Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Dear Blaq: Teachable Moments


I recently received two separate emails that serve as what I call "teachable moments." I asked the writers for permission to share with my readers. Helpful information, particularly for those contemplating locking or newly locked.

If you are contemplating locking, please do more than simply look at my current pictures...begin reading my blog (or at least looking at the photos) from day one. Fortunately, there are others who have gone natural before us, whether locked or unlocked, who we can learn from.

Sisterlocks and becoming natural for that matter, is a journey back to origins that we as African American women know so very little about. We have been conditioned to believe that altering our naturalness will make us more beautiful or acceptable to society. On the contrary, I contend that it's "natural to be natural."

We must take the time to learn how to care for, manage and style our naturally kinky crowns. Please DO YOUR RESEARCH, particularly if you've never been natural. Just like any other relationship, there are stages and changes with growth. But given the proper care, the end result will be a beautiful foundation for the world to see - your own naturalness!

Dear BlaqKofi:
I just got my SL's installed on the 30th of June and the 1st of July. I been natural for over 2 years now and it took me this long to decide to get SL's. Well to be honest I had no idea what I wanted at the time of cutting all my perm off and going natural. But I decided this year that SL's would be what I get.

Well I got them and at this point I am not happy. I was so excited about getting them because I have seen and research women with SL's and they all are beautiful. I haven't seen not one person who hair wasn't beautiful until I got mine installed. I am going to send you some pics and I would love your honest opinion of my locs. I feel they are as beautiful as I thought they would be. I know my hair won't look like the next person because every one is different. But it always seem when I finally make my mind up to do some thing it doesn't turn out the way that I hope.

I been reading up on your blog and I enjoy it. I start reading your blog when you decided to get your locks. I haven't got to the present yet. I like to read to get more info instead of just looking at pictures. And I want to say I just love the way your hair turned out. Even when your locks were installed they look very pretty. But my problem is, my hair seem to have grown in different lengths. The back is longer than the rest. Then I am concern on when my hair will become more full. It looks a hot mess now. Very stringy. So really right now I am just a the point of wondering if I made a mistake in getting them.

I know it's some thing to get use to but at the same time it doesn't make me feel good about myself and my decision. And I went to work bragging before I got them that I was so excited and I am finally doing some thing I always wanted to. I go to work and can you believe no one gave me a compliment. It hurt!

I am already feeling like I made a mistake but then when I am questioned about what I have done to my hair and try to explain what they are and compare it to another co worker of mine who have traditional locks...all they could say was...oh but her's is pretty and long. Why yours don't look like that? My co worker started off with short locks before it got to the point where her hair is now. I have to go thru the same process. It's really hurtful that no one has said a thing.

I want to send you my pics..before and after SL's and would like your honest opinion. And I would also like to know what can I do to make it more presentable because at this point it's not. I wear hats to avoid stares and to avoid me even to look at it. Am I over reacting? LOL Well I hope to hear from you soon. And again I think you are a beautiful woman and your hair is beautiful.
BlaqKofi's response:
Your new Sisterlocks are da bomb! What you talking 'bout, girl?!

I truly understand all of your feelings. Know that you are
beautiful, your hair is beautiful and not like anyone else's. I don't know if you have done this, but if not - go back to the beginning of my blog and read my early posts and look at my early pics. I think they will help you alot. No one - not one soul at work (except two sisters that I had educated about Sisterlocks) said a thing about my locks when I first got them. Yes, I was a little anxious about what others would think. But I didn't care because I had done my homework, was so happy and excited about my new found freedom, the way my hair felt and what was to come.

Sisterlocks is a journey, a relationship. You have to nurture them and allow them to grow and mature. As they grow and mature - so will you and trust me - your life will never be the same. But it has to come from within. Ask yourself this question - why did you decide to lock in the first place? I'd like to know your answers as well. That will determine how you move forward.

Sisterlocks will make you a stronger, more confident woman and this initial phase is just that - an initial phase. Hold your head high - because the vibe that you give out regarding yourself - will be the vibe that you get back from others.
You set the tone about your locks - not others. And if you haven't read up on Sisterlocks - do your homework. That way, you will know what to expect and you can confidently reply (if necessary and if you choose to).

Remember, people who aren't natural and who haven't walked this natural path can not even begin to remotely relate to or understand the commitment we have made. So don't even waste your breath trying to convince them that your locks are "like the sisters in your office who has traditional locks" - because they
ARE NOT - so naturally, they won't look like hers. Actually, they'll probably look BETTER than hers given time.

You are both natural, but have chosen different methods in which to lock. I assure you of this - the same people who don't understand now - will be jockin' you very soon about how beautiful your locks are.

Consider yourself a pioneer in your office, girl -
SHOW them - don't try and convince them of the beauty of naturalness. So TAKE OFF DAT HAT, finger comb your locks, get you some cute head bands and earrings and strut yo stuff like the proud African queen you are!!!!!!

Sisterlocks Day 2 - Side View
Sisterlocks 3 Yrs later...

Hello Blaq, I just wanted to say THANK YOU for your blog. My locks will be 90 days young on the 14th of this month a day before my birthday. And at first I was a little discouraged because of my thinning and balding in the top. You know with all the parts and scalp showing. I was wearing a wig until my hair thickened up and the parts went away.

My beautician Cynthia told me to stop wearing the wig and embrace my locks the spaces and parts will thicken up. She told me to go back to your page and look at your locks from the beginning (again I might add). I did and I “TRULY APPRECIATE” you Blaq.

