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Always Destined to have Dreads
I'm going to have to blame my little brother for initiating my journey.
We were looking through old pictures and photo albums and he announced an observation he had made....
"You always look the same, it's like you never change your hairstyle ever."
He was pointing this out in contrast to his own pictures over the years where his hair style changes frequently. I am the oldest of 4 kids and only girl. This particular brother is the one in the middle and 6 years younger than I am. He's a special child that pretty much is incapable of telling a lie. That or keeping a secret. But I wouldn't necessarily say that these things are actually so bad.
At this point in my life I was a senior at Oregon State University and getting ready to graduate in a couple terms.
My mom's best friend as I was growing up was a hair stylist. My earliest memory of getting my haircut is of my mom deciding I'd look cute with bangs and being forced to let her friend cut my hair as I bawled my eyes out.
At 8 years old I got my hair permed. I don't know if it was my idea or my moms.... but her friend took me to the salon she worked at and I remember that awful smell as she drenched my head in chemicals and I remember being angry she let her 7 year old daughter help wrap my hair with the coil thingies and not doing a very good job. After the perm was finished I was really angry that there was such an obvious difference in the curls.
Not that it mattered anyway...within 2 weeks my hair rejected the perm and was basically a frizzy mess. Not that it mattered much...I was only 8 and it was the early 90's. Meaning it was popular to crimp your hair and use lots of hair spray. There really is much about the 90's that should be forgotten.....
Fast forward a few years...I'm 11 and decided to stop keeping my bangs trimmed. During the awkward period growing out my bangs I made the vow to never have bangs again.
I also vowed to never let my mom's stylist friend go near my hair. After one too many "trims" that didn't go the way I requested, I didn't have much trust for stylists.
Some people would say I'm blessed with super fine, silky straight hair. Hair that you would find on a princess who was committed to brushing her hair with 100 strokes a day...or however it is done when a person actually has the time to waste just brushing their hair forever
So began the beginning of me and my boring hair that never changed. Every couple of years I'd get it trimmed. Nothing special. I never had the desire to dye my hair a different color. Maybe because I saw how fried and damaged it made my friend's hair who had dyed theirs.
When you have hair like mine there isn't many options for styling it. I was limited to braiding it, wearing it down, pulling just the top back and the back worn down or in a pony tail.
I'll have to admit that one of my favorite things to do with my hair was when my mom helped me put in a ton of tiny braids while it was still wet and pulling it out the next day. Before it turned into a frizzy mess I loved having the faux curls in.
In high school I decided to let my hair grow as long as I could with only the occasional trim for dead ends.
More boring and same old thing. I'm foggy on the details but I somehow got nick named "the hippy" my senior year of high school. Also for some reason I made the decision to not use a brush on my hair that year either. I instead used my fingers to comb out the majority of tangles and then only after I had showered and washed my hair...so not every day.
My hair needed to be washed pretty much every other day. At the most every three days because otherwise it became a slimy greasy mess. It was pretty gross and a very good incentive to make sure I washed it.
Jump ahead in time to just a few months away from my 21st birthday. I was in my first year of community college and majoring in Forestry. My hair was super long at this point. I think it was around 5 years of growth without getting it cut. Unless I got a couple inches trimmed off somewhere in there...but it was nothing substantial if I did.
My hair hung down far enough that I had to be careful not to get my hair caught in my pants when I pulled them up. And boy did my hair shed! The worst always while I was in the shower after washing my hair.
It's gross....but I was constantly pulling hair out of my underwear and it liked to gather at the base of where my legs and butt meet. Sometimes it would get stuck between my cheeks and when this happened it was not the most pleasant experience to have to slowly pull a long hair out so that it didn't break and cause more problems.
Free flowing hair that long comes with it's own set of challenges. It has a tendency to catch on all sorts of objects. This is different from dreads catching on things like rough surfaces and such. When un locked hair catches it is often only one or a couple of strands. This can be pretty painful! Especially if you can't untangle yourself and you are forced to break free. I could have probably been a hair model if I had really wanted to be.
When sleeping with hair that long you have to be careful not to let it get caught under you because it makes it easy to pull a neck muscle. Definitely something that un-locked and dreaded hair have in common after it reaches a certain length...
Then it was my boyfriend who would accidentally be the one laying on it and I was stuck if he was in a dead sleep. I'm claustrophobic and getting stuck like this the couple of times it happened caused me to get pretty panicky.
