True Power

True Power

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Terilyn Cobb Interview

When did you start your dreads?
About 6 years ago, right after my divorce. I wore my hair permed and in a Halle Berry style for a long time, but my hair didn't "hold" a perm well at all so I was getting a relaxer every 3-4 weeks which is not recommended. To add to that, I hated the entire process and felt like a "sale out" every time i had my hair relaxed. So when I was separated, I went to braids. My ex would tell me how unattractive they were, but I felt good about not burning my head w/chemicals every month. But I felt so ugly every time I had to take the braids down and deal w/my 1/2 straightened, 1/2 natural head of hair.

Why did you choose this hair style?I saw a professionally dressed sister w/long locs and she was so beautiful. I realized that beautiful hair was possible while being true to who and what I am as a black woman. Also, I realized that a black woman could really have long hair!

What was the reaction/responses of family, friends, co-workers?My parents were mortified. My mother promised that my career would end if I persisted in this nonsense. My father just shook his head. Coworkers (I live in Sacramento which is not known as the most culturally diverse or open city) were intrigued. I got all the "how do you wash your hair" and "can I touch it" questions from co-workers. Oh, and I was promoted in the same year that I started my locs.

Did you become more confident or have any other personality changes?I'm in my mid 40's and my hair is almost to my butt. I think the combo of embracing the liberty of no longer feeling the need to conform to a European standard of beauty and stepping out of a very bad long term marriage was incredible. I experiment with different natural hair products that leave my hair smelling like coconuts, and almonds; I walk slowly in the rain and I exercise w/o worrying about my hair "reverting". I am definitely more self confident and I feel beautiful.

What is the reaction to your hair style now?Often I see fear on the faces of people when they first meet me, mostly whites, but not always... I guess they see my hair which is long and usually worn wavy, and think I'm a cannibal and they are my next meal. Or they think I'm "ghetto" and my head is gonna start rolling around my shoulders while I deliver a barrage of expletives about their mama at any given second. But honestly, my sistas can be the most annoying. They will often approach me and fling their weave out of their eyes and tell me how they like my hair, but they could never do anything like that because they like to wash their hair every week. Or, I'd love to do that to my hair, but my man loves to run his fingers through my hair". Or my personal favorite is the comments like "wow your hair is so long, you could take that a loose and straighten it and it would be beautiful" (my eyes rolled even while typing that one..). Almost w/o fail these remarks come from the sista w/the mostest weave who has managed to convince herself that she's sporting her real hair. My parents refused to believe that "all that hair" is really mine for the longest. In fact, I'm not sure my dad (77 yrs old) is fully convinced yet - everyone knows black folks hair don't grow that long. My sister, who straightens her hair, but was my stylist during my Hallie years helped convince me to loc my hair ( I think that was because she got sick of giving me free relaxers every 3 weeks!) thinks my hair is beautiful and she loves to color and style and decorate my hair w/shells.

Do you love your hair why or why not?Locs are a lot of work let there be no mistaking that and I often think about cutting them to shoulder length because of this. But then I look in the mirror after I've just washed, colored and curled my hair and all thoughts of scissors are gone. I also love having my hair smell of coconuts and almonds. The best part of that is when my 11 yr old son is tired or had a rough day, he leans against me while I'm sitting down and lays his head on mine & tells me how nice my hair smells. I also get a lot of attention from black men who stop me on the street to tell my how beautiful my hair is and ask what I use and how long I've worn my locs. I also love the secret society that we loc'd folks have. There is always at least a smile or nod when we cross paths - both with men and women. But I have to say my hair being beautiful makes me feel beautiful and I don't see myself ever again getting my hair relaxed or wearing a weave. That goes against everything I believe in about self acceptance


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