Tuesday, June 26, 2007

My First Bud!!!

My locks have changed a lot in the last 3 - 4 weeks. I don't even know when it happened. And how it happened without me noticing. Because believe me, my hands are in them all day long and I spend at least 10 minutes of every day in the mirror examining them from different angles.

It is very much like watching children or plants grow. You just look at them one day and see something you never saw before.

I was fingering my ends the way I always do in idle moments, when I found my very first bud!!

I love the way my ends are. I never had problems with unraveling or slippage and they have been curly since Day 1. My hair on top is a looser, curlier pattern, so the curls have been loopier ringlets, but the crown and back have always been neat coils. (Imagine teeny-tiny telephone cords.) I never had straggly (scraggly (sp?)) ends. Just ringlets and coils of varying density and tightness.

In the last few weeks many of my smaller curls at the ends of my thinner locks have begun to flatten and form little tangles and balls and knots and I have had to resist the urge to pick them loose with my fingernails and retwist them so the cute little curlies come back. It has been so hard for me! But it's never gonna lock if I do, so...I left them alone.

Anyway...I found this bud today! I felt a lock that didn't terminate in a coil or a curl or a ball or a knot or a tangle.... And I knew it must be a bud! I was so excited! (You remember that I am very easily excited.) I looked at it in the rear view mirror. (Yes, I was driving at the time.) And, yes, this visual check conformed that it was indeed a bud. But now that I am back home with my camera, I can't find it. I will post a pic as soon as I do.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Current Events

Okay, y'all...I promise, I am going to say this one thing and then I'm going to go back to posting about my SLs and their progress. (Already I know this is not 100% true because after reading some of the comments left on my last two posts, I feel like I need to clarify some of my statements.)

But who else has been following the story about Jessie Davis and Bobby Cutts, Jr.? And by "following" I mean: if you turned on your television at all this weekend or today, you couldn't get away from it.

Brief summary: Evil black man kills innocent, madonna-like white woman.

Not-so-subtle warning to white women: Dating black men is dangerous. Having them father your children - even more dangerous. Potentially deadly.

It is a cautionary tale.

There are several elements to this story that the news media never fails to latch on to. 1)Missing white woman/girl. Think: Natalie Halloway. 2)Murder of pregnant wife/girlfriend by husband/boyfriend. Think: Laci and Scott Peterson.

And 3) police corruption. Too many examples to list.

It is tragic that she is dead. Really. I feel sorry for her family that she was missing for days and found murdered. It is exponentially worse that she was pregnant and so close to giving birth and also that she leaves behind a two-year old son who will likely never get the chance to know his father either. He is now essentially an orphan. But who else thinks this story would never have made the national news if both victim and suspect were black? No, back up a few steps from that. What about the search to find her when she went missing? Would so many people and resources been marshalled?

I really got sort of disgusted with the media coverage because it was so pervasive (on every channel all day long it seemed). I didn't even watch TV more than 45 minutes today and that was in 2 to 5 minute increments, because I worked all day, but it seemed like every time I walked by one this story was on.

And the media kept talking about the fact that he was a cop, but I feel like that was the angle they were using as an excuse to keep talking about it, when the underlying negative message was about the interracial relationship. Nothing was ever said on anything I ever watched about their respective races, but it's one of those hot-button issues.

Nothing needs to be said or implied. Just put the pictures of the murdered white woman and her grieving family in front of America. Then cut to the black man in handcuffs and an orange jumpsuit and people will react to it. Those of both races who are inclined to be against miscegenation will start talking about it without any further encouragement. It's a perfect incident to uncover latent racism and incite folks to speak out in anger about why the races shouldn't mix.

I do want justice to be done. I do want her killer to be punished. But I also want this story to go away. No good can come from keeping it in the public forum. I don't believe it will inspire positive change with regards to race relations, domestic violence, or police accountability.

We don't have any idea how many black women were killed last year by their black (or white or hispanic) boyfriends or husbands. Or how many went missing and were never found. (The same can be said for latin women, and asians - all other minorities, actually - that isn't even considering illegal immigrants from any and all other countries. Those women are 'invisible' from the start.) I'm sure there are statistics somewhere, but good luck finding them, even with the Internet at our disposal.

