Wednesday, January 25, 2006

What a coincidence?

So the past couple of weeks, I've been lazily following links between Sisterlocks blogs--apparently another by-product of sl'ing is an uncontrollable desire to blog and display one's progress. Today I got an email from a woman whose blog I visited . It turns out of all things, we went to college together! Who would have guessed? I think that's amazing. Though I didn't know her then, I hope we'll stay in touch now.
Back in college, I was going to serious hair drama. When I first started, I had a super short relaxed do. That was just way too high maintenance for words. Between the lack of an accessible, affordable stylist and a traumatic climate change, my hair was wrecked before the first semester even started. It was my first trip to the East Coast and my first introduction to braid extensions...which were derisively being called "Bag o'Braids" by some of the guys on campus. A vicious cycle...young women were self-conscious about the appearance of their hair and its failure to match favorably with the unrealistice aesthetic, then when they tried to meet it they were critiqued or even ridiculed. I wore the braid extensions pretty consistently, with breaks when I ran out of cash or lost track of a given stylist. The quest for braids was actually the reason for my first trip to Harlem. In between, I also ill-advisedly experimented with relaxing my own hair. Senior year was not a good scene for my hair. I had way too many things and expenses to upkeep my extensions. Between exams, thesis, work, and major life changes, my hair got lost in the mix. So right before graduation activities, I got an extremely close cut afro. Since I find my natural color rather dull, I was constantly saturating my hair with activator to try and make it shiny and define its curl pattern.
As soon as I got to grad school in LA, I found someone to put my extensions back in. I moved to Providence and was pleasantly surprised to find that amongst the students at neighboring Johnson & Wales University, I could usually find a student, therefore affordable, braider. I was fortunate to have one young lady do my hair for about four years. Her name was Astu. I used to tease her all the time that if I was as skilled at braiding as she, I would abandon academia immediately. Probably the seed of my desire to take the Sisterlocks Consultant class. I always imagined--mostly from my late grandmother's example--that being a stylist meant being an entrepreneur and having complete discretion about one's time and clientele.
I first saw Sisterlocks in a magazine around the last year or so of my time in New England. But I had neither the cash nor the courage to do it...
It wasn't until I got my first teaching job in Memphis that I was finally ready. My first appointment with my future SL Consultant was a minor disaster. She didn't remember it, but I made an appointment with her year before I actually got SL'ed and she didn't keep it. I took her no-show as some cosmic sign and avoided her for a year. I even toyed with getting them done in New Orleans by someone who was not registered, but I decided that was a bad idea. Who knew what I'd get? And even though hair isn't like a car battery, I felt having a certified Consultant was important so I went back to Blenna at Salon Naturelle who by this time not only had a new location but a practice dedicated solely to Sisterlocks. By that time I also had gathered the courage to leave academia--a career choice I was not happy with--which was perhaps no coincidence...That was May 8, 2002...So my sisterlocks are coming up on their fourth birthday! I am so happy with them. Blenna was great. She even encouraged me to take the Re-Tightening class when I reached six months. I was petrified I would mess up my hair. But instead I am completely in control of my hair! Perfect.


Renea said...

I just checked out the Nappylocs site...Does anyone have info about them?

brunsli said...

I had hair drama in college too. When I cut my hair into a high top fade, people trekked allllll the way past the Wawa to my dorm (and you know that was far) to see if it was true that I cut off my hair. And then they all asked me what my boyfriend thought. Huh?