So I’ve been ending each post with “love and embrace the bend of your hair.”

I think I need a reminder.

As I type I’m  considering taking down my locks and starting over.

Ready for the back story? Here it goes.

Over the past several months, I’ve had my hair re-tightened twice by two different consultants. My installing consultant is currently taking a break.   Remember, I’ve been with my installing consultant from the beginning. Never had anyone else touch my locks. So  while I was nervous about having someone else re-tighten them, I definitely wanted to make sure they were doing okay while my installing consultant is on break.

Although I wasn’t a fit with the first consultant for several reasons, she did ask something that got me concerned. “Did you ask for your locks to be installed this big?” The way she asked bothered me, and was borderline offensive. I responded that I requested they be small but I thought they were just in the plump phase. She didn’t respond to that but later said “well at least your grid looks correct.” Alrighty then. I kept asking her questions about my locks but she was non-commital for the most part. I suppose you have to become a steady client before you get real feedback on your locks. I’ll let her cook with all of that. We just we’re a good fit.

However, the question over the size kept nagging at me everytime I looked in a mirror. Not to mention, I’ve had quite a few people ask if I have traditional locks – even at the Sisterlocks Revolution we had here a few months ago. I want to cry real tears when I’m asked that. No shade to the traditional lock rockers, but that’s not what I was going for. AT ALL.

However, it’s a fact, many of my locks are much bigger than I thought they would be. I know you’re not supposed to compare your journey to anyone else’s. Different hair types, different looks, different results. However, there was always a look I was going for that I thought I could get close to with the small and medium locks that were to have been installed on my head almost 2 years ago. I asked for all small locks actually but was told that you don’t install one size over the entire head, which is understandable.

I thought all this time that they were just in the unruly teen phase,  plump and swollen because I have a lot of density. I’ve just been patient with them, as you’re supposed to be, and have been waiting for them to condense a bit and become more manageable. My ass can’t style worth a damn but these plump locks don’t make it any easier. But I’m sitting around thinking it’s all a part of the journey and waiting to get to the good part.

Sunday, I went to a new consultant who was pre-screened by my installing consultant. We had a consultation and things were good to go.  My re-tightening took ELEVEN and A HALF HOURS. I practically had another installation! During this 11 hours, bless her heart, she straightened out my grid as best she could and alerted me to some issues with it. I was troubled by that but not as much as her telling me that I in fact had XXL locks.

WHAT YOU TALKIN BOUT WILLIS?!

She showed me locks throughout that she thought should have actually been two locks.  She had a rough time retightening me with the hook tool because of the size of the locks. She had to gently push it through the lock which took a lot of time. The other consultant used the same tool and obviously had the same issue. However,  she forced it through the lock recklessly. She tore and ripped through my hair without a care in the world. I had to restrain myself when one of my bulbs on the end came flying off in my lap.  I was installed and maintained with either the nappylocs or clip tool. I should know that, but don’t get me to lying.

After leaving there, I felt and still feel some kinda way! Strange thing is, I’m not angry. Just a bit disappointed and…saddened. I don’t blame anyone. This is just a part of my journey and I’ve got to decide where to go from here. I’ve got well over two grand and HOURS of my life invested in these locks. But if  this is what they are going to be forever, I’m wondering if I should get off this bicycle now and go back and put the training wheels on, so to speak. Or should I just learn to love them as they are?

Before I make any final decision, I will let another consultant or two take a look at them. In making a decision this big, you can’t just take one and a half persons word for it.  If another consultant(s) tells me that my locks were installed at the correct size and that my hair was likely going to do this regardless, I will have to keep it moving.

Frankly, I am going to Paris this Spring and prayerfully South Africa next spring. Another installation is not really in the budget. However, my hair is my crown and I have to be happy with it. As I’ve been taking another look around the sisterlock world, I see that my lock size is not unusual. of course. I always accepted the fact that my hair was going to do what it was going to do. I just want to know that I got what I asked for. That’s it. That’s all.

I didn’t include any pics of my do because I’m not really feeling it right now. I haven’t curled it in weeks. It is growing nicely and it’s great to see my grid. I’ll be back with an update once I figure this all out.

Thank you for “listening!” Any thoughts are welcome.

In actuality, I’m approaching my 17th month this coming weekend – just in time for another re-tightening. Time is flying on by.

I haven’t had much to report which is why I’ve been MIA. No major changes except a little growth. It’s been a bit dry lately but I’ve just been dealing with it. I’ve finally confirmed that my hair loves castor oil so I’ll be using that to seal after conditioning.

I also recently bought some of Jane Carter’s products – shampoo, conditioner and the wrap and roll. I’m still having problems with my hair not holding a curl for more than a day or two. So I decided to switch from Taliah Waajid’s Crinkles and Curls to the Jane Carter’s product. Someone suggested that my hair may not have been totally dry. I set it and let it dry over 12 hours. Every piece felt dry to the touch. The curls still weren’t firm and fell out after a couple of days. Maybe I need to try another method other than the Loc Loops. Could just be my hair type. However, I really do prefer Jane Carter’s product. As promised, it did leave my hair softer and non-flaky. I think Taliah’s product is more drying – for me at least.

Here are some photos of my two-day old curls using the  Jane Carter wrap and roll. Excuse the poor quality but my camera is on the fritz.

My hair regimen hasn’t changed. I do think I need to start washing more now that I’m using more product. My hair also loves the water  and wants more than my daily spritzing.

I’m finding that I’m pushing off my re-tightenings longer. It’s the end of September and my last one was mid July. I think I’m starting to dread them and the time it takes. Got to work on that.  This half afro – half locks is not the business.

I didn’t end up getting the henna at the end of August. I did just order it last night though so I will report on the results afterwards. I’m hoping it gets here in time to do it before my re-tightening. I’ve been reading that the henna is good for the hair so I plan to do that often if my hair takes to it.

Until next time…continue to love and embrace the bend of your hair!

What a year it has been.

I am writing this post at 11pm on May 2nd, 2011. This time last year, we were entering the 26th hour of my two day installation.

I am so happy with the changes that my hair has undergone just in the past few months.

Let’s reminisce a bit.

A comparison from Day One to the six month mark.

And here are some recent photos at the 11 month and then the one year mark.

I’m overdue for a re-tightening so excuse the lack of a full fledged photo shoot to mark my year- which is what I had planned. I have an appointment in a couple of weeks so that I will have a fresh do for my upcoming birthday. I plan to also make an appointment with a stylist and possibly get henna. These random silvers sprinkled throughout my hair are not the business! I’m not ready for color yet. I am still not fully locked. The majority of my ends are not sealed and I don’t want to do anything to disturb that process.

My hair has had its good and bad days over the past year but not once have I regretted my decision. This still remains the best thing I could have done for my hair. I love being natural and my hair seems to love being locked.I honestly thought the majority of my hair would be locked by now. However, I am extremely comfortable letting it do what it will do on its own schedule. It feels good to be at a point in the process that I can finally relax. I still admit to being a bit impatient with growth – mainly because I yearn for more styling options. I recently purchased some pretty new hair accessories that will help with the wait.  Meantime, I am still loving my curls and braid-outs. They are looking better and better the longer it grows.

I’m still discovering what products work best for me. I recently purchased some Karen’s Body Beautiful products and my hair seems to love them – especially the Luscious Locks Hair Mask and the Heavenly Jojoba Oil. My consultant raves about them and I agree. So far, so great. I actually love babying my hair. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the birthday fairy brings me a Huetiful steamer. I am still experiencing a lot of dry scalp and regular steam treatments should help.

I’ll be back to update once I get it styled.

Here’s to year one, the first of many.