Thursday, October 25, 2007

On Doing it Myself

True to my long-winded self, my comments kept coming, so I decided to create another post...

So, if you're just visiting, skip to my post, The Power of Peer Pressure, and read that post and comments first.

N: I always wanted to know HOW to maintain my own locks. I would never have gotten them if I thought I would forever be completely dependent on another person to do them for me. I just didn't have the strong feelings about it that some of the locked sisters had...meaning, I didn't chafe at the idea of having to pay another person to do my hair, indefinetely, even. It's what I've always chosen to do. Even though I could quite effectively style and maintain my hair both when it was relaxed and natural, I always went to a beautician, and never considered it a luxury or an obligation.

As for maintaining my sisterlocks, I never had any doubt that I could learn the method and be shown the pattern and be on my way. Whether or not I could maintain my SLs and the cost of having someone else do it never factored into my decision because my consultant quoted me such reasonable prices and she was not secretive about the pattern or how to do it.

This having been said, she did not teach me how to do my hair, but she let me watch her retighten someone else's...and I can honestly say that I still didn't know what she had done. She let me watch her work on a client's head, and she let me watch her retighten her own locks, and it still looked like some sort of magic to me...the way knitting does.

I have said before that Phyllis is super-fast, so it's just like she sticks the tool in the hair, flicks her wrist and is done. I remember saying to her the first time: but what did you do? She amazes me.

I knew from the official website and my initial consultation that there was a class and that when I was ready I could learn the art of self-maintenance, and that was the end of it. I had no anxiety about that aspect of getting Sisterlocks. I was more worried about size and texture, etc....

Perhaps I was a little naive, but I just figured I would take the class when I was ready. I would learn to do my own locks, and that would be all. I didn't worry about what-ifs at all in the beginning. (Not of that variety, anyhow.)I had never visited any of the discussion groups, I only knew about 4 or 5 bloggers, and none of the loctitians I knew used tools.

When I decided to get sisterlocks, I knew nothing about latching or nappylocs, so I never questioned what I would do. I didn't know I had options, so my choice was simple: I would take the class at my first opportunity. (When the desire and the money and my availability to go all came together at the same time.) I never even worried about necessity of circumstance.

Eventually, I thought about it: what happens if I move or she does? That was more because of the negative experiences of others, I think it would not have occurred to me to wonder so early on otherwise, but still it never worried me. It was just a thing at the back of my mind, a bridge to cross at some future date.

However, as I began to read more blogs I became aware of the whole Sisterlocks vs. Nappylocs issue. Hmmm...who knew?

I've read comments from people on both sides of the issue and I have my own opinions about it, which I have most often kept to myself. I've really adopted a 'to each her own' attitude about most things concerning locks. I know how I want to wear and maintain my own locks. I know what I want them to look like, and so on.

I am still infinitely happy that I chose Sisterlocks over other methods for starting locks, but locking is such an individual process, I don't really feel a need to weigh in heavily on what other people choose to do. I will share my experiences and offer my opinion when asked, but other than that I don't much feel the need to comment on what others should or shouldn't do concerning their locks. Or what methods, products, techniques are superior or inferior.

I will never feel like I overpaid, or that I was promised anything that wasn't delivered. My Sisterlocks experience continues to be so much better than I thought it would be and so much more than I expected. This is largely because of the friendship and support I have found online, but also because I feel like it was very much the right time in my life for me to undertake this journey.

While I have not ever complained about the cost of my Sisterlocks or spoken out about the cost of the consultant or retightening classes, my decision to order the nappylocs tool as opposed to taking the retightening class comes down to two factors and one of them is cost. And not so much cost as value. (The other one is ease of use, and they are really intertwined.)

By the numbers, of course, it's simple. $15? $250...hmmm...not really a tough choice, especially when I have read so many comments about people finding the Sisterlocks tools difficult to use and feeling like they weren't taught anything they couldn't have picked up on their own. I didn't want to spend money on the class only to come home frustrated because I didn't like using the tool and feeling like I didn't learn anything I couldn't have figured out on my own with practice and some friendly advice.

If the mood ever strikes me, I am much more likely to spring for the entire cost of a consultant's class. Even though it is much more money, it seems to me to be a better value overall. $250 just to have somebody show me something I can probably figure out myself with a little experimentation, just seems really steep...but I don't feel that way about the things that are taught in the consultant's class. Then there is the camraderie and the friends you, that is still something I may undertake in a few years.

This may seem like a totally ignorant statement because I have never even tried to use either Sisterlocks tool on my head or anyone else's, but it just seems like it would be difficult to learn to use on my own head. It seems to me that if I learned in a class how to work on a mannequin and got the hang of the parting and the different patterns, then it would be easier to transfer that knowledge to working my own head.

