So, before the decision to dread, I looked like this:
Looong hair, waist length, and very useful for hiding behind. Which is what I used it for- an excuse, an attempt to look the way I thought I was supposed to. I was scared of doing something that might invite conversation or challenge my self-consciousness, so I didn't dread even though I wanted to. I liked invisibility.
Basically, to make a long story short, this is why I dreaded: After two years in a city far, far away from home I packed up what I didn't want to leave behind, quit my job,(temporarily) cut ties with one of the most important people in my life, and moved home within the space of two months. Somewhere in there, I got angry with myself for trying to hide who I was and for being so damn self-conscious all of the time, for trying to conform to a ridiculous standard of beauty that I didn't want to belong to in the first place... and in August 2006 found the courage to dread my hair...
And it looked like a rat's nest, which didn't really bother me since my hair used to get huge knots all of the time anyway. Even though at the moment I'm having some issues with my hair, I really love it. I'm happy that I decided to stop being scared and give myself dreads, even though they looked crazy for about three months and people used to ask why I didn't brush my hair because to start them I half-heartedly palm-rolled a few and then left them to themselves.
(The first picture was taken about three weeks ago, and I have since removed the brown bead, and cut the wrapped one in half because the wrap looked kinda ratty. The second is how I looked about an hour before posting this and, I assume, how I look now.)
Anyway, having dreads has been a really interesting experience for me, and an exercise in being who I want on my terms, not someone else's. I could have just posted pictures, but I am the kind of person who likes to explain herself, and I hope that this is alright. Since this community has been a great source of information and inspiration, I thought that I would stop lurking, introduce myself, and say thanks for all of your wonderful posts!
(and sorry for the ridiculously long post on my part!)