Photo: Un-Ruly

February 2006 was the beginning of my loc journey. At that time, I was wearing my hair natural for about three years. While pregnant with my first child in 2003, my hair slowly started falling out. By that time in my life, I had done close to everything with my hair and the one thing left was to wear it naturally — so the journey began. 

I started getting my hair braided to grow out my relaxer. Being that I knew how to do hair, I was able to maintain my own hair at times. But one day in 2006, I sat in the chair of my beautician who asked me if I was ready to loc it — and that she did. I remember thinking that I would have like to color my hair because of this "ugly phase" that is always talked about when referring to starting locs. But when I think back now, I know there's nothing ugly about that phase. It's about finding the comfort within yourself to be you!  

After about a year of having my beautician maintain my locs, I decided to do it myself because I'm very tender-headed. There were times when my head felt like it was on fire because I couldn't take the twisting. I colored my hair, did updos, curled it and wore it crinkled and straight. I loved how I could manipulate my hair anyway I wanted it to be (similar to having relaxed or loose natural hair). 

Twelve years later, I've paid for all of the styling of my locs. I've visitied dermatologists to help me with my traction alopecia. Two rows at the nape of my neck have fallen out (which I believe had to do with them rubbing against scarves I wear often and medication during times I was ill). I also became mindful of the products I was using in my hair. Now I use black castor oil, coconut oil, and pure aloe leaf. I also use edge control or a holding spritz every now and then.  

The love/hate relationship is real though! When I look at the length of my locs, I am always in awe about the life my hair has taken over the years. Despite what I mentioned about the cons of my hair, the pros are that "I AM MY HAIR." Who would I be without locs? I started my locs when natural hair wasn't the norm. I look around me now and everyone is natural! My locs tell a story; a story that speaks volume to who I am and what I represent. From week to week, month to month and year to year, I go through the motions about my hair. I think about combing them out or cutting them into a bob. But for right now, I have no regrets about this journey I'm on.