Today I thought I'd share a little about myself. Every story, every person, and every component in a movement is integral and vital to that movement. I would love to hear stories of what made each of you wake up. So, here goes my transition story....
I grew up in Los Angeles, CA. in the 80's and 90's in a very multicultural community. My parents were not really into "Black MILITANT Consciousness". My mother was, like me, a hairstylist, and a very good one at that. I believe my parents wanted for my sister and I to feel most like individuals. Being conscious of who I am as a person took priority over who I am as a people, and I'm thankful.
Around the age of 15, I realized there was a whole world, and a part of me I was to become acquainted with. I woke up to the reality of my legacy as a so called "American" and what that meant. I became president of the Black Student Union and studied. I worked, networked, learned and grew into who I am.
It was then I met Black people who LOVED being Black. I met sisters walking around Nappy Headed, Loc'd up, Free and Beautiful, and Proud; head wrapped and what not. I was greeted with hugs and met Elders and I was indoctrinated with culture and tradition. I met Lawyers with locs! We were walking around with leather necklaces in the shape of Africa....it was Project Blowed....it was XClan....Soul Brothers...Sister Circles...Sista SoulJah....The Roots...Erykah Badu....I broke bread with community leaders like Bro. Ron Wilkins., who is a pioneer in the civil rights movement and currently a professor of Africana studies at Dominguez Hills.
When I was 23, I had 2 daughters, and in the middle of divorce. I was a young single mother trying to figure out what to say to my daughters about life and GOD. One summer day while by my Ra-Sta sisters house and I saw this beautiful young girl about 19 yrs old. She looked like she may have weighed about 100 lbs., but her locs looked so much heavier, and she held her head so high. She looked strong and beautiful without trying. I decided that's what I wanted. I wanted to be that beautiful, naturally, effortlessly.
I went home and cut of my relaxed tresses. When I did that I felt so liberated! I had not known the bondage I was in until I freed myself. It blew my mind. How could I teach my daughters about GOD when I didn't respect the GOD in me? How could I respect the GOD in me when I had not seen her ? I had not seen my natural hair since I was 7yrs old, and what beautiful hair I had!!
I wore my hair natural about three years, experimenting and wearing various natural styles before I loc'd for the first time. Again, I went through a very natural transition. I loved my locs!!! A year later, after studying, and then becoming a hairstylist, with my focus on natural hair I made the decision to cut my locs. I've since loc'd two more times. Wearing my hair loc'd has changed me for the better. I have a relationship with my tresses and my higher self I never had before.
Having a deeper level of OVERSTANDING of self on all levels, I learned about commitment, self respect, and unconditional love. I have broken down a lot of barriers to my personal growth, and I've learned that you can be in bondage and enslaved by almost anything. You can even be held back by the movement!
When I first transitioned I was so dogmatic and militant. That, too was a sign of immaturity and narrow-mindedness. I believe true liberation, which is what I feel is at the heart of this movement is open, fluid and beautiful. We can absolutely be any and everything we imagine ourselves to be. That is the lesson I want my children to grasp.
Please share your transition stories. As the Axiom states, "Each One, Teach One". Ashe