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  • A Rant, A Plea, A Call...an Update

     

    Sorry for taking up server bandwidth but I guess I need some cyber-laying on of hands here...

    For those who don't know: I've been locked/locking for 3 years and a little over 2 months. I started with two-strand twists and maintain by latching. I have thick but fine-textured nappy hair that locked up very quickly (10 months).

    It's been a little over 6 weeks since my last latching and I cannot bring myself to latch the new growth. I have a LOT of new growth...a little over an inch worth stretched out. The more I play with it, the more I realize just how much I miss my loose hair. There's an earlier forum thread on reasons for unlocking and in it honeychild says something that just rings with me: Long hanging hair is just NOT my aesthetic. It's just like the last time I had extensions (7 years ago), which I took out after 5 weeks. And if it were just about hanging hair, I'd be all right with updos and headwraps (thanks BajanEmpress) but it's more than that. It's lint, recurring mildew fears, lightening color, and just not enjoying the feel of my locs compared to the feel of my new growth.

    I miss my loose hair, but apparently I don't miss it enough to want to take the fastest route back to it, which would be to just cut my locs off at the new growth.

    Does this make me a hypocrite? Maybe I'm being hard on myself, but I'd say it does. I'm the one always saying that there's nothing wrong with the TWA. And what's really crazy is that right now a TWA would make the most sense for me. I'm two months away from graduating, one month away from first thesis deposit, and I can't afford to spend too much time with my hair (but see below).

    I have about 10 locs saved from last summer's beheading of two-headed dragons. This morning I took one of the longer ones (about 8") and picked it out using water, conditioner, a push pin, and a fork (because I have no combs). Going slowly, it took almost exactly 30 minutes from start to finish (I timed it) and even though I lost an amount of hair equivalent to a small cotton ball (for ONE skinny-azz loc!), I was surprised at how much hair I had left over. The final two-strand twist was about 4" long unstretched. And except for the inch or so of crispy ends that I'd probably trim...OH, the twist felt sooo good! Soft and spongy like my loose hair, not hard (yes, I said it) like my locs.

    One of the other reasons why I'm considering picking them out is because of something posted here about latched locs actually being faster to take out than palm-rolled locs (relatively speaking...I know that taking down locs is not a fast process in general). I just assumed that, given MY hair type, I'd have to cut them off, and I was cool with that...or at least I thought I was. If I were to pick the hair out, it would pretty much stay in twists between shampoos. I'm in school...the twists don't have to be perfect. Plus, with 8 years of nappy hair care experience under my belt, it wouldn't be as huge of a deal as it might be for someone who went straight from TWA to locs.

    Here's the deal: If I start tomorrow (3/4) and do a few at a time on school days and more during spring break, I could be unlocked by the end of this month, if not a little sooner. I figure I can wear headwraps when I cross the halfway point...I can't see myself walking around half-locked.

    I'm going to talk to my natural inspiration this weekend. She's been locked as long as I've been natural (11 years) and she's thinking about cutting hers off when she graduates medical school this May. I'm also interested in your thoughts...ALL of them. Am I crazy? Stupid? Both? Should I cut them off now? Pick them out now? Pick them out later? Keep growing them? Just breathe and step away from the push pin?

    Thanks for reading/listening.

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    Hey LBellatrix!

    Hmmm...if you are unsure about this decision, I'd step away from the push-pin for a moment and reflect and make sure this is really what you want to do.

    If it's moreso about long, flowing hair not being your "bag"...then may I suggest perhaps considering simply keeping your locs trimmed ONLY to a certain length? Who says that just because one has locks and that locks grow downward that you HAVE to let them grow and grow? A good friend of mine used to keep her locks at a particular length...anytime they began creeping down past that point, she would either trim them or get them trimmed by someone else. But she did NOT want long locks "bothering" her...she just liked the freedom of having them with not having to do much of anything to her hair.

    Also, I wanted to suggest along with keeping them at a certain length that is comfy for you, free-forming rather than latching.

