Monday, September 29, 2008

Eighteen Months - Still in Love

Today marks my 18-month lockiversary.

Wow! I can't believe it. Another milestone.

I remember so vividly the day I started. I remember staring in the mirror at three months and six and twelve - wondering what I would look like on this day.

Not like I imagined. I am not disappointed, but it amazes me that I can be so surprised even though I didn't really know what to expect.

My locks are not the size, shape or length I thought they would be.


I just got back from a mini-vacation in Charleston, SC. Some friends of mine chartered a boat for a dinner cruise in the harbor. It was a pleasant diversion - an opportunity to mix and mingle with old friends and new.
Otherwise I would definitely have been at the Atlanta Sisterlocks Meetup.

I was sort of bummed that I couldn't do both, but I signed on to do the dinner cruise three months ago.

Anyhow...I ran into my original Sisterlocks Inspiration on the cruise!

It was funny to see her because we met 4 years ago (November 2004) on a Carnival Cruise through mutual friends. She lived in another city so we didn't see each other again even though we planned to and then she moved out of state and changed her phone number so we lost touch.

I've wanted to tell her all this time that I started my Sisterlocks because of that chance meeting we had years ago. When I say out of state, I mean waa-ay out of state. She is practically on the other coast. Since she was a friend of a friend and not a close personal friend, neither of us really put forth any special effort to communicate, but it was great to see her over the weekend and catch up!

It was wonderful to speak with her again and trade notes on locking and maintenance. Hers were cute baby-locks 4 years ago and now they are down her back. I would have posted a picture of us both, but she is a very private person, so I have to respect her wishes about that.

(Who do I think I'm fooling? Y'all know I'm incredibly slack about posting pictures of my own self alone!)

I remembered thinking that her hair texture seemed to be a lot like mine and hoping that my locks would look like hers as they matured (and they do). After 5 + years of locking she still has curly-q ends, which I actually find encouraging.

Y'all hear me say it all the time. I like my curly ends and I don't want them to go away. She gives me hope that maybe they won't.

Our hair looks very much the same with the exception of length. And her locks are smaller than my own - by half. She has over 700 locks. I have only about 320.

Still not regretting my decision because she doesn't have the patience to tighten her own even though she learned how. (The same way I know that I would not if I had that many - and it takes about 5 hours now when she goes to a consultant.)

No thanks!

An interesting side point though: I have started at least two dozen new locks since my original installation and y'all know that I split several of my locks 3 - 5 months back.

All of the new locks are micro-mini-small. And I love them!

When I first started my lock journey I was all about the larger locks. I had no love for the tiny ones and was very vocal about wanting to have locks that were closer in size to smaller traditionals.

However, with the passage of time I've had a change of heart.

I'm still glad not to have a head full of tiny locks and the size I chose at installation kept me from having the plucked chicken look and the head full of kinky thin wispies I dreaded, but I am giving serious thought to splitting a few more.

Most of my locks didn't really swell and are just a little but larger in diameter than they were at the beginning. There's just the odd lock here and there that's fatter than I would like. Out of the 320 or so I would guess that 15 - 20 are larger than I want them to be.

I want to take them down but I am hesitant for three reasons.

1) I have started many new locks, but I started them all from new growth. I am not sure I really know how to neatly re-install a lock with 12+ inches of hair. And you all may recall that my consultant moved away 4 months ago. Since I have been self-tightening I haven't bothered to try to find a new one.

I don't especially feel like hunting one down and making a trip out of town. If Phyllis was still here I could do them two or three at a time and just drop in at her house whenever I felt like it, but if I go find another consultant and I have to travel, I feel like I should take them all down at once and get them all re-installed at once.

Truthfully that's more of a time and money commitment than I'm ready for right now.

2) Overall I don't really care about my parts (or I thought I didn't), but I do have a pretty decent grid pattern. And I've realized that choosing locks to split at random is going to wreak havoc with it.

3) And third - I'm fully locked. Those fat locks are the kind of solid silky ropes we all dreamed of in the beginning. As little as 6 months ago they were still shrinking and bunching and now they're perfect. I hate to bust them up and start all over again. So I'm trying to weigh the pros and cons.

