I've gotten a few emails and a few comments left by readers that wanted to know more about my dreadlocks, how it all started, what they mean to me, and also wanted to see some progression photos. So, here it is. Almost 2 years of dreadlocks. My journey, thus far, as simple as I can make it right now.
And I can simply say, best.decision.ever.
I've had my locs for almost 19 months now. I started them June 21st of 2010.
I've dreamed of having dreadlocks ever since I can remember. The biggest reason that I never just did it was perception. 'What would people think?' Yep, that was my biggest fear.
This is what I've learned.
Dreads are not:
*Black. should be number one actually. Yep, really. I just would like people to do their research before labeling and stating 'facts')
And yes, these are the things that I hear. I see the eye rolls, I hear the whispers. At first, it bothered me. It made me sad. It takes longer than a day to un-learn what you've seen and done for 37 years.
At about a year into this journey, I would be offended and angry at the comments.
I would be most horrified when these people would show their distaste and horror over my dreadlocks, in front of their children. Hell, it was bad enough in front of my kids too, but at least I could talk with them and answer their questions.
Way to 'set an example'. Great job showing your kids acceptance and tolerance. Nice work on showing them how to tease, belittle and laugh at someone elses expense. Awesome work on showing them how to judge someone based solely on looks. Because yes, that IS what your child is learning. Yes. Children do learn by example.
Now? Now I smile. And laugh. And smile even bigger. My dreadlocks are for ME. I'm not 'doing this to my hair' so that I can have opinions thrown at me daily. I started this journey to better myself. To learn more about me and to finally really start LIVING how I feel. Not, FEEL how I should live. Live how I think others want me to, or how others think things should be. And how does this all relate to dreadlocks? I was always 'messing'; with my hair. Growing it out, cutting it off. Coloring, perming, highlighting. You name it. For some reason, I needed the constant change in my hair. I think it was some sort of oddly placed control thing. I am a bit OCD. I wanted that to change some, so I took away from my control the one thing I always used. My hair. I had to just 'let things go' 'let it be'. I had no choice. This was a huge step in bettering me as a parent, a wife, and a person. For me. I was ready to take that step. I NEEDED to take that step, triplets were kicking my scheduled, planned, list-making OCD butt.
So, I smile at the lady trying to whisper something incognito, you know the one, where she leans in to the side with her hand kinda over her mouth. But just as a shield, (because you know, lip reading is another one of my hidden talents) to her husband who, believe it or not, looks like he might just think they are kinda cool. And I will add the disclaimer that it could very well be the triplets that people are oogling over. But usually not. You see, I've also learned in the past few years, that people will express their opinions on your children, whether nice or not, much more readily than they will talk with you about your hairstyle.
Totally something to think about huh?
I've changed so much in the past 2 years and 11 months. And I'm really happy, content and proud of who I am becoming. And the best feeling is that I'm not afraid to show it anymore. It's a nice feeling.
The following what I hope I am portraying to my children. Because so much of this whole process is about them, for them and because of them. Without my babies, I wouldn't be who I am today. And I like what's happening. I kinda love it actually.
-Soaring Eagle (owner at www.dreadlockssite.com)
dreads are freedom. they are deep personal and intimate connection to
the true self, the earth, to life force of the universe. dreads are a
connection to the true self because all your lifes experiences are
recorded in your hair. when the hairs locked all experiences intercept
all others creating a oneness that can be called wisdom. they are
pure natural beauty. they allow you to be your most natural self, free
from the artificial cosmetic reality of grooming and dressing to impress
makeup and fashion reality
you are simply you. nothing more. nothing less.
dreads are strength and healing.
lets look for a second at anorexia and body image issues that come from, pressure to be perfect, and sensitivity to what others say (youre fat
and worthless. ugly etc etc etc.) when you dread you must stop caring what others
think and only find the strength to know your true worth. and true
beauty does not require validation from shallow narrow minded people.
dreads give you confidence in yourself. in your worth. in your beauty and
value. and that your true value does not lie in your looks but in your
heart. dreads literally are wearing your heart on your sleeve. letting your
soul shine forcing people to look deeper within you...or look away.. it
repels the shallow while attracting the deep..
to dread you invite criticism. you gain the strength to not be so hurt
by ignorance. you find your own bliss and in that bliss you are
protected and cannot be easily harmed by the misery of others
As for my kids?
My kids have learned how to respond and react to both the negative and the positive comments that I get about my hair. The littles will pat my hair or play with my dreadlocks while saying 'Mama beautiful'. The older kids will smile and laugh and usually start a conversation that is pretty opinion seeking. Just because they are teenagers, I suppose. They gotta get a jab in here and there.
But, they have all learned by example.
So, in a nutshell. I started my dreadlock journey to teach me patience, acceptance, and letting go of the little things. Picking my battles. Whats important and what isn't. And it's going really well. I feel a better parent. I know I'm calmer and more patient. I feel things so much deeper and with more thought. It has truly been a journey of me. A look inside my soul. And of who I really am, who I want to be and what I want my children to learn from me.
What did I 'do'? Nothing. No chemicals. No hairbrushes. I use baking soda, apple cider vinegar and peppermint essentials oils on it about twice a week. Every other day, or whenever I'm bored and just watching TV, I separate the locks so they don't 'congo'. If you don't tear them apart they can all grow together and that would be really difficult to care for.
And that's it. Simple and beautiful.
Now, if I could just kick the ocd-ness of always having to have my house clean and picked up, I would be complete :) Oh well, I'm definitely a work-in-progress.