By ashley walker, 2013-06-07
This is just a random middle of the night blog.
I washed my hair really quickly.
It was a bad idea because i don't think i rinsed thoroughly so my hair kind of smells,
and like I feel like i made a bad concoction of oils.
Will I be ok?
Well Ill probably wash it again in the morning and do an avc rinse.
Guh I smell like a wet dog.
I shouldn't wash my hair at night.
but it itched so bad.
and it get's really itchy at night because we don't use air conditioning so i sweat.
By ashley walker, 2013-04-26
I wrote this essay on my dreadlocks for school, my teacher said it was his favorite :0 but ignore my grammatical errors haha
You need to look clean cut to get a job. You need to smell good to attract friends. You need to sit like a lady to be respected. You need to comb your hair. Boys are not going to like you if you do not comb your hair. We consume these ideals because we are afraid of not being accepted, we are afraid of being ourselves. What is even worse is that our peers or our parents do not tell us otherwise; we need to stay in the solitary confinement labeled normal and wear a straitjacket of social norms to hinder our creativity. Yeah I wanted to fit in, everyone does, but not at my own expense. My mother would say comb your hair, you need to look nice but why? What benefits are there? Why should I not go out being completely comfortable? Comb my hair? Why? It hurts, it never stays right, and it always needs to be washed. Who cares if I see someone I know? They are not going to physically hurt me for not combing my hair. However, to dread is to attract discrimination and being the one child who wants to be untamed and tangled is never easy. The dreadlock process is a journey that brings, tantalizing, the judgment of strangers, discrimination of employers, and the ridicule from family members. In return, the dreadlock process gives spiritual guidance, humility, patience, and strength within the community.
Every journey begins at the decision to accept it; I decided to get dreads for no reason whatsoever. I had no body modifications, I was not Rastafarian, I did not smoke a lot of pot, I just wanted dreadlocks and they were really easy for me to get. Like most things, capitalist America does not want you have anything unless you have to pay for it first, so I had to do a bit of research. Dreads are supposed to be as natural as breathing with as little maintenance as possible. There are companys that will try to sell kits, and products that will make your dreads lock faster, smell nicer, look cleaner, but what they do not tell you is that in doing this you can eventually lose them. Yes lose them. Products are bad for you hair, and the more you pick at dreads with crochet needles or a backcomb, the weaker they can get and fall out. They sell these products to create problems with you dreadlocks, so they can make more products for you to buy to fix these problems. With some guidance I chose to be as natural as possible, I knotted up my hair with my bare hands using a method called twist and rip and threw away my hairbrush. I wash my dreads with products that do not use chemicals. My rule is that if it is not safe for me to eat I will not use it on my body.
So the beginning stages of dreads are not pretty, especially with Caucasian hair, your hair does not look like Bob Marleys, it is not sexy and messy, and it is full of snowflakes, itchy scalp, and scalding. My parents did not know it was permanent. My father would not talk to me for three weeks and my mother kept complaining to me because he would yell at her for not showing me how to comb my hair. It is ridiculous how when we do something good for ourselves, other people only care about whether it looks good. I was a problem every time I came downstairs, every time we went in public, every time appearance was an issue. It was so sad because I have never been bullied as much as I was by my own family when I got dreads. This is where I learned who cares about what I think and who encourages my individuality. It was not threatening my life, their lives, their relationships, yet they threatened my self-esteem and for what? I saw a truth revealing within these tauntings, I was soon to learn that being myself in every situation would show me who wants to care about me and who has to.
I get a fair share of comments on my hair daily, and it is interesting how the comments have gone from negative to positive based on location. Of course my friends encouraged me, some young teachers would appreciate it, some older ones would make borderline insults. Some people do not know what the hell is going on with my hair. In my hometown of Leesburg, the residents are mostly middle-aged adults, and I would get questions from my parents friends about it. Do you wash your hair? Can you take it out? Will you shave your head one day? I usually try to stray from the ignorance of some questions but usually these questions were not signs of approval, just them trying to notice the elephant in the room. However, when I came to Radford the scene was totally changed, people wanted to touch my hair (which I love by the way) they complimented me. Of course the occasional questions that bother me come up such as Are you trying to grow dreads? Which is a bit of an insult because there is nothing to try, they occur naturally. There is also Do you like your dreads? always coming from girls with clean, straight, silky hair wondering if they can help me conform. This change of comments may be due to the fact my dreads are more tame and mature since I came to Radford but I am glad they did.
