I can still remember how I felt watching Lauryn Hill in her Ex Factor video back in 1998. She was beautiful, conscious and most of all; her hair was different from all the other mainstream black artists.
In that video, she sported shoulder length dreadlocks and a tasteful cream pants suit. I remember thinking, now that's a woman with confidence...that's a woman who is sure of her place in the world! I immediately thought of locking my own shoulder length relaxed hair. I quickly changed my mind when I considered the response from my family and peers. I was a sophomore in high school and didn’t personally know any teenagers with locks, let alone natural hair.
I held on to the thought of "going natural" with my hair for many years, even though I continued to submit to the "creamy crack" of no-lye relaxers.
Me, in the brown skirt; hubby far right, 2003
In 2007, I started doing a lot of research on healthy eating habits and sustainable living. I began to eat more whole foods and learned a bit about meditation and composting. One day, while cleaning my kitchen, I suddenly had an epiphany. I thought to myself, you're so concerned about what you put into your body and have little regard for what you put ON your body.
I went into the bathroom and retrieved the yellow scissors from under the sink. I started cutting frantically and dropping locks into the trash can at my feet. I remember thinking, if I don't do it now, I will never make the change. I then pulled out my hubby's clippers to even out my hair length. This was a disaster because I had no idea how to cut hair, and since I cut one area too short, I had to completely SHAVE MY HEAD! I was mortified and immediately regretted my decision.
So there I was, staring at my baldhead in the mirror trying to decide what the next step would be. I put on a hoodie and headed to the nearest hair shop to find a wig. I settled on a cute bob and wore it for several weeks.
I soon grew tried of the wig and decided to rock my boy cut every day instead. Rather than feeling insecure, cutting my hair liberated me. The freedom of wash-and-go hair, swimming without a care, and no longer waiting hours in the hair salon made me feel so free and beautiful.
Today marks three years since I gained the health of my hair back. Having locks hasn’t always been very easy (it took forever to lock and was so frizzy), but I now enjoy this simple, gorgeous hair of mine.