As upset as I am that this happened to a woman and a mother (because I feel very strongly about domestic violence due to experiences of women very close to me), I can't help but be (almost more) upset over the big deal that is being made over this particular case because I feel certain the story would not have been picked up outside the local coverage area if she had been black. And I know there are many rural news markets where it wouldn't have even made the local television news and perhaps not the local paper.

Sigh...we are such a long way from equality. Just when I feel good about the progress we've made, something like this happens. Is anyone else upset about this story and how it is being handled?

Veddy Eeenn-tered-sting!

So I was reading a post by Locsuluv which was totally intriguing on several levels, but it prompted me to post a long comment, which I decided to copy to my own blog.

A woman told her that she will meet her mate soon. Locsuluv said, "She shared with me that he will be not of African American descent but Caucasian." Hmm...

My policy on interracial dating is this: it depends on the individual. I've never dated anyone outside my race just "for the sake of" or to "see what it was like." I date people who interest me and treat me well. (And of course it is required that they think I am GORGEOUS!)

I have certain criteria that all men must meet. Not snotty stuff like: he must drive THIS car and have THAT job. Like: the respect he must show to my family and to his family. Like: he must be a thinker. Like: he can go anywhere I can go and not stick out like a sore thumb because of his manners or dress and grooming.

It's funny though, I have held non-black men I have dated to a higher standard because I knew that my family would be much less forgiving of me bringing home a man of any other race who was not both good-looking AND successful. I wouldn't date a deadbeat, period, but any non-AA man had better be able to make an instant good impression with the family. It is just understood.

I never wanted to hear the speech about all the fine brothers out there and...y'all know the rest.

Even if they didn't say it to my face they would have thought it. I'm sure some STILL did.

I've noticed that many of us with SLs are in interracial relationships or have been. Your thoughts...?

I'm sure this subject has been addressed before. Feel free to leave me comments or links to other posts on the subject.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

An opinion on bi-racial hair

The long-winded commenter strikes again...

I was reading a post by Afunkykindaglow this morning and I posted a comment that got so long, I decided to make it a post of my own.

I could draw fire for saying this, but I've had a lot of mixed race friends where the mother was white, and the child (daughter) grew up in a predominantly white environment. I have felt better for the children who have hair more like their mother's because if it is very afro-textured the mothers often don't have a clue how to style it. The poor little girls are already somewhat different from everyone else and then their hair looks like a hot mess for the first 15 - 20 years of their lives because no one knows how to style it. And that's sad.

I would never say that our hair is horrid or difficult, but it is SO DIFFERENT from theirs, they don't know what to do with it. And I understand. I have white friends who admired some of my braided and twisted styles and asked if I could do the same to theirs back when we were teenagers. My hair was easy because it would just stay wherever I put it, but I got terribly frustrated with theirs because it was so slick and slippery. The curls fell and big pieces kept slipping out of the knots and twists and braids. I gave up on it very quickly.

I imagine it is somewhat the same experience when a white woman tries to do her black daughter's hair. She may not know anyone to teach her how to make her daughter's hair look good. Our hair textures can be very time-consuming and high-maintenance compared to theirs.

Of course, this is not to say the problem is with our hair. The problem is with education about what to do with it, and access to professionals, products, styling techniques and/or individuals who are informed and experienced about what to do with our hair type and the myriad variety of in-between textures that result from biracial unions.

So many of us spend years of our lives trying to figure out how to care for our hair and getting frustrated; there's only so much I can fault someone of a different race for having apprehension about facing the challenge, or being relieved about not having to.

Preference doesn't always stem from prejudice. My niece is hispanic and black and she has hair that is super curly in its natural state, but it straightens easily into soft waves the way mine does simply from pulling it back in a ponytail, but it is nothing like mine or my sister's. It is a texture that is considered desirable in both cultures because it is thick and long. Although it was thick and long and silky to the touch, somehow it was also very coarse and wiry strand-by-strand. Therefore it was an extreme challenge to my sister for the first few years. It behaved nothing like our hair or that of anyone in our family.

