Sunday, December 31, 2006


It's just hair, right?

Thursday, December 28, 2006

My first two years with Sisterlocks

As I look back at these pictures, I'm amazed at how far I've come. This first picture was taken at about the 7 month mark. I would estimate that I had about 2 inches of locked hair and the rest was loose permed hair. When I first started out and decided that I didn't want to cut all the perm off, I wasn't sure how my permed ends were going to behave. I had thoughts of them tangling up together and was I supposed to comb the part that was loose? Unfortunately, my consultant didn't explain alot of things to me and I didn't know enough to ask. No one that I know was blogging six years ago and while the lockitup group had just started a few months before I locked, I didn't know about it.

As it turned out, I didn't have much to worry about. Many things I learned through trial and error and luckily for me, my errors weren't too bad. I learned that I had to stretch out my permed ends after I washed my hair and BEFORE it dried in order to avoid bunching. It was a tedious process since I had to do it in addition to separating each lock. But it helped me to maintain the look I preferred on myself. This picture was taken at about the 10 month mark. It's still mostly perm, but it's getting near 3 inches of locked hair. And I really didn't have to worry about the loose hair getting tangled. Strangely enough, my relaxed ends behaved better than they did when it was just loose relaxed hair.

This picture was taken at about 18 months locked. It looks like my hair hasn't grown any since the picture above, but as I said, I was diligent about trimming off the relaxed ends each time I went in for a retightening. And I liked to wear it curled. This is approaching the half way mark between perm and locks at about 4 to 5 inches.

This is the first picture where you can really see more of the definition of the locks. I was still doing a braid out and curling the ends under. I wasn't brave enough to freestyle yet - still too much relaxed ends. This was taken at about 23 months.

In this picture, at the 2 year mark, I had no choice but to let it go! I was on a family vacation and there wasn't time to primp. I did have to pull some of it into a pony in the back, but it turned out well. I couldn't pull it all up into a pony because the relaxed ends were still too straight and they wouldn't fall properly.

Looking at these pictures has also helped me come to a long contemplated decision about my locks. We'll see what the new year brings! Have a happy and safe new year!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The disaster decade - unbeweavable horror stories!

I received so many compliments on my post showing my hair from my first installation, but I think alot of it comes from the fact that you all know where my hair is now. I guess it kinda seems like it all happened over night. But lest anyone think I didn't go through some of the same trials and tribulations they did before discovering SLs, let me set the record straight!

This picture was taken in June 1991. In April of 1991, I made the first of several bad hair decisions. This was around the time when salons were screaming about dry curls. You know, the jheri curls without the juice. I had decided that I was going to get curls so that I could have that wash and wear hair that I had always dreamed about. Of course, since it's a completely different process and one is not compatible with the other, I was going to have to grow out the relaxer before putting in the curl. Since I wasn't one to cut, I had the bright idea that I'd get a weave to transition me through until I had enough length. Could my hair be any bigger??!! People actually thought it was mine and I must say that I did a great job of making sure the tracks were covered and that my hairline blended into the fake stuff.

But it was good in theory, bad in practice. Having the weave put in meant having my hair braided and then having the tracks sewn in. When I went back to the salon after the first weave installation, I found that my braided hair had matted big time. Combing through that mess was a nightmare. But bad as it was, did it stop me from doing it again? Of course not! The hair I got was the wet and wavy and as long as I sat under the dryer to make sure the sewn in tracks were thoroughly dry, I had the wash and wear hair I wanted.

The second picture was taken in November 1991. More weave, but you just don't know what was hiding under there! In September, my dumb impatient self decided that I had enough length on the top to go ahead and have the curl put in and just get a partial weave for some length in the back. OMG!!! as she took the rods out, I could tell I had messed up big time! She spritzed some greasy mess that I had been trying to avoid by getting the dry curl in the first place... and it never did curl right. Over the next couple of days, I had decided that I wasn't putting that crap in my hair. Well guess what? My hair got crispy dry since it wasn't getting any moisturizer. Then it started falling out!!! It was coming out in my hands. Believe me, I cried.

Unfortunately, I couldn't leave my hair like that. I looked like a half plucked chicken with a platypus tail which was the big, thick partial weave that was hanging off the back of my head. I don't think I went to work that week. And no, I do not have a picture of that (at least not one that I'd publish). Not one to leave bad enough alone. I went to a different salon and got another full weave on what was left of my hair.

