by Nyesha Lashay
A year ago today I decided to loc my hair…it was an impulsive decision that came from a place called “fuck it.” It was spontaneous & random; I came home from class one day & started to palm roll my hair to see what it would look like. Before I knew it, I had palm rolled all of my hair, & I had gotten attached to it.
I loved my loose hair, but I was tired of fitting myself into boxes I had outgrown for the sake of pleasing people. Tired of trying to achieve respectability.
I was experiencing a lot of transformative growth inside, but to me, that growth wasn’t being reflected on the outside. It felt like I was holding on to a younger, more self conscious version of myself; an image that just wasn’t me anymore.
Locking my hair required a confidence that I didn’t quite have when my journey began; the “starter loc” period was hard for me. I didn’t always feel beautiful throughout the process. In fact, the process revealed some of my own ugly ways; I’m no stranger to self ridicule, and I often told myself that I had made myself “ugly” by locking my hair. My boyfriend (who also has locs) will be the first one to tell you that I didn’t exactly embrace the change with open arms. He put up with my daily self-ridicule and impatience, and he was somehow able to remind me of why I committed in the first place. I wouldn’t have made it to one year without him.
These photos were taken 1 week into my journey. I really thought I was doing something.
It was around May when I started to see some budding, which is basically like bubbles in the loc. I honestly don’t know how they got there, but I HATED them so much. I would palm roll them nearly every day trying to smooth the buds out, but that didn’t work. I learned that I would just have to let them do their thing, and over time, they smoothed out.
So this is still 5 months, but there’s a story behind it: I was in Cape Town & didn’t have the products I needed to keep up with my hair. So I went to a shop for the first time, thinking that they would have what I needed to get a fresh retwist. Wrong! This is what my hair looked like after they washed it at the shop. I was mortified because damn near all of my locs looked like they unraveled. When I told the loctician that I wanted him to palm roll my locs, he gave me a crazy look and told me that he couldn’t palm roll my hair because it wouldn’t work because of my hair texture. I told him that I had been palm rolling them for 5 months & that they were fine before I got to the shop. Everyone in the shop proceeded to tell me that the only way they could do my hair was to crochet it. I had no idea what that was, but I was against it because that’s not what I wanted. I learned that the crochet method is similar to the interlocking method –I didn’t want to do that because I heard it would make my locs thin at the root. I didn’t really have a choice though, so yes, I have had my hair interlocked or “crocheted” once & I won’t do it again. Here is the result:
I wasn’t really impressed with this method because it gave me a lot of split ends (when the ends of locs split into two separate ends), and I felt like they didn’t really look neat and “done”. Better than the previous pic though!
Months 10-11 I pretty much kept them covered up to protect them from Wisconsin’s cold.
In this year I turned 21, lived abroad for a semester, learned to say no, set and met new goals, and most importantly, I learned to embrace my own journey–because that’s where the beauty lies.
long story short, this week I’m celebrating a self love and confidence I didn’t know a year ago. I’m natty’d up and proud of the woman I am becoming throughout the process.
(FAQ post forthcoming)
For more on Nyesha’s loc journey, abroad adventures and self-care routines visit her blog at nyeshalashay.com