When I’m doing my own hair and I realize I’m short on product or I lack the skill it takes to make my ‘do match the Pinterest photo, I go hide in my bed for a while. I let my sore arms relax while I contemplate a big chop (or hibernation). A good stylist, however? She pivots.
I first decided to lock my hair when I was about 8 years old. It didn’t happen then, but I knew it would eventually. Every few years I would reconsider the decision until I hit my 20s when I started thinking about it every few months. I would have consultations with locticians and elaborate conversations with my friends who had locked their hair. I’d watch countless hours of YouTube videos on different methods and styles. Finally, a few months ago, I started my journey.
My hairstylist, Alicia, and I picked a random Sunday afternoon. I sat in the salon chair I bought for our home (the greatest self-care purchase I’ve ever made), and we got started. There are so many different ways to lock, style, and maintain your hair, but we decided that she would start the process that day and come back over in 4 weeks for a retwist. Fast forward 4 weeks, and it was time for my first retwist. We were half-listening-to and half-talking-over reality television as Alicia twisted my hair…
Until she stopped.
It wasn’t a reaction to whatever dramatic story I was telling at the time. She didn’t stop for a drink of water or even to reach for more product. It was that pause we all know—when you’re reevaluating your style decision. I slowly turned around to face my stylist-turned-family friend as she broke the news, “Girl, this isn’t gonna work.”
My hair texture was too fine for the method we were using. Plus, having had Covid twice and dealing with my doctor’s prescribed care for my mental health, my hair has gone through a lot of changes and doesn’t necessarily follow any rules given. So, there we were, poised to pursue my near-30-year-old dream, and there was little to no possibility that it was going to turn out the way I envisioned it.
Alicia explained how my hair would turn out if we kept it the way it was, and then she left the decision up to me. But she knows me, and she knows my style, so she added, “If you really want to go for the same look we talked about, we’re going to need to take this down and start completely over.”
The idea of taking my hair down was daunting. Even though I wasn’t physically doing it, I was discouraged that the plan had changed. I was embarrassed that my hair had changed. Yes, I was grateful for a stylist that is both honest and experienced, but I was disappointed that I had “lost” an entire month of a beginning that now seemed to be in vain.
Sometimes in order to accomplish tasks or reach goals, we have to go back to where we started. We have to be willing to take down what we were hoping to achieve and find a realistic starting point—even though we don’t want to begin again. Sometimes you have to start over to finish well.
That was 2 months ago. And—crazy enough—I had to check my calendar to confirm. In the moment, it felt like time would never move forward and that I may never feel excited about my hair again. But just minutes after my initial understanding of the situation, I began to feel grateful. Days after, I began to feel hopeful. And now, months later, I had to fact check some of the details. This is what starting over and finishing well looks like.
Have you ever had to start over from the beginning? How did you feel in that moment, and how did you feel after finishing well?
Deirdre Price says
I went back to college for Paralegal. I realized I had a gift I can find laws to win a cause. At first, I was like I am too old. I am not a teenager or in my twenties. I went back graduated as Cum Laude with honors. I could say, I finished well fulfilling one of my dreams. Ladies, nothing is impossible if you place your faith in God. He will bless you with desires of your heart. He will open doors of opportunities and you will be blessed than before.
Paula Stadeker says
We all start over during our lifetime, if we are honest, in relationships, jobs, projects etc. Every day is a start over because yesterday is gone and done!
Whitney Weathers says
Your post spoke to me! I’ve had locs three different times and this last time, I opted to comb them out. It. Took. Me. Days. To. Start. Over. And that’s the lesson: starting over isnt easy, but it’s worth it. Thank you, thank you for this!
Jo Ann says
Starting over almost always seems discouraging, but the thought of ending well is encouraging and exciting.
june Jenkins says
I am learning as well to do my own hair. Its the different products that I have to buy. Some works and others don’t but it such a lot of work. I wish that I can find a salon near me that does natural hair.
Alisha JP says
I needed to read this. I have been thinking about and working on a book for 4 years, and I don’t love it or feel the same energy I had when I first started. Last week I approached it a different way , starting from the beginning and it feels fresh and new! So glad I didn’t force it to an unhappy ending. I am excited about the direction it is heading now.
Once I read somewhere “you have to go back to move forward.” It can be a painful but necessary move but patience is a virtue. Thank you for article and I’m happy everything worked out in its time for you.
Cynthia Daniels-Banks says
Jamie, thank you for your piece; it was so on point.
Sometimes accomplishing a goal destined to move us forward may often mean we have to go backward— ugh! 🙄
But as you pointed out, at times it’s necessary.
One message inherent in your story which is a takeaway for me is that anything worth doing is worth doing well . . . even if we have to backtrack to get things back on track and get it right.
Thanks for sharing,
Jaime . . . By the way, I’m loving the locks, Sis!😉
Tasha Segears says
This was so moving, Jamie. Letting go of the expectation of what we thought things would be like and shifting gears to what now makes sense feels daunting. Beginning again can disguise itself as failure when we focus on all the time spent on what did not work. Whew!! May we have the courage to stop, begin again, change direction and finish well.