After that, I saw a friend with the cutest corkscrew braids. I got me some of those too in the spring of 1992. Looked cute on the outside. The remainder of the decade (yes, decade!) was spent trying to recover. My hair eventually grew back in enough to stop wearing a weave in about 1993, although it was never as thick as it was, and it really wasn't very thick to begin with. Then, I got pregnant and my hair loved that! Until after the baby was born in 1994. Then, it seemed like all my hormones shut down and hair started coming out again. By the time I recovered from that, I had another baby in 1997. Here we go again. That brings me up to the first picture in 1998 in my last post, below, and my decision to get SLs in 2000.

I think if I hadn't gone through all of that, I wouldn't have been looking so hard for something that would take me away from all the chemicals and attaching hair that wasn't mine.

Coming next - pictures from the first two years of my SLs.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

My Sisterlocks Metamorphosis

As I promised a number of people when I started my blog, I finally dug up some old photos of myself prior to beginning my SLs and right after my installation. This first picture was taken in the Spring of 1998, about two years before I discovered SLs. I remember this style and I think I wore it like this up until 2000 when I got SL'd.

Back then, I'm sure I thought I was cute with this flip! But I know I was running from all kinds of water! The occasion for this pic was my cousin's graduation from UVA and we had all gone down to watch her walk. It was a mini-reunion and we stayed at a resort in Williamsburg. As all resorts do, this one had pools. Do you think I went in? I was very tempted not to, but Goldie (my daughter who actually has golden brown hair - don't know where that came from!) wanted in. So in I went, all the time trying to keep my head above water - and I told everyone within a 20 foot radius that they better not even think about splashing me! Alas, I didn't make it out of there unscathed as the humidity from the heat of the pool caught me! I still don't do water that much, but now it's not for fear of getting my hair wet - it's just I hate getting in water. This is Goldie in her pre-locks days at almost 4 yrs and A-man at not quite a year - he got some of that blond, too!

As I look at this picture now, I can only think how thin, limp and damaged my hair looks. I was diligent about keeping after the split ends since I got a trim every time I got a relaxer, but this was the extent of the growth. Un-flipped, it was just below my shoulders. I just knew something had to change.

Fast forward to about February 2000, I had decided that I wasn't going to relax my hair and was trying to figure out what to do with it. For about the third time in my relaxed life, I considered going natural, but how to transition? I didn't want to do the BC - I just didn't think I was one who looked good with really short hair. But trying to keep the length with two textures was madness! I made it to May then broke down and got creamed. Less than one week after giving in, I was in the magazine section looking at hair mags. I don't know why exactly since I was never usually one for looking at them. I came across this multi-page spread on SLs and I instantly knew this was for me!

I had thought about locks at various times before, but didn't do it because everything I knew about them said that I'd have to cut everything and start with natural hair. I had even gone so far as to have my hair braided with extensions in the hope of transitioning them into locks. Not a very well-thought-out plan and they were gone in a month.

After noting with glee that SLs could be started with relaxed hair, I couldn't wait til the next business day to call San Diego and get a referral. I was on the phone bright and early (minus the time difference) Monday morning and got the names of three consultants. I was so disappointed that one didn't answer and I had to leave a message with the second. But the third was the charm. I spoke to Jo for about a half an hour and was ready to make the appointment when she burst my bubble! She told me I had to have at least and inch and a half of new growth. Damn that cream! I told her I'd call her back in about two months.

Two months later I was back on the phone and told her I could set an appointment at her earliest convenience - how about today??? No, but she did manage to see me within a few days. When I got there, I found a woman who had small SLs that were just touching her shoulders. I should mention here that up to this point, I had not yet seen any actual SLs in person, but I just knew I wanted them. She put in about 6 test locks and in two weeks, I was settling down for 13 hours of installation over two days. The last two pictures were taken just after my installation on which she did a braid out. Amazingly, these don't look as scalpy as I originally thought they did, but I think my hair was thicker overall than it is now, at least at the crown area. My usual style in the early days was a braid-out, roller set to keep the relaxed ends under control. It would take me almost 4 years to trim away the relaxed ends and feel comfortable free-styling.

