I’ve Been Busy! #SideGigs

Image result for images of side gigs

Writing is something I enjoy doing, especially when the topics are natural hair and music. Thankfully I’ve been able to do both in my spare time.

Grown Folks music

I’ve been part of this musical movement for about seven years or more, give or take. I discovered their FB page through a mutual friend and it was a match made in heaven. Grown Folks Music speaks for itself. It’s for the grown people who miss and enjoy the timeless music of back in the day. This can be from the 60’s through the 90’s and early 2000’s. But Grown Folks Music isn’t stuck in the past. It is very current with today’s artists and up and coming artists, and we go out of our way to highlight the hidden gems that the masses may not be aware of. The music that is played and promoted by GFM spans all genres – R&B, pop, rock, jazz, funk, neo-soul, heavy metal, classical, country and grunge just to name a few.

Not only do I DJ on the GFM Facebook page, I also write articles from time to time. Recently, I’ve had the pleasure to conduct my first artist interview with R&B singer SUCH. Her latest album is out now and it’s called Wide Nose Full Lips. Not only am I fan of her music, but she also has SISTERLOCKS! Imagine my excitement on being able to talk hair with her! Please check out my interview with her here: https://grownfolksmusic.com/gfm-spotlight-rb-singer-such-talks-wide-nose-full-lips-why-shes-unapologetically-black/

What naturals love

Around 2018 I’ve had the privilege of writing for Going-Natural.com and What Naturals Love. This came about through a loc group that I belonged to on Facebook, and a lovely woman named Mireille Liong made a post asking for bloggers and writers to write for her natural hair website and blog. I answered the call and we’ve been working together ever since. I’ve written articles about natural hair care, locs, and loc discrimination at work.

My latest article is about legendary hair braider and innovator Debra Hare-Bey of Bedstuy, New York. If you were a fan of the hit 90’s show Living Single, and if you loved the character’s Maxine Shaw hair, you have Debra to thank for that. She created that style which is called the Nu Loc Pixie. Debra has worked with many major stars since then and is the owner of the posh salon Debra Hare-Bey Private Parlour @ OMhh Beauty Oasis.

Going-Natural.com

This year marked the 15th anniversary of Going-Natural.com, the longest natural hair blog to date, and the What Naturals Love Hair Show that took place on August 17, 2019 in Bedstuy, New York. Debra Hare-Bey’s work was highlighted at the event, and I will post more about the event in a future post. You can read the article I wrote about Debra Hare-Bey here: https://going-natural.com/debra-hare-bey-why-we-need-to-know-her/#more-21481

Keep growing and get better

It is my goal to interview Debra Hare-Bey in the very near future and to interview more artists for Grown Folks Music. Writing keeps my creative juices flowing, and it helps me to hone my skills and get better. One of my main goals is to provide the best content for my audience through this blog and all other blogs or websites I happen to write for. Truth be told, my natural hair journey isn’t just about me documenting my journey, but putting my writing skills to work. I often find myself reading old blogs and taking note of my writing. Was it sloppy? Did I proofread poorly? Or did I do a good job? I still see room for improvement, and one day when I have the time I will go through my older posts and make changes and edits so they can be better. I hope you enjoy these articles, and please let me know what you think! Do you have a side gig besides blogging or your regular 9-5? What is it? I’d love to know!

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What Nine Months Sisterlocked Looks Like

Honestly, I can’t tell if there was growth from month eight until now, but it still doesn’t hurt to do a side by side. The photos I’ve included are a little deceiving because in the eight month picture my hair was pretty stretched, and in my nine month photo my hair wasn’t stretched much. My next retie is in two weeks. After this retie, my appointments will go to every six or seven weeks. I honestly think I can go every seven weeks, and I will push for that. I don’t have much if any slippage anymore and I haven’t had any other issues (locs bunching or marrying together) to warrant such frequent reties. If anything lint is my new enemy. Grrrr!!

Why Photos are important

You’ve probably been told or have heard many times how important it is to track your growth through pictures. I’ve found this to be true not only as a loose natural but also with sisterlocks. One of the main reasons being is because if you’re starting your locs with short to medium length hair, you’re naturally impatient to see growth. Many times our expectations are unreasonable. But when you take photos of your hair each month, you’ll see the progress. Not just with length but in texture. You’ll watch them go from thin, stringy looking locs to gradually fuller, longer locs.

