Saturday, December 30, 2006

I Love The Holidays!

The cold weather (well, in our case, mildly cool weather...we've been experiencing unusually mild weather this holiday season...), the good times with family and friends, and most of all....I AM NOT AT WORK!!!!! Yeah!! I got the chance to spend some much needed time with my little one, and that was all of the Christmas present I needed (though, I enjoyed my gifts too ;-) ). Looking forward to the New Year and more progress with my locks!

I pray that you all have had a blessed Christmas!!!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Thanksgiving - 06

Ok, still no new camera...perhaps Santa will bring me one???

...but I wanted to share my Thanksgiving hair pics. The three of us packed up and drove down to my sister's house in Florida for the holiday. What fun!

I just had to post this pic of me at the beach. It was quite chilly out that day, hence the leather jacket, but it was so beautiful and peaceful there. I'm going to have to return when the weather's warm so I can really enjoy the scenery. Ok, my hair is all over my head, as you can see, but I thought at least you could see in better lighting (that natural light from the good Lord above) more of my hair texture as I'm transitioning.

The rest of these pics are just of me posing for some shots after Thanksgiving dinner.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Month 4 - Retightening

Just had my locks retightened in this photo. If I weren't so frustrated with the poor quality of my camera, I would have posted some additional pics. I am on the search for a new one. In the mean time, I wanted to at least post a pic for month 4. My consultant has given me the official go-ahead to begin trimming my hair...I think I'll wait. She has also given me the 'ok' to begin looking at coloring. Yeah! I've been looking forward to this time! I'm going to try to take it slow, however. My last exposure to color was not what I'd hoped. I surely don't want to be disappointed again. So, I'm off to research some qualified hairdressers with coloring skills!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Month 3 - Why Permed Ends?

I am just two weeks shy of my 3 month milestone. Yeah! I thought I'd blog about my decision to NOT cut off my permed ends. This also goes out to Toni, a new addition to the Sisterlock family. Welcome Toni!

Before making the transition to Sisterlocks, I had made numerous visits to various blogs to read others' thoughts on the topic of 'starting fresh', or going natural for an extended period of time prior to being locked. While I was inspired by the bravery of these ladies, I was not totally sold on the idea for myself. I believe it was mostly due to fear of the unknown. I've cut my hair into short styles in the past, but they were always permed cuts. I was unsure of how I would like my hair being short AND natural. That's the commercially programmed side of me, I know. But, none the less, I couldn't bring myself to embrace this notion. And so, here I am with about 3 inches of locked new growth and for the most part about 4 - 5 inches of permed ends.

I remember, as if it were moments ago, my consultant discussing the notion with me during my initial consultation. She said, 'You definitely don't have to cut your permed ends off. That's the beauty of Sisterlocks. However, you may discover, as many later do, that you wish you had".

Well, here it is, nearly three months later, and I do believe she was right! :-)) I am constantly running my fingers through my hair and trying to decipher how much new growth it would require before I can feel comfortable with cutting my ends. I think I've now gotten used to this length. If I had it to do over again, I'm not completely convinced that I would have cut my hair. I will say that I'm kind of enjoying my hair in this state. It's easier for me to notice the transition, and I'm enjoying doing roller sets and using the Caruso curlers I just bought! Whenever I am finally completely locked, I believe this will be about the length I will keep them (perhaps a bit longer because I'm sure I'll hate to cut it once it's all completely locked and looking fierce!). Until then, I will wait patiently - or to quote the fabulous Tressie D., I will have 'Patience, Faith, and Vision' to see this into fruition. Happy Locking to All!!!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

My Locks, in Numbers...

I thought I'd create a blog entry for the official count. I finally got around to counting my locks. I have 575 locks (give or take a few). Wow!!! I have a big head and some thick hair!!

I counted them just prior to sectioning off and plaiting them in preparation for washing. Which brings me to another subject...it takes me quite a while to 'wash' my hair, I've noticed. I think, perhaps I'm being too meticulous with the sectioning, plaiting, and banding. I've been trying to keep the sections small so that the shampoo is able to reach those hard to reach areas. However, it takes me right at an hour to do just this part. Today, it actually took about 30 additional minutes to band because I was very careful to band the teeny weenie locks at the nape of my neck and around my edges (ever so painful remnants and reminders of the damage caused by the micro-braids I wore prior to getting my Sisterlocks). I cannot tell you how I long for the time when my hair fully recovers from that...

