so I knew they were clean and neat and smelled WONDERFUL (I just love the smell of jasmine, so I've been adding jasmine e/o to my daily dose of olive/jojoba oil) and as a bonus my head was under "fuzz control"--I don't normally mind the fuzz, the hair's gonna do what the hair's gonna do, so I guess it doesn't matter if I mind it or not! Anyway, such an elitist attitude just really irks me--haven't we learned yet that we should be supporting anything/everything good about each other instead of always trying to "one up"? It still amazes me that I've gotten more overt support in this endeavor from my white sistas than from my sista sistas, except for a few like my mom and my sister and a couple of friends that are also loc'd. Hell, even my "ex" husband has been more supportive than most of the black sistas that I know, and he's my ex. What's up with that?

These are some recent pics of me and my hair (all right, three out of four of these were taken to show some makeup looks, but I think they also show my hair off pretty well!) What do y'all think? Just a rhetorical question--I don't really care what y'all think (you know what I mean! no offence intended (smile)) I think my hair look GREAT at the six month mark! Guess I'd better go and finish getting ready for work. Have a wonderful day everyone and be blessed! Hugs and peace, janel

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

What Is It About Our Hair...?

Hey everybody! I'm here in North Carolina right now with my mom and stepdad--kinda an unscheduled "vacation" of sorts. My mother was in a serious car accident several days ago and of course I had to hot-foot it here to see for myself that she was all right! She's fine, generally speaking, but the car was totalled and it's truly a blessing that she was able to walk away from it under her own power. Anyway, I've just been thinking about some of the issues that we as women have with our hair...

What is the "thing" that we have about our hair? Why aren't we comfortable, for the most part, with what God gave us? If our hair is long, we want it short, if it's short we want it long, we want it flowing and straight and "just so"--why do we want something other than what we were naturally given? So far in my loc journey, have discovered a couple of things about myself as it relates to my hair: 1) I really do like my natural texture, 2) my natural texture isn't as hard to work with as I thought at one time, 3) my hair is beautiful just the way it is, and 4) I don't feel any less feminine with my hair short.

I really do like the texture of my hair--it's coily/wavy and soft to the touch. It's springy, curls easily and actually behaves quite well, sans relaxer. I'm getting some silver in with the dark brown/black strands now, and it's all good! The silver is beautiful. My natural texture isn't as hard to work with as I once thought--as long as I am working WITH my texture and not AGAINST it. If I listen to my hair, it will tell me what it likes and doesn't like; all I have to do is listen. It likes minimal manipulation--it likes locs! My hair loves olive oil and jojoba oil and it currently loves the smell of jasmine essential oil--the smell stays for a long time and each time I catch a whiff of it, it brings a smile to my spirit. My hair is soft and fragrant and my man loves the rough velvet texture in his hands. My hair is beautiful and I don't have to do anything other than keep it clean to keep it beautiful. It needs no relaxing or shine serum or frizz control serum or flat iron or curling iron to show its beauty. My hair has a subtle sheen that is given by nature and is as it should be. In time, with patience and care, it will grow to new lengths and perhaps even exceed the lengths that I had when I was relaxed. I feel no loss of femininity with my current short hair; why should I? My hair doesn't define me as a woman; it is merely a common idealistic symbol of my status as a woman. Were I to become bald, I would still be a woman because my DNA and my thoughts and my socialization and my internal/external physical and psychological makeup would mark me as such. I will not feel more feminine as my hair grows longer, neither will I feel less feminine with my currently shorter hairstyle.

What is is about our hair that gives us such anxiety, such anguish? I think that we as black women should find the answer(s) to this question within ourselves and then seek ways to become comfortable with what the Creator has given to us. As for me, I am now truly in love with what the Creator has given me and I embrace it fully, it's beauty and it's strength, it's sometimes quirkiness, it's loveliness and it's awesomeness and I give thanks to Him for making me thus.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Me Just Feelin' Some Black Diva Pride...

Hey all--I was just surfing YouTube and stumbled upon several videos by Naturalnana made up of slideshow style presentations of natural-haired black women. All I can say is....WOW! THESE PHOTOS ARE SOOOO INSPIRING!! All of the women in these videos--from very fair skinned to very dark skinned were absolutely beautiful. And it wasn't so much a physical thing, although all of them were very asthetically pleasing to look at--beautifully shaped eyes, lips, beautiful smiles, etc, but it so much more the projection of being comfortable in their own skins, of being and acknowledging their "blackness" as it were. From the complexions to the physical features to the hair--oh the hair, the gorgeous hair! Whether braided, loose, loc'd or whatever, they were all just GORGEOUS!!! The confidence and the "queenliness" was just too awesome to behold; the aura of proud black womanhood just too shining to behold. It made me feel something very close to reverence to be able to project so much from a two dimensional photo.