My niece was always in braids - something like 8 to 12 at any given time - for the first 12 years of her life because my sister couldn't do anything else with it. It was just too big! They were neat and cute enough on a little girl, but it was really a choice that stemmed from not knowing what else might work. My niece finally started experimenting with different products and styles when she got to be a teenager and I took her to a stylist who specialized in cutting curly hair and it began to look better and more age-appropriate. Plus she gained more styling options and versatility. So, it works both ways.

If I had a mixed race child, there is a possibility that I wouldn't be able to do some of my favorite little-girl hair styles like twists and afro-puffs. Knowing the fine, straight textures and light colors that run in my family it is entirely possible that she would have hair that would be too straight to look good in locks. This would certainly disappoint me. I would prefer for my child to have hair that is similar in texture to my own. Because that's what I know.

I freely admit that I was not there and there could have been an entire climate of ignorance, condescension and subtle racism (because I know all about that too) that permeated their words and actions. If I had been there I might have bristled and gone into silent hysterics myself, but I also felt a need to say that on some level I understand the comment about the hair.

Friday, June 22, 2007

This post will be 2% about my hair…

I am exhausted. I just worked four 16-hour days in a row! Now I know there are sisters out there who do this week-in and week-out, so y’all are thinking: “So…And?” Especially those of you who have husbands and children to boot, but I am not used to this.

I am a night owl and my usual bed time is 2 am, so I look for jobs that allow me to show up between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., with the occasional start time of 9 or 10 a.m. Flex time is the most awesome concept ever! I have had great employers who didn’t care when I came in as long as I got the job done. It has ruined me for working 9 to 5, or any other form of the typical 40-hour work week. I think at this point the only way I could do it is if my life depended on it or my children were starving.

Well, this week and last, while I was teaching the SAT camp, I had to meet the carpool at 7 a.m., meaning most mornings I had to wake up at 5:30 or 6, which is not the worst part. I am not so spoiled that I don’t believe in getting up early. I honestly don’t have anything against it. I kind of enjoy being out and about before the rest of the world wakes up. It’s just that I couldn’t make myself go to bed and go to sleep before 12 or 1, and I still had to get up early and I still had to work all stinking day, until 8:30 or 9 p.m. Then I had to come home and study at least 2 hours to teach the next day's lesson.

I am so ready for my upcoming vacation.

I am counting the days.

There are 10.

Here is a comparison shot of my hair from the back. On the top is five weeks, on the bottom is ten. It doesn't look any longer to me, but it does look thicker and the shape is changing. I never thought you could see a lot of scalp, but when I look at them side by side there is definitely less showing in the new pics. I also think my locks look more defined. They seem straighter and less kinky/curly in the newer pics.

When I take my next set at 15 weeks, I will try to do better about making sure the shot is framed more similarly. (A tighter closeup.) I was rushed and on my way to my retightening session when I took the ten week pics. Is it my imagination, or does it look like I have more locks in the bottom picture?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Forget Paris...

So, I checked on the details of the Paris teaching assignment and 1) The dates were changed and they now overlap with my Miami trip (read: the class begins on the day I'm leaving!) and, 2) The Paris center was offering hostel (not hotel) accommodations.

A hostel? Really? I had a flashback to Mel's experience in Austria. If I wanted a hotel it was suggested I pay for it myself. What?! For 5 weeks? Um....No. I love the company, but the corporate structure is a little like a franchise, and that means that some of the centers are run by cheap managers. A significant percentage of our teachers are struggling students who wouldn't mind the hostel experience just for a chance to be in France, but I wasn't feeling it. For that length of time?! So I will not be summering in Europe this year.

I'm a little disappointed because my 30th birthday (or the 1st anniversary of my 29th:-) is coming up in August, and while I am glad to be alive...there are several reasons I am not looking forward to it. I've lead a full and useful life packed with meaningful experiences, but there are so many things I thought I would have accomplished by now. I felt like being in Paris for my thirtieth (Shoot! Just being able to say I was in Paris!) would have gone a long way towards cheering me up about it...

But at the same time, it really isn't the best time for me to be away from home for 6 consecutive weeks. The assignment would have interrupted my progress on several important projects (and I do sometimes fall into a pattern of sacrificing long-term goals for short-term goals - a cycle I am trying to break). So...disappointed though I am, it really is okay. And there's always next year.


