Monday, 26 April 2010

It's Been a Year!

Happy Birthday/Lockday/anniversary to my hair!

Although it seems strange to be celebrating a hair anniversary, I do feel it appropriate to somehow commemorate the day I began this locked down journey to freedom. Do I regret it? No...  In fact I am still very proud of myself for finally taking the plunge after hemming and hawinga bout it for so many years!

Perming my hair was never about a desire for 'more manageable hair' or 'equal hair rights' (with other races); I did it because (almost) everyone else did, it was the 'natural' (LOL) thing to do. Natural hair was for primary school, when you either started secondary school or turned 16 for the die hard girls - you straightened your hair. It was just what you did. It symbolised the demarcation between young girl and young woman.

So, when I was 14 (or 15), I had my first perm. And I LOVED the way my hair lay flat against my head when I wore pony tails. I wasn't so into the curling business... straight and smooth were enough for me. Who knows? I might even post a pic from that era heheh.

Shortly after my 16th birthday, having left secondary school for College, I was again in transition. I was hanging with 'conscious' breddren and exploring social issues, searching for my identity, learning about Marcus Garvey and Bob (Marley), Clement Payne and Sir Errol Walton Barrow; Bussa (leader of the slave revolt in Barbados), Malcolm X and Martin (Luther King). I grew my hair out from that Halle Berry bob to a kinky curly fro... and I was happy.

On from College, throughout my University years, I sported the (much longer) fro, or twists, and braid outs and cane rows. I experimented with colour, shape and form. I grew - my hair grew. I associated its length with how far I'd travelled in my journey of life. It was never a love-hate thing... no matter howo tough I felt it was (sometimes) or how long it would take me to wash and retwist it. It was never a burden - it was just my hair.

About to start my graduate job - I committed the cardinal sin. No - it wasn't that I had relaxed my hair  per se - the sin (in my mind) was that I did it in order to fit in, i felt that I had to have straight hair in order to work at an Investment Bank (IB) and minimise the likelihood of me getting sidelined or negatively stereotyped. My 'sin' and therefore my shame - was that I stopped being true to myself... I think I would have been happier had I relaxed it out of boredom rather than boardroom pressure!

My hair was past my shoulders (armpit length at the back) when I relaxed it in April 2002 but by August it was seriously breaking... by October I was regularly wearing hair pieces to create the illusion that it was still as long and luxurious as it used to be... by January the next year, I was back to the Halle berry bob.

In 2004, I cut it all off again, this along with my biker chick attitude and Piaggio X9 led some to question my sexualty. (What is it with hair and sexual orientation eh? Stupse)  I mention this now because I was at a different IB and it never occurred to me that cutting my hair/wearing it natural would become an issue... for anybody.  And after a while they got used to it. And I faded into the background again - I was non threatening and hard working, nothing for corporate London to worry about - even if I did sport twists or fades :)

As my wedding day approached, I became antsy about my hair. Surely you couldn't wear natties (natural twists or comb coils) on your wedding day, and corn rows just didnt seem 'special' enough... Off I went to the salon and maintained a healthy head of permed hair for about 6 months prior to the 'special ' day...  Would you believe that my Wedding Day hair stylist basically bc'd my hair on the morning of the wedding? She says she thought I wanted x style (which was popular at the time - kinda like Fantasia's short cuts) but I know she just wanted to do it like that - maybe that's the only style she knew DESPITE me going in for several consultations beforehand and showing her pictures of the style I wanted. Shoot - I could have done it better myself! CHAH!

So with tears in my eyes as I dressed for my wedding I swore that it would be a cold day in hell before I ever let another hairdresser touch my hair again. I hated that hairstyle so much - no matter how much my sisters and nieces tried to comfort me or how good people told me it looked; all I knew was this wasnt what I wanted. It would be

As soon as I got back from the honeymoon, I stopped at a barber shop and told them to cut it all off. If I couldn't have it how I wanted it - I didn't want it at all.  This was pretty much me - round headed tennis ball head me for the first 6 months of 2007.  Slowly I started growing my hair back - but then I had the whole battle with alopecia yada yada. I avoided chemical processing since then. - and I kept my vow (the other vow I made on my wedding day) - it would be another 2 years before I let a 'stranger' put their hands in my hair.

