Happy belated birthday to you locs

Happy birthday dear locs, today you are a young one year old

This time last year I was moving around the city with a teal blue fro

Running errands and spending money I didn’t really have to spend, on styles I never ended up liking anyway

I had visited my sistahs from the motherland and pulled out my best bartering skills as they looked at my mass of hair and thought up a price that would send me out the door

Puppy dog eyes were in full effect and I was desperate for someone to tame the fro

They were booked and no one was up for the challenge of manipulating the beautiful beast that was my mane

I drove past a shop off of Dr Martin Luther King Drive and thought, “that’s it, let’s just do it today”

I had previously contemplated getting dreadlocks but always worried how me and my locs would fit in

Who would sign my pay check as my hair unapologetically entered a space and filled the room

How would young budding locs look in pictures – I’ve got to be fine, there are weddings to attend

Those thoughts seem to have left my mind and migrated somewhere towards the ends of my aqua coils because I strolled into the shop and made an appointment to lock my hair the next day

I hadn’t done extensive research and honestly, didn’t think I needed to

I brushed my full head of hair back with my hand to expose my full cheeks and brown eyes, and explained to my loctician how my hair behaved and the level of maintenance I wanted to maintain at home (equivalent to none)

I left feeling free

Free from YouTube tutorials

Wearing scarves over half damp, failed twist outs

Edge Control that just made my forehead greasy

The Flat Iron

Pressing Comb

Blow Dryer

Hooded Blow Dryer

Heavy hand of an African Woman

Confused hands of beauticians

Free from accidental bald spots

Edge loss

The trim that turned into a full Halle Berry

Free from barbers who insisted I needed a lining with my low fade and watched my bum bounce as I exited their chairs looking like a #2 off of the poster that was Scotch-taped to the wall, dirty from years of cigarette smoke and clipped hair residue

Free from hours of waiting after my scheduled appointment time as I watched beauticians chatter as if they weren’t behind schedule with my big brown, laser beam eyes staring holes into them

Free from the burning of a relaxer left on too long on a scalp too tender

Roller sets squeezing the pulp of my scalp

Cornrows tugging at the root of each precious strand

Free from the anxiety of walking in humid air after a day spent at the salon

Free to swim without the weight of Saran Wrap and 2 swimming caps squeezing my brains as I dove into a pool

I washed and deep conditioning my loose strands for the last time feeling each juicy curl wrap around my fingers

Happy that I would no longer be prisoner to my head full of free spirited coils that I thought I needed to tame

Happy that I wouldn’t be spending any more full days getting my hair done to come home in tears and often re-doing the mess someone left on top of my head

I was in labor a total of 16 hours birthing you, Saturday evening through Sunday morning

From the moment you were revealed I was in love

I nurtured you

Slept with my bonnet, washed you once every 2 weeks and glowed while explaining to others to process of interlocking my hair

I kept my appointments with my loctician to check up on your care and maintenance

I admired how each strand intertwined over time to create the locs that adorn my head while leaving the curls I so adore to still peek out at the ends

It captivates me how you have a mind of your own and decide in which direction you want to grow, or which strands will be the foundation of each loc while rejecting my input and suggestions

I am learning to listen to you

As you grow, I experiment with bantu-knots, cornrows and any style my tender scalp can bear

But my favorite is still however you fall after a fresh wash

Happy birthday locs

May you continue to flourish, mature and captivate me

Love Ashley

Don’t Touch My Hair- Solange 

Hit play. Enjoy.


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