Hi! My name is Tamieka Grizzle-Martin, aka tgrizzle7 (Instagram), aka GrizzleRocsLocs (Youtube), lol! Too many aliases! But ME nonetheless. I reside in Georgia, I am a Florida Gator Alumna, former All-American, SEC Champ (2x) track and field athlete for the University of Florida, I exercise 6 days a week, I love, love, my profession/passion as a fifth grade teacher, and I am currently working on my doctorate: The Effect of Cognitive- and Metacognitive-Based Instruction on Problem Solving by Elementary Students. Oh, and people think I look like Kandi Burrus, I think it’s just the smile (see the side by side pic, you decide). My hair journey? So unorthodox. Details below.
How long have you been natural?
I have been natural for eight years. Two years in the natural free-form state and loc’d for over six years.
What motivated you to loc?
To be honest, I had no other recourse but to be natural. It all started back in 2004 (this won’t take long, promise J) when I did the unthinkable…relaxed my hair on a Monday and by Friday decided to dye my hair. What in the world was I thinking?!? And just like that, my hair started coming out in clumps, yikes! I tried to blame it on post pregnancy and thought, hmmm, this is natural, I’ve heard about women losing a little hair after having a baby……WRONG! It was all my fault and it was not just a little hair loss, I’m talking clumps! So, I thought I would strengthen my hair by getting kinky twists braided into my hair. To make a long story short, I got frustrated and did the “Big Chop”. I woke up one day and cut every single twist out of my hair not caring if I cut my real hair or not. I was tired of the delicacy of relaxed hair, the constant relaxers, and knew my hair would never be the same after the damage I put it through. I rocked an afro for about two years and loved how strong and thick my hair was and no matter how many times I dyed my hair, it maintained its strength. I discovered that natural hair is the strongest hair to have! Now, how I started locking my hair? I think it was after watching a Lauryn Hill or India Arie video. You see, I have a problem with throwing caution to the wind and just doing without thinking, hence the relaxer/dye/big chop episodes 🙂 But I thought their locs were so beautiful, so expressive, symbolic of going against the grain, a defiance of accepting society’s norms of beauty, and I wanted to be all of that!!! So, that’s exactly what I did by locking my hair.
What has been the most memorable part of your journey? Has it been easy or difficult or both?!
The most memorable part of my journey is the day when my daughter, (the one I tried to blame my hair loss on right after having her, lol) who was seven at the time, looked at me and said, “Mommy, I love your hair, can I get locs too?” I was so taken aback and impressed with my daughter’s decision because even after the influences of all the hair commercials, children’s television shows, and peers at school with relaxed hair, MY daughter was not swayed to chemically alter her natural hair to make it straight. So, I said “No”. WHAT?!? WHY?!? My daughter sees Mommy with long hair and I think that is what she wanted, long hair, and if it took locs to get long hair that is what she was willing to do to get it. So, she begged for a year and during that time I warned her that locs are not braids, you just can’t take them out when you want to and then put them back in. I also told her that her hair is symbolic of her heritage and pride and should not be looked at as just a fad. Most importantly, I told her if she wanted to get rid of her locs one day, that I would have to shave it all off with a razor and she will be bald like Daddy. She was not budging. She continued to beg for another year despite my threat and reassured me that is was something she felt strongly about. After almost two years of her tenacity about the idea of getting loc’d, I finally gave in and did it myself J
I have had no difficulties during my loc journey, except for the mucho dollars I was spending on maintenance, the reason why I took charge of my own maintenance and styles. I’m now saving about $150 to $200, the amount I used to spend each month on my hair!
Oh! Concerning difficulties, there was this one time I was blasted on Facebook for having blonde locs after I was featured on “Black Women with Dreadlocks”. I don’t want Patricia to breathe out a long sigh because this story can get lengthy, so in a nutshell, check out my response to having blonde locs on Instagram. I posted pictures of beautiful dark-skinned Melanesian children with natural blonde hair. Melanesians are an ethnic group from Melanesia, an island around Australia. With that being said, Europeans are not the only race with natural blonde hair, the race I was accused of trying to imitate. No, I’m not a natural blonde, but yes, it is my prerogative to express myself as I see fit. I am well aware of my African decent and West Indian ethnicity. Okay, I’m getting off my soapbox now.
My family embraces my natural hair. But the older ones like granny, don’t understand it. Granny thought I had braids and that my hair was not real, bless her heart J As a fifth-grade teacher, my hair is always the topic of discussion amongst my students: What will Mrs. Grizzle’s hair look like this week? What is that silver thing (loc jewelry) in your hair? Why do you always have a different hairstyle? At first some teachers didn’t know how I achieved locs and others thought I permed my roots because sometimes the front of my hair would be laid after I tied it down overnight…huh? I was asked if all of my hair is mine and I politely answered “Yes, Black people can have long hair too!” Geesh! I also allowed my White colleague to touch my hair……whaaaaaat? Yes, I did! I hope I quenched her curiosity J
Depending on how the wind blows, I might wash my hair, it’s such an arduous task…okay, okay, maybe every two to three weeks (leaning more towards the three weeks). I mix my own oils: tea tree oil, known as an antiseptic and antifungal treatment; a little bit of peppermint oil, gives a cooling effect and eliminates dry scalp; jojoba oil, an antioxidant and antibacterial; and Jamaican black castor oil, good for moisturizing, strengthening, and increases hair growth. I mix these oils along with Hask Placenta extra strength leave-in conditioner (because I have color) in a spray bottle and spray my hair every other day for moisture and cleanliness. So see, why do I have to wash my hair when my oils do everything for me….just kidding!
What are (or were) some of your favorite transitioning hairstyles or current dos?’
Wow! I have so many styles that I have created, I really can’t decide. I’ll let my pictures speak for themselves J