By DeafyJae, 2011-07-31
Yup....1 year and seven minutes of hair knotting up like a sloth climbing a greased pole! That's basically how much patience you have to have to get the locs of all locs! Ok, let me step back a moment to clarify..... When I first started this adventure of dreading up, I made a big mistake of having expectations. Perhaps its part of my American social upbringing to the tune of being able to control personal aspects of my own life. But I attest that I have been SAVED by this almighty hair of mine. I say that because I came to really discover about my true nature, who I thought I was vs what I really am. Nothing HAS to happen, just let it be.
It is now one year later since I ridiculously backcombed my 18+ inches of long hair (it is now shoulder length and well hidden in the form of matted hair). What a crazy journey it has been. I am no where near at the stage I thought I would be in by now, meaning having long perfect dreads, but I know now that I really didnt know what dreads were. To the untrained eye, my hair doesn't "look" like "magazine" dreads but I now know different. dreadlocks are and should be a symbol of the natural state of being. I am no longer trying to be, but rather being as I am (deep huh?)
I can feel each unique dread of mine and I have seen their constant changes as the months go by. I feel as thoughI have reached the stage of cooperation (no longer fighting each dread from clinging together anymore). This next year will undoubtedly be a fun one. I look forward to seeing how they mature and continue to teach me that perfection is merely an illusion that we have created. Instead, the process that I have been through is as natural as a child learning day by day.
So are my 1 year old dreads pretty and ideal from various perspective? Not even close. Am I disappointed? On the contrary, I feel a bit more enlightened. It is what it is. As my dreads grow up, so will I. Not bad for a "soon-to-be-40" year old "kid" eh?
Happy Dread-Birthday to me!
By DeafyJae, 2010-12-31
Aside from the job, my dreads seem to fit the category of change as well. Again, all positive. I won't lie and say that my dreadlock journey has been perfect. It's anything but, however the process has constantly addressed new insights and outlooks about myself and others around me. Tucked away in my daily tam, my dreads rarely stay the same. Now at 5 months, it has become tighter and rebellious-like. I've had my days of "this looks like a pile of caca" to days of "this is fun to play with"!
Besides the hair knotting slowly and naturally, what has it done to personify who I am? To my surprise, most people have garnished support and I have become a noted member at my place of employment. Dare I say I have contributed to the desire of diversity (not in the sense of ethnicity but in style) amongst the small town school. While I never intended to strut my growing dreads to students, I have shown 3 of my classes of the process unfolding as I humbled myself to student's pleads to see them.
I began to realize that as I am now in my student's lives, why not show them my crazy deed? If anything, I have their respect in that I can show them that life isn't meant to be "box-perfect" and they can be who they are if they so desire it. And on that note, how odd that I am a person that likes some privacy in life yet when I stand before my peers I literally stand out (reminds me of Sesame Street's "one of these don't belong to the other"song). I suppose I like the attention of a rebellious nature. Big surprise to those that know me well (not).
So, the question remains as to the point of this piece; What do my baby/teen dreads look like now? While I am in need to post a current picture, I cannot do so at the moment but I will describe it as best I can here (pictures WILL follow soon...just gotta wash em first).
AT 5 MONTHS NOW:
When I began the dreading process, I had 30 dreads. Since then, 4 sets of dreads have congo-ed (two dreads each set coming together). It's gonna be two big fatties! While I COULD rip them apart, I opted to leave them be. Who am I trying to impress....really? So I guess the count now is about 26 dreads. Typical manufactured dreads are around 40 or more. What does this mean for me? I will have a head of thick dreads. Looks damn good in a tam (dread hat).
While I have some thick ones (diameter of a thick permanent marker), I have some thin ones that grew on their own. Hair is a fickle thing. Unless you use wax or other crap in your hair to make dreads (which I advice is a big no no) it will do whatever the hell it wants when left alone. I have bouts of loose hair here and there and I am confidence it will either form on its own or find a home with a neighboring dread.