    But if you really just miss the sight along with the feel of your loose hair (just remember the maintenance involved and reflect back on the reason(s) you locked in the first place) then maybe unlocking is what you really want and should do.

    You also have the option of growing the locs out...freeform and not latch for a while and let the roots grow out more so that if you didn't want to take all the locks down, you could still simply chop and still have a length that is good for you. That is what I did with my daughter, Rachel when we got rid of her locks. I must admit, sometimes I get a little envious when I see her big, fluffy fro But at this point, I can't see ME without my locks...but who knows what may happen in a year or more from now!

    Just my thoughts! Best wishes to you on whatever you decide!

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    Well.....For starters...I think we all miss our loose hair sometimes...I have toyed with the idea of lopping the locs off a zillion time. I do not,becuase Long hair is"Me'..I like long hanging hair on me-so it feels comfy. If it doesn't feel right=cut it. If you have a friend to help you pick it out=do it. You are human. You have a right to your feelings and i cannot think of one negative thing to say about the way you feel. I support you and hope that you will find peace in whatever decisionyou make..
    -D

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    Wow! Please keep us posted
    it seems to be a trend going on.
    Much love either way you go..you;ve been an inspiration to me!

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    It seems like you have thought long and hard about taking down your locks. is ultimatly your decision and no one here should judge you. If you decide you want locks again there is no shame in starting another set. Good luck in whatever you decide.

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    I WISH SOMEONE WOULD HAVE TIES MY HANDS UP WHEN I CUT MY FIRST SET OF LOCS. I KNOW THE EXPERIENCE ISNT THE SAME FOR EVERYONE, BUT WHEN I CUT MY LOCS THE FIRST COUPLE MONTHS I THOUGHT THAT I WAS COOL W/ IT bUT IN THE LONG RUN I WANT. I MISSED MY SUED LIKE ROPES. ALL IM SAYING IS JUST MAKE SURE THATS WHAT U REALLY WANT TO DO. TODAY I HIT THE 1.5 YR MAR ON MY 2ND SET & M NOT LOOKING BACK. MAKE SURE THE POWER OF SUGGESTION ON THESE BOARDS ARENT GETTING TO U EITHER. IVE NOTICED AN INFLUX OF SISTERS DOING & PNDERING THE SAME THING.

    I LOVE MY FRO i HAD BUT I GOT TIRE OF HAVING TO BUY SH!t LOADS OF CONDITIONER TO DETANGLE IT & SUCH.

    BUT I OVERSATAND U HAVE UR REASONS FOR UNLOCKING/ CUTTING UR LOCS. ALL IM SAYING IS MAKE SURE ITS SOMETHING U REALLY WANT TO DO.
    GOOD LUCK IN WHICH EVER ROUTE U CHOOSE!

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    aw lbell. just last night i was looking over my first albums all the way up through last month and it energized me for whatever is to come. though i wasn't ready to give my locks up, i just wasn't as appreciative of them as i am now.
    given all that, i just can't imagine feeling that way about my locks right now, but i can feel your longing for what's *right*.

    rockinlocs suggested some of what i was going to say: 1. trim them to a good length and keep them there;
    2. trim them to a length and grow out the roots so that if you decide to unravel them it would be more manageable timewise, without energy wasted on length you don't necessarily plan to keep;
    3. consider freeforming--your new growth won't be so bound up by latching, you can feel it and play with it, and have the full bounicness with untamed roots that you don't necessarily have with latched/twisted roots;
    4. freeform for a while and cut from there.
    5. start unraveling toward the back or in an inconspicuous place. should you decide to keep going you're almost there. should you decide that a loose fro isn't for you, you can always retwist them and keep on stepping.

    overall, i'd say review (realistically) why you chose to lock in the first place and evaluate (realistically) the amount of upkeep and attention necessary for how you think you'd like you hair to be. a nice chart always helps a bit, and decide from there. but also remember that your emotions mean something, so even if something makes sense on paper in favor of keeping or letting them go, listen to your heart.

