So August 2016, I got the all clear with all my exams…. wooohooo! To celebrate the momentous occasion, I decided to do a big chop. It had been 9 years with my beautiful locks and no, I don’t call them dreadlocks because I never found them dreadful. So on a quiet winters day, I took final pictures with locks, walked into the bathroom and chopped them all off. I walked out to my husband and son and saw them do a take 2 after noticing that the hair was now a TWA (teeny- weeny afro). I collected all the hair and put it into the garbage, ensuring that under no circumstances would I be tempted to reconnect them to my scalp, yes, it can be done and know a few people who have attached ready made locks. I had to come to terms with the new hair pretty quick. I had no option of waking up in the morning and tying my hair into a ponytail and not thinking twice about how it looked.
I now had to learn the afro lingo and boy is there a lot of lingo. From- co wash, pre- poo, twist out, protective styling to mention a few. I had to try and schedule regular washes, get the right shampoos and conditioners for the hair, get a silk scarf to sleep with and a few other things. I had to relearn how to braid my own hair, something I had not had to do since my second year of medical school. I also, unfortunately, realised that my hair was still as kinky and coily as it had been prior to the locks and that putting a comb in it every morning was torture so quickly became familiar with more humane forms of management.
It has been almost a year and I would be lying if I said I didn’t miss my locks or the ease with which they were to manage at the end. I could style them and know that my hair was sorted for at least a month. I watched YouTube for hair style inspirations and was comfortably able to experiment with different styles or hair-colour without a care in the world as I felt my hair was robust enough to handle what I threw at it. I have had to learn everything from the beginning without an easily accessible chocolate specific hair salon to help with the task at hand. I felt that the TWA, which was essentially my lock roots, was very fragile and I had to “baby it” in those first few months but now it has got with the program. Speaking of salons, they all still seem to have ridiculous prices for everything to do with hair of the afro-texture. Well, I say ridiculous because prior to locks, I had been able to get my hair braided, plait etc for less than a tenth the price I was now seeing advertised.
I also realise that I have to do a little more with my looks to ensure that I don’t look like a boy. I am happily experimenting with bolder makeup and jewellery to accessorise the afro which my husband adores. Every new season throws a spanner in the works and I am still learning. I have developed techniques that for the most part have been working okay and I am currently appreciating my roots, excuse the pun. I am eagerly looking forward to what this hair journey has in store and I can’t honestly promise that I won’t ever lock my hair again. For now though I am loving the TWA.