The first few months, my hair was "big". Since then. it has shrunk down and looks more flat (I guess I should post a "then and now" photo for ya). While most of my hair unraveled the back-combing method my friends did, it eventually knotted together quickly. At first glance, it may be hard to tell I have dreads as they lay close together like hair naturally does. But when I give a good shake, the dreads become obvious. They are still forming so it doesn't have that "mature" look yet. Mind you, dreads (natural dreads) take a long time. Usually by about 2 years they become noted dreadlocks. It's only been 5 months.
I am pleased with the overall process and look forward to the anniversary in late July to mark my 1 year dreading adventure. Keep your eyes peeled for pictures. They are coming. Trust me.
By DeafyJae, 2010-08-22
August 21st marked my 3rd week of locking up! It has been an interesting process. As I sat back yesterday evening to reflect my newest transition in life, I am in awe with what dreadlock has come to symbolize for me at this point.Lessons I have learned so far:Patience:In the world we live in these days, one gets too used to having things done right away. Technology brings us communication within a blink of an eye, dinner can be ready in as little as 3 minutes, and traveling long distances can be done in a matter of hours (if not less). So here I am, trying to develop dreadlocks that will last my a long time and even though they are starting to bud, the journey is still a while to come. I have learned to treasure each day more and pay attention to little changes here and there. Beautiful things come about with time. My baby dreads has taught me to slow down a little, make note of how things transition themselves and absorb each day with a renewed love for life.Expectations:A valuable lesson I encountered a week ago is the concept of expectations. Expecting things to be a certain way only to be disappointed. Just when I thought all my dreads where locking up equally, several of them came apart and caused me to suffer a bit. This is very true in almost every aspect of our lives. We tend to set expectations of how things will and should be. But when the time comes, as we see it, what we see or experience often times has us feeling gipped. Especially when we put forth a lot of effort and mental work to develop a moment, such as planning a party or even something as trivial as making a desert, it doesn't come out as to how we envision it to be. Perhaps with the media the way it is, we get sucked into the illusion of how things "ought to be". Now, I am just letting my dreads lock up how they will. They may not be picture perfect, but they are mine and each dreads are to be cherished.Attachment:Like anything that has a personal ripple of effect in our lives, we tend to be attached to things emotionally on any level. We get attached to a pet, a car, a lover or even a particular sports team. I found myself becoming overly careful with my hair dreading that I hesitate to touch it too much with fear that I will cause it to unravel. Ridiculous isn't it? I mean, it's only hair, who cares. There are countless beings in the world suffering and I am focused on my hair?!?!? At least I came to that awakening so early on. I am practicing more about "letting go" in the sense that all things come and go and I have no control over it. Hell, I may become bald within the next 10 years, so I have to accept that. With that said, I also have to realize that life just flows. Simply put. It's a profound awakening I think and I look forward to practicing that concept.Growth and stages:Another thing I have come to ponder is the journey of growth and stages of my dreadlock ordeal. I come to appreciate what dreadlocks symbolizes throughout the world, specifically to Hindu yogis and Rastifarians. Most would say that dreadlocks, being a symbol of nature and separation of vanity, are reserved for those that have an inner desire to experience what it means to be pure. I don't mean it in a sense that a person shouldn't be drinking coffee or eating Dunkin-Donuts because of the unnatural state of it (and I am still attached to those things HA!) but more to imply a state of mental clarity. Truth. So what has my dreadlock journey done to instill such a concept? There are three stages of locking and I am at the very beginning; the baby stage. Like a baby, I am learning to deal with the locking process and all that it entails both physically and mentally. Unless you've ever gone natural to grow dreads, I fear this may be lost on your part. It truly is a lot of work to separate the dreads from congo-ing (two or more locks growing together to make one huge dread), making sure the ends of each dreads are not drying out, and lastly, avoiding anything that would condition the hair and scalp which is an enemy to the locking process. I look forward to the teen stage and anyone that knows teens, can get a good idea of the process that is like with hair. Just a rebellious mess of knots, loose hairs and stubborn interlocking.It has been so far a great journey for me. While I know the general masses would find this to be such a ridiculous waste of time to either grow dreadlocks or simply to parallel the lessons one can learn, it is MY journey and one that has spiritual meaning for me. If it makes me a better person, then I'll have all that much more power to me!
By DeafyJae, 2010-08-14