What to look for

Some of the things you should take note of when taking photos of your locs are problem areas. Do you see thinning along your edges? Are you putting your locs in styles that are too tight or pull on your edges? Do you notice bunching or thinning with your locs? These are things that should be brought to your loctician’s attention. Perhaps you’re not braiding and banding properly when washing your hair, or something else is causing the issue. Do you see lint or buildup? Do you know how to remove it? Again, bring this to the attention of your loctician so she can help you figure out the best way to combat these issues.

Be encouraged

Whenever you think your locs aren’t growing, trust me, they are:

According to the U.S Center for Disease Control (CDC), scalp hair grows at an average rate of 0.50 inches (1.25 cm) per month, or one-eighth of an inch every week. This means the average person grows 6 inches of hair per year.

Take photos of your locs every month. Look back on the progress you’ve made and I guarantee you will feel encouraged. You’ll be happy for making the decision to get locs and you’ll be proud of the patience you’ve shown by sticking to your journey. And don’t just look for length or problem areas. Take notice of how healthy and beautiful your locs are. Appreciate the transformation they’ve gone through and the time it took to do so. I’m always amazed at the fact that our hair can loc to begin with. It only reinforces to me that our kinky, coily hair, and hair that is locked, is beautiful.

Communication With Your Loctician

Communication is key with anyone that is taking care of your hair. You need to know how your hair is doing, looking, and what you need to stop doing or continue doing when it comes to the care of your hair. Not all beauticians are great communicators, and the same is true for locticians. But as we all know, communication is a two way street.

Do you get updates on your locs?

When you go for your retie, does your loctician give you an update on the progress of your locs? Does she tell you how they look (good or bad) and inform you of any issues she may see? This is important because how else will you know how your locs are doing? Trained lociticians know what to look for and know the difference between healthy and unhealthy locs. This doesn’t mean that we’re off the hook because we should also pay attention to our hair and learn what we should look out for.

Maybe your locitician isn’t talkative and just gets to work the moment you sit in her chair. Maybe your loctician is talkative and you get so engrossed in conversation that you forget to talk about your locs. It happens.

if you want to know, ask!

Don’t sit idly by waiting or expecting your loctician to give an update. Ask! I find myself doing this a lot because my loctician is the type who gets so zoned in on her work that she doesn’t talk much and she leaves me to watch Netflix on her tv. Sometimes when she doesn’t comment on my locs and how they’re doing, I know it can mean that she doesn’t see any issues. But just to be sure that’s the case I’ll say ‘So how do my locs look?’ And she’ll tell me. I’m not going to lie, it used to bother me that she didn’t volunteer the information first. Then I had to check myself because this is my hair and it’s my responsibility to open my mouth and ask questions when I have them. How is she supposed to know that I have questions if I don’t say anything?

It’s a partnership

Your relationship with your loctician should be a partnership. If you don’t feel like you have that, then have a honest conversation with her. If that doesn’t work, then maybe it’s time to move on. Never feel obligated to stick with someone if you’re not getting what you need from them or their services.

I’ve been with my loctician since my sisterlocks establishment. I’ve gotten to know her and how she works, and she’s gotten to know me. I’ve learned that she’s not always going to volunteer updates on my hair and that I have to ask, and I’m ok with that. I don’t feel it’s anything she does on purpose. I trust her to be honest with me, and my locs are thriving under her care.

Remember, ask questions when you have them. Don’t wait for your loctician to always give you updates. Be an active participant and partner with your loctician. It will only strengthen the bond and trust between the both of you.

Eight Months in And Still Learning

I’m not sure if I’ve shared that I belong to several sisterlocks groups on Facebook, and the information shared on all of them is quite interesting. I say this because there is a lot of misinformation being shared. I also belong to a sisterlocks group that go strictly according to the sisterlocks way. While I didn’t like the approach or tone used by the group creator and moderator, she has toned down a lot (she’s nicer) and the information she shares is invaluable and quite helpful. It is for that reason that I remained part of her group because she’s a brand ambassador for sisterlocks and she takes her role very seriously.

you put what in your hair?

