A year ago when I started growing my hair out, I didn’t realize the cultural significance it would play in my life. As you know 2016 was quite the year for most people. A significant change occurred that at first, I saw as God playing a cruel joke on me. I got a separation from my wife of almost five years, moved into a place where I didn’t know my roommates, took on a new relationship style that I wasn’t sure would work, had my car keyed by a woman who I’m assuming is named “Vickey Fletcher” and our great nation elected a person for a political position with zero experience. So you could say things were looking quite interesting.
Around this time last year, I made the decision to just let my hair grow and to see what happens. Didn’t know what would come of it but I’ve tried growing my hair out before and was pressured by people around me to cut it back to its normal look. Traditionally I would rock the low fade because it was easy to manage. It’s not that I didn’t like the low fade, but I had been rocking it for years. I needed something to show how I wasn’t the same person I used to be anymore. Because to be honest, I wasn’t the same person. My outlook on life had totally changed. No longer was the wool pulled over my eyes. There was an awakening that was happening and I needed to express this cultural experience in a new way.
After doing some research and looking into the truth and my beliefs, I came across an old friend of mine. Bob Marley. His music continues to free me from my troubles and puts me in a trance of understanding and happiness. I began to YouTube Bob and check out some of his interviews. Within that research, I stumbled upon the Rastafarian religion. The process of letting go and allowing your body to be in a natural state hooked me. I learned in the dreadlock community, this was known as Freeform Locs. I was ready to start my journey.
As I decided to join this community, I noticed that I took baby steps in my transformation. I went with what I felt most comfortable with. At a certain length, I stopped combing my hair and started using a curl sponge to style it. The hardest part of growing my hair out was silencing some of the voices of my past. The voices would say, “men don’t have long hair” “cut that nappy stuff” “you look homeless” “act like you got some sense and cut your hair”. Those voices still pop up every once in a while but usually, I’m able to silence them because of my unwavering confidence in who I am.
So far, overcoming that has been the most difficult part about freeforming. Feeling comfortable and confident in your body is something that men and women struggle with. My biggest fear was coming off as unprofessional. That’s when I realized that professionalism isn’t necessarily determined by what you look like, but how you come off to others. Sure, a therapist with freeform locs may confuse you if you’re not used to it, but once I start talking to people they realize that I’m a professional and I have the experience needed to carry out the job. It’s about the confidence, not the style of your hair.
With that, I will end by saying this past year has had it’s highs and lows just like any other year. 2017 isn’t over but I have no regrets about my life. Everything that happened this year was meant to happen for a reason. The universe has placed wonderful people around me, even if they appear has foes and adversaries. You can learn from anyone. Even an unqualified politician. Be confident in who you are and move forward throughout your journey in life. Metta. 🖤