Wednesday, August 26, 2009

It's More Than A Hairstyle

August 26 is the birthdate of my locs. Seems like a trivial thing to celebrate the anniversary of a hairstyle. My locs hold a great deal of joy, pain, happiness, sorrow, accomplishment, and failure. Above all of that, my locs keep me connected to my mother.

Back in 2005, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Just like most cancer patients, she lost her hair. I wanted to shave my hair off in support of her but she wasn't having it. I wanted to do something more to show my solidarity. I decided I would get locs. My mother was going on a journey, so why not take one myself?

I sat in the chair as the lady chopped my hair down to about an inch (if that). I looked in the mirror and saw that my little bitty fro looked just like my mother's little bitty fro. My mother smiled when she noticed I was looking at her. A couple hours later, I was all twisted up ready to embark on my journey.

My mother took quite a shine to my locs. She loved them. She would always want me to take pictures of them. She would play in them. She really thought they were cool. Truth be told, there were quite a few days I wanted to tap out and cut them off. I never could do it, not because my mother would be disappointed, but because if she didn't give up on a journey that was a battle for her life then surely I can stay committed to mine.

My locs symbolize something much deeper than just a fashion trend. They are a constant reminder of something special that my mom and I share. I sometimes catch myself playing with them and a my eyes get a little misty. Other days when I'm feeling down I can touch one and think about her oiling them or cleaning them and I smile. Even if I ever decide to cut them off, I will keep one in a box so that I can have one to touch when I need to "touch" her. Peace.

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