There are a few connotations with dreadlocks though, that is quite obvious but become more obvious in the presence of strangers. It is that people with dreadlocks use drugs specifically marijuana. In the beginning, I did not notice that this was an issue with people but now in college I get the occasional Do you have any drugs? at parties from people I do not even know. Some people assume that I am high in class and I know this because as soon as they familiarize themselves with me they tell me that they notice that I get high before class. Which is completely false, I have never done so nor ever will but I guess now that people assume I am, I would probably get away with it. It is a shifted view, that is only present because people are misinformed and because of that strangers will judge and size me up quickly. This can especially be a problem when I have to get a job because the job market wants to force you to be in the norm, and it is completely not fair because other people can where certain things for their religion yet I can not have dreads and work, while my dreads are part of a spiritual practice. People can be close-minded to what they can and cannot discriminate against, there are other ways of practicing spirituality and they need to know that. What about my hair makes me a less diligent worker if I piss negative?
Experiencing all of these reactions to my hair has shown me so much about the world and revealed to me, myself. It takes one small step out of the box and people want to rush you out. I am so fortunate to know that there are more and more people being open to individuality and teaching each other about our differences rather than oppressing them. Getting dreadlocks taught me more about myself in my relation to these people I love, the world, and all of bigger thoughts you cannot fully comprehend yet, it is just a part of picture and it is still blurry but with what I know about myself is that I am a whole, I am a partial of a whole and that we are all connected. See I stopped combing my hair and I learned to accept myself for what I looked like when I woke up in the morning I did not try to make it smooth or shiny. I had really bad hair days, some times I would regret the decision but I kept them regardless, because I know that I will learn to love myself more if I make myself go through the bad hair days while I get taunted and judged by the people I meet. And my dreadlocks will become more a part of me just as my arm is, because they grow so wild and free yet you understand everyone of their mannerisms. I can think of a specific dreadlock and tell you about it, they are like small extensions of myself. I made it through those tough times because I know now that I love my dreads they taught me patience and humility and those are both qualities of beautiful people. It has been said that if you comb your hair your spiritual thoughts are easier to be released but if you do not your spiritual thoughts remain with you and retain their substance. I began to feel more connected with my natural self in relation to the world and seeing things in a brighter light. I have learned not to question people choice of appearance but admire it; I have learned that whole communities can benefit from diversity because it allows people to become well rounded. I have become well rounded. My dreads are becoming well rounded and even though they are not quite there yet I appreciate every little hair out of place because it is what makes me different that others, it makes it okay to be imperfect. That it is okay to not look clean, or smell like perfume, sit like a lady, or comb your hair. We need to start accepting that we are all the same people on the inside so we need to accept the other people who just express themselves differently on the outside. That way we can explore new parts of ourselves through other people. It is sad to those who within social confines of well groomed workers, I do not feel bad because they think I am strange, I feel bad that they never got to know someone who would accept the way they kept themselves regardless of what they thought of me. As far as shaving my head goes, I will keep growing out my dreads until they serve me no good, but I do not see that happening in my future.
By ashley walker, 2013-01-03
So I'm going through that phase. I know it will pass because it happens every few months. This phase where I'm kind of not wanting my dreads. I don't want to discourage anyone because I know that I love dreads and I love my dreads and will never get rid of them but I feel like writing about this phase just as reminder that yes sometimes you will get tired kind of thing. My dread's are getting heavy on my scalp and I really want someone to play with my hair. I just want the sensation of running fingers through my hair. I almost envy bald people because of how good their scalp might feel if they lotion it. Weird thoughts. I don't really know what to do with them. I took out one dread and it sucked. Id never want to do that again. Not only because of the labor and pain but because I'm attached, I've been through a lot of phases with my dreads why would I take them out when they're still maturing? I know that I can't take them out because of how important they feel because of how much they've changed me as a person. I don't want to say it was all because of my hair but they're definitely a big help to my spiritual evolvement. My dread's also feel like they're going through another shrinking phase, I want them to grow so much. No pressure though because I bet you anything in a few months or years I am going to write a blog post saying that I want my hair to be short and you all can call me out on it haha.
Here's a thought that I might put in a discussion: how often do you all wash your dreads? Like i know that the cleaner the better but then again I hear some people that barely wash at all. What's gross to you? Sometimes I won't wash my dreads for a month just because I'm lazy and it's a hassle to dry, i think i'll buy liquid shampoo just to make it more convenient.
