“There comes a time when you have to stand up and shout: This is me damn it!

“There comes a time when you have to stand up and shout: This is me damn it! I look the way I look, think the way I think, feel the way I feel, love the way I love!  I am a whole complex package.  Take me…or leave me.  Accept me – or walk away!  Do not try to make me feel like less of a person, just because I don’t fit your idea of who I should be and don’t try to change me to fit your mind. If I need to change, I alone will make that decision.  When you are strong enough to love yourself 100%, good and bad – you will be amazed at the opportunities that life presents you.” 

-Stacey Charter

Over one year ago and while proudly sporting a two-inch Mohawk, my son proclaims, “Mom, I want my hair like Malakai’s!” We had not seen Malakai for a few months.  Malakai is a former classmate – same grade.  His friend has the most adorable plush locs that I have seen on a kid in a long time. His locs are maintained by Victoria at KinHairitage Salon and Spa.

I am surprised that during the middle of football season he was thinking about a new hairstyle. Tailor’s request was a shocking because I never encouraged him to wear locs or any hairstyle.   The Mohawk was his idea but is typically partaken as camaraderie among football players of all ages. To prepare for locs, at the end of the 2011 football season, his Mohawk was shaved.  During the ride home, I glance at him in the rear view mirror.

 “Tailor, what’s wrong?  You look like you want to cry.” “I’m sad mom because I had to cut my hair.”

I reminded him that to achieve locs, his hair needed to be cut even.  He understood but was still sad to see it go.

The big day came on Satirday, November 17, 2012.   We were both excited.  Finally after a year of mishaps of so-called “trims” at the Barber, my son’s hair grew long enough to begin the process.  Yay!!!

From across the shop, I hear his jubilant voice, “this feels good!”   I cannot resist a peek, so I quietly sneak over to the shampoo bowl. This is what I see!

Baby locs initial styling  11-17-12

Baby locs initial styling 11-17-12

His smile says it all!  Enjoyment and delight!  There is no doubt in my mind that he was grateful for the experience and look forward to indulging in luxurious shampoos in the future.  While Victoria twisted his hair, he sat content chatting with her.

I watched in amazement.   Why amazed? Because at his age, many children are trapped by the idea of looking like everyone else and trying to fit in.  My son has chosen a hairstyle, which is different from all other classmates.  He is comfortable and confident with the choice.   His choice pleases me a great deal.

How long will he wear his locs?  I don’t know.  He can wear the locs for as long as he chooses.  The choice is his. Speaking of choice… I’ve been asked,

“You’re letting him wear those?!”   “Those!”  Hmm… “ABSOLUTELY!”

I grew up without the benefit of making choices for myself.  As a child and as a teen,

I was told what to wear, what and when to eat, and darn nearly, what to think!

The same person, who tried to “think” for me as a kid, still frowns upon and attacks my personal likes for tattoos, piercings, and other nontraditional accessories.   Lol! Frankly, the thought makes me laugh and want to behave like a rebellious child and get more tats and holes!  Lol!  I refuse to impede my child’s ability to make sound, reasonable, and responsible choices.

Nearly 24 year of parenting has taught me to pick and choose my battles carefully.  The phrase is a cliche  but it is the crux to surviving the teen years. You get to a point, when you ask yourself, how important is the situation?  Is it life threatening?  Is it life altering?  It most cases the scenario is not and is not worth the stress and aggravation.  A friend says, “I’m not trippin on the dumb sh**!”  She’s right.

In the weeks that have passed since his first styling, my son has shown a genuine interest in maintaining his hair.   Before bedtime, sometimes I get, “Mom, can you fix this twist, it’s coming loose.”   Lol!!  I love it!

Victoria at KinHairtage Salon and Spa styled Tailor’s hair wonderfully.

photo (9)

Shop owner, Victoria, specializes in loc maintenance and does an incredible job with all lengths and hair textures.  Two and half years ago, I started my natural hair journey with ShidaNatural at KinHairitage.  More recently, Vicki jazzed up my hair with color and highlights.  I don’t know if I will ever return to my natural dingy brown colored hair. Heeey!

Using WordPress’s new photo gallery feature, I am working on a post to show my 2 1/2 year  hair journey.

I must admit, I am excited at the thought of my son’s hair thickening and lengthening   He is so cute with his new style! Yesterday was his second salon visit.  He was shampooed, conditioned and retwisted. He told me that the visit was “relaxing.”  Lol!

Re-twist after 4 weeks   12-15-12

Re-twist after 4 weeks 12-15-12

For now, the locs are a cool and a fun hairstyle for Tailor.  Later they may become something greater with more depth and meaning to him.  It is imperative though, that he can confidently and accurately articulate his knowledge and understanding of the cultural and historical aspects of locs.  Too often I see young people proudly donning cultural, religious, and other styles but lack the historical knowledge base to understand the meaning or possible ramifications of their chosen style. We will learn about the history and traditions of locs together.

I am also certain that in the future, if not already, he will be questioned about his hair and will receive ignorant stereotypical and negative comments.  As with anything else, we will talk about specific situations as they arise. Some of the family matriarchs’, including my mother, are absolutely revolted by the site of locs.

“Eeew!  How can you wear that mess?!?”  “It looks terrible!”   Are a few comments made to a family member who is six months into his journey.  The comments are absurd and offensive!

It’s a personal choice people; get over it!!

I told my mom in advance about her grandson’s new style.  I told her to speak positively or say nothing.  Mom did not like my command but it was necessary.  My son WILL receive encouraging and loving support from our family.  Anything other is unacceptable.

So far Tailor’s journey has been positive and encouraging.  His classmates, teachers, and family have shown him much love.  He is confident, has a positive self-image, and is upbeat about his new look.   We are truly blessed and I thankful.

5 thoughts on ““There comes a time when you have to stand up and shout: This is me damn it!

  1. I totally feel you. I have been natural for just about six years and I have no desire to ever change that. I love rocking my natural hair in red. I love the twist out and the fro look. From braided mohawks to I just created my own style. It feels good to be free of the pressure of what “we are supposed to do and look like” I have two girls and I plan to let them explore and be free to be themselves as long as it’s not life threatening. Love the blog

    • Hello Inez. Your girls are blessed to have a mom that is open-minded and flexible. I wish that I were so lucky! Lol! Congrats on six years natural; that is great! Your girls are also lucky that you embrace natural hair and that you can pass on the knowledge to them. They already have a head start. ;). Thanks for visiting and for commenting on my blog. By the way, I enjoy reading your blog too!

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