    you have options here. let the scissors be reflective of a made up mind, not a frustrated one.

    p.s. regarding length--i've always said that if i ever cut my locks i was going back to ttwa. i love my hair short and remember the ease of less hair. i also know that I DON'T DO HAIR. it might look nice, but i'm not a stylist and don't want to recruit one. weirdly though, as against long hair as i've been all my life, generally regarding it as a hassle, i'm excited and oddly comfortable with my locks getting longer.

    our desires and circumstances can be rather unpredictable and complex. listen to what you feel and consider why, but don't beat yourself up either way. just interrogate it a bit. if you want some length (you'll have to sort thru why , but don't want to do diana ross, just choose something manageable that makes you feel comfortable. and know that whatever you decide, should you change your mind, you STILL have options.

    hope this soliloquy helps some :P

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    Hmmm. Watercolorz(?) mentioned this in the perceptions of "sisterlocks and naturality" thread. She posted that the number one reason why people get rid of locks is because of technical difficulties that they could not resolve themselves and this is the value of someone like a sisterlocks consultant as someone who is knowledgable and can step in and help people when they are going through a dreadlock crisis. And then funny enough I was involved in an offline conversation today with someone who knows that I am toying with the idea of offering loctician services and she was telling me that this is the main reason why I should go for it.

    Note - I'm not in any way stating that you have doing anything but the best for your hair but it sounds like you have a two part issue and one part of it is that you've run into technical difficulties with lint and mildew, etc. I also saw another thread (I think this was the castor oil thread) where you stated that you had issues with dryness. Now it could be that if you had locks that looked and felt the way you wanted them to feel you wouldn't be contemplating spending a month tearing them apart.

    We all can learn from each other and from someone else no matter how long we've been on any journey and it could be if you could resolve the technical issues you wouldn't be at this moment. The other issue is whatever else is going on in your personal life. I'm not going to pry because that's not my place but I'm going to take the liberty of saying whatever it is - it's still going to be there whether or not you take out your locks.

    Bottom line. The choice is yours about this. You don't need the permission from anyone here. But since you asked. I'm giving my 2.5 cents. If you decide to unlock and then miss them you can always lock again.

    Best wishes.

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    I'm looking forward to seeing what you decide.

    I know personally two women who had locs aged in the decades who let them go: one shaved her head, the other released them.

    Releasing is still a new idea. One thing that appeals to locers is the idea that they are permanent.

    Nothing's permanent.

    Even the most perfect love (mother to child...the day of birth) will change, deepen, get TESTED , so on.

    So too with your locs in a sense but more like love between two adults. You fall in love, live in love for years, and then a day comes where, while you still have love for them, something needs to change.

    It's okay, be easy with yourself. Out of all the natural hairstyles, I believe lox carry the heaviest burden of EXPECTATIONS. Folks expect that you'll never cut them, they expect that you enjoy smoking herb, they expect that you will have sage advice ever at the ready, they EXPECT THAT YOU ARE UNCHANGING.

    Again, be easy with yourself. My sister undid one loc about a year or so before she even started the process of unlocking. ONE. My eldest undid 2 or 3 and decided she wanted to keep her locs.

    If you ask my youngest why she released 10 year old beautiful locs, she will answer simply, "It was time."

    ~mc~

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    Hey Lbella *waves*

    It doesn't sound like its just a length issue for you or even the other things you've mentioned, mildew, lightening colour etc. It sounds like it may just be time for a change for you. I've always thought that this set of locks that I have are my first and that I will cut them one day. I will probably eventually re-lock but I definitely know that in time I will cut them.

    I think that sometimes things are for seasons and if you feel strongly enough about something, when you do it there will be no regrets.