...but I digress. Where was I...oh yeah...

The actual shampooing is the quickest, surprisingly. Once clean, it takes me another good 25 - 30 minutes to take the plaits down and separate my locks. Perhaps I'm just used to not having to 'do' so much to wash my hair. Wearing micros can really make you lazy! I belive this to be just me adjusting to my new washing / maintenance regimen. I am more concerned however, about ensuring I'm taking care not to disturb my immature locks...especially considering my permed ends (which really don't seem like 'ends' at this point...I can only claim about 2 1/2 inches of actual locked hair, at the moment...the rest is all remaining perm).

All in all, I'm sure I will have this process down to a science soon enough. I do find that I shave some minutes off my time each week that I wash my hair. However, I AM interested in hearing from anyone out there who may have another point of view with regard to the washing routine??? Am I about average in my regimen, or is there anything I can do / not do? I'm open to all views...

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

My First Month

Time sure flies when you're having fun!! I am exactly one month and 1 week into my fabulous Sisterlock journey and I can say with all unequivocal sincerity that I have loved every minute of it!! I must really be honest, I truly prepared myself for an 'adjustment' period with my locks, where I felt I would question my decision, or I would not truly feel comfortable in my hair. BOY WAS I WRONG!!! I am sooo proud to say that NOT 1 day has gone by that I have second guessed my decision, or thought that my hair didn't look Good!

I've been swamped with work and home life these past several weeks, so I haven't had the chance to post pictures of my first month. However, I just had my FIRST Retightening (yesterday) and I wanted to be sure I captured the look of my locks at this moment in time. I'm doing this in parts - Part I will be the close ups and Part II (which I will do in the morning when I've applied some make-up to this tired face) will be another head shot.

I experienced a true defining moment yesterday - My husband and I, along with our little one, were out and about town doing some shopping for the home in a local craft store. As I approached the check-out counter (my hubbie and son waited for me up front) the sales associate smiles and says 'Your Sisterlocks are beautiful!' Now, this may not seem like such a momentous thing in and of itself - mostly because Sisterlock wearers are on this end of such compliments quite often. However, in this city, where there is nary a Sisterlock wearer OR consultant to be seen anywhere, such a compliment is THAT much more sweet to the ears! So, I quickly replied, 'Oh, you're familiar with Sisterlocks? Why thank you!!!' She said, 'yes, my best friend, who lives in D.C., has been locked for 7 years. I seriously thought about getting locks, but I always find a reason to chicken out!' I said, 'I know what you mean, I went through the same thing until I finally asked myself, why are you afraid? What is there to lose?' She said, 'you're right, maybe I'll reconsider it again.' I said, 'you will not regret it, I promise!! ' This marked a special day for me. I felt like - Finally! Someone who didn't look at me as if to say (but never say), 'I wonder what she has in her hair?' Someone actually knew about this glorious locking system and complimented MY hair, at that!! A good feeling, indeed! I am so thrilled!

Ok, I really have to do better with taking these photos of myself, or I need to enlist my husband to help me out 'cause this is rediculous. I can never get a good view of my hair! But for now...

Thursday, August 03, 2006

My First Week

My Sisterlocks are exactly one week old in these photos. I tried to style my hair in a way that I would feel more comfortable wearing...boy am I glad I got my hair cut before getting the sisterlocks. At least I have some resemblance of a style! ;-) The pictures were taken at a family reunion. I took them so that my friends & family could see. I believed they all believed I would look like Whoopi Goldberg or a rastafarian. I now have the opportunity to educate them on this wonderful world that's been opened up to me! This especially goes for my dear husband. I think it will take a while for all of this to sink in for him. I'm taking him on this journey with me so he can become aware and develop and informed opinion.