There really are no pros to splitting them because there are no cons to leaving them. There's nothing wrong with them as they are. I think part of the reason I want to split them is just to satisfy my desire for change. I like the energy and movement and feel that new locks have and I miss it. They're soft and springy and they change so much from week to week.

I really enjoyed going through the process all over again when I split the locks at my temples earlier this year, but now they are firming up and coming into their own and that fun phase is over.

It was kind of the best of both worlds because I had the newness but when they were kinky and misbehaving (as teenagers will do) it wasn't horrible because most of the locks were more mature and well behaved so I could just pin them down and blend them in.

Well, that's the latest. As you know, comments are always welcome!

So...I don't know what I'm going to do - nothing yet.

Stay tuned....


sunsail said...

Hey, 18 months, congrats!!

No seriously? You need to post pics. Seriously. :)

Amina said...

I'm with Sunsail... seriously.

Wow. I'm still at the one year phase. I've heard a lot of people saying that they hadn't fully locked by the first year, and now you saying it really confirmed the phase I'm in...that's why we blog though, right?

Now I'm really wondering what your hair looks like, and I'm glad you were more descriptive this time (no pics again, seriously?)

I have decided that wishing for the next phase of my locks really wishes my life away, since my locks were started right before my 30th birthday. So in doing that, I must love where they are today, which makes the progress that much more exciting.

Thanks for sharing!

Cashana said...

When are you going to post some pics, we anxiously awaiting. I am just now learning to DIY and I don't really look forward to doing my entire head yet. I love my hair, but I want my curlie q's gone. I want all sealed ends, but I have a feeling that is not going to happen. So I am trying to trick myself into thinking it'll be okay. I am also over the parts thing too. It is good to know you are still enjoying your locks.

blackrussian said...

In my defense ladies, I really have been trying to upload my pics all day. I'm not sure what's happening. Blogger keeps shutting me down. I'm on my fifth try. I'll let y'all know when it works.

blackrussian said...

Okay...Blogger finally decided to play nice with my computer and I was able to upload a few pics. Y'all forgot what I look like, right?

Amina said...

YAY! We have finally persuaded her out of her shell ladies!!!

Gurrrl, your hair has grown sooooo much! I wonder when I'll get my pop of growth. The front has grown about 4", but the back has shrunken about 2". My client felt the need to tell me that my hair looked 6" shorter. Thanks, lady. She's a regular, so I let it slide, lol.

So the highlights, when were they done? I did mine in May or June, and just those 4 ended up dry, and I lost about an inch from the end of one of them... which means I'm either gonna rinse, or henna. I'm just lazy and haven't ordered it yet. You'd think with the Indian population around here henna would be plentiful... seriously, not.

Amina said...

okay, so nevermind, I just got the comment you made on my page. Two weeks ago... What was the name of the color? I used to use Feria back before I had locks. But I got it from Sally's and with my own developer. I know it was harsh, and I'm afraid to do it now.

blackrussian said...

SS - I knew y'all were gonna be all over me about creating an 18 mo post with no pics.

I think I was going to get my blogger card revoked if I had not posted a photo or to!

I took them before I even wrote the post - once I got past the technical difficulties it was all good.

I also did a lock extension experiment and was pleased with the results. As soon as I get a chance I'll post that entry with pics.

Amina, look for really interesting changes in the next 6 months.

The last time I TOOK pictures was 6months ago, so I lost track of the changes.

Today when I was trying to post the 18 month photos I took the opportunity to look back.

Of course they look different now from how they did at 6 months, but I am surprised at how much thicker and more solid they are as compared with 3 and 6 months ago!

About the highlights...I actually did them back in April, I just haven't posted pictures since March!

I was never happy with the high contrast so the color I bought two weeks ago was meant to lighten the base color.

The highlights look much brighter - almost golden orange - in person. They seem quite muted to me in the pics.

It is a custom color I mixed myself from three different kits. I can't find the boxes so I don't remember what I used or how many parts of each.

This time I was afraid to go too light (because of possible damage) but I didn't go light enough.

It is a barely discernable difference, but I am afraid to color it again any time soon.

When I did the highlights 6 months ago I lost one of the tiny locks I had recently started.

It broke right off in my hand as if it were a single strand. had me worried for the rest, but they're okay.

