Free Form Locs: My Natural Hair Journey

Namaste with Katie J

When I was a little girl my mom and grandma would braid my hair every few days. As the only black girl in my elementary school class, I longed for the free-flowing Polly Pocket hair I saw on my friends.

Namaste Katie J Namaste Podcast
Circa 1995

It felt awful to have my kinky, curly hair forced into braids. With naturally course hair, tangles were constant and brushing was painful.

“Beauty is pain” my mother and grandmother repeated. That was the norm. Change yourself to be perceived as beautiful. That’s what I was taught.

We started relaxing my hair in the 5th grade. When it was finally “strong enough” to withstand the chemicals of a relaxer. I loved that it was straighter but felt like I looked more like my mom and not so much how my friends wore their hair. I wanted bangs, I wanted free flowing flippy hair. But once my hair was set, it didn’t move. We’d have to use a tremendous amount of hairspray to prevent it from curling right in the Texas humidity.

Namaste Podcast Free From Hair Journey Episode
Circa 2006

Finally, in my sophomore year in High School I took the plunge and cut my hair into an afro. I stopped relaxing it and allowed my natural curls to take over.

People loved it! Everyone wanted to touch it and know how I got my hair to make these tight spirals. “It’s natural” I’d proudly reply 🙂

Namaste Katie J Namaste Podcast Free Form Loc Journey

I felt so freaking fly. The photo above is from my trip to Sevilla, Spain in the summer of 2009. This was my first study abroad trip and I felt SO cool and SO grown-up with my afro and (fake) red frame glasses. Check out that adorable vintage romper y’all!

In college, I continued to rebel against relaxing my hair and as such, I was the ONLY black cheerleader that was allowed to wear my hair naturally. It took about 3-4 hours to wash, blow dry, straighten, and then style my hair for a football game and ain’t NOBODY got time for that. So my coach let it slide, just for me.

Namaste Podcast Namaste Katie J
Circa 2011

As a young adult out of college, I still wasn’t 100% comfortable with my natural hair and often did minor relaxers to make it more “manageable”. In the professional world, I felt a slight sense of pressure to look like everyone else…plus…I really just wanted the long flowy curls I saw on IG but didn’t want to admit it. I don’t even think I told people I still relaxed my hair at this point.

Free Form Loc Journey Namaste Katie J
Circa 2015

But it seems obvious now.

2018 was a transformative year for me. I learned how to do a scalp cleanse (explained in the podcast episode) and at the end of the year, I decided to stop painfully scraping out the tangles and knots in my hair.

It’s also worth sharing that I haven’t had my hair cut since 2010. All of the changed in length you see are dependent on how “relaxed” the curls were from the chemicals I used to straighten out the kink.

Namaste Katie J Namaste Podcast @NamasteKatieJ
Feb. 2019

The other day (March 16th) I took a snorkeling tour and afterward my hair shrunk about half its size (see below). That’s why I decided to record this podcast. It’s been a long time coming and the journey will continue far past this episode.

My #freeformlocjourney is an exploration of my own self-worth. Can I still see myself as beautiful when I don’t succumb to society’s expectations? Can I continue to love myself with a head full of knots? Am I my hair? Am I my skin? Or am I the soul that lives within?

Stay tuned to see the mind my hair takes on over the next months, years, and decades. Who knows where it will go!

WTF Is Namaste Podcast?

Namaste Katie J
photo from Namaste Podcast Blog photo
Photo from

Namaste – I bow to the Divinity inherent in you. The soul within me recognizes, acknowledges, respects, and appreciates the soul within you; we are one- we are both drops within the same ocean.

Namaste Podcast is a place for spiritually aligned humans to get their dose of soul support. If you have decided to embark on the journey of self-actualization and personal development then you are in the right place.

Namaste Podcast is hosted and produced by me, Katie J. This is not my first podcast. In February 2018 I started Wander Well Podcast in hopes of empowering more women to live their truth.

Over the course of the year I learned a thing or two about podcasting and myself. Specifically, I learned that I was holding onto a lot of doubt, fear, shame, and guilt that prevented me from really showing up in life, and because of that, Wander Well Podcast didn’t reach its full potential.

Thankfully, I invested in the mentorship and training I needed to show up as my most Authentic Self. This past year has been rocky, with many fears surfacing and showing their ugly faces. But I have overcome them.

I was so inspired and empowered by the personal development work I was doing that I knew I wanted to incorporate it into my own work.

After much prayer, meditation, and asking for help from friends and family, I was able to come up with an entirely new name and new groove to my podcast.

Also, Wander Well is already trademarked and I was receiving signs from The Universe that it was time to move on from the name.

Someone on my Instagram account suggested Namaste with Katie J. I instantly loved it.

This is it! Namaste encompases EVERYTHING I hope to accomplish in life: to be in alignment with The Universal flow of oneness that connects us all!

In the fall, I’ll begin classes at Five Branches University where I’ll study Traditional Chinese Medicine. In 4 years I’ll earn a Masters and a Doctorate and be able to treat patients with a wide variety of imbalances through integrative medicine.

As a yoga instructor, meditation guide, mentor, spiritual coach, and life-long learner, I am SO PUMPED to combine Eastern traditions with Western science, old concepts of souls and Divinity with newer ideas of Manifesting and the Law of Attraction.

I don’t like to use the term ‘New Age’ because I feel it’s inaccurate but if you’re into topics such as the ones listed below, then the Namaste Podcast is your podcast:

  • Spirituality
  • Spiritual Awakening
  • Manifesting
  • Law of Attraction
  • Personal Development
  • Soul-Centered Living
  • Empowerment
  • Journaling
  • Self-Reflection
  • Spiritual Psychology
  • Conscious Living
  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Natural and Integrative Medicine
  • + So Much MORE!