    Funnily enough my bf and I discussed this one night this week- he loves my locks and the length is part of that, we got together when they were mature and he didn't see any of the growing stages. However he's come around to the idea that I will let go of these locks and he suggested to me that if I keep them around for a few more years then we have our first baby I can cut my hair and start something new with a new life. I've commited to keeping them (for my own reasons) until at least summer 2009 but I liked the sound of that and I think its something I will probably do because I think at that point I will be fully ready to let this set go.

    I have also thought about how I will get back to loose hair, if I will pick it out or if I will shave my head again. I don't know that I have the patience for picking my hair out but I do think its a viable option. If you do decide to let go of your locks and you are unsure about which route you want to go I would suggest picking them out first because then if you are tired/overwhelmed/just don't want the sheer amount of loose hair that emerges, then you can shave to a TWA. By picking out the locks you give yourself a way to explore both options, going to the TWA first is faster but doesn't give you the same flexibility.

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    LBell: You just sound stressed to me and I would hold off on any decision like this until after you graduate and things settle for you a bit.

    And on the other hand, I think that is the great thing about America, we have choices and can change our minds and changing our minds doesn't make us hypocrites or loosey goosey or undecided - it makes us HUMAN and it is all good.

    Whatever you decide I am sure it will be the best choice for you. BTW I saw that loc'ed girl from Floetry on Def Comedy Jam loc'less and TWA'd out. It really brought attention to her nice bone structure and pretty face without the distraction of all the hair. Not trying to sway you either way but you are not the only one.

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    IA with Tiye in that you can always loc back up should you decide to unravel them.

    In regards to the TWA - there IS nothing wrong with it but there's nothing wrong with not being in the mood to wear one either. When the mood strikes for a twa then you wear that. When the mood strikes for length then you grow it out. Sounds like you want length right now and nothing wrong with that.

    I cut off my first set of locs after almost a year and I have no regrets as I had my reasons; however, the only style that I wore was my shrunken fro and I kept cutting my hair. At first I was just going to wear my twa until I locked again and it only kept growing longer because it was always hard to gauge how much to cut to keep it at 3 inches. Then I found that a couple more inches wasn't THAT cumbersome so long as I wore my shrunken fro. Then I found that I had to "fit in" the hair cuts which were time consuming. When I grew tired of the fro and wanted length and to try different styles. I convinced myself that I'd start twisting it up and wearing twists, twistouts, etc...I could NEVER bring myself to spend that much time on my hair. And ultimately wore my shrunken for the whole 19 months or so. I say all of this because it is important to think about who you are and to consider your lifestyle. I don't really think that that changes despite your hair state. I definitely discovered about myself that no matter what I was NOT going to spend time styling my hair in ANY way other than that shrunken fro and since I began to want length and styles now, growing it out in its loose state wasn't practical for me. If you are not a hair person (in that you will not commit a lot of time to it) or/and if your lifestyle doesn't permit it then I would say weigh that - particularly if you don't want to wear a twa because length will require time and maintenance. No you are NOT crazy lol! If you miss your loose hair that much then by all means rock it again with pride and enjoy it but like Rockinlocs said, just remember what it may require and be sure that you are ready to embrace that. Also IA with what moonchild said. I by no means will sit here and say that I will never go back to loose hair. I know that I'll wear the twa again. Now long, loose hair...I don't know about that one lol.

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    Does this make me a hypocrite? [...] Am I crazy?...

    I hope you'll take the best decision for you, just YOU!

    While i was reading your post i was thinking as a newbie ( i just started mine) if one day i want to wear my loose hair again i will grow out my hair to have a lot of new growth and just cut off the locks . Life is short do what you wanna do

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    Like everything in our life we change, grow and die! You are about to graduate, embark on a new journey and your hair as well. I don't think you are stupid by no means. You are simply ready for a new look. I say go for it let things happen for you. If you feel this in your heart then do what makes you feel good. There is nothing wrong with change........