Returning to work after the locks were installed, was a bit scary. Although, my direct department doesn't have alot of ethnicity (I'm like one of 5 out of 50 - 75) I was nervous about the inquiries I would possibly receive. Surprisingly, everyone said it was cute. Many thought I had extensions. Some were intrigued by the tiny 'braid-like' locked roots, while others didn't even notice that my hair was locked and probably wouldn't know what it meant anyway, so I didn't waste my time explaining. All in all, it was a good feeling. I am becoming increasingly more confident about my hair. I was very self-consious about the oil thing in the very beginning. In fact, while in the chair (confession time) during my locking session, I was thinking...no oil?...yeah right. I will lightly oil my hair - cause I can't do without it! - and she'll never know...of course that was until two things happened, the first: my consultant told me how much a session runs if you're having to have slipped locks retightened/done. As if that weren't enough by itself...the second: in these first two weeks, I have realized that my hair can 'be' without adding a ton of products to make it 'shiny'. I found that, while my hair is a bit frizzy, I can STILL see SHINE!! And...it bounces too! I never would have thought it! One small problem, I sure hope someone out there can help me with this: I find myself scratching my head, and I don't believe that it is best for my young locks. What do you think? Is there a technique for those who just received their locks and are experiencing dandruff problems?

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Taking the Plunge into the world of Sisterlocks

Fast forward to July 21, 2006 - the day I took the step that I know will have a most profound impact on my life, as I know it. The process, for me, took approximately 17 hours to complete (My consultant was great! She never waivered and remained on course to make those locks ever so small - just like I wanted. She was really fast too! Couldn't believe I was done so soon!) over the course of two days. I'd forgotten to take the totally 'before' picture to show my entire head pre-sisterlocks. But, my consultant endulged me by roughing up my hair a bit in this picture. ;-)

As those first locks were being created, I thought...YES! Finally! I prefer smaller locks, so I hope that my locks don't expand too much due to the density of my hair. I always find myself looking on line to different blogs and such trying to find sisters with a similar hair type to mine so that I can get a better idea of what I can expect as my locks mature....anyone??? Drop me a line if you think your hair texture looks similar to mine and you have mature locks...please? I'd love to hear from you! Here are more pictures from my initial locking session:

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

To Lock, or Not to Lock...That is the Question.

After having several years to ponder the question: Are you really ready...I finally took my heart and mind on a journey to the soul. I asked myself, what are the reasons why you are 'not sure' you want to commit to Sisterlocks? Are those reasons enough to cause you to, again, reconsider? The reasons I was toiling over, though I really don't think I wanted to admit it were: Truly...how will I look? I've read that each person's hair type will determine how Sisterlocks look and feel. With my coarse hair, my thoughts were...will I look ugly? I thought, I don't have the soft curly hair that many sisters have...the kind that my husband describes as having 'good hair'...which leads me to my second thought to ponder...will my husband find me attractive? He is one who has always adored long, soft, and straight hair in women. Lord knows I've had my trials and tribulations trying to meet that perception! To no luck. Surprisingly, I found that I finally reached a peaceful place inside with this and thought, this is me. This is my hair. Me and my nappy, coarse hair ARE attractive. If he, or anyone else for that matter, doesn't find me attractive and / or desirable once I take this step...tough!! And then finally, the last thought I pondered was, will I get tired of it...really. Will I? Will I want to sport bone straight hair again, even for a short time? To tackle this mis-guided concern, I thought...this is meant to be a lifestyle change, Drea...get with the program! Realize that your natural hair can do many, many things with a little creativity and with the flexibility that Sisterlocks can enable. And that was it! After those 2 additional months of brooding, I was finally there. Here are a couple of pics of my hair, post the last set of braids, and soon after my Sisterlocks consultation...I have test locks in there somewhere...

My hair had been highlighted and pressed in this photo. I had about 1 1/2 inches of new growth. In this first pic, you can see how damaged my sides and ends were/are. I had been sporting my last set of braids since my third trimester of pregnancy. After giving birth to my son, and trying to make my way as a new mom, my hair took a back seat and was forgotten...always the case with microbraids.
It looks pretty shiny, huh?

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Am I Not My Hair?

