Dreadlocks. The word says it all. Dread. Dreadful. Terrible. Despite the looming dread coming from the word, I've found my journey to be quite the opposite. It’s the only way I’ve ever enjoyed my hair. It’s been a long road of ignorant, rude people, but also supportive, interested family and friends, and a lot of patience, both with my hair and with people. I've had people I don't know tell me to wash or brush my hair, I've had business men from Texas walk into the office where I work and do a double take. I've had strangers on the street tell me they love my hair. I've given and gotten the dreadie nod more times than I can count. I've had other dreadheads ask for tips, I've asked others for tips. I've saved at least 3 people from the horrors of using product. I've had strangers ask to touch my hair, I've had strangers not ask and just touch. I've had a million questions, the best and most honest and unbiased one from the kids I used to work with. I've had a kid at work tell me my hair was repulsive. I've had a 5 year old stare, mesmerized, until she finally, slowly, reached out and touched my hair...she then giggled, smiled, and proceeded to listen to what I was trying to teach her. I've had parents think I was a dumb hippie until they talked to me, and realized I was more than just a stereotype. I've learned more through hair than I learned throughout the previous 18 years of my life, just like I learned more in the 4 years of university than I did in 13 years of public education - about myself, the world, and human beings.
Dreads have taught me a lot. They've taught me that some people don't want to learn, and that stereotypes run rampant. I don't chronically smoke pot or listen to Reggae. I wash my hair, quite frequently. I am not dumb or stupid - quite the opposite according to my transcript. But they've also taught me that some people are fantastic and will support you no matter how you look, that some people want to learn, want to know and understand. I love questions as long as they're asked in curiosity rather than disgust. They've taught me that it doesn't matter what you look like, as long as YOU enjoy what you're doing. They've taught me that yes, sometimes you will have a bad hairday, and that short of shaving your head you can do nothing about it - but guess what? It doesn't matter. Life can't stop because of a bad hair day, week, or even month. Your smile is your message, not how your hair looks. They've taught me to not care what anyone thinks, and that proving people wrong can be just as rewarding as proving yourself right. They've taught me to love and embrace myself for who I am, and to base my view of the world on what I love,as well as what loves me back. It's been a journey, one that I would never ever want to do without.
Dreads will always be a part of who I am. Everyone thought they'd be "a phase"... They are not a phase, or, at this point, even a choice; they are a lifestyle. They own me as much as I own them.
So, in the interest of moving this along...my dread journey! Or, as I like to call it:
"How I took a deep breath and became the white girl with the hair"
Brand new babies
6 months in
one year. the bleach lasted 15 minutes, thank you very much
45 minutes later!
December 2007...major shrinkage.
April 2008. 1.5 years
2 years old. short.
April 2009. Getting there.
April 2010. 3.5 years
My and my dino/nephew
And now, graduation. Stephen Lewis was our guest speaker...it was amazing.