Mar 20, 2012

Ashiya's Hair: 10 Years Long

October 2009

July 2002
When I decided to wear my hair in it's natural state, I was desperate.  It was falling out in patches and I felt like I was loosing my mind along with my hair.  It was just a few days before I graduated from college and my classmates were taking pictures to capture the moment we had worked so hard to achieve.  Between a creative best friend, a few scarves and the cap required for the ceremony, I survived the weekend.  I have a friend that started her locs a few months before graduation, so I decided to follow her lead.  I did not know much about locs then, but I knew more than I ever wanted to about relaxers.  At the time, I thought my classmates might question what was going on with my hair that weekend for the rest of our lives, but I decided I wasn't going to wonder any longer.  In March of 2002,  I was ready for The Big Chop.  A close friend was my stylist at the time and when she hesitated, I channeled Angela Bassett from Waiting to Exhale and started cutting.  

Ten years later, I am amazed at the progress of my hair...and myself.  I've fallen in and out of love with my hair over the years, but I learned patience as a result.  I thought my hair was healthy before my transition because I was faithful to my stylist and deep conditioning.  Likewise, I thought I took good care of myself then, but now I am really learning the art of Self-Care.  I was under the impression that my hair would be easy to take care of and while locs can be low maintenance, healthy, happy locs take work.  A reminder that easy may be appealing, but the work can be rewarding.

Circa 2003

I learned to find beauty where I least expect it.  I had so many expectations of what my natural hair would look like, none of which compare to what I see when I look in the mirror. My hair is much longer than I ever imagined it would be which taught me the most important lesson: authenticity will take me further than conformity.  To be myself and see the results that I had longed for caused me to look for deeper truths in my life and what I wanted my legacy to be.  Regardless of what I leave behind, I know that it will be genuine and authentic because I am.

Some of the people that loved me most in my life did not like my hair and their willingness to voice their opinion was upsetting to me. I loved my hair and myself enough to keep going. Now that their appreciation has grown with time, they proved to me that love always begins within.  Someone told me during the first year that I would grow stronger each year my locs grew longer and I must agree.

August 2010

I never thought that I would learn so much about myself and gain such confidence from my hair. It seemed superficial to think that way. Looking back, I understand that I gave myself permission to be me regardless of what my village thought I should look like.  The process of loc'ing my hair brought so much light into my life.  It is a decision that put me on a path of self-awareness, self-discovery and self-mastery.  What a blessing that a choice I made in a moment of desperation was the catalyst to liberate my true essence.

January 2009

While we spend most of our time trying to understand our hair as we transition, what have you learned about yourself from your natural hair?
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