My decision to get Sisterlock-ed was predicated on years and years of frustration and unhappiness about my hair. I was the only of three girls to be blessed with an over-abundantly THICK and COARSE head of hair. A blessing AND a CURSE indeed!! While I have been told my entire life how fortunate I am for having this crown and glory, I have always had a strained relationship with my hair. To give you some perspective on this view: by the age of 7, my mother, bless her heart, had become so beside herself with trying to manage my hair and keep me in the cute little bows and plaits that everyone else my age had, including my sisters. For one reason, I was EXTREMELY tender headed (yeah, imagine that...all that hair and I had the nerve to be tender headed!). I pitched a fit every time she even suggested it was time to wash or style my hair. I would make all kinds of excuses as to why it just wasn't the right time to do my hair...'i'm sleepy', or 'my stomach hurts'. You name it, I claimed it...all in the name of keeping hands out of my head. The other reason was that it was not exactly a walk in the park to 'Do' my hair, once my fits were over...my hair was like a dense forest if you can imagine...one could definitely get lost...

So, she broke down one day and took me to the beauty shop where I was given my First Permanent. Yes, that was at age seven. I remember thinking, 'I can't wait to have a perm. Then my hair will be soft and straight and pretty.' Well, not so long after that,(maybe about 2 years) as I was getting older, I wanted more independence where my hair was concerned so somehow I convinced my mother to allow me to style my hair on my own. Big mistake. My once shoulder length thick straight hair began to break off in the back and on the sides due to lack of proper care. So, again, beside herself, and possibly by my constant persistance, I was again taken to the beauty shop to have my first - yes, you guessed it...Jerri Curl!! This time, all four of us took the plunge (Mom, and the three girls. come to think of it, I think my Dad got one too!) Anyway, this eventually turned into the Wave Nuveau - the not so messy version of the Jerri Curl. I was about 13 by this time and was quite happy with my fully styled asymetric 'do. It wasn't until I was venturing into high school that I began to truly take care of my straight permed (yes, I converted back to the perm) hair. I frequented the hair salon more, and tried to keep it well manicured. Well, from then 'till now, I've worn my hair in several cuts and styles including micro-braids to cornrows to kinky twists...all via extensions by the way. Throughout college I'd been known as 'the girl with the braids'. I think I can probably count on one hand the number of occasions where I sported my own hair. Well, the struggles I had with my hair and my self-consious idea of peoples' perception of the way my hair made Me look kept me in a whirl wind pattern of 'trying new things' which was really a way to 'do something' with my hair without having to take care of it and /or wear it naturally.

Back in the late summer of 2003, I met, or should I say, hailed down a young lady in the parking lot of the company I work for. The young lady had hair just past her shoulders and was two-toned with colored highlights. It was beautiful. I remember thinking....Ok, I know these aren't braids...they look like dread locs, but they are much too neat and small to be dreads. I had to stop her. So I did. She was very nice and explained that she was wearing Sisterlocks and that she was from Florida. She said that I could probably find a consultant in the Atlanta area who could help me with more information. So, that's exactly what I did. That evening I was surfing the web looking for any and all the information I could on Sisterlocks. Within a week I had a number to a certified consultant and was calling for a consultation. Well, long story short...I chickened out. I can't even say it was because of the expense of the process...I was just plain scared! I said to myself...are you really ready to take a step like that with your hair? What if you don't like it? Or worse, what if after a few months you grow tired of it and want a change...what then? Well, that cloud of doubt was all I needed to back out of the process. So, back to my trusty ol' regimine I went...weave, braids, wigs...and repeat...to the present day. This is a picture of me with my little one taken in April of this year. Like my hair? It's a wig. My wig became a permanent staple for my grooming. It was really sad.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

My Introduction to the Blog World

Greetings World! Today marks the first day of blogging for me! I have been inspired and uplifted by the various stories and testimonials I've seen from my sisters in the spirit on the wonderous journey of going natural. I believe it is time for me to begin capturing some of my memorable and, perhaps in some cases, not so memorable moments for history and posterity. I hope others find my journey as uplifting as those, whose stories I've read, have touched me.