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    In the end, it's just hair. Cut 'em. Keep 'em. It doesn't really matter. I grew my dreads because "it was time". Although I've been natural for decades, I was ready for a change from my little afro. When I grow tired of my dreads or feel it's time to make a change in my life again, I'll cut them off. You should not feel like you're being hypocritical or anything else. It's just hair. If you want dreads again, you'll go back to them. Girl, do what's best for you and hold your head high!

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    Best of luck with your choice. This past summer I took down 4 year old locs. It took about a month of slow picking. I don't regret my choice because I KNEW without any doubt or hesitation that it was time for a change. When youre ready, you'll know it, so I wouldnt start taking them out until you are super sure! I enjoyed my loose hair for a bit and now I'm locing again (praise God, no more detangling!! ). Let me know if youre interested in my album.

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    Thanks, everyone. I really appreciate your thoughtful responses.

    Okay, so I took a few hours to breathe and think and do some stuff, and right now...I'm not going to latch my new growth, and I'll wear my hair up for the most part. I won't cut or pick apart my locs...right now.

    I'll come back later with more specific responses. Just wanted to say thanks.

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    I wish you peace with whatever you decide! I think your locs are beautiful though. But I can understand wanting the loose hair and also not want to have a TWA.... Decisions, decisions.

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    I have about the same amount of loose hair right now and I occasionally play with it and think about what it'd be like to have loose hair again. Then I think about the amount of time I was spending washing detangling and then styling my hair when it was loose and I have no desire to go through that again.

    Whatever you decide, make sure you're making the decision with a clear head, it sounds like you're under some type of stress right now.

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    Okay, so I took a few hours to breathe and...

    I'm glad you're going to wait. Like rockinlocs said you can freeform until you've made a firm decision. There's nothing wrong with taking stock (if something is no longer working) or simply wanting a change. It's just best to make major decisions when you're 100% certain, and you know in your heart of hearts what it is that's right to do. It's funny I've came accross this thread bc last night I was out with a friend who wants to shave her 3yrold sisterlocks off bc she's encounted a few problems and the locs have not turned out like she expected. I was saying this very same thing to her! I wish you all the best in whatever route you take.

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    Quote:Then I think about the amount of time I was...

    I agree with Surfsister, in the end, hair is only that, hair. I think we need to let go of the guilt of wanting to do something different with our hair, it's one area we're allowed to be superficial and fickle. We change our wardrobes, redecorate our homes, change lipstick coloue, change careers, make lifestyle changes so it's no suprise that after staring at our hair for such a long time, we feel the need to try something different. I've been cutting and growing back my hair for a long time but I still had trouble letting go of my locks even though I had no choice. Lucky for me Talkingyam's helped me through it. They were shoulder length but that was because I had lopped off about 8" last fall when I first considered to cut them completely but then I changed my mind for exactly the reason that Ebonique said. I'm not a hair person either. I spent years palm rolling my locs and then I just got tired of that and stopped, doing it only once in a blue moon. Tanks to forum I now know how to take care of my nappy hair but still I decided to stick with my TWA. Until I feel like changing...

    I always found that I would overthink what to do with my hair until one day my brain gets tired of all the talking and waits until a moment of silence, usually just as I wake up, and says exactly what I have to do. That was the story when I BCed my CFC hair 10 years ago, the same when I decided to lock my hair and again when I cut them off even though I had trouble accepting that last edict. Sometimes we know exactly what to do we still have trouble accepting it. When you'll be ready you'll just do what you want.

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    I feel you, LBell. I thought about cutting my locs for two solid years out of the seven I had them. I fretted and fretted over it.

    After hacking at them for 9 months -- cutting from two feet to 8-9 inches -- I wasn't satisfied until I cut them completely off. I didn't even know you could "release" them. I just needed a change and all "fresh" naps. There was a bunch of psychological crap attached to my decision, but it was time anyway.

    Just think about it long and hard -- What's your motivation? Is this a rash decision? What are your options? -- so that you don't regret it.

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    Aww sis.

