October 4, 2010

Happy ONE YEAR Birthday, My Dreads!

Posted by meli on Monday, October 04, 2010 in | No comments

A year.
A flippin year!
You're getting so big, *sniff.
We spent your birthday at the beach; couldn't have picked a better place! The salt water, the sand, the wind ... perfect.

I've been asked a slew of questions over the past year (well, a bit more then that ... my first set of dreads was started 15 months ago) since becoming a dread head. I've decided to highlight a few of my favorite (or most asked, lol) here.

Why did you decide to dread up?
No reason. Many reasons.
It felt right. It felt true to me ... the path I am supposed to be on.

I really didn't like my hair pre-dread. It felt like a constant battle, trying to get it to look the way I wanted it to. I found myself being late to appts, etc, fighting with it, crying about it. It didn't seem to represent who I was. The constant washing, blowdrying, straightening ... I felt a slave to my hair. It was a hassle. A hassle that I wanted to be free from. I didn't want to be my hair, I wanted my hair to be me.

And then I saw a photo of a woman at the beach, just sitting on a rock. She looked so calm, so at peace, so beautiful. Her hair was dreaded. The simple beauty, the free nature ... I fell in love. I knew I would have dreads one day. I tucked that dream away, waiting for the my entire being to catch up to that initial "wow". A year or two later I was ready, and my dreads were born.

This has been a spiritual journey for me, undoubtedly.
A journey that has taken patience, faith, love, respect, kindness, tolerance, acceptance, forgiveness, judgement, vanity ... both within myself, as well as how I perceive and relate with others.

Don't you worry about what people will think?
Brings to mind this powerful internal question ...
Why are you trying to fit in when you were born to stand out?
I'm not a conformist who fits neatly in a box, and I don't want to be. I may be judged by some people, but that's ok. I'm not trying to fit their molds, or their ideals. I'm working at feeling truer and more genuine to myself. My dreads make me happy (most of the time). They fill me with a comforting sense of confidence, security, and self esteem because I know I am being true to who I am.

My hair is very representative of who I am at my core ... simple, free, untamed, ever changing, and uniquely beautiful. They stand out from the crowd. They have good days and bad days. They put a smile on my face, and on the face of people around me (either a genuine smile, or a judgmental one ... it's still smiling). They're me. There are going to be people who judge you for who you are, but perhaps, just like they've taught me more about tolerance, acceptance, and judgement, maybe my wild "not the norm" hair will have a positive impact on other people as well.

How long did it take?
I'll start by saying that my husband helped me...
he's a virgo!
Perfectionism definitely came in to play while doing my hair.

When all was said and done, the set that's on my head right now took about 21 straight hours for him to section off (I slept through some of it, lmao), and then 2 nights to dread up (may have taken him 3, but I stepped in the second night to finish up the backcombing myself). While his perfectionism played a huge role in the amount of time it took for my hair; dreading is a long process. From what I've read...12-16 hours is about average (for medium length hair).

How long are you going to keep them?
As long as it feels right.
There's no logical answer or timeline that plays into this.
My decisions are made from the heart. If/When I feel it's time to move on, I'll do that.

What happens when you don't want them anymore?
I'll cut em off. Shave them off is more like it.
They make fancy products that are meant to help remove mature dreads without cutting. I used some after my first set. They were only dreaded for a couple of months, so not really "mature", and it still took forever and a day (month and a half?!) to get the dreads all out. It's was a long and painful process. One that I wont be doing again. You can cut your hair a few inches from the scalp, comb out the bit of knots, and have some hair to work with ... but when I'm finished with my dreads and ready to take the leap; I'm going to shave it. Another dream of mine.

Do you ever wash them?
I do wash them! Once or twice a week, actually.
In the beginning I was using the full "no poo method" ...

Basically, you add approx a tbls of baking soda to each cup of water. Pour that over your head, concentrating mostly on your roots. Massage the mixture down from your roots to cover the length of your hair. Rinse.

Next, you'll use a mixture of 1 part apple cider vinegar to 4 parts water. I like to add in a few drops of essential oils (patchouli and sweet orange mixed is my favorite). The vinegar will help to fully rinse your hair, while the essential oils leave your locks smelling fantastic. Massage this mixture into hair, and let it stand for a couple of minutes. For dread-heads (no pooing works for all hair types/styles) ... this is the perfect time to do some routine "rip apart" maintenance if your locks are growing together. Rinse well.

That's it ... no pooing.

Now, instead of the baking soda mixture, I wash with a Dr Bronners soap bar, but still rinse with the ACV/Essential Oils blend. I had a lot of flakes as a result of the baking soda. I'm confident that if I played around with the measurements a bit (everyones scalp will react differently) I'd be able to stave off the flakes ... I just haven't had the motivation to tweak the recipe yet. The boys use the Dr Bronners bar for their hair, and we all use it for our body, so it's just convenient. Convenience doesn't usually breed motivation, does it? :-/

I heard that dreads smell?
This is not really a question... but people often look to me for an answer after making this statement, lol.
My response ... my dreads do smell, actually. They usually smell like patchouli and sweet orange!
This is never what the person is expecting, ha!

Actually, the notion that dreads are dirty and smell bad isn't accurate. You'll probably come across people with dirty, stinky dreads, but you'll also probably come across people with dirty, stinky "normal" hair. That has everything to do with the person, and nothing to do with the hair style.

Do you ever miss brushing your hair?
I do sometimes!
More, though, I miss running my fingers through my hair! I also miss the softness of undreaded hair on my neck, or on my face when I vigorously shake my head around, lol.
I left my bangs undreaded, so I can still get the soft hair through fingers feeling when I want to. It's not the same, but it's what I have, so I make it work :-)

If there are any other questions you readers would like to ask in the comments section, I'd be happy to answer them :-)


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