I truly THANK YOU and my beautician Cynthia. Because of your patience in documenting your daily experiences in your locks from the beginning. I can see the change in look, style, and length and that’s what I needed. It has helped me to embrace my locks and my new found freedom. I love my locks more so now than then and they have thickened up. I sent my supervisor your page she is seriously thinking about going natural like ours. She loves your hair and all your pictures.

Left = Sisterlocked Day 1 & Day 2
Right = Sisterlocked 3 Yrs Later

Emails like the ones above motivate me to continue blogging so that more women can experience their own Natural Awakenings. Thanks to both of my readers for allowing me to post your emails.
Remember, stay focused, stay lifted and stay natural!


Anonymous said...

Your response to the first email was PERFECT!!! As I was reading her email I was also wondering why she chose to Sisterlock. I think most of us go through the 'did I make the right decision to Sisterlock' phase when we initially install, with the exception of those that show no scalp and their hair is already thick. I would prefer to have not gotten comments in the beginning, most were negative and down-right rude...

Before I locked I was so thankful to find blogs that included install pics and progression cause I wanted to know when that plucked chicken phase would hurry up and go away...

Sisterlocks To The Rescue!!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for being supportive! I like what you have done with the emails. I will send pics of what my hair is looking like these days! I took off the hat and I am sporting my big earrings and headbands! Let me know what you think when you get the pics. One Love...

Penny said...

Hmmm! It's natural to be natural. I like that. Why question it or anaylze it? Feeling of insecurity and low self-esteem will eat you alive and always causes self doubt in who you are and what you can become.

Anonymous said...

Well... thank you for that. Although I have yet to take the Loc Journey I have been natural for close to 5 years and I remember going through that stage. So I can just imagine how she must feel after going through such a drastic change.

After years of research and contemplation I am now thinking of taking my own sisterlock journey. I'll be sure to keep an eye on your blog. I'm sure your words will continue to inspire me. Thanks.

Sis. RJQueen10 said...

Thanks for the MUSIC!!! This is EXACTLY why I LOVE YOU! It is because of you and Creyole (of course) that I never, Never, NEVER ever, Ever, EVER felt negative about my God-inspired decision to LOCK my hair.

I am into my 5th week as a professional. I am now a Healthcare Engineer. I remember when I first started working and I was in training with a brother who had been at my job for 27 years suggested the following: "You may want to consider getting a perm, or figure out some way to "flatten" your hair. It is "WIld, sticking out in alll directions, very afrocentric and this may hold you back career wise".

My response was "NEVER" I have chased dollars before at the sacrifice of RJQueen10. I am now here to Glorify God and lead as many people to Him as I can. I am overwelmed by the many opportunities that lay before me, but that is not my driving for in life any more. I LOVE GOD, I LOVE RJQueen10, and I LOVE my twin blessings! I honored and humbled that I can FINALLY say this!

Everyone out here in blog land should read your blog from beginning to here. That in itself will awaken the self-LOVE experience and journey within themselves!

Thanks for your inspiring blogspot. Keep on doing what ya do, stay motivated. WE NEED YA MORE THAN YOU COULD EVER KNOW!

I am truly jamming to this MUSIC! wow, Wow, WOW!!!

Sis. RJQueen10

Jenn said...

I agree with RJQueen10 and Meika, your blog is soo inspiring. You have been nothing a blessing to the Sisterlock family. Keep it Up, Blaq...

We love ya girl !!!!

21 months SL'd

KnottyAuthor said...

great advice and compassion. i think it's SO vital to focus on the beginning and the end-just a thought, maybe i'll flip my blog entries backwards-bc sisters get so caught up in the length and my now...but it's been A JOURNEY, say that!

Rchgrl1 said...

I love reading your blog. Since I've been locked, I refer back to your early years from time to time just to get a boost to get me thru my baby stages. Inspiring you are and thanks for sharing your daily updates for those of us that are just getting started.

Angel Locs said...

Hi Blaq,

My consultant sent me the link to your blog, I am so happy that she did. I have been researching sisterlocks for at least 12yrs, I am finally ready to free myself from the world of chemicals. I am currently wearing a short sista fro as you once did seen as I follow your journey, I look forward to your knowledge and response to emails from the newly freed natural sista's.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing. Your blog is always encouraging.

Wandaful said...

I have just joined the journey of SL. Loving it even with the scalp showing, I am looking forward to the all that is to come. My daughters have made me feel so wonderful about my decision that no one elses comments matter to me. Seeing your photos and the progress of your SL I am so excited. Thanks for sharing.

Linda said...

Great advice, but I think we all to some extent suffer from lock envy. We sometimes don't realize that it is a journey and like any journey there are times when it is fun and full of adventure, times when it is dull and boring and times that you realize it is necessary to get to the destination. I love my locks and yet there are days when I look at pictures like yours (see that lock envy still rears its ugly head ha-ha) and I can't wait until I have that length. That doesn't mean I'm not happy with mine. Keep inspiring us all and hopefully we are able to return the favor. Be blessed...

DJT said...

ur response to that email was BEAUTIFUL. It brought tears to my eyes.....AMEN Sista.

Unknown said...

When I first gt my har sisterlocd which will be a month ago from tomorrow. My hair looked like I had a texturizer in it! That was ok with me, my hair is really thick and I didn't have the scalpy look. I love my hair!

I did a lot of research before I decided to get sister locs and this was the best choice for me and cheaper. My consultant is great, she is quick, she retighten my hair in 45 mins and I have over 420 locks!

Docs Locs said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Docs Locs said...


Great response. You are so poetic and inspirational [from one whose posts are quick, dirty, short and to the point!]

Each woman's hair is going to do what it does and she won't find out what it's going to do until it does it!

A better understanding of commitment, patience and self-acceptance are the rewards we reap from our sisterlocks!

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