I discover new SL blogs every day! I get so excited every time I find a new one. I was never into chat rooms or myspace or meeting people online. I'm much more comfortable with and focused on my relationships that have come from personal interaction, so I have been surprised at how much I like reading blogs and how much I start to feel like I know people and look forward to hearing their news.

Today I found Meikmeika's blog, "Lock and Don't Stop!" She just celebrated her first lock anniversary. I appreciated her post with words of wisdom for people considering Sisterlocks

My second retightening is tomorrow. I will take pictures, but I am not sure if there will be enough noticeable change to merit posting them. I do know that I do not intend to go past 5 weeks between retites. I don't think my hair looks overly messy, but I don't like the way it feels. It's not too terribly bad throughout the interior, but I can't stand the way it gets around the edges; especially at the nape of my neck and the front of my hairline.

I'm in my sixth week and I don't know what happened in that extra seven days, but it feels loose and floppy in a way that I am not fond of. As I have posted before, I like feeling like my hair has been 'done' and right now it just feels kind of 'there.'

I am giving more serious consideration to purchasing a Nappylocs tool just to maintain those edges. I actually have enough new growth to retighten at 3 weeks; and I'm pretty sure my hair is strong enough that the frequency wouldn't cause damage. I have decided that want to know how to retighten myself, and I want to learn now while it's optional and I will not feel like I'm forced to due to consultant, location, or money issues. However, even if I do learn to, I am certain that I will continue to see my consultant. 1) Because I like her and 2) Because having my hair done by someone else is a small luxury I look forward to.

I know I said I was dropping out for a while, but, alas, I couldn't stay away.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Hmmm...Seven random facts about moi

1. I am not a native South Carolinian. I was born in Washington, D.C. So I am a city girl. I am never more at home than when I am in any large city. I absolutely love New York, Chicago, and L.A.

I make excuses to travel.

2. Even so, there are things I love about small towns. Sometimes I don't lock my car doors. I feel safe alone downtown at 2 am. Grass and trees and flowers are everywhere - not just in parks and planned greenspaces.

3. When I was 15 my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. It changed my life and the way I looked at the world: life, death, love, strength, beauty. I was already a serious, introspective adolescent, but the experiences that came with helping her through it really set me apart from my peers. I felt like an old soul after that and never like a teenager again.

4. Lighter fare: I live in camisoles, tank tops, and yoga pants. Whenever I'm not at work (or, you know - out on the town) that is my uniform. I wear it everywhere. Home, grocery store, gym. I love comfort!

5. I am related to Malcolm X. His mother and my father's father were first cousins.

6. I don't like to be in photos (that you knew), but I love to be behind the lens. I have a passion for painted art and photography. One day I will figure out a way to package and market my talent for words and pictures and I will be my own boss.

...That also seems to be a recurring theme among the SL bloggers...We have so much more in common than just our hair!

This collage is from photos I took of downtown Charlotte Amalie on my recent trip to St. Thomas in April....Ah, the jewelry district...

7. I am a material girl and I lurve to shop, but precisely because I love to shop I have far too many clothes, shoes, purses and accessories already. So...now when I go shopping, I don't even take the items out of the bag for a week or two and always save the receipts. If I still feel like I want and need it and can't live without it, I keep it. Otherwise I return it.

I am a ritual retail returner. There. Now you know my deepest darkest secret of which I am most ashamed.

Ok, not really...

Like I would put that on the Internet!

8. I was following blogs when the tagging started and was happy to know that I was flying under the radar at the time. I thought: "Whew! Dodged that bullet." It is hard to think of 7 things you'd tell people you've never met (i.e. sisterlockers and potentially the world at large) that are neither exceedingly dull or terribly revealing.

I got tagged by Carmen!

Here are the rules: Each player starts with 7 random facts/habits about themselves. People who are tagged need to then report this on their own blog with their 7 things as well as these rules. They then need to tag 7 others and list their names on their blog. They are also asked to leave a comment for each of the tagged, letting them know they have been tagged and to read the blog.

