Peace everyone! Today marks 4 years that I have had my locs and as I sit and think over the last four years, all I can feel is gratitude. I am grateful for all the struggles, all the trials, the times I almost gave up, all of the many, many experiences over the past four years.
Some people probably wonder how I came to begin this journey of wearing my hair in “dreadlocks”. Well, I had been wearing my hair in an afro for 11 months and had just had my last child Riyon on November 7, 2011. As I looked in the mirror at my wild and woolly fro, I thought “What in the world am I going to do with this hair?” To be honest, it was unruly, hard to manage, and I was not feeling very inspired or energetic. At the time, my family was caught in a tumultuous situation; my husband was facing federal gun charges, I had a newborn baby, and five other children that I was responsible for, and I also was striving to finish my undergraduate degree.
I decided to style my hair in a way that would allow me not to have to style it every day. I decided to put in some two strand twists. I had worn my hair in two-strand twists before but the last time I put them in, I looked at them and decided not to take them down anymore. My hair was very curly and the twists were pretty cute. As the days passed, I realized that I was taking the first step on a new journey. My baby was two weeks old at the time that I started my locs.
As I look over the last four years, I realize that as my dreads have grown, so have I as a person. I was shattered as a person when my husband was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison. I lost so much and I had to learn to stand on my own as a single mother of six children and it was so difficult. I had to be strong for everyone, I had to learn to manage on so much less, I had to train my children to be less dependent on me, and we all had to learn to function as newly forced family unit.
I did graduate from my undergraduate program in 2011 and also a Master’s program as well in 2014. I transformed my life—I published books, I rediscovered my artistic talents, I started a business, I have connected with great people, I am always actively working to help my people. I am ever- evolving. As each loc has grown in length, as the roots have thickened, so has my resilience. I no longer look to external stimuli for peace; I have peace within. I no longer look for help and assistance, I get up and make things move. I no longer am looking for anyone to save me, I am my own savior.
My locs are so much a part of me that I cannot imagine how I would even look or feel without them. I am the Lioness. My locs are an external illustration of my strength. I know I am better now. It took a very long time for me to realize that I was capable and worthy all along. But every time, I feel a loc drop down my back or I have to lift them out of my eyes, every time I see a new silver hair that is intertwined in the edges or peeking from between the hairs, every time I wash my locs, I am reminded of my journey and also reminded how far I have to go. Let the journey continue…….
Peace & Blessings,
Andre’a The Lioness