The spirituality of my hair

There is nothing like a post on Black women and hair to get some attention in the blogosphere. Of course Black women and our hair have a rather deep and unique relationship. Thanks to all those who posted on my last post, as I lamented over what to do about my beloved locks, I must admit I am still unsure but due to a reaction I had a few hours after writing that post, I know I need to think about it.

See, when I first cut my hair and went natural, I was a hair evangelist, much like a newly born again Christian who feels the need to share the goods news of Jesus Christ. I spent the first several years of being a proudly nappy haired Black woman telling other Black women who had not gotten on board with their naps that they must find and embrace naps. Looking back I shudder now to think about how obnoxious I may have been, but again I wanted to share the good news.

It wasn’t until I started my dreads that I stopped being such a zealot about natural hair on Black women. I will be honest and say that I generally think most Black women look much better with their hair worn naturally but I am also at a point where I can admit when a sista has a banging relaxed style. However most sistas I see in real life with relaxed hair generally look ho-hum at best. Of course the key to hair in general is maintaining it well no matter if you have chemically processed hair or not.

No, see my dreads were not a fashion statement. I had wanted dreads ever since I was 17, going so far at 18-19 as to stop combing my hair thinking that they would lock…it didn’t happen, instead I looked a hot mess. So back I went to the relaxer and later wearing my hair short and natural.

It was the death of my beloved mother that made me take the plunge, her death changed me at the deepest core. I am not the person I was prior to her death, in many ways and the Spousal Unit agrees, I am a nicer person. I strive to be deeper and more compassionate. My mother used to tease me that I was a bitch and the truth is I was very much a bitch and I knew that I needed to change. Her death was the catalyst for me growing up and getting in touch with my inner woman who is compassionate and caring, though lately I wonder if I have gone too far with this niceness bit but that’s for another day.

So how does hair fit into this? Well the process and journey of locking requires patience I have learned. In the early days I had a lot of ugly hair days, a lot of days that felt unsure and I will be damned if there was not a connection between the state of my hair and the state of my mind. As my locks started out as unsure babies much like the new me after my mother’s death, eventually they started toddling…sort of like a toddler does and so on.

Somewhere about 2 years ago, my locks reached a state where they started to look good and again looking at my internal state, that is around the time I started to feel steady and stable emotionally in being the new me. Even now the state of uncertainty that I have around my dreads is similar to what I am facing personally…regular readers know that in recent months I have blogged about my financial woes and even my marital issues. As I told the Spousal Unit the other night, the state of my hair seem to be bound to the state of my mind.

I wrote in the comment section of my last post that I feel like cutting off my locks would feel like I am cutting off my antenna, I know that sounds dramatic as hell but honestly that is how I feel. I neither want or need my locks to be perfectly groomed, but much like my financial life is feeling out of control is how I feel my hair looks and feels at the moment.

So while I am still unsure about what I will eventually do, I know that I need to be still and wait to be led as there may be lessons still to be learned on this journey.

11 thoughts on “The spirituality of my hair

  1. I hear you. The funny thing is, a lot of people I know go natural/locks to free themselves of financial burdens but end up paying a lot to keep their locks looking neat/tight. Spending up to $250 a month on hair is ridiculous and a cheaper options should be considered.

    Once your hair is short again, if you decide to cut it, your options are limitless. You don’t need a chemical to straighten your hair. All you really need is a blow dryer/brush and possible a small curling iron to change up your style. But learn to do it yourself–don’t pay someone else for something you can most definitely learn to do on your own and the beauty of having short hair is you can always start over without a commitment. Experimentation is key.

    I have a relaxer but I learned years ago that I can wash and let my hair dry naturally and it looks pretty cool. Of course, infusium 23 is needed but still, I can carry it off. A year later I realized that once it was dried I could curl it (with a small iron) and I had an even funkier style that people drooled over. This would effectively cut my salon time down to possibly one month. Of course a wash and set where I live is only 20 dollars. But I noticed that a lot of woman spend that and more on their nails. Aside from the skeevy factor, I was never into nail salons or doing my nails. That is certainly something I can do at home for 1.50 with Brucci.