I don't have time to do my facts tonight, but since the pool of taggable people is shrinking swiftly, I thought I should tag whoever I want to now!

Helga, Sis RJ Queen10, Reelgirl77, Nu-Me, Sogolocs, WomanInProcess, and Ro~ .

If you're upset that YOU got tagged, forward all complaints to Carmen in NC because she dragged me into this!

(I ain't mad atcha...)

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Dropping out for a short while...

I will probably not be blogging as much for the next 4 weeks or so because I have several projects lined up that will be taking most of my time. I am a newbie, so I thought I would post this announcement to let everyone know that I did not get bored and the novelty has not worn off.

And when I return, I plan to have some great new pictures because I intend to spend the week of the 4th in beautiful, sunny South Beach!

What's happening?

I've mentioned that I lost my job in early March. It's amazing to me what a blessing that was (and not even in disguise). I was 'let go' with 7 others. My position within the company was eliminated. My supervisor who hired me, trained me, and had worked there for 8 years was dismissed 10 minutes before I was and given 20 minutes to clean out her office. (Yeah. It was like that!) So, I didn't feel bad for myself. I knew it was nothing personal, no reflection on my job performance - but my God! Did the management handle it badly!

But that is not my point. I was working for a company that I liked, with people that I liked, and then someone (in management) decided that changes needed to be made. Changes did need to be made. And I am all for positive change, but.. that was not how things were shaping up. So, even before I was let go, I was thinking of making my exit. And as I sat in the conference room listening to the cliches and platitudes about what good workers we were and how sorry they were and how my supervisor would trade places with us if he could (Yeah, right!)...It was all I could do to keep from smiling.

There have been few times I have felt so free. I had reached a point where I wanted to quit, but that seemed like a very irresponsible choice, since I had not lined up anything else. However, being let go meant that I was eligible to collect unemployment while I transitioned and nobody would look at me crazy and say: why did you leave a perfectly good job that was paying the bills?

I called up all my friends and said: Guess what? I got liberated from my job!

They were worried because I sounded too happy. Everyone figured the reality had not set in. Nope. That was really how I felt. Finally free to pursue other interests and do some things I love. And maybe figure out how to make money at it in the mean time...

I am not entirely unemployed at the moment, only severely underemployed. I am naturally good at standardized tests, and I love to teach, so about 6 years ago I started working for a test prep company. I teach high school kids and adults how to get higher scores on SATs, ACT, LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, GRE and the like. It's a fun job and the hourly rate of pay is great, but it's a contract position and jobs are assigned on a first come first serve basis. All of the teachers/tutors in my area get an e-mail and whoever confirms a class first gets the job.

And even at that the classes don't usually run more than 4 or 5 weeks at anywhere from 3 - 6 hours a week, so... this job does not pay the bills.

However, the local office of my company formed a partnership with Clemson University. Clemson has a department that is focused on recruiting minority and underprivileged students. Every year they run a two week Boot Camp, and our SAT course is included in the curriculum. It's an excellent program that I am glad to be part of. Students from all over the state apply and a limited number (this year it is 125) are selected based on G.P.A and other factors - a lot like scholarship programs. I have loads of fun with them.

The camp starts on Monday June 11th and runs for two weeks. I will have to commute to Clemson and it is almost an hour each way. I've been teaching SAT for so many years I could almost teach it in my sleep, but I have been told that the course materials were significantly revamped, so I will need to prep 1 hour for each hour of class time. Plus, the course is normally arranged where I teach 2.5 hours a week over 8 weeks, but for the boot camp I will be teaching 4 hours a day, every day That leaves very little margin for preparation between classes. I'm going to feel like I'm back in school...plus there is all the driving.

I live within the city limits of a pretty small town. It has been a personal rule since I moved here that I would not accept employment that required me to drive more than 15 minutes one way. And in 9 years, I've been able to stick to it. So, I hate a commute, but what can you do? I'm not really complaining because I get hourly pay and mileage, so, it really is all good. But I said all that to say that the entire endeavor will be quite time-consuming and I really won't have time to blog.

