Alright, Fam, I’m ’bout to tell you a story.
A story about a woman who made herself a Birthday promise.
And this here is the place where it all went down –– Tangles and Locks Barbershop in the beautiful little city of Altadena, CA.
I had been there to trim my locs once before. About four years ago.
And when I walked in on my birthday – due to Covid — the usually packed shop looked similar to this.
There were only two customers. A sister getting lined up and a little boy, didn’t look more than four, sitting on his father’s lap for what was probably his first haircut.
There were also only two barbers were on duty. And neither was the one I was expecting.
You see, I had been texting my barber — the amazing coiffeur to the stars, DL — to arrange for my big chop, because I trusted NO ONE else to do it. And he informed that he was booked on a the TV show “All American,” Monday through Friday, and now only he only cuts hair at his shop on Saturdays, and would have to work me in around 11am.
Bet. I didn’t care if I had to wait all day, I packed my snacks and a book and was prepared to do just that.
Then, I showed up on Saturday and NO DL. My heart sunk.
Seriously, Fam. I was so stunned, I just stood frozen in the shop’s doorway.
Then, the young barber – at least it looked that way with a mask covering half his face – smiled at me and said:
“Welcome, Sis. What can we do for you, Queen?”
“Is DL here?”
“Naw, he got called out of town on business. What can we do for you? You want to get her locs retwisted?”
Fam, if saw how my hair was looking, you would understand why he asked that. Because I had been planning to cut my hair, I hadn’t re-twisted my locs in a month and I had mad new growth.
“Naw, I want to get it chopped off.”
“Oh, word? Well, we got clippers.”
My mind raced. Who the hell was the young as hell barber wanting to take clippers to my crown?
“Uh…Can I think about it?”
“Yeah,” said the sister getting lined up, “she looks like she’s been weighing this decision for a while, she can’t switch up like that.”
Hell yeah. That part.
“No pressure,” the young barber chimed back. “Why don’t just hang out for awhile until you decide?”
Nervous as hell, I took a seat. And as my cell phone buzzed from sistah texting me for updates, I watched the care the young barber took cutting that little boy’s hair and I decided I would let him do it, because I KNEW after 23 years of rocking my locs, I was gonna need him to take the exact same care with me.
“OK. We can do this,” I said, readying to show him some pics on my cell phone. “But I got a few questions for you, if you don’t mind.”
“This is how I looked 24 years ago. I want to return to this, but a 2021 version that can grow to this. Can you do it?”
“I got you. What’s your name?”
“Monice, I’m Jayson. I got a client coming any minute now. As soon as I’m done with him, I’ll get you in the chair, OK?”
I said, “OK,” Fam. But I wasn’t really. In fact, I was starting to get a little nervous. Luckily, Sistah distracted me with a phone call.
“Monice, you ready?”
I sat down in Jayson’s chair, my hands slightly quivering.
“Why am I so nervous?”
“Because this is a big deal. You said it’s been 23 years, right?”
“You sure you want to do this?”
“It’s my birthday. I promised myself.”
“OK,” Jayson said, scissors in his right hand, one of my front locs in his left. “I got you.”
OK. When he snipped off my first loc, it didn’t sound in all caps, but that’s what I felt in my sha na na when I yelped.
“OK. OK. Monice, I only cut one. We can stop.”
“No, no, it’s for my birthday. I promised myself. I won’t yelp every time you cut a loc, I promise.”
“Yes. Let’s do this.”
And loc by loc, Jayson – carefully preserving my new growth – snipped as I internally yelped to myself. LOL
What felt like an eternity at first was over before I knew it.
Gently, Jayson gathered my locs off the floor and handed them to me.
“We gotta document this.” he said, whipping out his own camera. (He took these shop photos, btw)
And as he handed me my locs, I started to tearing up.
Damn. I had heard folks say over the years how cutting their locs after years, decades even, was an emotional experience. And I always thought it was BS.
But holding, in effect, 23 years of life in my hands hit me in a way I wasn’t expecting.
A mixture of sadness, joy and excitement is what you see in these pics, Fam.
I couldn’t believe I had done it!
Now, just enjoy the mastership of my new best friend, Jayson Fernandez aka Jayson the Barber!
And don’t miss the side view!
Thank you so much for gifting me my new haircut, Jayson! This is a RETURN to me and I feel BRAND NEW!
And check out my first selfie with my new DO!
I had to weigh my hair when I got home.
Funny. All of the weight I felt from these locs, both physically and emotionally. Yet, they don’t even register enough for my scale to compute?!
I don’t care what this stupid scale says, I felt a weight lifted off my shoulders when Jayson cut them off and the weight they carried in my life’s journey can’t be measured.
So excited to see what my next 50 years will bring and looking to donate my locs to organizations that make wigs for Black women cancer survivors/patients.
If you can suggest any people or organizations that can help me with this, please let me know!