Recently, her posts have been addressing things like using Dawn dish washing liquid to wash your locs, Suave products, and other very popular things that women with sisterlocks (and traditional locs) are using. She stresses how dangerous and damaging these products can be to your hair and how important it is to follow the sisterlocks system, which includes using their products. While some cannot use certain sisterlocks products because they are allergic to some ingredients, there are many who simply don’t want to use the sisterlocks products. There’s also a lot of women who simply can’t let go of the idea of not putting products in their hair and using what they are already familiar with.

This is strong enough for: washing your car, laundry, mopping floors, cleaning toilets, carpet stains, etc. And people actually use this on their locs?

Water = bad for newly established sisterlocks

One interesting topic that came up was spritzing your locs – whether with rose water or plain distilled water. I read from the brand ambassador of this group that you should NOT be spritzing anything on your locs for moisture if you’re not fully locked. Water only contributes to slippage and prolongs the locking process. So if water contributes to slippage, imagine what water infused with oils will do to unsettled (non-mature) locs! The problem is this: Many certified locticians and trainees are telling their clients to spritz their hair with water before styling (supposedly to prevent breakage because the locs are dry – I will address this later) or to spritz with rose water for moisture, and they should not be promoting this. The clients in turn tell others that spritzing is gospel, and that rosewater adds moisture. Do you see the chain reaction of misinformation this causes for those new to sisterlocks?

No water or rose water for locs that aren’t fully mature!

your product junkie days are over with sisterlocks

Sisterlocks are supposed to be dry. Period. But many don’t like the look or feel of dry hair. Again, this goes back to people not being able to let go of old habits and rituals that go back centuries like oiling our scalps or putting grease on our hair if it looks dry. Sisterlocks was created to do away with all products, and to use only natural products (as needed) that will help your locs when they are fully mature. You don’t have to use sisterlocks products if you don’t feel the need to use them. But know that these products were created specifically for sisterlocks, unlike over the counter products that are typically too heavy for sisterlocks and lead to nasty buildup.

There is no need for these products when you have Sisterlocks.

Beware of too tight styles

Let’s get back to the issue of spritzing your sisterlocks with water (or with oils or essential oils added to the water) or rose water before styling. The reasoning behind this is to prevent breakage due to manipulating dry locs. Dry locs isn’t the only culprit when it comes to breakage. I’ve seen many loc styles that use too much tension. Getting your hair styled in various updos, buns, or braids too frequently will cause breakage. Sisterlocks are smaller locs, so extra care should be taken when styling them. Be careful of the styles you choose, and be gentle with your edges.

Wearing satin bonnets with sisterlocks is a hard NO!

Your locs need to breathe

Another interesting thing that was brought up in the sisterlocks group on Facebook was whether or not you should cover your hair with a satin bonnet or silk scarf at night before you go to bed. Again, many believe that doing this is a cardinal rule, but it’s not for sisterlocks. Why? Well, as explained by the sisterlocks brand ambassador, bonnets and scarves lock in heat. Heat causes moisture and sweating which can lead to slippage (if you’re not fully locked) and funky hair. Especially if you don’t wash your bonnets or scarves regularly. The sisterlocks brand ambassador further explained that all you should do at night is plait, braid, twist or roll up your locs with rollers or curl formers and sleep on a satin or silk pillow case. That’s it. Sisterlocks should not be covered up or tied down at night.

Old Habits die hard, but…

It’s hard for many, myself included, to let go of old habits. Tying my hair up at night is something that was done since I was very little. Using some sort of product in my hair practically every day was also something that was done since I can remember. These practices are passed down from one generation to the next. But once you embark on the sisterlocks journey, you must put an end to these practices so you will have healthy locs that form properly. I am so happy to be on this journey and to still be learning.

Eight Months Sisterlocked

Summer 2019 in the Midwest has been horrifically hot. I can’t stress this enough. This demon heat, coupled with hot flashes, had me putting my hair up in various ways almost every day. My hair styles varied between plaits, one pony tail on top of my head (my pony tails aren’t so struggle anymore!), two pony tails on each side, or two braids going to the back on each side. I have never sweated so much in my head in my life!

Installation 11-16-18 vs 8 Months

Growth & Hang time

Despite the heat misery, I didn’t forget to take notice of my locs. They are getting thicker and they are locking. But one thing I’ve noticed the most which started in month seven, is growth. It seems my locs went on a growth spurt, and I think this is part of the falling stage. The falling stage is as your locs thicken and swell, they also fall and show their length. This is also called hang time. Another way I know my locs are growing is when my family comments on their length. Also, when I’m constantly brushing an imaginary bug off my shoulder, neck or upper back only to realize it’s my hair.

I know I sound like a broken record saying this, but watching my locs go through such transformations from installment until now is nothing short of amazing. To be honest, it doesn’t seem that long ago when I had stringy locs that I didn’t know what to do with. And here I am today, with full, longer locs – and they are going to get fuller once they mature.

Document your journey

It is true when others with locs tell you that the growth and length will come, just be patient. That is why it is so important to document your journey by taking pictures of your locs regularly to see your progress. You will appreciate your journey more and how far you’ve come. For me, some of my progress seemed to have happened over night. I believe that’s because I’m not constantly styling or fussing with my locs. Leaving them alone seems to have been the best thing I could have done for them. Also, only washing them when needed. Sometimes that’s once or twice a month.

July 2019

be patient

As always, what works for me may not work for you. Your hair type, density, and length all play a part in your loc journey. But one thing that remains the same for everyone who embarks on a loc journey is you must have patience. The more patience you have, the more you trust the process, the happier you’ll be with the outcome. Thankfully I’m on the right path. Happy eight months to me!

In The Spirit of Truth-Telling

With age comes maturity. A higher level of understanding of yourself, your worth, and what you will and will not stand for. I have always considered myself to be honest, sometimes too honest. Sugar coating and beating around the bush is not my jam. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not in the business of being mean, cruel or hurtful on purpose to anyone. I treat others the way I’d want to be treated, and that includes being mindful of other people’s feelings.

This is your journey – no one else’s

Test locs installed 10-2018

Getting locs has been a wonderful journey of enlightenment. There was so much I didn’t know when I first started looking into locs, and there is even more that I’m still learning now that I’m part of the loc community. Sisterlocks is definitely a journey and a process you must trust. I kept hearing that mantra “Trust the process” and didn’t know the full meaning until I got my sisterlocks installed. After my installation, I learned a very powerful lesson: You can’t listen to everyone’s advice. You shouldn’t listen to everyone’s advice. Why? Because everyone’s journey is different. We all have different hair types, different curl patterns, different scalps and different experiences.

So many people spoke about not following the sisterlocks way for various reasons, opting instead to buck the system so to speak. They chose to experiment and do things completely opposite of the sisterlocks way. With what result? Damaged locs. Being unhappy with their hair, taking their locs down and starting over. All of this costs $$$. It never made any sense to me. But when I got my sisterlocks and started my journey, I slowly but surely began to understand why “Trust the process” has so much meaning.

Installation Day 11-2018

Trust the process

I posted a video recently speaking about this, and I’m sure my thoughts will ruffle some feathers because so many YouTubers make their coins speaking about sisterlocks. I’m not a sisterlocks brand ambassador, but I am a sisterlocks believer. Sisterlocks can work for you if you trust the process and are patient. Sisterlocks will work for you if you follow the guidelines and the advice of your licensed loctician or trainee. In my earlier posts before I got my sisterlocks, I spoke all big and bad about what I would and would not do. I quickly pumped the brakes and saw that wasn’t a wise course if I wanted my locs to thrive. You live and learn, especially when you see the process working.

you deserve to hear the truth

Needless to say, I’m not worried about ruffling feathers because to me every day is the season of truth-telling. There’s so much misleading information out there, and for someone that is considering sisterlocks, they deserve to hear the honest truth from someone who truly trusted the process. This means not skipping steps, not trying to rush the process, not using products on your locs when you’re not supposed to. Also, it means not following fad remedies that can do more harm than good because its popular at the moment.