I'll have one buffer week after the camp ends before I leave for Miami, but at the end of that week I'm attending a 3-day convention. Now, I am not complaining about that either. I am quite looking forward to time away from home and on the beach. Travel is my third favorite hobby (behind reading and writing, narrowly ahead of dancing - and you know I will get my salsa on in SoBe!) so I routinely surf the 'net looking for travel deals. I found a deal that included 4 nights at a trendy boutique hotel for about $250. Not per person, mind you, and not per night: total!

That's less money than it would cost me to drive to Myrtle Beach (which is so not as cool as Miami) and stay in a dinky motel that didn't even have beach access.

Unemployed or not, I felt like I couldn't afford not to go, so me and my bestis friend are flying out on July 2 to spend a week at the beach.

And...just yesterday I got an e-mail from the test prep company about a 5 week workshop in Paris! How awesome would that be! I replied right away, but I feel like everyone and their brother is going to jump at that opportunity, but it's sort of short notice (it begins on July 10) and I'm just hoping that of the people who are qualified to teach it, most have job or family obligations that would prevent them from following through. That's why I never did. It still doesn't pay much, but, hey! It's a free trip to Paris!!!

What's not to love?

I wanna say wish me luck...but I know luck has nothing to do with it.

Anyway, that's an overview of the next four weeks for me. I'll be back to post when I can.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Thanks for all of the positive feedback on the photos. Even though I love looking at everyone else's pics (and that's one of my favorite things about blogs) I was very self-conscious about putting my own out there.
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Pets with Dreadlocks

Since so many SL bloggers seem to be dog lovers, I thought I would point out Naadii's latest post: Pets with Dreadlocks.

I'm not sure what's wrong with the code. The first two pictures aren't downloading, but it's a fun post all the same.

Enjoy the link!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

More Pictures of Me ( I mean my hair...)

Just what you were waiting for, right?

It occurred to me today that I've been doing an awful lot of posting lately...well, that part is not the revelation. I have indeed been prolifically expressive in the last two weeks or so...

I've just had a lot to say for months and I've been keeping it to myself, and well, truth be told I always have a lot of opinions on everything. I have about 10 unfinished posts waiting to be fleshed out as I write this one. It just happens that I read other posts, even old ones, that trigger my thoughts on certain topics, and I start my own post about it, but then, inevitably I get interrupted and have to stop. But then the next time I am on again I start writing something new.

But none of that is where I was headed. I was scrolling trough my blog today checking out the look of it and I realized that I don't have enough pictures. Chronologically speaking it hasn't been that long since I took pictures.

I really don't consider myself especially photogenic, so it was not my intent to post a lot of pictures of me. I planned to do only monthly updates so I could track my growth. And I would take pictures when I tried new hairstyles. Which I still haven't done. (What can I say? I'm a freestyle kind of girl.) Or changed the color or noticed some change in my locks, which I really haven't. You know, milestones.

But...like I was saying, today I was scrolling through my blog and felt like there were just miles of uninterrupted text...So...I pulled out the digital camera and went to work. And I figured you all had seen enough of the insides of my bathrooms, so I took it outside. Natural lighting is better anyhow.

I'm in a slight funk about my face...I haven't been eating well and my skin is showing it, but my locks are lovely!

My locks are changing and growing. (I had convinced myself that they were not!) The front is shrinking, so it looks shorter and I just assumed the back was too. I am so glad I took pictures. I have a lot more length than I knew. I never get a good look at the back of my hair in the mirror, so I had no idea what was going on back there.
I took a bunch of texture shots. I even took a few close-ups of my new lock babies. (Clicking on all pictures throughout the blog will enlarge.) I took way too many pictures to put in this post and I haven't set up a fotki account yet. And like I said, it was really my intention to break up some of the text from the last week of shameless blogging. So...I said all that to say that I invite you to scroll down, even if you have read my previous posts, because I took the liberty of including new pictures!

About my recommendations...

I don't want anyone to feel left out or offended that I did not include them in my must-reads. I actually track about 50 Sisterlocks/locked* blogs by RSS. I highlighted these four because they were most helpful to me for several reasons.: 1) they have been locked longer than most and have updated so regularly* 2) they have included many quality pictures of their locks and 3) they have taken the time to answer a lot of questions and have given a lot of useful advice and product recommendations. But there are dozens more that I enjoy because of the wit, humor, and authenticity in their writing styles. (I value the sisters who keep it real even when they feel like their hair doesn't look good and they aren't feeling their locks for a while.)

