While I will never regret starting locs, I’d be lying to you if I told you it was a simple decision. It all started 20 years ago, when as a little girl I saw my older cousin at a family function. He had these beautiful, braid-like things on his head. I asked my mom what they were. Could I get my hair like that? She said, “NO WAY!” You see, I had thick, beautiful, straight (from chemical perms) hair — which is prized in the African-American community. Even when I turned 18 and decided I still wanted locs, my mom wasn’t a fan of the idea. As a momma’s girl, I highly value my mom’s opinion, so going natural and growing locs was a major decision to make, considering that I didn’t exactly have her cheering me on.
I can’t put it all on her, though. At 18, I loved my thick, straight, shoulder-length hair. As a dark-skinned girl who often didn’t feel pretty because of my skin, I guess I’d say my hair was my badge of honor and main source of self-esteem. When I went off to college, I decided that I would not perm my hair; I would start locs when I came home for the Christmas holiday. Well, let me tell you, that didn’t happen! Instead, I went months without a perm, flat-ironing my hair and wearing it in braids. But as soon as I came home for the holidays, I went to my beautician (who refused to do natural hair) and got a perm. I was addicted to the perms: “the creamy crack.” I left the salon thinking my silky straight hair was fabulous, but a week later regretted my decision. I went back to college with my mind made up to not get a perm — but I failed again, partially because I didn’t know what to do with my hair or who to go to for professional help.
Nonetheless, by the end of that semester, I was wearing braids. I came home, found a salon that specialized in natural hair, and began a six-month journey of growing out my natural hair. There were a lot of naysayers, but I was extremely proud of myself for sticking to it. On January 19, 2005 I went to the salon, had the permed hair cut off, walked around with an afro for a few hours, and my loc journey officially began! honestly haven’t looked back since.
In this journey, I learned so much about myself. Wearing locs, especially in the short phase, forced me to own my beauty in every way, which was major in my becoming who I am today. I realized that locs are just as versatile as non-loc hair, and the sky is the limit in what they can do. My mom has come around, too. She even helped me decide to dye the tips of my locs teal two months ago!
While certainly one of the most difficult beauty/physical decisions I’ve made, growing locs is in the top five of most transformative things I’ve ever done, inside or out.
This post is part of BlogHer’s Transformative Beauty editorial series, made possible by Sonia Kashuk at Target.