(me and my cousin circa 1955)
My (Sisterlocks) narrative journey begins 2 weeks before the big event. These are actual excerpts from my journal. My desire is to give others a sense of what brought me to this point and the feelings I encountered as I shifted my awareness to embrace my authentic beauty.
I'm writing this mostly for those who are considering locs or who are newly locked . I felt a sense of frustration because I had a difficult time getting information and I had many questions. Those of you who are comfortably past this stage may have no interest in reading about my thoughts so please click here to go directly to my site for photos, links, etc.
October 20, 2000
Day 14-...... As a 50 year old African American perm-a-holic, I've sported a ton of hair dos in my time!! I can honesty say that I am truly exhausted with the traditional ways of dealing with my hair. When I look back on it now-I think it's a little strange-that I never really questioned why I relaxed my hair or why I willingly spent so much time and money on it. As far back as I can remember, getting my hair done was rarely an enjoyable experience. Mostly it was done out of necessity (or should I say... a "chemical" dependency). A good hairdo was somewhat like the illusive butterfly! Getting it right was always just beyond my reach! I remember one Saturday, I sat in an over crowded salon for over 4 hours waiting for my turn in the chair. What-in-the-world-was-I- thinking? And what in the world are so many other black women thinking as they faithfully march off to the shop each week only to have to endure the endless, senseless waiting! At least that time I had the good sense to walk out.
October 21, 2000
Today I looked at some photos of myself and had to laugh. The hair styles I thought would free me have virtually pushed me over the edge! A few years ago I was in search of a more carefree hairstyle. I decided to cut my hair really short. My fashionable ¼ inch do (though much easier to manage on a daily basis) required constant upkeep. With repeated haircuts for style, color for gray, and relaxing for "waves" ( and no I wasn't quite ready to give up the perm just yet!), I once again became a permanent fixture in the beauty shop.
Of course, THAT was not what I had in mind and so vowing that this was truly the end of my life with the perm. I graduated to twists. Surely this would be my salvation! I loved the look, but without a natural hair care stylist in my area, I traveled 20-25 miles, sat for 1½ hours and paid quite a hefty price for a look which lasted little more than 2 weeks.
I wondered what this "hair thing" was really all about. Was I destined to live my life a slave to my hair? My frustration was not totally directed at the beauticians (they can only share what they know), and I recognize that they serve a good and useful purpose. The disappointment I felt was because I had never been told about my options. For the first time I realized how really beautiful our hair is in it's natural state. I desperately wanted to be natural .
October 23, 2000
Telling my friends and family that I was considering locs met with mixed reviews. After all, what did I know about locs? Could I wear them to my job in Corporate America? At first I attempted to study every person I saw who wore locs. I was fascinated, but didn't quite understand how the process was accomplished. I went to the bookstore for guidance. I found little help there. I located only one book on the shelves in a tiny San Francisco bookstore. I purchased it and read it cover to cover the same night! I had an unquenchable thirst for information. On the internet, at Amazon, I finally unearthed several very good books. After reading them, I was totally convinced that locs were for me.
At the onset I knew only about "traditional" locks, and so I considered that as the way to go (I had ruled out Dreadlocks much earlier). Once I made the decision to move forward, I scheduled several hair consultations. The word was that I would not lock quickly and that my hair locking journey could take a year or more. During this time I would need to return to the shop for re-twisting. In each session I would in effect be "starting over". Discouraged but ever more vigilant, I stepped up my online search looking for every bit of information I could find re hair locking.
October 24, 2000
It was that search which led me to the Sisterlocks website. What a blessing! I was introduced to a wonderful consultant with a kind and gentle spirit (Locks by Che). After my initial consultation, I purchased the book, "That HairThing" along with the video set and the Sisterlocks calendar. I felt wonderfully renewed and re-educated about the history of our hair struggle. Finally something that I could truly identify with. This was just what I had been looking for. With Sisterlocks I realized that although it might take some time for my hair to lock I don’t have to go through that period of starting over again and again. And I discovered that Sisterlocks offered a styling versatility that I had not imagined possible when considering traditional locks.
The support has been phenomenal. I became a member of yahoo groups), which has proven extremely helpful. I've called the Sisterlock’s office several times and spoken with Joanne Cornwell (boy was I surprised that she answered her own phone!). She was very helpful and sincerely interested in my plans. Through her referral I ended up at site. I was very impressed with her information and creative photography. Later, I came across another site you REALLY need to check out,. In fact, I was so delighted with what I saw that I decided to journal my thoughts and create this website!
October 25, 2000
Yesterday my video tapes arrived. I was so excited after seeing them, that I took them to work with me. A couple of my co-workers who had never heard of Sisterlocks had been asking me questions about locks and I thought that the tapes would be a good source of information.
October 28, 2000
I got my test locks today. I can hardly wait for my locking session, which is scheduled for Friday November 3rd (I'm taking the day off from work). I was anticipating a full day session of 8-10 hours, but today my consultant advised me that it might take 2 sessions. We'll have to see. She's going to cook a pot of red beans and rice and cornbread. I'm to bring the snacks. I will also have in tow a good book, my latest O magazine, some videos and a good bottle of wine! It's my day!
© 2001 Devon Austin