For those of you who are newbies - keep the faith! Your hair will blossom in no time, and you will definately believe that this is the best hair decision you ever made. I was by no means the poster child for thick, abundant hair, but you can see how mine turned out. I'm amazed at how far I've come. When I find more pics from along the way, I'll post.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


I remember being in school when the hit play "Dreamgirls" debuted on Broadway. It was all anyone could talk about. Unfortunately, my school budget didn't allow for Broadway tickets and I wasn't in NY at that time anyway. Although the play stayed on Broadway for many years and probably toured the country, I never got an opportunity to see it. After 20 years of talk, it was finally made into a movie.

This evening, I had the chance to see the preview of it. I took my daughter, Goldie, who's a big Beyonce fan. I have to say that I really enjoyed it. I'm not a big fan of Beyonce's acting, but even she kicked it up a notch. But I was really there to see Jennifer Hudson, who I heard was stealing the movie. That was no lie! Her rendition of "And I am telling you I'm not going" would have done Jennifer Holiday proud. Makes you wonder how Hudson didn't win American Idol! For an acting debut, she gave a great performance.

After the movie, I had to explain to Goldie some of the nuances of what had happened, but in order to do that, I first had to explain about the group upon whom the movie and the original play was based - the Supremes. Her reaction? Who were they? I had to start by saying, you remember the actress who plays Joan in "Girlfriends?" Her mother was Diana Ross who Deena Jones (Beyonce's character) was loosely based on. In her opinion, Beyonce was the best, but I had to tell her that in the original play, the person eveyone remembered most was Effie and her hit song.

One thing that was really funny was a point in the movie when Eddie Murphy's character is singing some song that I can't remember. All I could think about was, that sounds awfully familiar - alot like "my girl wants to party all the time, party all the time....." Horrors!

Addendum: Obviously, since I was at the preview of Dreamgirls, I wasn't home to see the finale of ANTM (see post below). I haven't checked the website yet, but was I right? Did Caridee win? I'm going to find out in a minute!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Do we always have to root for the Black team?

After reading Michelle's post on America's Next Top Model, it got me to thinking about picking our favorite person or team to win these reality series competitions. I realize it's just a small slice of life and we take race into consideration for many more important things (like our political choices - but that's a whole other discussion!)

Michelle raised a good point that the black model in this cycle probably won't win and, more than likely, it's because a similar looking black model won just last cycle. So it's not her "turn."
But could it be that she's just not that great, race notwithstanding? I've watched this reality series from almost day one, and all the episodes of this cycle, and Eugena just doesn't do it for me. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a huge fan of Caridee's and even less of one for Melrose, but IMO, they have way more personality than Eugena. I can't remember anything she's done that's really made her stand out. My personal choice would have been Anchal, who was gorgeous but, unfortunately, her insecurities allowed the other models to run her off. So, am I a traitor for not rooting for the black model?

And, for that matter, what about the competition going on in the Amazing Race? For the first time in ten seasons of this series, an all female team (the Bama Girls) has made it to the final three. And they're both black! Unfortunately, they aren't really my choice to ultimately win the million bucks. I'll probably root for them because the other two choices are so unpalatable - the crack-head models or the bickering dating couple who yell and scream at each other. But I don't think the Bamas really earned their place in the final three and I'd rather have seen the Cho Brothers take it. The Bamas have never come in first on any leg of the race, and the two times they came in second, it was because another team made a serious mistake. And if it hadn't been for the alliance between them, the Coalminers and the Cho Brothers, they would have been gone long ago. But I always found myself being so disappointed when the episode ended with them just barely bringing up the rear as if they carried the weight of the entire black race on their shoulders. Sigh.

Which brings me to my reaction to the first eliminations on these two shows and Survivor. In ANTM, the first model to go this season was Christian, who was black. The one thing we can be mad about is that this show is very subjective in nature since you have a panel that judges who's got the potential to be a model and, let's face it, race is a big factor. But what about the shows where it's mostly based on skill, knowledge and cunning? The first team to be eliminated on Amazing Race was Bilal and Sa'eed, the black Muslim team. They got to the pitstop last. On Survivor, they did something new this season - they made the initial tribe divisions along racial lines; a black tribe, a white tribe, an Asian tribe and a Hispanic tribe. Guess which tribe lost first and had to vote a member out? But it was because they lost the physical challenge, not because someone possibly targeted them because of race. It's down to 7 people and only one is black, Sundra. And if she doesn't win it's probably because the alliances that others formed preceded her joining them. I'm actually rooting for Yul, the diplomat!