By ashley walker, 2012-12-06
So I put a few of my friends hair in my dreads and I tied one of my friends hair in there with string and I guess I left a rubber band in there.
So today I decided to cut out the string and where the rubber band was, is this gunky stuff. It doesn't smell and now that part of the dread is kind of weak
By ashley walker, 2012-10-14
By ashley walker, 2012-08-11
When I see others with dreadlocks I feel a sort of bond, do you feel it too? especially if they're as messy or messier than mine. I think it's really cool because I never really felt that with normal hair. I didn't really notice if another person had curly brown hair similar to mine or i at least didn't feel as if we were connected in some way. When i was in Puerto Rico there was a lot of people with dreads and there were a few moments where we would recognize that we had dreads. People sold dreads beads on the street and offered to make dreadlocks on people. It was the same way at Ocean City, along with friendly gestures of approval from others with dreadlocks. There was a store and all of the employers had dreadlocks (except this little kid who worked there). They offered to make dreadlocks but it was $100 an hour and I feel like it shouldn't be that much because you can get dreadlocks for free. Anyways it's really cool to meet and see other people with dreads just because it's so rare for me to see them. I only know one person in my area that currently has dreadlocks. On another note, I have two pet peeves from those commenting on my dreads: when people ask "how long have you been TRYING to grow dread locks" i feel like they already are dreadlocks, they're pretty tight and you can tell that they're dreads from far away. When they say trying it's like Im putting effort into making them look a certain way but i guess it's because they have one image of the way dread locks are suppose to look like. And when they say "your dreads are sticking out" this happens when i put my hair to the side of my head so it doesn't fall flat on my head like normal hair. Those are just two that I've been noticing recently, it's fine that they say that because I mean i guess they're just making conversation (?)
By ashley walker, 2012-07-30
So recently I went on a vacation to Puerto Rico and it was stressful at some points. My family isn't the most calming people to be around. Anyways we rode ATV's in the rainforest and it was absolutely beautiful. I know for sure that I want to live on the mountains and I'm honestly thinking about living some where like Puerto Rico because the rainforest is on the mountains and it's just amazing the people are jet typical islanders and there's so much life and community that it seems as though no one is sad or controlled. We went to take a rest near a river and the river was completely clear. Our guide said that when it rains the water becomes 95% clean water which is okay for people to drink and i just thought that was the coolest thing. If i were to go to a river here in VA or WV I'm pretty sure i would get sick if i drank the water. There was so much life and I sat on the roots of a tree and had my feet in the river and I immediately felt connected, with everything. I knew i wanted to surround myself in nature but there wasn't a real way i was feeling a full connection to it. I need experiences like the one i had in PR to keep this sort of spiritual momentum. I had no phone (which i will admit that I am addicted to) or anything else manmade to occupy my time besides maybe clothes or the parked ATV's but that's fine. It's just difficult to have these connections to nature where I live. My family has views far from mine and they're generally stressful to be around, everywhere i go there is something manmade, the trees and bushes are cut to look the same, there's usually cement paths to anywhere that looks promising. I'm not trying to complain, I do have a comfortable life that I'm grateful everyday for, it's just not the one I want. I don't want any of this, I don't care for being financially comfortable, I don't even use most of this stuff I don't watch TV and i don't need a movie theatre at my disposal. Id rather be like my stepsisters grandma who lives in sort of a box house in the mountains with home made meals, perhaps a garden, and a PA system to play music.
So on the root of the tree there was something that sort of made me feel like it was important. This was an important tree and i needed to pay attention to it. And it was after that, that I started paying attention to the way trees grow and how interesting and helpful they are. Sort of like the limbs of the earth. I felt like i was breathing with the tree and all the life that was on it and swimming through it. It was just lovely and there was something Emmerson said that i didn't really understand fully about being so overwhelmed by nature that theres a tinge of fear. I always thought that it was a fear of that happiness escaping but I felt a fear or more of a doubt but I'm not sure why. Like maybe I'm doing something wrong.
In relation to this website:
I sort of came up with this analogy that trees are like dreadlocks. I wouldn't cut them or trim them, I want them to natural and grow and long as they can. Trees all grow differently they have branches and holes and bumps and they're unique but some people, especially in neighbor hoods like mine, try to cut them to look the same, strait up and down with many leaves. Just made me think that people who want their dreads to look perfect are going to kill their tree. It's like fighting nature. Trees are going to grow large and beautiful, and there's life in them literally and it's the same with our hair, it all starts from the roots and roots go pretty deep down.
By ashley walker, 2012-06-24