My Mane Journey as a 4C Girl by Chellyz View
Changing the Narrative as a 4C Girl
The journey of being a natural hair girl in the D has been a roller coaster ride for myself. My hair has been described as coarse, think, and untamed. Several years ago, I learned the category for my hair is 4c, which means I have very tight coils. In my younger years, being a 4C Girl led to being teased for having unmanageable nappy hair. Thankfully, the negative connotation of that statement is transforming into something beautiful. 4C Girls are embracing their hair across the nation! From the workplace, pool, gym, and beyond, we are representin’ and lovin’ on our hair more than evahhhhhhhh!
The fierce war of battling and embracing my kinks over the decades had me feeling emotions of imprisonment to appreciating the joys of hair freedom. As a young girl, I had my woes of getting my hair done. I collected countless tears that left a bucket full of fond memories from breaking multiple hair combs to having my hair straightened by pressing combs.
One of my spiritual sisters stated, “I must be related to Jesus.” Her reasoning behind the statement was my hair felt like wool. One of my cousins who used to French braid my wild mane told me my hair was thick enough to cut her fingers. Also, hairdressers have said my hair would burn the tips of their fingers because it held an abundance amount of heat. At that time, I didn’t realize the Holy Spirit designed my hair to match my strength for the challenging days ahead called LIFE.
Taming My Head as a Child
Who ensured my head was combed daily as a child? That lucky person was my aunt! My mom had already realized doing hair was not her gift. It was neither mine until my late 20s. My aunt had her hands full because I was a tender-headed child who looked like cousin “IT” from The Addams Family after a wash and blow-dry. For many years, she was skillful at taming my wild hair. My coils would be brushed and parted by my aunt then decoratively styled with colorful barrettes and ponytail holders.
Eventually, my mom and aunt decided to take me to the long-gone Debbie’s Beauty School on Gratiot near East Seven Mile Road in Detroit. One day they found a beauty shop just for kids known as Some Place Special on West Seven Mile Road near Evergreen. They had toys, baby dolls, and patient beauticians who had the magic touch to keep my coils under control.
The Culture of Hair in the Community
As I grew older, I realized hair was more than a culture in our community. It’s an experience. Hair has always been a “thing” in Detroit. My city is called the Hair Capital of the World. We hosted many infamous “Hair Shows and “Hair Wars.” Detroit is where people emphasize the phrase “Fried, Dyed, and Laid to the Side.” We are well known for the vast amount of local beauty and barbershops that are a few miles apart from one another. You can always find a neighborhood beautician or barber beautifying or cutting hair in their home with their workstation situated inside the kitchen or basement. I had my share of trial and error of trying to find the right beautician to style my head or accommodate my schedule due to balancing work, children, and extracurricular activities.
Oh yeah! I was always trying to figure out what I should do with my hair. I cut it a few times, let it grow back, permed it, rocked braids and wigs, wore sew-ins, braid outs and twists outs. Over 13 years ago, I decided to go natural. However, one summer, the humidity won, and I asked the hairdresser to dump that creamy white substance in my head asap! Weeks later, I felt guilty after perming my head. After that incident, I vowed to stay natural forever. That was several years ago.
Deciding to Initiate the Loc Journey
Well, it’s a new century! What’s happening as I continue to discover my hair passage to independence? After contemplating for at least eight years, I decided to Loc my hair! Before making the decision, I had randomly asked 100 strangers, read 200 articles, spoke with several people I know who have Loc’d their hair, watched 75 YouTube videos, browsed Pinterest and Instagram for 1,000 hours, and made the ultimate decision. Most people know I exaggerate, but that is how it felt.
Anyway, it was time to Loc these Locks! At first, I was going to have Sisterlocs installed, but that ordeal fell through. I lost $50 from a consultation fee, but that is another story. I reached out to another Loctitian on Facebook Messenger and left a phone message. I never received a response. Therefore, I stopped reaching out because I didn’t want to feel like a stalker.
Embracing My Loc Venture
I was eager to start my Loc journey. So, on Sept. 22 through Sept. 23, 2019, I joined forces with one of my good friends known as Netflix to keep me company. After watching six movies and taking 20 breaks, I installed two-strand twists in my hair. The two-strand twist style wasn’t new to me, but this journey was different. I knew in my heart I wanted to loc my hair. My parts were uneven, and my hands were unsteady, but my intuition assured me it was essential to love on my Locs.
After locing my hair, there were small bouts of doubt that crept in. Did I make them the right size? Should I have paid the astronomical price of having Sisterlocs installed professionally? Should I have gone to an expert to interlock my hair? Should I this? Should I that? I was excited, nervous, and grateful at the same time.
Hair is the Inspiration
On this journey, I am thankful for all those who keep me inspired! I learned that I shouldn’t utilize the phrase “ugly phase” when referring to my newly installed Locs. Yes, my hair is frizzy, the shrinkage is real, and some of the ends unravel when they feel like it. However, I contribute this phase in my life as “awkwardly beautiful.” My mane source of “Hair Inspiration” comes from my Auntie Sherry, who, as stated earlier, used to tame these locs when I was a little girl. She has been growing her locs for over 15 years!
My hairdresser, who used to press my hair, schools me on how to remain calm during this early process of allowing my hair to loc. She also does a phenomenal job retightening my Locs as needed. After twisting my hair, I found out she installed locs. I guess that is what I get for not asking when I changed my mind about not getting Sisterlocs! Also, I follow a few groups on Facebook that keep me encouraged. One Facebook group that has been instrumental in me keeping my faith during the process is Braidlocs, Sisterlocs, Microlocs, Interlocs, & More! I recommend you check out the group or find a supportive page or person to help keep you sane if you decide to loc your hair.
Experiencing Hair Freedom with Locs
I don’t know how long I will wear my Locs, but at this moment, I will describe my hair journey as liberating. No additives such as perms, brushes, or combs needed at this time. However, wear your hair as you choose. I can only speak for myself. The societal constraints of what defines beauty no longer confines me. I am a Detroit Girl with 4C Hair who has found contentment by deciding to embrace my crown with Locs. No matter where you are from, I hope you recognize and find what brings you the happiness of hair freedom as well!
-Let your heart be full of new ventures that will lead you to the possibilities of limitless conversations!
Facebook Group: Braidlocs, Sisterlocs, Microlocs, Interlocs, & More!