Having hair that long wasn't being any fun and then one day while driving in my car and listening to the radio an advertisement came on about a Locks Of Love donation event that was going to be taking place. If you had at least 11 inches of hair that qualified to be donated you would get a free hair cut and a goody bag full of stuff like gift certificates and a t-shirt and stuff.
When I told my bf my plans to donate my hair he begged and pleaded for me to reconsider. Summer was on it's way in and long hair is pretty hot. I went and stood in line to donate my hair. The pony tail I donated was 26 inches long because of my hair having never been dyed, that I never used product in or blow dried was going to make a beautiful wig for a child in need somewhere.
My boyfriend cried as they cut my hair. He then cried again later that night as he ran his fingers through my now very short hair. It didn't even reach my shoulders any more!
This was one instance that my hair style was briefly different from my usual.
So different in fact, when my bf and I visited the gaming shop we frequented my friend who worked there thought my bf was cheating on me with another girl!
After another couple of years of hair growth I donated again. My hair grows pretty fast and at this point I've donated a total of 45 inches of hair! Hair stylists actually aren't too happy to give you the required free haircut if they don't know you and that last hair cut I had was the last time I donated and the lady sorta butchered my hair. The main thing is that she cut it in such a way that it didn't look good with the shape of my face and even though I told the lady I didn't like to spend time styling my hair in the morning and I wasn't a big fan of products she ignored me and cut a style that need to be "flipped" using a special brush, product and meant if I didn't at least partially blow dry my hair it would be almost stringy and straight....but so fine it easily became flyaway. It was also layered...and was about 7 years ago...the last time I had a hair cut!
About 2 years after this last cut was when my brother made his comment about my hair.
It made me decide that it was time for a change. The thought of getting my hair cut didn't sound appealing. My next thoughts were to possibly dye my hair a different color. My "virgin" never been dyed hair has made more than one hair dresser "shiver in anticipation" at the thought of changing that.
My problem with taking the plunge and dying my hair another color is that I have always been happy with the one I have. What if I didn't like it? What about if it didn't match my skin tone and looked horrible? I've heard from several people over the years that once you dye your hair that first time it becomes a little addicting. To the point where I've heard people say that they have forgotten what their natural color is supposed to be! I didn't want to have to worry about root maintenance and I have a hard time getting excited over putting chemicals in my hair. I realize there are other options that are natural like hemp....but just wasn't my cup of tea.
Or maybe I should say cup of coffee. Next door to my little locally owned coffee shop that brewed locally roasted, fair trade, organic coffee that was delivered via bike to the cafe is a head shop.
At this time this shop was way tiny and only had two workers. The owner and a rope head that I'd hang out with and talk to at the shop. His GF and best friend at the time were also dreaded. In my struggle to figure out what I should do with my hair I suddenly "noticed" dread locks. Before this point I never paid too much attention.
I hated my hair and all the struggles I've had just with how silky it was....absolutely nothing ever stayed in for long before just slipping out of my hair and becoming a waste of time to even try anymore.
I in a way conducted a little bit of an Ethnographic survey that had dready's as a main focus. I ended up talking to quite a few different people over the course of my researching as many aspects of dreads as I could.
It excited me that if I stuck with it long enough....one day I wouldn't have the problem with my hair being almost impossible to style.
That many dread styles involve weaving the ropes together in an almost limitless number of ways!
The loudest voices in regards to the method to use were the ones who had beautiful and unique sets. When asked how to dread....they told me to just do nothing. To use the Dr Bronner's soap that I already have to wash my hair. Stop brushing it...
Feb 2nd 2008 I stopped brushing my hair. I took a shower and just let my hair dry naturally without messing with it too much. Immediately I loved that my shampoo smelled like peppermint.....I had theses people to ask all sorts of questions that came up. They reminded me to stay patient....
Patience pays off...
I came to believe that was my ultimate test in getting to where I'm at now....
Of all the times I got the urge to cut everything off...especially when I was pregnant...
I stopped myself....and made myself breath. to instead focus on each breath to ground and center myself and remember this journey is not always easy. Even after almost 5 years and a head full of mature locks....
New babies have just recently surfaced
just a reminder that I started this journey seeking out change from being seen as always looking the same...
to something that is continuously evolving