(Nearly) 42 years of Hair

My mom, over at Living Learning and Letting Go, and our friend Kathie at Chosen Perspectives, both did very fun Hair posts recently, detailing their hairstyles over the course of their lives.  Kathie was responding to a post by Marilyn Armstrong over at Serendipity.  Reading them, you couldn’t help but laugh, and I thought that I’ve got to get in the action, as I love hair, and have gone through my fair share of styles along the way. So I present to you, (nearly) 42 years of hair.

Me and Pops
Me and my Pops

The thing about being a kid is you don’t really get to pick out your first style. And the thing about having an afro is that you really have to rock the afro. I didn’t rock the afro and don’t tell me it’s cute. Of course it’s cute looking back on it, but when nobody else has one and you can’t figure out why you are the “awkward” kid, it can leave scars.

Of course everything changed when I discovered Michael Jackson. Then I was trying to find anyway I could to curl it up. My parents, maybe living on a budget, didn’t bother to introduce me to a real jerry curl, so I went on experimenting in my own way.



By the time
I got to 6th grade
I’d developed
some serious
love interests, so
I went for the, more
short afro.


The short afro lasted until I was introduced to Metallica. At which point I conked it out. Wow, you thought I was the awkward kid before. Try going to a high school and being only one of three rockers. And that was my freshmen year, and the other two were older. Pretty soon I was representing all by my lonesome.

But then I met Amma and things really started to change. This is me on my first trip to India in 1992. Had I known I would be teased mercilessly for my braids, I would have probably chosen a different look. But I was thinking, hey I won’t have to comb my hair for a week!


A weird convergence of events happened when I came back from India where the ashramites had mostly shaved heads or really long hair. That event coincided with Spike Lee’s Malcolm X. And there is a big scene in it where he shaves off the conk. You can’t be a conked out brother after watching Malcolm X – just sayin’.

Kept the short hair for a few years and moved into the ashram in 1994. Eventually I decided I wanted to grow my hair out again, but I didn’t want to conk it. That led to relaxing it just enough to grow it long enough to pull it back so I wouldn’t have to use the chemicals anymore. Those couple years were a painful in-between experience, where I ended up receiving the nickname of wolf-man chettan (older brother).

Finally after being able to tie it back, and put it into a bun, I just left it alone.

Unless you’re on tour with me, and you happen to see my morning look. (Warning, slightly scandalous but far too hilarious to deny) Or somebody lets me have a guitar again.

Ok, now I want to see all of your hair journeys!

About the author

I am a King without a Kingdom, in a world with many masters, wrapped in the spoils of a jealous heart, and my people’s callous laughter.


  1. Hilarious is right. I’ve never seen the last pictures before! I can’t even remember the last time I’ve seen your hair down. I love your post!!!!

  2. I am not even sure I have the pictures to do this. Really cool though! Makes me wish I had some awesome hair. My hair is too fine to do anything with, so I just buzz it.

  3. This is so funny. My middle son followed your hair journey starting with the Michael Jackson jacket. Why am I laughing? He had perfectly straight hair and had to work to make it curly. He even at one point had dreadlocks.

  4. Thanks for the chuckle.
    I first had my head shaved for pancha karma in 2006. Since around 2011 I keep it buzzed at #2 in summer, #3 in winter and #1 or 0 in India. Stroking my head when it’s just been buzzed at #2 feels like petting a cat. I love it! Haven’t used a comb in years and thinning hair is no longer an issue. 🙂

  5. Awesome post…that look with shoulder length as a teen reminds me of my son letting his hair grow at 15 I dyed them blue. All the looks are dated and adorable. I had to laugh at your more sophisticated look in Grade 6 🙂

  6. Who knew a simple response to someone else’s blog would stimulate such delightful stories about all these amazing Hair Journeys!?

    The only thing I have to add to my own story is that in high school, when I was chosen for the traveling Folk Singing Group, I found out later it was because my hair looked like a folk singer’s. A San Diego Surfer transplant to Natchez, Mississippi, I was literally the only girl in my whole school with LONG HAIR!! (Broke my heart that I wasn’t picked because I was going to be the next Judy Collins or Joan Baez!!)

Join the discussion.

%d bloggers like this: