Loc Lessons

By Neysa Ellery Taylor

Over the past three weeks I have been immersed in a huge project – I’ve taken down my dreadlocks. Yep, you read that right. I’ve taken down my dreadlocks. Not cut my dreadlocks. Not shaved my head. But taken down my dreadlocks. (Yes, it can be done. Google it if you don’t believe me.) And me being me, I look for the lessons in everything and this project gave me a lot to think about.One of the lessons is that you can’t rush the job. Almost 7 years ago my hairdresser loc’d my hair. Piece by piece. Roll by roll. She put care into locking my hair. And 7 years later it had to be taken down the same way. Piece by piece.. hair by hair. There was no rushing the process. There was no going around the process. And there were no short cuts. To achieve my desired result I had to put in work. Lots of work. More work than I ever imagined. There weren’t any fastpasses to finishing. This theme has been reflected in my life over and over again. From personal growth to marriage restoration, there isn’t an easy button to get to the finish line. You have to put in the time and the work to get there.Another lesson I learned was setbacks happen. I had a plan. I had a good plan to get my locs out by the time a family event rolled around. I was confident in my plan then – BAM! – my plan was changed because of external factors. I threw a fit. Well, let me be totally transparent, I threw several fits. But when it came down to it, I could either stay in place and kick and holler, or I could get back to working a new and improved plan. In the end, the new and improved plan worked out. My life isn’t exactly where I want it right now. Ya’ll know that I’ve had some setbacks! But a new plan is in place. And I intend to work the plan until I achieve all of my goals.

I also had to learn to ask for help. The last piece that I wrote was about how I can do it all. I can wear the Superwoman cape, work a corporate job, and raise some kids. I was singing Chaka Khan – “I’m everywoman, it’s all in me” – at the top of my lungs. And I was exhausted doing it. When my personal deadline was menacingly staring me in the face, I realized one thing – either I ask for help or I miss the mark. I opened my mouth and asked for help. I didn’t just get help. I got love. I received so much help,concern,and time from my sister circle. They came and stayed all hours of the night to help me achieve a goal. I’ve known that my sistercircle was tight but I was amazed and so filled by the love they showed me. And I realize that these same sisters – and more – will have my back in future endeavors, just like I will always have theirs. 

I realized that everything can’t go into the future with you. To move forward with a major change you have to cut off some dead ends. I had 7 years worth of hair on my head and my ends were raggedy. I had to cut off the dead ends. Obvious metaphor here, right? To move forward in life, I have to leave some dead things behind me. Everything can’t go with me into the next phase of life. I have to leave some baggage in the past and let it stay there.

Finally, I have to get to know the new me. Loc’d hair was resistant to rain and humidity. Free natural hair takes time and care. Little things like owning a shower cap or a wrap cap (sistas, you feel me right?) had been missing from my daily routine for years. I have to get to know the new me. I have to spend time with the new me. And I have to treat the new hairdo totally different than the old one. The new Neysa can’t act like the old Neysa. I can’t expect new things while doing the old stuff I used to do. I have to govern myself with a new set of rules, by a higher standard. 

So those were my lessons learned from the seemingly simple act of taking down my locs. It’s funny, the old me would have thought I was just changing my hair style, but the new me knows that I am changing my life.

Neysa Ellery Taylor is an integral part of the writing team here at Blackloveandmarriage.com. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee with her husband, Chris, and their 4 children – Asyen, Maya, Preston, and Patrick. An Emmy-Award winning journalist, she hopes to share her passion for marriage and God through her writing. You can read more of her work atMyriadthatisme.blogspot.com.
5 replies
  1. neysa
    neysa says:

    my twitter avi @myriadthatisme has my pics w/my hair pressed
    my facebook page myriadmarriage has a pic with my locs (and my handsome hubby!)

  2. Jessica QueenKinetic Renee
    Jessica QueenKinetic Renee says:

    I'm going through that process right now and have been for a month… partially due to the fact that i've had my locs for 7 years and partially due to my own procrastination and partially due to the hustle and bustle of student/activist/employed/entrepreneur life. I hope to be done with the last bit in the middle of my head this weekend. Peace on your journey sister. I know mine has been extraordinary and purposeful. Everything you're saying here has resonated with me, my choices and my journey as well. And i mean it's almost EERIE how much your story resonates with me, except for the fact that i've done all my own haircare myself perhaps… I've shared multiple pictures on my fb page of the journey and for the last maybe half week i've been experimenting with natural styles that i could tuck/hide my last remaining locs into.

    THIS IS AMAZING! Please post pics!!!!

  3. chavonne
    chavonne says:

    What a great lesson thank you for sharing gave me some things to think about also so much food for thought thank you for the nourishment

  4. Ashanti
    Ashanti says:

    I cut mine off 3 years ago because I felt like there was two much baggage in my life. I can relate when you talk about a "new you".

  5. Carey
    Carey says:

    Beautiful post pic and excellent post.

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