Great interview, I even have my cup of coffee here with me while we chat. Just a little background for you: I am a Wife, Mother, Grandma and an Artisan. At the age of 49, I 'allowed' myself to be the true me, not how the majority of society wanted me to look, not how my family wanted me to look like, but what I wanted at this point in my life. I previously worked in offices, so I shed the office hair, donated all my office clothes to charity, don't need those formal jackets anymore, and I decided to just be me, the me who I am and not the false me when I leave the house.
1) I started dreads on my Caucasian hair March 11/12, so just over a year now for me. I used the free form method at first and let my hair section itself, but after a couple of weeks I gave in and did Twist & Rip to those sections. The only reason why was impatience, wanted to see dread looking sections right away to see how they would be on me. It was love at first sight!
2) Now, how do people react? Well, my family is still on the edge of the wall with this one. My dreads are not yet mature and the journey does take quite awhile. Many of the bottom of my sections still have various 'fingers' coming off of them, so it is still bushy. Pre dreads I had straight, healthy hair almost to my waist, which my husband loved to play with & caress. . My family does not have a vision like I do, I think being an artisan helps seeing unfinished works of art, which are dreads are...but where was I?....Oh yeah...when I started, my daughter was on the band wagon with me, but right now she still sees the mess & hate it, my son despises them (he is an order & control freak), and my husband wishes I had my original hair back. Now we go to my mother who lives with me, she proceeds to tell relatives from abroad how stupid I look. All these remarks, I REALLY don't give a shit...I am so tired of looking how others want and I WILL be the true me for the rest of my life. Winter is just ending here, so I wore a tam most of the time when I went out, so it really was not noticeable to others that I am growing dreads. I do believe that I am the only Caucasian with dreads in the small town where I shop, so now that winter is over & no more hats, it will be interesting to observe reactions & receive comments from strangers. My family are my friends, I kinda like to just stay at home & enjoy my privacy, so I really don't have friends I hang with to tell me what they think.
3) I have not had discrimination passed my way, YET, but I think that my age may have something to do about that. What I do know is that once all these beautiful dreads are mature, strangers will comment to me then, only in a positive way.
4) For the first year of my journey, I washed with Baking Soda & rinsed with ACV only, and did the sea salt sprays. This is a touch less method (if desired), and I wanted to keep my fingers out of my forming dreads as much as possible. Since my first year passed, I have been using Dread Shampoo in liquid form. I shampoo a couple of times a week and my dreads are very clean. The hair is all natural, no products were used at anytime to help the process, ie: wax, gels, etc. Additives to dreads are a way for smells to be absorbed in, for lint to stick and mold to form. Natural, clean dreads are healthy beautiful dreads, PERIOD.
5) Well now, misconceptions, where do I start? ...dreads are dirty...dreads smell....pot head.....Caucasians should not dread....need wax to dread.....dreads are for young people only...must go to a salon for manufactured dreads.....dreadies don't have jobs, they must be bums....dreadies can't blend in with the rest of 'normal' society....did I say DREADS ARE DIRTY...I did but that one deserved it twice.
Do I feel that any of the stereotypes are true? Absolutely not...Do I think they are true in instances....Absolutely yes.... Well not in my own personal case, but sure, some are true in unique instance, but that goes with anything in life, you know, that bad apple in the crate.
My art shows start again in a month, so I am sure I will get some positive comments. I will always encourage others to go for it if they have the 'calling', and to educate their self first by joining this site, and of course to let them know how healthy dreads are and the feeling of freedom. I am proud to be a Dreadie Ambassador to the older generation. This year's shows should have some interesting conversations.
Peace be with you FiddleSticks268