ap fashion: dreadlock confessional

March 17, 2014

Rewind Two Weeks Ago: “It is just hair right. Honestly, I could cut it at any time and if I really don’t like it, I can start my dreads all over again. This summer actually, I was ready to cut my hair, I stood in front of my bathroom mirror, looked at my hair one last time and proceeded to cut one lock off (starting from the back of course), and then I stopped. My hands got cold and my heart started to race. Woah. I had an epiphany in that moment—that I am my hair, contradictory to the India Arie song, I am not my hair. To be honest, I think what I was most fearful of was not liking the way that I looked or my hair looked without being locked and pressure (from who even knows) to then add chemical to my hair, weave, etc. But I think that there is more too the issue—more to why I stopped chopping… My hair has become my identity in a way – my strength, character, what distinguishes me from someone else in a room. My locks are almost like a crown—especially when I get these bad boys done, I am lifted up almost- for someone else that can be a new pair of shoes or freshly done brows. My locks more than often have been my confidence in some ways and empowered me. “

By Aliyah Blackmore, AFROPUNK Contributor

Having locks, I have found, comes with some things- the ignorance, the questions. I have literally gotten them all and baffled sometimes by how DUMB (sorry for the word choice) some people can be: “Do you wash your hair? Hey, Rasta! Oh, I just assumed you smoked weed… Why did you do that to your hair? Are they dirty? You will never get a job with that hair? Those aren’t professional.
At 19 years old– I never let snarky little comments get to me—throughout my life, whether in a non-profit setting, college, or corporate environment—I have not let others define and make assumptions about who I am because of my locks

When I was younger I believe I had more of a desire to fit in, so blatant ignorance did bother me. In kindergarten I remembered being asked why my hair was like that, and I would cry to my mother, begging her to let me cut off my locks because I wanted to let it blow in the wind like everyone else. To be quiet honest, western and white society implants what is beauty within young minds-white media forced me at the time to think that my hair was not beautiful. Society in a sense creates images of “good hair,” but now I know… my locks are good hair—whatever that may mean. My locks were started when I was two years old, so I guess I felt the choice was made for me, and as a little girl, all you really want is to fit in. Even my grandmother has told me, “Why don’t you cut those things off, you have good hair.” She said to me,” look at your friend, her hair is so pretty and long.” I was upset, of course, because I felt having locks maybe made me less beautiful.

I understand the importance now in locking the hair – strength, empowerment—and those characteristics have been very much imbedded in who I grew to be. Some people have said that they are surprised that I made it through middle chool and high school with locks- because I guess that is the time when as a female, you want to fit in the most—but my life has never been about changing who I am to please others.

Even though I just spilled out a whole “why I have dreads” confessional…Yeah, I am still considering cutting my hair off this coming summer, I keep going back and forth. I think I am more inclined to cut them now because it will almost be a fresh start, a renewal – rejuvenation in your life is needed every once in a while I think late teen and early twenties is a time when you start to feel like everything needs to be renewed or that time seems to be catching up with you.

So, this is all to say, thank you mom, for locking my hair, as much as I may have argued about them over the years—my locks have made me Aliyah and I don’t think I would have wanted my hair any other way. I do value the strength and confidence in locked hair that has definitely become part of my identity – after 17 years with them thought, I am almost ready for something new—let’s see how brave I can be in a new hair endeavor…

Two Weeks Later:

So, I did end up cutting my locks. I was sitting in class about two weeks ago and my mind some how wandered off to the topic of my hair—I kept thinking “you let your hair grow out, haven’t gotten your locks re twisted—maybe it is just time to cut them”—and yup, it was time—the only thing that was holding me back before was fear.

So, after going back and forth constantly in my head, I decided to cut my locks the afternoon of February 28th.

Now this is was a hard decision because I had my locks for 17 years and they have become part of me— my strength, confidence, style, etc. Sometimes it is nice for a change, and the only thing that was holding me back was fear … Fear of not liking my hair or looking ugly.. Blah blah blah, but I told myself you will be beautiful no matter what (cheesy I know), and you will work it with or without the locks.
Having something for so long…it is hard to imagine life without it, but you will never know the answer to something until you try.

There are so many styles that I am excited to try out—when I first cut my locks I immediately put in Senegalese Twist/Havana Twists in my hair using 4 packs of Marley Hair. Right now I am trying to rock a short cut, I saw a picture of Lupita and thought- hey, why not try that out- let’s see what I do next.

Let the natural hair endeavors begin 🙂

Thanks for taking time to read my little confessional.

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