I'm kind of a visual learner, so I feel like I could pick up the technique well by watching and then doing it on a head in front of me. Then I think I could do my own hair, but I think it would be harder for me to go to a class and learn how to do my own hair by feel. However, I freely admit that perhaps I don't understand how the class is taught. Maybe they let you watch someone else who has the same pattern. That would make sense....In any case, it simply seems like the best option for my current needs and circumstances for me to learn use the nappylocs tool.

I always understood the desire to know how to do one's own hair, it just wasn't a sticking point for me. I didn't feel like I wouldn't be happy until I learned. I know I won't have that feeling of freedom and relief that others describe at learning how to self-maintain, but I do believe that is because I have such a good relationship with my consultant, and everything about my retightenings is positve.

I do not feel dependent on my consultant (although, in point of fact, I am). I guess I do not feel dependent in a negative way. Phyllis and I have become friends. We enjoy each other's company. Her home is welcoming and comfortable. It is a very short drive from my house. Her prices are reasonable, so everything about my installation and retightening sessions has been pleasant from the first day until now, and I suspect things always will be until we part ways. And even at that we have promised to keep in touch for life.

I always say that she is so calm and untroubled by things that she transfers a lot of that serenity to me. She doesn't worry and fuss, so neither do I. Having said that, it feels good to take the opportunity to learn to do my own hair now, while I am in this positive space, when it is completely optional and not born out of true necessity or dissatifaction.

My seven month lock-a-versary is coming up on Monday. Can you believe it?


Anonymous said...

Happy lock-versay..Now to my comments..I say go for it...If you learn w/o the class wonderful...Like I said in my post I had good times with other sisterlockers but frustrated as heck when I left. I got inspiration from Creyole(nappylock tool), when she started to DIY..I also got inspiration from Brenda(latch hook as well as Ebony and Sistaloc'd when they started the DIY events... I even brought a latch hook but never figured out how to use it...Needless to say, I still have it and will attempt to latch hook one day. As with many other sisterlockers who want to take the class, either they can't financially do it or they just want to do the trial and error and learn theirselves. I am such an advocate for learning the retightening method, even if you never have to. My consultant brought a good point one day at my retightening about 1.5 years ago...Learn the method if I am sick, away or you lose your job or can't keep your appt...That really stuck with me and I did take the class at 6 months...I am grateful that I know how because I did have a situation where my job sent to out of town and I had 48 hours notice to get on a plane to FL...I had to miss my appt and I felt so sick....I just knew I couldn't do it...I did a couple while away from home and from their that really motivated me to just do it...I am really thinking about ordering the nappylock kit just to see what is in it and how they instruct how to retighten your hair based on their method, although I know how to do it myself...Go for it, you have lots of support waiting for you...just keep us updated...A good blog to check out if you haven't already is Sistalocd who discusses her trials and tribulations with learning to DIY...It is so informative and you will like the ending.....

brunsli said...

Go for it!

The $15 way is not a bad way to start, and who knows, maybe you will be converted into a DIYer soon.

I did about 20 locks on my own yesterday, then gave up and called to make new appointments. I don't like doing it and it would take me much longer than a professional. But, I do like being able to shape up my edges on my own.

Anonymous said...

I say go for it!!! Since you have such a wonderful relationship with your consultant you can do a couple and have her tell you how you're doing. This is what I plan on doing. $250 is no joke for me right now so I'm more likely gonna try it out. If I get frustrated or need an out I will schedule an appt with my consultant.

Good Luck!

Renea said...

Having taken the retightening class, gotten the Nappylocs tool out of curiosity, and used a crochet hook in an emergency...I can say this...
It's really not important what kind of tool you use to maintain your locks. There's the tool and there's the technique. The nappylocs patterns are very similar to the sl patterns. If you have seen your consultant do your pattern, that's all you need to be concerned about doing.
The class does help you visualize the proper way to divide the lock when you tighten and to see your handiwork before you stick your hands behind your head.

As for the tool controversy...this is a matter of comfort to me. I am very comfortable with the sisterlock hook tool. I hate the clip tool. Hate it. Other people love it.

I don't like the idea of using metal in my hair, but the nappyloc tool is pretty smooth and some people like it better. I don't think all the insertions in each rotation of the nappyloc patterns are necessary either.

I've used a very small crochet hook a couple of times and that was ok.

I don't understand using a latch hook--like you use for craft rugs?--to me that's asking for snagging. But some people swear by it.

I would just say whatever you use, be consistent with it so you will maintain the tension and diameter of your locks. Whatever pattern you use, eventually they will mature and it makes no difference.

Naturally Sophia said...

Wow. I encourage you to DIY. I am writing a post right now on my DIY experiences. Stay tuned. I say to start off with the cheaper investments first. Trust me. You can retighten your hair with or without the class. You know I have had to DIY with the crazy consultant drama I've had. Good Posts.