Loc’d: Second Journey

“Loc’d Defined,” Photo by Cy

I began my second locs journey a week ago.

When I first loc’d my hair 13+ years ago, I was five months pregnant, dealing with the losses of Post-Katrina New Orleans, and adjusting to a new normal. Although I had “gone natural” four years before, the time never felt right for loc’ing.

Until then.

I craved the permanency and flexibility of locs. I needed something that would connect me to my natural self and my cultural roots, and that would allow me to navigate the early years of motherhood with one less concern.

I’d planned to loc for only seven years–the spiritual number of completion. I considered cutting them off after losing Karlette, but I wasn’t ready.

“Loc’d Mommy,” Photo by My Hubby

My son, especially, wasn’t ready for a loc-less mom. Though I suspect he most enjoyed “pranking me” by tying my locs to the head rest in the car, loc’d Mommy was all he knew and he resisted the idea of my cutting them off.

My hair was a way to “mark time” as we journeyed through the first decade of his life. There was lots of growth for both of us.

In year 10, with my son’s “permission,” I convinced my bestie to cut my locs when her family came for a visit.

Good-bye Locs

That was March 2016.

Now that I’ve begun my second journey, I am asked “why?”–the same question I heard over and over when I began loc’ing the first time and when I cut my lengthy locs three years ago. The question is asked for many [complex] reasons, some of which are touched on in an earlier post.

I do not intend to go into those reasons in this post; I have only my answer to the question.

The last several months have been traumatic in some ways, and I’ve been feeling the drive to loc again. I first felt the inclination after Lori passed. I held back because I thought those feelings were a knee-jerk reaction to something I couldn’t control. However, as the months crept along, the desire grew stronger.

The losses have been significant, the pain unbearable at times. I needed to begin the process again, to mark the journey as I navigate the grief and trauma.

For me, there is incredible power in loc’ing–the patient waiting, the commitment to the process. As the hair locs and lengthens, I stretch. I strengthen. I heal.

17 thoughts on “Loc’d: Second Journey

  1. Ty4Thoughts says:

    This is so beautiful! I know anytime a change as drastic as this is done to a black woman’s hair that they are embarking on a new journey inwardly as well.. I can’t wait to see the growth of both your inner self and your hair!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. franhunne4u says:

    As a eurasian woman I will probably not understand the process of locing. But I do know that when women crave a change or start a change of their life they often start with their hair. That’s true for women regardless of skin color. Some dye, some cut, some just get a new style.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ellen Hawley says:

    I’m not sure why I have the impulse to tell you this, but I’m going to trust the impulse and toss it into the conversation: A friend tells me that in traditional Maori culture you cut your hair when you’re grieving. (This may be true only for women, but it may be for men too–I’m not sure.) She did it at a grief-filled point in her life and only found out later that she’d been following a part of her tradition she hadn’t known about. May the grieving strengthen you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chandra Lynn says:

      Thank you for sharing that. I’ve heard about that tradition in other cultures, and I seriously thought about cutting my hair off completely, but it didn’t feel like the right move for the circumstances [for me]. Hair or lack of hair would still be a distraction. With locs, I’m allowed to let them be and do what they do naturally while I focus on healing.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ellen Hawley says:

        I suspect what matters is less exactly what you do than that you do something that you, your culture, or your world imbue with significance. And here we have this amazing stuff growing out of our heads, and far more amazing stuff going on inside our heads. It probably shouldn’t surprise any of us that one finds the other when we need to take a sober symbolic action.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Sheila Delgado says:

    Wishing your heart and spirit comfort, healing, and rejuvenation. The traditions around hair are so powerful. I hope your locs strengthen you, and help you find your way back to JOY. Prayers and hugs. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. K E Garland says:

    Chandra, this is interesting. I just read an Essence article that described how many African American women actually use weaves and wigs to cover up their pain, and consequently, damaging their hair even more. But, you sound as if you’ve made a conscious effort to do the exact opposite. I love it. I’m also sending you some light and love as you continue to grow strong in whatever you decide.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chandra Lynn says:

      Hmm…that IS interesting. I never thought of weaves and such being used to cover up pain. I’ll have to read the article…That is certainly something to explore further. As for my own hair, I’m looking forward to all the stages of loc’ing. I didn’t realize how much I missed them till I started again. Thanks for sharing and thanks for the light and love…

      Liked by 1 person

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