I posted my recommendations and came up with my 'links you might like' using the same principle that catalogue companies, video rental stores, and online retailers do. You know how you click on a book at BarnesandNoble.com and they come up with that little suggestion list that says: "Customers who bought this book also bought..."?

Part of the fun of blogging for me has been discovering new blogs. It's kind of like a treasure hunt! I like reading comments and wondering if I'll find a new user profile. And then sometimes when I do, they have people in their links and comments that I've never heard of. I recommend reading every blog you find and like! I just wanted to give people a place to start, because that's what I wanted in the beginning.

I was doing research and I found so much info at once; I would have liked for someone to say to me: here, it might be helpful to read these first.

I still ended up skipping around a lot and following links out of curiosity.

But my thought process is this: if you like my blog (at all) you'll probably have some of the same favorites I do, for similar reasons.

I feel like it is important to say that I have learned something from everyone! Even the people who had complaints and bad experiences. Even people who cut theirs off or took them down and started over. By the time I started my own locks I felt like I had a well-rounded view of pro and con. I didn't expect not to like them or go into it with low expectations, but I made peace with some of the things that could (and still might) go wrong.

I've even learned from people who haven't posted entries or pictures in 6 - 12 months. Although it makes me kind of sad that some of my would-be-faves seemed to have fallen off the face of the 'net...ah well....

*I'm going to look like such a nerd by asking this, but does anyone else have grammar and spelling issues with their references to locks and Sisterlocks? I write some sentences and the pluralization, verb tenses, or subject-verb agreement just seem off no matter how I write them and it bothers me (much more than it should). It's like an equation I can't get to balance.

My last SO was an engineer and it was not uncommon for us to speak to each other in literary and math analogies. It was one of the reasons we fell for each other and hit it off so well. *sigh*

Why didn't it work you ask? (Alas, the answer would take me too far off-topic)

And, well, let's be honest: You didn't really ask.

Until next time....

Sunday, June 3, 2007

More Pics...and Must Reads

For those of you starting online Sisterlock Research, here are a few blogs I suggest you read from beginning to end: Blaqkofi, Brunsli, Creyole, and Maryee. These women are excellent bloggers and have been through all manner of experiences with their hair. Their posts and comments are incredibly enlightening. If you're wondering what to expect on your personal journey to SL Freedom, visiting their sites will give you a good idea, and a well-rounded knowledge base. (Plus, they're amazing women you'll want to know better!)

And I can't ever get enough of pictures that showcase the beauty and versatility of Sisterlocks!

Cammalocks, Coils 'N Curls, Naturally Yours Boutique.

Enjoy these links!

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Birth Announcement!

Break out the cigars! I am the proud mother of 5 new baby locks! (Ok, it's not that serious...)

I had a few more places around my hairline (at the nape of my neck and my wannabe widow's peak) where I had habitual escapees - little pieces of hair that just did not want to stay with the locks to which they were assigned. And I couldn't stop fiddling with them, so 1) they always looked messy, and 2) I was genuinely afraid I would have breakage. I was messing with them constantly and those areas are already more sensitive and vulnerable. So...I dropped by my consultant's house this afternoon and she was kind enough to do me the favor of forming them into tiny new locks for me. Although at first she looked at me like: you've got to be kidding.

She is so much more laid back about her locks than I am. I also want to be like her when I grow up... I wish I had taken 'before' pics so you could see why I was bothered, but it didn't occur to me to do so until after I had them tightened up into locks, when I was admiring them in my rearview mirror as soon as I'd left her home.

Meet Apollo and Artemis, the divine twins. They don't always look like insect antennae, but I've been pulling on them for the pic. Plus they're new and tight, and the rest is well on it's way to needing a re-tite!

Svetlana and Sergei...You can see how the last two compare in size and length to my more established locks. The two longer locks are actually two of my test locks. They are 4 months old.

I didn't name them all. That would just be silly!

