Loc Love Fostered on Facebook…
A loc’d sister (we’ll call her JB) posted a picture of the back of her hair and asked for encouragement during her “ugly stage” of wearing braided locs. She was used to wearing wigs and weaves and is early in her self-installed loc journey.
In less than 24 hours, her Facebook group post had 400 comments and 429 reactions. All positive.
One recurring comment was genuine curiosity about where the ugly was hiding.
Before long, she had enough encouragement to buoy her up to say “I’m ready” to deepening her embrace of the change.
First of all, can we take a moment to celebrate the fact that JB had a healthy and uplifting community to come to in a moment of vulnerability?!
Second, I believe the “ugly phase” is not so much a physical stage, but a mental one.
Can you love an ugly baby?
When I chopped my hair down to half an inch as a young wife and new mom living overseas, I never left the house without a scarf on my head. It was out of the question. That was how I dealt with it.
That was also 2004. I didn’t have access to an online group to help ease the fears of my big chop’s “ugly phase”.
Fast-forward to 2022.
Before installing my locs, I just knew I was going to wrap my hair up to leave the house for the first few months; during the “ugly phase”.
It was an expectation rooted in my previous experience. When I was warned that I would feel like my hair was ugly (again), I subconsciously prepared myself to do what I’d done before.
But, I didn’t.
I’d like to think it was all the personal growth I’d down over the past two decades…
Really, it was the decision to go forward in faith—to “trust the process”. It was the caused of an intentional change of heart.
But here’s another truth: I still hesitated.
That first night out, with five day old locs, I wasn’t sure if I was ready to be exposed quite yet. On that trip (to the grocery store), I half-covered my hair with the hood on my sweater.
Why is it that the first instinct is often to hide our hair?
It’s not because our hair is unsightly. It is our own discomfort.
One of the comments JB agree to was to a wise suggestion:
“First, gotta change your mindset. There’s no such thing as “ugly stage” once you appreciate the beauty in all stages then you’ll have an easier journey. How can you love your hair if you see it as ugly.”
Because it’s the Baby Phase of locs is what people usually refer to as ugly, that made me think about the nurturing instincts of a mother.
If you thought your baby was ugly, would you stop loving and caring for the child?
When my son was born (a year after my big chop), he would stare with large, yellow-tinted eye whites and sounded like a billy goat.
My mom told me that he looked like an alien. I kind of agreed with her.
But I didn’t think my baby was “ugly”. He just looked like a brand new human, my brand new human. I’ve been loving and caring for him from the time he was an alien-looking newborn with billy goat vocals to the handsome man-child with a baritone voice he is today.
But he’s still my baby. (All seven of our kids are my babies—including the five I didn’t birth!)
This instinct to nurture doesn’t go away when they go through the colick, tantrum, attitude and adult phases. We just keep loving them.
Instinctively and intentionally, the best we can. And so it can be with our natural hair.
Perhaps referring to the early stages of locs (or any new natural hair change) as a Baby Phase is spot on.
The sage sister who told JB she needed a mindset shift was right. And that’s exactly what she got.
What about you?
How are you shifting your thoughts around the “ugly stage” of trusting the process?