‘And thy roots shall rise again… Like the mountains of Ararat…’ – Cocoa, The Book of Dreads
‘Don’t do it!’
‘I’m not going to do it!’
‘I know you’re thinking it, so I’m just warning you sha.’
‘Calm yourself down, I just said I’m not going to do it.’
A few minutes later…
‘Ok, sorry. I did it’
‘Save it!’ barked my hair, dripping from root to tip.
I made a mistake. Now my hair is mad at me. To be honest, I’m mad at me too. But what exactly did I do that was so unforgivable?
That morning, I woke up with a burning sensation. Felt like my scalp was on fire. I ran my hand through my locs. Oooh, that feels good, I thought. My fingertips were cool to the touch and soothing but only briefly as they soon adjusted to the overheated climate of my sore scalp. Using circular motions, I massaged gently. Being delicate enough not to cause any further irritation.
The feeling was so intense and was mainly at the center of my scalp. I remember I used to experience a similar sensation when I used to wear clip-on pony tails back in the Glory Days. I would pack my hair up really tightly into a bun, transforming my relaxer-due 4c hair into 1b to match the straight hair of the pony tail extension. Sleeking down every disobedient root with the bristles of my powerful brush. Then I would secure the tail in place with its plastic grip.
Achieving this straight haired look cost me a lot of coils and a lot of pain. That pony tail had a fierce grip! It took me a long time to realise what harm I was doing to myself and to my hair. At that point in my life I clearly thought it appropriate to conform to someone else’s standard of beauty. Gosh, if only I could travel back in time and tell my pony tail rocking self, it doesn’t have to be painful to be beautiful.
Anyways, I haven’t been clipping on pony tails lately so clearly that’s not the source of my current problem. And that would just look odd. First, I’d have to find a retailer that sells faux loc pony tails at a ridiculous price. I’m sure they exist somewhere on the internet. Oh snap, they do exist. I just checked and not that expensive either. But still I wouldn’t. Besides, I would need solid metal grips for sure, not plastic ones for these thick locs of mine.
So what else could be causing my discomfort? The only other time I get this is when I’m subconsciously ‘stressing’ about something. Could be anything really. The dishes in the sink that won’t just wash themselves and sit there casually waiting for me to turn up. The weeds in my garden playing frozen statues during the day but miraculously growing an inch taller overnight – every night thinking I won’t notice. Like I said, anything.
Or were my retwists too tight? I was used to having a tender scalp immediately after retwists but the tenderness never lasted more than a few days. Certainly not as long as it has lasted now. But whatever was causing it, I did not really care, I just wanted it to stop. I kept massaging in the hopes it would bring some relief but it wasn’t really working. I needed something else. Something that would quench this fire and put me out of my misery….
The quickest and most effective solution that came to mind was to hop in the shower and soak my entire head in water. And that’s exactly what I did. Did it work? Yep, and was it worth it? I mean, worth washing fifty quid down the drain? Oh, yeahhh, I did that, didn’t I?
And that’s what my hair was mad at me for. I washed money down the drain. Usually, in the first few weeks of my locs being retwisted, I would do everything I could to minimise water on my scalp. I often use a spray bottle to gently mist my locs, rub in the moisture and whilst my hands were still wet, massage my scalp with the rest of the moisture to get it hydrated. The reason I did this was to ensure my roots stayed laid for as long as possible.
And going into the shower that morning, I knew the risk. I already knew what was going to happen if I put my head under the shower. I could hear a voice booming from heaven loud and clear, saying:
And thy roots shall rise again,
Like leavened bread freshly baked in the fiery furnace
Like the mountains of Ararat with no humility for their master
Like the humps on the back of the Bactrian camel of the Gobi Dessert
Take heed, for surely thy roots shall rise again.The Book of Dreads, Chapter 1
Say what now? Bactrian camel? Never heard that one before. And did I listen? Nope. Meaning what happened next comes as no surprise. My perfectly laid roots suddenly turned into mole-hills, bulging underneath my strands. You would never guess I only had my retwists done just a week before.
It was a stupid mistake and of course, I should have known better. I could have found another way to soothe my scalp without baptizing it in water. Find release for my frustration by engaging in deep meditation or just simply bear the pain. To my hair, I was very inconsiderate. Truth is, I’m not perfect. I admit that and from time to time I do put my own needs before my hair’s.
My roots have risen, much earlier than expected but on the bright side, I didn’t have to wait so long to get my volume back. I don’t like the flat head a fresh retwist gives me. But my hair thinks it makes her look something like Miss Universe. Reality check! Perfection is an illusion! In the future, to avoid such a costly mistake though, I might consider retwisting my locs myself. Hmm, that already sounds like a total disaster. It has been a while since I last experimented. Nevertheless, I’ve been feeling kinda adventurous lately so maybe I just might.
Wish me luck!
Peace n Love Sistas✌🏽❤️
Main Image: Alain Bonnardeaux