Okeh, I've always had tightly curled hair. My youth was;
"Anthony did you comb your hair?"
I'd say, "yea, I just combed it."
and my moms would tell me it doesn't look like, and she'd grab a comb
and COMB it. Let me tell you, nothing hurt worse. This was an everyday
thing. She'd finish and ten minutes later we'd go through the same ritual.
So as an adult, I pretty much kept it short, getting it cut every two weeks or so, gotta keep those lines clean and shit like that.
I followed Rastas, first through music of course, and then through reading. I looked for a place where I fit into the world, seeing that most religions didn't really sit well with me. I was seeking to belong, we all do. I guess I was about 13 or so, when I discovered these people with dreads, whose hair was just amazing.
As I grew up, finally I lived near a man with dreads. We became friends, and I'd blown off getting my hair cut for about month. I got the courage to ask him about his hair, and he told me;
"I've been waiting a year for you to finally ask me."
He told me four things and I didn't question cause I didn't really know shit.
1. don't comb your hair
2. don't towel dry your hair
3. pour cold water on your head every mourning.
4. just wash it as normal, let it air dry and we'll talk in a month.
After a month, of me doing those simple things I went to see him.
"Take your hat off he said," smiling as he pawed my tight knots...
"Okeh, from now on, when you wash it, twist it, as you oil your hair.
Remember, no towels, just air and don't go to bed with your hair wet."
I nodded. And followed again. The first night/mourning I did the twisting it took about 4 hours until I was happy, I had little buds all over the place. I found that I spent different caretime with my head, and a lot less time worried about how it looked. I broke off aloe leaves, and split them open and used the clear goop as rinse. I used coconut oil as hair oil and got more natural about what I was doing to myself.
Yes, I began being a veggiehead at this time as well. I was slowly changing, and as these changes occurred, I noticed someting else. I was becoming calmer. My ex, she hated what I was doing, bitching about how my hair looked nappy and not wanting me to take my hat off in public... Me I was proud and unashamed.
Well, after about six months those buds were starting to fall down, they started out thick, about the size of my thumbs, but now they had tighten and had started to drop. I also noticed something else; I was getting compliments on how my hair looked.
That had never happened before inna my life. Never. I was happy, but also inna another way, I didn't care. Rastas grow their hair as a way of rejecting society, and rejecting Vanity. Of course this can be mottled like most things in life.
My ex became an ex about 7 months into my new dreaded life. I was happy with my looks and I wore crowns from that point on. I followed close to the doctrines of Rastafarianism, as close as an amerikkkan can.
I still am very amerikkkan, and I still have my dreads. I cut some off a year ago, not to fit into society but to show my mate, that I felt her pain as well. I wanted her to know I wasn't above shared pain and just because I was male I wasn't without some responsibility to losing pieces of one's self and I let go of what I loved the most on my body as she was about to and did.
She wasn't happy that I didn't let them all go, but as I told her... I didn't grow them for you, and surely I wouldn't be cutting them all off for you either. I grew my dreads for me. I didn't grow dreads to make a fashion statement, but my hair was meant to be dreaded, and never combed. If it was, then it would have been softer I feel.
Since I went through the process of dreading, and I do believe that dreading is a process. Processes don't have an ending, they are ever running, ever changing and once again. It is like steeling yourself for stepping outside society. If you take your time, you'll be strong within yourself, in my humble opinion, cause weakness will cause you to falter, to doubt yourself and who wants to do something seemingly as drastic as to dread their hair and hate themselves for it.
You won't be dreaded for long. Personally, why waste time, cause life is too short.
Dreads in Jamaica was/may is still a badge that puts you outside the world at large. I've come to find that true in this country as well. I don't care that dreads are in ads and shit like that. Cause the very people making those ads are just using what they pulse as COOL to sell bullshit to the public. I wonder how many dreadlocs work at these places, that sell the images. Personally I don't see me as cool, or an image to sell death.
As I've gone across the country through the years, I've noticed the likes and dislikes, the mistrust and the shadows of trusts when it comes to dreadlocs.
Personally, I am dreaded cause I am Dread.
I don't worry about the world in how I look in it, cause I didn't chose my uniform, it was picked for me.
Dreadlocs are what my hair wants to be, and who am I to say no?
Dreads simplified my life, and with that of course comes a certain amount of peace.
That said, we all have reasons for what we've done to dread, and how we dreaded. I don't think mine are any loftier than the next person, although it might seem like it. Now I don't consider plastic hair as dreads as much as I wouldn't call a toupee real hair either. But, this isn't about splitting hairs is it.
Bless you in your journeys.......and know that it really only matters to you and you alone....