I feel so much pride when I see black sistas projecting this so strongly, and I aspire to project these things also. Even more than just projecting this type of pride so convincingly, I aspire to internalize this majestic pride and truly believe this of myself--that I am truly an awe-inspiring creation of God and that I am truly and wholeheartedly beautiful in my full fledged natural state--sans makeup, sans chemically altered hair, sans surgically enhanced body parts, etc. I no longer have the chemically altered hair and I don't have any surgically enhanced body parts (too expensive on a practical level for me and I've just never really had the urge to put myself under anyone's knife just for the sake of a temporary beauty lift--guess I just don't want to be that beautiful! LOL) And although I love wearing makeup and playing with makeup, creating looks that enhance my natural features, I can really live without it, if I have to--although I do have to admit that it does help to brighten up my look! Now, I don't personally know any of the sistas that were in the video, so I don't really know if their personalities and actions in real life reflect this high pride in self for real, but I truly want to be able to carry myself like the queen that I know I truly am. This is not false pride nor is it, in my opinion vanity--this is acknowledging what God has, in His graciousness, created me to be--a reflection of Him that should be/is awesome and flawless in its beauty. My physical self--my kinky/curly hair, my brown skinned body, my short, pug-ish nose, my (too) wide hips and my (too) small breasts, my mind--and my spiritual self are all manifestations of Him and are as they should be. It's a shame that it's taken me so long to truly feel ready to embrace this; such a waste of time trying to embrace something that He never intended for me. But, perhaps this is His way of teaching me/us how to truly appreciate what He has freely given us in the beginning. Thank you, God, for allowing me this journey of discovery of self and You, even though the road hasn't always been smooth. Be with me as I continue on this journey of self-discovery and "You discovery" and if it is Your will, continue to bless me with increasing knowledge of You and of myself. Please allow my loc journey to be a part of the vehicle that allows me to gain this knowledge and throughout this discovery process, temper my great and growing pride in self with genuine humbleness and allow not vanity to overcome the lessons that you would still have me to learn. Amen.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


Hello Everybody! All right, all right, ...I just can't wait until the official day--today I'm going to celebrate my six month nappy lociversary!! **Clears throat**:

happy nappy Lociversary to me,
happy nappy Lociversary to me,
happy nappy Lociversary to me-eeeeeee,
happy nappy Lociversary to me!! (AND MANY MOOOORRRRREEEEE!!!)

Sorry, just had to do that! My actual six month lociversary is on July 4th, but I fear that it will be overshadowed somewhat by the annual July 4th Independence Day celebrations. After all, I guess the remembrance of the day that this country became independent from England is just a little more important in the whole scheme of things than the day that I started my locs. (To some people--just kidding!) When I began my locs on January 4, 2008, it didn't even occur to me that my six month milestone would be on July 4th; it just felt like the right time to begin the next part of my journey. Anyway, I've been celebrating all week so far--the ladies that I work with are excited for me and some of the customers are commenting on how much length my hair is showing in just six months' time. By the way, all of these women are white and the ones that are noticing the changes are the ones that are really supportive of me. I've gotten comments like: "I can't believe how long it is now--just seems like yesterday that you had almost nothing up there (on your head!)", "wow, your hair is growing like wildfire!", and "it is really becoming to your face shape. Did you know how you would look when you decided to do this?" (I have to laugh to myself at this question--no, I didn't know how I would look, not really. But, I was just ready to DO IT no matter how it looked in the end!) And of course, the comment that all us women just LOVE to hear, "your locs make you look SO MUCH YOUNGER!" (BOY, DO I REALLY LOVE THAT ONE!! ANYTHING TO LOOK YOUNGER--HAHA!) No, I'm not that vain; I know that if I'm blessed to live long enough, these semi-youthful looks, such as they are, will indeed fade. But it is nice to hear every once in a while that someone thinks you look a bit younger than your actual chronological age. Such an ego boost...

Not much has changed in the way of my maintenance routine. Still washing every two weeks, and rinsing/spritzing daily with eo's/water and sealing with either olive oil or jojoba oil or a combo of the two. I'm going to start trying to stretch out the time between my full retwists--instead of every two weeks after each wash, maybe just every four weeks. Will have to see how it goes. I didn't retwist after washing this past Friday, and discovered that I'm more anal about the "groomed look" than I first thought. It's definitely something different for me to just let the new growth go! I actually like the thick look although I don't know that I would be able to go for months at a time without retwisting like some of the others I know through the loc hair care site Nappturality. At least, I don't think I could go that long right now--just not quite ready for that. Maybe with time and more length to my locs...

As my locs grow strong (and hopefully long), so grows my spirit; or at least that's how I'm feeling. That inner core of strength that I've newly discovered within myself seems to be just a constant hum in harmony with my physical self. It's quiet, to be sure, but I know it's there and it's steady. God is there and is steady, and the beautiful thing is that I KNOW that HE is there and steady. It is indeed a heady thing to know and to feel through and through that this is a TRUTH that will never change. I mean, I've known this for a long time intellectually, if you can actually know such a spiritual thing on an intellectual level, but I KNOW this now on an overwhelmingly deep spiritual level in such a more intense way. It's really hard to explain in words because it's all just there as a full blown thing, like the eternal flame--never ending, never to be extinguished now that it's truly lit. Now, mind you, although my locs are a physical manifestation of this spiritual growth and development, don't think that if I were to cut them off at some point (which I don't plan to do) I would lose this "feeling"--this type of strength is not tied to my hair; rather, my hair is just one way of manifesting this strength. Remember Helen Reddy's song "I am WOMAN, hear me ROAR"? Well Baby--I'm roaring! I AM a GODDESS and I AM a DIVA--I AM a strong LOC'D WOMAN! God bless me and all of you reading these lines. May all of you on this journey called life, whether loc'd or unloc'd, find your strength and your truth and may you all discover your eternal flame. Be blessed, hugs and peace, janel
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