Rolling Around the Past with My Present

A free verse poem

A quick selfie before I raced back onto the skating rink. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

I am in tune — my body
connects with my soul
as I rolled around the
skating rink.

Life has a funny way of
bringing you back
full circle — to where you
should have been a
decade ago, but here you
are now … ready to dive
into a pastime and you 
cannot remember why 
you let it go.

The music is blasting — speakers
are thumping with artists you
wish you could meet
in person. 
The strobe light spins and
shines … this is your forgotten
wonderland — your place
of peace.

As I smoothly circled around
the hardwood floor, hoodie
swaying in the breeze, I
would’ve paid good
money to see how wide the
smile was on my face.

My past used to torture me;
it used to send me into a
downward spiral and the
climb upward always catapulted me
into a fretful fit. 
And now, there’s this — this
pure goodness I should’ve
welcomed back with open
arms before today.

But maybe it wasn’t
time yet. 
Maybe I hadn’t reached the
place of growth I needed to
reach, and God is always
on time.

So, I am here … back in
this space that sends
me into an armful of
happiness with much
leftover to share — rolling
around the rink, reminiscent
of my past as I share it
with my present.

Originally published in soliloque via Medium.

The Transition to Microlocs and My Hair Journey in Phases

Phase III: Re-learning what my hair can do

Post-wash, interlocking process. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

I know I have said this before but I will say it again, I love this process! I dove headfirst into this journey knowing it would be a tedious one. However, it is proving to be so fulfilling as well. I consider Ája to be pretty badass, and she is living up to her description with no doubts!

On Saturday, March 11, 2023, I lugged my haircare items over to my cousin’s house. I arrived just after 1:00 PM. I carved out five hours for this task as it has proven to be a time-consuming one as much as it is glorious.

I wanted to be sure I allotted enough time in my day to be available. This date was exactly 6 weeks from the last interlocking session.

As time moves closer to each wash and interlocking visit, I grow more and more elated. Watching what my hair has done since December 11, 2022, has opened my eyes to the beauty of haircare and why it is important for us to love our manes unconditionally.

We are what our hair can do

There is some truth in the above statement and a bit of falsity, too. We, Black women, are by no means, our hair, but we are what our hair can do. We can be full (of good & bad emotions), energetic, bouncy, exuberant, healthy, and inviting.

We can also be pillars of strength and power. And on our bad days, we can be weak, full of sadness, flimsy, lacking color, thin, and dull.

When I have my hair freshly done, I feel unstoppable. This feeling is akin to one that mirrors rejuvenation.

When my hair is on-point, my entire mood shifts — my world becomes a scene straight from my own fairytale meant to satisfy my needs only.

I am on Cloud 9 with all my luggage, headed for a brief stint on Happiness Row (IYKYK).

There is nothing and no one who can make me feel inferior when a fresh “do” has found its resting place as my crown of glory.

Post-wash and interlocking: roller-set phase. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

At the 4-hour and 30-minute mark, my cousin was done interlocking my microlocs. I could get up from the chair and check out the results before the next step.

I looked at our accomplishment in the bathroom mirror and smiled. I recall whispering something like, “This is really happening. It’s really happening” before I went back to the chair for the finishing touches.

What came next, I had already known about before arriving at her home, but it has been decades since I have had my hair “roller-set”. However, the process did not take long at all.

My cousin placed sponge/foam rollers in each section and advised me to let them stay in overnight.

I did as I was told.

Roller-set microlocs, front. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

Giving my hair the stage it deserves

The end results are what you see above. I love the look — how Àja is bouncy and free and full of life! I adore how full and inviting my hair looks.

I have been transformed into my highest self just from a grand total of 4 hours and 45 minutes.

What makes it all worthwhile is when someone who loves you takes the time to love on your hair, too.

Roller-set microlocs, back. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

My cousin has truly been a blessing. Her talents are abundant, but using her skills to create art with one’s hair is by far a favorite of mine.

I assume that I am not the only one benefiting from this journey. She is gaining more experience with this particular genre of natural hair.

I am relearning what my hair can do, and it has been a titillating educational process so far.

I have the rollers with me at home, and I will roller-set my hair again in about 3 weeks. I plan to have it washed and interlocked again in 7–8 weeks.

Wherever we go, I will be there

Wherever Àja takes me on this journey, I’m going to be there — in my full and whole self, waiting to see exactly what else she can do.

And when my hair is finally loc’d and ready for the world to view its introductory walk into the light, I will be overjoyed.

The path is a much-needed one, and I am still skipping it effortlessly and with a heart full of happiness.

This journey has lit up my life in ways I cannot describe. I am a prisoner of this kind of self-care and self-love.

I will deny bail.

Originally published in An Injustice via Medium.

Part I and Part II

Jernee: A Glimpse

Jernee: staring intently at me while my mom prepares a lunch she cannot have–sloppy joes. Video created by Tremaine L. Loadholt

I have my mom over for the weekend, and this is just a short clip from yesterday, of Jernee intently staring directly at me because she wanted some of what my mom was preparing to eat, which she could NOT have–sloppy joes!

When these two get together, a barrel of laughs is had. Lol. You can hear my mom talking in the background stating something along the lines of, “You keep saying she can’t hear and can’t see” and also, “She wasn’t paying me any kind of attention.”

My mom is a loud talker. Everything she says is at a volume I’d consider NOT being an “inside voice.” I’m certain that’s the blend of the Bronx, New York and West Savannah, Georgia deeply embedded in her upbringing. Lol!