I started to do henna, but just didn't. I've never used it before and I didn't know how it would turn out and if it would lighten as much as I wanted. Fear of the unknown I suppose.

Seriously, I still haven't experienced that growth spurt everyone talks about.

It has just been slow and steady for me.

I see that my hair looks longer, and I retighten a little every day, so I KNOW it's growing.

The frustrating thing was the shrinkage.

And that's part of why I stopped taking pictures too. I was tired of watching the pot and waiting for it to boil.

I feel like my hair is finally showing it's length a LITTLE.

I feel like it was this long a 9 months ago.

How it looks now, dry, is how it looked 9 months ago stretched out or wet.

Now it finally looks the same wet and dry.

I used to gain 4 - 5 inches by pulling on the ends, but now I might get half an inch or one.

Cashana, I don't understand why the curly ends don't get more love. Can you fill me in?

DIY is awesome. I tell everyone that you don't have to feel overwhelmed - just do a few every couple of days and eventually you'll have your whole head done.

Then you just start over. For me it was really liberating to realize that I can do it anytime I want.

If it takes a whole month or 6 weeks to finish - what of it. I kind of like the cyclical nature of doing it all the time and never quite finishing.

It's like a mobius strip. It feels harmonious and natural to me - not like an unending chore but like an unbroken circle.

N'Drea ~ the Storyteller said...

You've come a long way, baby, and your locks look wonderful. I love the different hues. Congrats on reaching this milestone.

blackrussian said...

Thanks ND! Glad you stopped by.

Did I mention the shrinkage has been in full effect for the last year?

I feel like my hair shoud be a good 5 - 6 inches longer!

Anonymous said...

I feel your frustration regarding the shrinkage...but it wasn't too much of a concern for me after the first year...

I don't know what you talkin...but I can see a tremendous growth spurt. Love the color on your locks!!!

I'm still an envious admirer of those who DIY....

blackrussian said...

Yeah MM - I had ridiculous shrinkage during the entire first year, but I think it's finally over.

And I know my hair HAS grown,and it does look significantly longer - it's finally brushing my shoulders.

But y'all don't see how much new growth I have at the roots. I get a steady .75 to 1 inch per month.
I just feel like it should have translated into more length I can see.

And it would have if not for the shrinkage.

Now that it's behind me, I'm interested to see what kind of growth the next 12 - 18 months will bring.

Thanks for stopping by!

I was just at your blog earlier today, but have yet to post my comments.

I was going to email you and ask what was up with the move to ATL.

I admit that I've been really busy and I've been skimming blogs I follow instead of READING, but I didn't think you'd mentioned it lately and I was wondering if it was off.

Then I saw today that you mentioned not having trouble finding a consultant in ATL.

So is the proposed move still on?

S0uthernGirl said...

Hooray for pictures! You know I had to give you a hard time lol. I love the highlights and your hair has grown a lot.

As for the shrinkage/length, I'm thinking that it isn't growth spurts that we should be looking out for... I think that there will be periods where our hair just seems to drop, when we can no longer see additional length by pulling on the ends of locks. I had one a few months ago and am looking forward to the next one.

blackrussian said...

I think you might be right, SG.

Cashana said...

Yeah pictures. Your hair looks great. Didn't even know you had colored. I think some folks love the curlies and others just don't. I think for me, no curlies means my hair is locked. And with so many ends still open w/the curlies it means I still have a long way to go before I am completely locked. Plus, they shed too much for me, so I have to moisturize often. LOL! If all my ends never lock, I'll have to resign myself to the fact it is as my hair should be.

sunsail said...

Yaaaay!! Bout time, girlie! :) Thanks for the pictures! Wow, it's longer than i thought, and here you are speaking of shrinkage! Quite frankly, i don't know if i've gone through shrinkage... i guess i was never that in tune with my hair! :)

Your hair looks fab!

CarmenNC said...

Post and pictures! I'm glad you're blogging again. I wouldn't change a thing about your hair. Yet, if you do want to try to re-install, take one or two locks out at a time and split them. It might take a long time, but it's not as overwhelming as taking them all at once.

Ro~ said...

What the heck!?!?!?! The time just flew right by me. 18months already!!! Your hair is absolutely gorgeous!!!

Aya said...

Oh my, your locks are really beautiful. My have they grown. Congratulations on reaching 18 months.