In 2009, while enjoying my maternity leave in Barbados, I finally made peace with the idea of locking my hair. The seeming 'permanence' of it had always put me off in the past, so I was as averse to locking my hair as I was to perming it.  I liked the versatility that came with having loose natural hair: one week you could have corn rows, the next week a braid out; followed by a bun (or two!) and of course my favourites - two stranded twists or a  'wash and go'.  What I didn't like was all the detangling, and combing and retwisting (aka maintenance) required. Recently I had a conversation with a 'loose' haired natural who mentioned wearing her hair in a ponytail for ages, only brushing the edges - only to discover a matted afro underneath hahahahha - I could so identify with that! Sometimes I just couldn't be bothered! 

I suppose the decision to lock my hair also had some element of laziness in it because I didn't want to have to do this whole hair routine anymore... my son had been born and with his arrival came the realisation that I really didn't have - nor could I justify spending - as much time as before.  I guess I was ready for something 'else'.

The year before, I had been envious of my niece's hair: (she started her journey 18 months before me); and I remember thinking how brave she was... didn't she miss running her fingers through her hair? A comb? A brush? What if she didn't like it (the look of the locks)?  Come to think of it - I haven't yet met anyone who didn't like the look of their locks (although I have met some who got tired of the maintenance and took them down/cut them off). A year later I was no longer worried about any of those things: if I didn't like MY locks I would just cut them off/take them down.  I was ready for something else.

I was ready to do this 'locking thing'. Almost everywhere I went in Barbados, I was seeing beautiful brown men and women with locks, black, brown, red and gold locks, long and short, thin and thick; micros and maxis.

I wanted the micro kind. I did my research, chose a consultant and booked a date. After 15 hours over a two-day period I emerged with that telltale 'plucked chicken' look, a new member of the sisterlock family and part of the global sisterhood (and brotherhood) of the Locks... but enough of me waxing lyrical...Knowing how 'fickle' I am when it comes to hair affairs - my family fully expected me to 'unpick all those sisterlock plaits' within 3-6 months, so I'm pretty proud to be 12 months in muhhahahahhahaha.

Look out for the other anniversary posts and in the meantime enjoy my
Images over time....
 (what a trip down memory lane, you have my permission to laugh at me too!)

Tennis Ball head (2007)










2007- long enough for tiny comb coils. (Try not to choke while you chuckle)
2007 with pink eyeshadow and a zit - this was one of my fav styles while growing my hair back (plus the band helped hide the alopecia). Yeah - I thought I was HOTTTTT.

2008 (work function and wedding)


2009 ponytails and 'wash and go's
and then.... sisterlocks!
much nicer a year on I think...
(taken during my extended hospital stay post baby - so dont laugh at these - at least not as loudly!)

13 comments:

Felicia said...

Your locks are beautiful!!!
Happy Lockversary!!!

V said...

Happy Lockversary!

Girl you are hot, lol!

there was nothing wrong with your hair when you last transitioned. All the pics you posted fit you! Your locks are growing growing growing. Keep enjoying you journey, take care.

PS How is the little one, is she letting you sleep through the night?

Denise said...

Happy Lockversary!

Yahvinah said...

great stoty, great pics! :D

Bajan Lily said...

Thanks everybody :)
@V - nope, not sleeping through the night yet - and sometimes my son wakes up too. I'm soooooooooo tired!!! Hope it's more settled over at your house :)

anthia-ofo said...

Thanks for sharing that trip down memory lane.ITA each style suited you. You've got the head for it(as they say in my language)

Nai said...

Happy Locversary lovely :) You brave! post partum pics...!!! not I!!! lol! you look good tho considering the circumstance, post partum pic again I repeat, NOT I!! tee hee. stay blessed ... oh and sleep? yeah its real peaceful round here snore ... (don't cuss me, lol)

Naturally Sophia said...

So pretty. Thanks for sharing the progressive story and transition pics. Happy Locsversary and many more.

Bajan Lily said...

@ Anthia... thanks :) In my circle of friends they say I have the 'face for it'. I think they're just poking fun at me hahaha. Seriously though, I think I prefer the long(er) locked look to all the others :)

@Nai ... you had me really laughing out loud when I saw your comment come through on my phone! LOL. It took some heart I tell ya - with my face still puffy and all lol. I will sleep again someday... maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow...but someday... :P

@Sophia... thanks ever so much!

msfullroller said...

Happy Loc-a-versary!! Loved the post and I hope that you are able to get some rest soon.

The Woman Inside said...

YEAH!!! Happy Lockversary they are looking great!

Missed you much but I am back!

Lovin Natural said...

Your locks look great! Happy Lockversary!!!

Beautifully Made! said...

Just now reading your post! I LOVE it! thanks for stopping by my page, I will def be gracing yours!

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