  2. I will not say I am a regular reader but I understand the connection to your hair now with this post. Like you took the time to research, attend, and listen to experts concerning your financial foes and how to get from under that burden….it showed an active desire and initiative to educate yourself. Maybe it can apply to your hair. Learning some things about maintaining locs and keeping your hair healthy without going deeper into the hole is empowering. You don’t feel dependent on someone else to make you feel beautiful when your hair looks a mess and you don’t feel like a slave being beaten by the creditor massa. That empowerment seems to apply to a couple other things you have blog about as far as learning new skills for a new start.

  3. hair is SO MUCH a spiritual thing, i totally agree & understood what you meant about feeling yourself when your hair is a certain way. i cannot function with bangs. i keep my hair long in the front no matter what. i have to have that there to feel safe & sane. i can happily cut off the rest of my hair–as long as my hair is long up front. i am powerful when the whole of my hair is the short & spikey, but the front is long. its my warrior hair-do. i tie my long bangs in a knot on the top of my head & i get things done.
    so do what you gotta do to get your hair in the state that makes you feel like you!

  4. I know you read my blog so you know that I completely and totally OVERstand everything you said in this post.

    With this lowboy sometimes I feel positively naked and cut-off somehow . . .like something is being transmitted but I can’t receive it.

    I know, I know . . . it’s just hair. But really, it isn’t. And while hair doesn’t make the person, it is part and parcel of who we are. Our journey. Our destination.

  5. @32B, part of why I am wanting to go get my locks done after 5 years of doing them myself is because I do want to learn how to manage them myself if possible. Until recently it was going good. Part of why I am in this predicament is because I started my locks when my hair was already pretty long which looking back was not a great idea.

    Most of what seems available as far as doing your own locks assumes you have shorter hair and that I don’t have. That said, the last post allowed me to talk with a friend who is long distance with locks who gave me some advice on how to try and take these babies. So I will be giving it a try this weekend.

    @EM, I agree that there is something spiritual about hair.

    @Chi-chi, I know you of all people understand, in fact I was thinking of how you made the choice to cut yours off.

  6. shay –
    i get it. i’ve been there and done it and it wasn’t easy. there is something about the locs that a lot of people don’t understand. hair is very much a spiritual matter, but having locs really ups that ante. i don’t care what anybody says, but all of your life from the moment you started is tied up in those locs.

    i’m not saying anything you haven’t considered or thought of already though.

    “I know that I need to be still and wait to be led as there may be lessons still to be learned on this journey.”

    i think that’s a lesson i needed to heed, but i didn’t.

    we’ll wait with you.

  7. Hey Shay,

    I hear you.

    I think that natural hair evangelists are soooo obnoxious! *LOL* I wore my hair in braids for seven years and I never once told any sistas what they should do with their own hair…unless they were asking folks for opinions.

    I understand your desire to keep your dreds and if you are attached to them emotionally then yes…keep on rocking a dred-fro and don’t worry about it at all. As long as you are happy with you, that is what matters.

    I do think that a polished appearance and a nicely groomed, well-maintained hair style is important for anyone’s professional image.

    It’s interesting that you said that most sistas with chemical styles look ho-hum at best. I think that same thing about sistas with natural styles. I rarely see a sista rocking a natural style that is well-maintained and flattering for her face.

    But that goes for the chemical-styled sistas though. I will admit that also! Many sistas just do not experiment with styles in order to find the “best” look for their bone structure, age and signature style.

    I never decided on braids as a political statement. My braids were just another look. When I went to chemical style and there was nothing Eurocentric about my choice. I think my hair looks good natural and I think it looks good chemically-straightened.

    I find that I am spending about the same amount of money on my chemical styles as I spend on my braids since I had to get my braids done every five weeks to avoid my hair line looking sloppy. I get relaxers every two and a half months.

    Consider how you would feel with a nice, cropped fro!! I think short fros look fab on women who have great cheek bones and chiseled facial features!

  8. I combed my locs out in December. And I miss then so bad. Waaah! Then had to cut it and then I relaxed it and then I got tired of combing it so I cut it all off. Now I’m rocking my curl fro. I want my big wild hair back and when I get tired of dealing with that then I’ll start them again but this time they will be smaller and more uniform.

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