My locs 6-2019

In the spirit of truth-telling, I hope my experiences help someone in their journey or considering the loc journey. It is my wish that someone finds encouragement, enlightenment and hope. It is my heartfelt hope that my honesty touches someone in a positive way.

My Favorite Thing About Sisterlocks

Hair freedom. No products. No combs. Yes, all of those things that I no longer have to worry about are still at the top of my list of favorite things when it comes to having sisterlocks. HOWEVER…my new favorite thing is new growth. That fullness that my locs get when it’s almost time for a retie. To me, that is when my locs are the most beautiful.

Full look vs. fresh retie

I think back to when I was a loose natural. My hair looked it’s best when it was due for a wash. That was when I’d receive the most compliments because my hair was full and it behaved. Well, the products I had in it helped, but if you experienced this yourself then you know what I mean. Reties leave you with straight locs that seem plastered to your scalp. I don’t like that look. There are many who love how their locs look after a fresh retie because they feel their locs and grid look neat and fresh. I like and prefer the messy and full look.

Hidden growth

Another thing I love about sisterlocks is every time I think my hair isn’t growing, one day out of the blue my length will show. I’ll feel something brushing against my neck and back thinking it’s a bug crawling on me only to realize it’s my hair! As you may know, I don’t do anything to my hair. I don’t style it, I just let it be. Every so often I’ll plait it up to stretch it, and that’s when I’ll notice the growth. Other times it’s been my husband who’d tell me “Your hair is growing.” And then I’ll look closely at it and say “You’re right! It is!”

Before my last retie. #Fullness

plaits or braids at night

Currently my hair is in plaits. It’s summer and I sweat a lot in my head so having my locs in plaits or braids helps with that. I was told that plaiting or braiding your sisterlocks every night trains your locs on how to hang. I’ll never remember nor feel like braiding my locs every night, but I try to do so every so often. I’m seven months into my journey and I’ve experienced growth from leaving my hair alone as much as possible. I think it’s working out for me so far. 🙂

Seven Months Sisterlocked!

Three weeks before retie

I had a lot of mixed emotions about reaching my seventh month of being locked because I had to make some serious health decisions in the month and weeks leading up to it. For one I had major surgery recently, and making that decision and then waiting for that day to come had me very stressed, concerned, and anxious.

One week before retie. Close up texture shot.

The surgery

Any surgery is major. What I had done came with many serious risks. Thankfully, I have a wonderful doctor who surrounded herself with the best team of doctors to assist her with my surgery and everything worked out fine. During that time I reflected on many things – my family, my future, the possible outcomes of my surgery, and along with that reflection came a flood of hard realities and tears. But I refused to participate in that pity party. I refused to subscribe to the negative thoughts and feelings that tried to overtake me. I had to think positive, and I had to believe in those positive thoughts.

Day before retie

My locs weren’t my focus. My locs were last on the totem pole of things that needed to be done before my surgery. Ironically, my retie was the day before my surgery. It felt good having a fresh retie before my surgery! While life took on a more serious note, I still remembered to take photos of my locs so I could document their growth, changes, etc. Overall, I saw growth and fullness. I’m still washing my hair as little as possible. I spritz with water as needed. During my retie my loctician commented on how much new-growth I had. I have a lot of new baby locs in my kitchen (the nape of my neck) area because of the new-growth.

Shrinkage is real! At my retie waiting to be seen with freshly washed locs.

Recovery

As I recover, there are other decisions that will have to be made that may or may not affect my locs. (Huge Hint: Refer to my previous blog post and you’ll know what I mean, and what kind of surgery I had. 😉 ) I’m trying my best not to worry about the what if’s and concentrate on the here and now. There are things that are simply out of my control, and I don’t have time to worry that. I can only focus on the things I can change. My only hope is that I fully recover from my surgery and that my locs continue to grow and flourish. I can’t wait for the day when they are fully locked.

Reflecting before 7th retie

Special meaning

My sixth month of having sisterlocks will always have special meaning because that was when major decisions were made. My seventh month of having sisterlocks will have special meaning because that’s when I had major surgery and will experience more changes and or challenges following. Having sisterlocks have taught me patience, and once again I will be forced to have patience during my recovery and beyond. I’m up for the challenge. Happy Seven Month Locversary to me!!