Like so many other SL wearers, I suffer from a chronic case of hands-in-her-hair-itis. I always played with my hair a lot before SLs, so I knew I would be terrible after. But I was assessing my new growth and it seemed to me that I had more of it in the previous 4 weeks than I did in the first 5 before my first retightening. As I have mentioned before, I had I good rate of growth, but it was less than I expected and Phyllis told me I could likely go 8 weeks until my next retightening, but when she looked at it today (4 weeks) she said I should come back in two.

I had just washed it with the shampoo I still had on hand - a thirst-quenching, moisturizing shampoo for curly hair, no less (I am doing so many things I probably shouldn't) - and it feels soft and nice, but at the same time my locks have remained really tight. I haven't experienced any slippage or unraveling or holes. And she said my ends are finishing off nicely. (Yay!) I love my hair!

It took her all of five minutes to twist in my new locks, but I visited with her for a little while longer, just because I enjoy her company. On my initial locking session I told her I was starting a blog to document my journey. She is a creative spirit like so many of the rest of us blog authors. I thought she would enjoy reading the nice things I've had to say about her, as well as following some of the links to a few of my favorite blogs, so before I left I gave her the address to my blog.

I have got to get some business cards printed!

Here's to you, Phyllis! Thank you so much. I can't imagine having had anyone else start me on my journey to Sisterlocks Freedom!

On Making the Decision to Lock (Part 2)

I have previously stated that it is my mission to include insights and resources that helped me along the way. When I was making the decision to lock I wanted to find blogs that started before women started their locks. Because it is a different perspective.

It has been my observation that the overwhelming majority of women who get Sisterlocks are happy with their decision, with the exception of those who did not do enough research (and therefore had unclear or unreasonable expectations) and those who unfortunately got step-sisterlocks or had some other type of bad experience with their consultant or trainee.

And in one way it is reassuring, but in another way it is intimidating. I remember one blogger saying she felt like Sisterlocks were based on some sort of pyramid scheme and another saying that there seemed to be a cult-like enthusiasm in the community of online Sisterlockers. Before you actually get SLs of your own, it can be hard to wrap your head around how and why so many people are so excited about them.

Even if you have decided that SLs or other types of locks are for you, there is usually some element of uncertainty about how they will look or what people will say. As I am continuing to discover more blogs, I am encountering a surprising number of women who decided to get SLs without ever having seen them in person. That in itself makes it very difficult to know what to expect. There are just so many questions and unknown variables.

So...I think it is good to have a view from both sides. I liked reading blogs of the women who had not yet 'crossed over' because I found that I could identify more with their fears and insecurities than with the women who had found their way to Sisterlock freedom and were thrilled with their choice.

This is an excerpt from my first post:

"Everyone tells their story looking back from the day or the week or the month they started locking their hair. Or perhaps with the confidence and experience (and objectivity) of years. Maybe her story is out there and I have not found it yet (I am reluctant to believe that I am the first), but I am looking for the sister whose story starts before she got her locks done, when she was still as uncertain as I am now. When she still could turn back.

"I have seen many posted replies and inquiries from those who have not yet committed, but every blog I have encountered until now has begun after she started on her journey towards locked hair."

Since then, I have encountered several blogs that predate the authors' installations. I thought it would be helpful to others who feel as I did to have them all in one place. I have only come across a few as of now, but I will be adding to this list one by one. If you are contemplating locks and happen to read this and would like for me to add your blog to this list, or if your locks (and blogs) are established, but fit this criteria, feel free to post a comment or email me at the address to the right.

I am toying with the idea of adding a page element with links to these blogs, but I want to see how many I get. I already have a lot of stuff on my sidebar and I don't want it to get too out of control. Fortunately most of my posts are kind of long, so there's usually plenty of room.

The links that follow will take you to posts at the beginning of their journeys (although not necessarily the very first post): Ms Stella, Sis. RJQueen10, CloudNine, Goodnapps.

Not SLs, but still relevant: Jaidalon

And this is a link I found that offers Dreadlock Tips and Guidelines. The information is not specific to Sisterlocks, but it gives good answers to FAQs about locks. I decided to include this link because sometimes in the early stages of researching SLs, it is easy to lose sight of the characteristics they have in common with traditional locks.