I’m forever “Shushing” her and to no avail. Oh, but she is certainly funny, and Jernee & I enjoy her company from time to time.

She can be a bit much, though. This weekend, however, we are managing not to get on each other’s nerves too badly. So, I’ll take it.

Also, this is my first post using the Jetpack app which WordPress has basically shoved down my throat. Please tell me if the post is generated okay for you on your end.

I’ve also been using the Jetpack reader for about three days. Not bad. Not bad at all, actually. I may end up being a fan.

The Transition to Microlocs and My Hair Journey in Phases

Phase II: The interlocking of new growth and clean hair

The interlocking of clean hair. Retwisting my microlocs one section at a time. Photo Collage Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt
The interlocking of new-growth and clean hair. Retwisting my microlocs one section at a time. Photo Collage Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

I endured seven straight weeks of not washing, scratching, and messing with my hair. Seven weeks. Please let that settle in your spirit for a moment. The entire process — the waiting — the watching new growth sprinkle in and make a home on my scalp; was a calming yet joyous occurrence.

I had the pleasure of witnessing my hair grow in from the scalp and surround the microlocs already in place. I could feel the extra hair sprout up every week and I beamed (and damn near beat my chest) with pride.

“My hair is doing what it should. I am happy.” At least twenty times, I have said that very phrase. I have stood in front of my bathroom mirror completely in awe at what Ajá (Yes, I named my hair, remember?) has graced me with, and she’s still doing amazing things.

I cannot wait to see what the next seven to eight weeks will have in store for the both of us.

Washing my hair after seven weeks

I knew there would be dandruff, of course, there would be! Seven weeks of not washing one’s hair can create a dirty, cakey, matted dandruff build-up that would need to be washed, scraped away, and plucked out (*cringe*) accordingly.

I already had a history of dry scalp and a dandruff issue if my hair had not been cared for appropriately, so this was no surprise to me. To have my hair washed and my scalp massaged and I did not have to do anything but stand in place and experience this form of love and care was a blessing to my entire soul.

My hair care products (for now): Lion Locs Conditioner, Jamaican Mango & Lime Tingling Shampoo, Lion Locs Rosewater Hair Spary, and Wild Growth Hair Oil. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt
My haircare products (for now): Lion Locs Conditioner, Jamaican Mango & Lime Tingling Shampoo, Lion Locs Rosewater Hair Spary, and Wild Growth Hair Oil. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

My cousin opted to shampoo my hair with my choice of shampoo (photographed above) only, stating that conditioning it would make it shiny and my already smooth/processed (permed) ends more of a problem. Every minute of her hands touching my head shifted me in so many ways.

The simple washing of one’s hair after not having it done in a couple of months can be a game-changer. I felt my heart lift and nearly leave my body. I felt a sense of peace overcome me. My legs buckled from the perfect touches to my scalp from my cousin’s fingers. It moved me to happiness and nirvana.

Before wash day, I used the Wild Growth Hair Oil (also photographed above) every week after the third week of having my locs installed.

When my locs are finally loc’d, I will begin using the conditioner and rosewater hair spray. I will keep these haircare products in rotation and add on a couple more as time passes.

Interlocking new growth and clean hair with existing locs

Once my hair had been cleaned thoroughly and towel-dried, my cousin began interlocking new growth to my existing locs. This process is painful. I used to get my hair braided regularly when I was younger, and that pain is nothing compared to this one.

I squealed — protested with my outstretched arms — flailed my hands in the air; smacked my cousin’s arms, etc. My cousin is so sweet and gentle, each time she’d rebut with this phrase, “Okay, baby. Okay. I almost got it. I almost got it. There. It’s done.” Or, “I know. I know. I’ve got it. It’s coming. I’m sorry.”

The best way for me to describe this process is to get you to visualize it with me as I write it out. Imagine your hair — from the root — being pulled and wrapped into (or around) your hair that has already grown from the root; then pulled again and pulled again and finally pulled down into the place of the existing hair.

Painful, right? I know. Here is a video to further emphasize what I endured:

How To Interlock Locs the RIGHT Way. ©GlamNaturalLife

My cousin used an interlocking tool (similar to the one shown in the video) and her hands for this process. She did this in sections. Some areas did not hurt nearly as much as others.

And as the content creator stated above, she did not choose to interlock too tightly because she has a tender scalp. I do not — I’ve never been tender-headed. So, my cousin’s interlocking method was tight.

And to be honest, the entire process was a relaxing but invigorating one.

I felt both hyped and in total serenity at the same time. This next step is complete, and I can find peace in adding another seven or eight weeks to this phase before the next wash and interlock.

Locs and smile. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt
Locs and smile. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

It is an overwhelmingly exciting journey and I am well-equipped with the tools to further endure what lies ahead. So far, Ajá has proven she can weather any storm that comes her way, and I am here for every battered window and every toppled trash bin.

We will not be moved or pushed aside, regardless of the intensity headed our way.

As you can see from the photo above, my hair has grown significantly from the previous starter locs article I shared. And I believe as each week passes, I will continue to see a decent increase in new growth which will make interlocking my hair once again in mid-to-late March a daunting task.

The total time for this session, including having my hair washed five times, was six hours and a little under thirty minutes.

And if you ask me if I will go through it all again, I’d happily say, “I sure will.”

Nothing beats the contentment I have welling up in my bones over the choice I made to go natural and loc my hair.

It’s here to stay for the foreseeable future — no turning back now.

Phase I

Originally published in An Injustice via Medium.