    I don't know what to tell you. I love your hair and envy the journey you have already taken. What ever you decide...we luv ya!

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    I constantly toy with cutting my locs off. I have one more year left before I can do anything to my hair. I miss my loose hair. I love my locs too. I love the length my hair is now. It is where I want it to be for now. I can definitely understand how this can be a conflicting decision. I would just suggest to give your self a realistice time period and if you still feel the same then cut your hair. Good luck to you!

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    I'm glad you've decided to hold off for a while. And of course for a selfish reason: I love your locs!

    I wonder though, how will twists change the length and hanging issues? Won't they hang and look long too?

    Oh and btw, I might as well say this before you actually "do" release your locs...thank you for all the DIY support you give on forum. I'm only in month 2 of my journey, but your posts and avid enthusism for DIY loc care really helped me along in my own journey, so thank you.

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    You are not a hypocrite! You'd be the LAST person on this site that I'd call a hypocrite. You've been an inspiration to hundreds (if not thousands) of women who desire to go natural, don't know how to take care of their natural hair, and/or who are struggling w/loving/accepting their natural texture. In '03, I found your site a couple of months before I ever stumbled upon naturality (THANK YOU!!). Just because you don't desire to rock a TWA at this moment doesn't mean that you're a hypocrite. You can't rock or even desire to rock every natural hairstyle at one time. I honestly believe that we "natural" women are too hard on ourselves. It's like we've put ourselves in a completely different type of bondage--the "am I nappy enough" mentality . You LOVE your natural hair. To me, this is all that matters. I don't care if you wear it short or long, locked or loose, product filled or product free-- you love your natural hair and you've helped countless other black women love their natural hair. What more can you ask of yourself? Honey, life is a journey and it's way too short to make yourself feel bad over hair. If you feel the need to release your locks, release them. If life ever calls for you to lock again, you know how to get there!

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    ^^^ Applejacks said a mouthful and I agree wholeheartedly.

    Peace,
    Nyckei

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    Hey twin,

    I am sitting here reading your post fingering my new growth and thinking about the many changes that I have gone through with my locs. Palm roll, semi freeform, freeform, twist front only, no twist, latch some, latch all. The list goes on and on. I love my loose texture but am not at the point of wanting to cut them only because I am not committed to dealing with my loose hair right now. Maybe a twa down the road but not now. I am however, committed to natural hair and plan to live that way for the rest of my life. I feel good about that because to me that is what is most important. So when the time comes that my mind calls for a change, I will embrace whatever it is. The beauty of it all is that we have choices and we can be selfish about our choices. So if you rock locs or a twa or a baa, it is all good. This is your journey.

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    In the end, "It's Your Hair" and Never feel guilty about what YOU want to do with YOUR HAIR!!!!!!

    That's my quick answer/comment.

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    Pick up a paddle, girlfriend, because we are in the same boat! I have been thinking of "going loose" since September, but I don't want to cut them off. I have had a ball these last five years with locs and...I don't know if it sounds crazy or not, but I want to keep some part of them with me. Just last week I tried the conditioner/fork experiment one two locs. I absolutely love, love, LOVE the loose hair that's hanging on my neck. I cannot stop fingering them. I adore my locs, but I am not looking forward to another hot summer under a mess of hot hair.

    As far as the time it takes to detangle and style, I look at it as me being forced to take time out for myself. It takes me hours to style and blowdry my locs anyway (when I'm not being lazy). I went straight from TWA to locs and I am looking forward to detangling, protective styling, and all that jazz that I don't get to do with locs.

    I guess I said all that to say, heck no, you're not crazy, stupid or hypocritical. But...I do agree with the other posters, that you definitely should think about it and be completely sure before you commit precious time to picking them out. But if you do decide to "release them," and then reconsider, you can loc again, right?

    I've actually been wondering how crazy it would be for me to keep some locs and have some of my hair loose so I could have the best of both worlds. Don't think Akron is ready for all that...

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