[ Originally published via Men With Locs at:
People often ask me “Why did you decide to lock your hair?” I used to think that my answers got better as I kept answering the same question. However, I always felt that something was missing from my answers. So I asked my family members and friends this same question so that I could develop a more comprehensive answer. Here are four reasons that I consolidated from what they said:
- Your locs will teach patience and self-confidence
Having been locking my hair for three years now, I realize that people view locs as a very rebellious hairstyle. While this hairstyle seems simple to wear, locs are very difficult to maintain; they require constant maintenance and attention. Furthermore, locking your hair does not happen overnight. In fact, you probably won’t see any progress in your hair for the first three months. Similar to life, the results of your actions do not always produce immediate results. Vision is what allows a person to focus more on a goal/outcome instead of his/her current circumstances. So, regardless of whether you have just begun the locking process or are contemplating the decision, you must believe that despite how your hair looks, eventually you will attain your desired hairstyle. Intuitively, your self-confidence increases as a result of telling yourself that regardless of the questions other people ask and the ridicule you may experience, locking your hair is what you want to do and that it takes great patience to get there.
- Your locs will reflect your evolution
Peoples’ personal evolution is illustrated through the forming of their locs. Three years ago, I began locking my hair from a fade haircut and over the last three years, I’ve experienced my fair share of triumphs, insights, accomplishments, and disappointments. During my locking process, the consistency of my hair changed from being curly to being coarse. Like people, locs are more complex than what meets the eye. Case in point, my hair is naturally curly. However, what people view as my locs are actually tightly coiled strands of curls. Regardless of how we may grow through circumstances and experiences, our core values remain the same. Similar to locs, despite how your appearance may change due to circumstances and experiences, the characteristics that make up You will always remain intact.
- Your locs will transform your conception of beauty
The adage “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” is a philosophical truth that summarizes the perspective-shifting you’ll experience by locking your hair. The reality of this hairstyle is that locs are sometimes viewed as being messy, difficult to maintain, and unprofessional for the workplace. In contrast, locking your hair fosters the opportunity to define your own conception of beauty. Often times, people rate each other’s beauty based on how similar they look to a stereotypical white man with his haircut and a stereotypical white woman with her hair straightened. While beauty is always subjective, it has to be more than skin-deep. Physical characteristics are too susceptible to change to adequately measure beauty. Instead, we must evaluate peoples’ beauty based on their moral values and purpose. These two criteria are necessary for people to affect beautiful things into the world. Thus, people are as beautiful as what they create in the world. Furthermore, locs in themselves are beautiful because they indicate to others that you’re invested in more substantive measures of beauty, such as self-love, than superficial ones such as “looking good” based on standards set by popular culture. Altogether, your actions demonstrate beauty whereas locs signify your personal standard of beauty.
- Your locs will represent your resilience
Throughout the locking process you develop patience and self-confidence. You are also able to recognize your evolution and create a self-determined conception of beauty. Locs develop your resilience as a result of the challenges you’ll have to overcome to grow them. In my experience for example, I’ve had to overcome hair thinning at the root of some of my locs to the point that they almost fell out. Had I not learned valuable life lessons like patience through growing locs, I may have decided to cut these locs off, thinking that they would just fall off otherwise. Additionally, locs are a very weather-resistant hairstyle. As a result, your hair will not unravel at the helm of the elements once they form. Parallel to life, people have an ability to overcome whatever circumstantial challenges they face. Getting through what one goes through requires his/her remaining intact mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. “Perseverance Conquers” is a philosophical truth that I use to reframe my thinking to adopting the belief that whatever God puts me through, I am meant to get through. In this way, your locs symbolize that what you learn during their development also develops you into a more socially conscious individual.
As a final thought, the way that we present ourselves to others is a reflection of how we feel. Make sure that what you’re communicating is the same as how you look at yourself in the mirror. Human lives are not given much time on this earth to enhance the lives others. Jim Rohn is often quoted for once saying, “Without a sense of urgency, desire loses its value.” Seize the power that you have to influence others by maintaining a sense of urgency about being the change that you seek in this world.
In no particular order, I would like to personally thank Mr. Zahmu Sankofa, Mr. Greg Corbin, Mr. Kevin Spratley, and Mr. Nolan Fontaine for their competence and openness in sharing their experiences with me to publish this article.