Ok, gonna give a bit of info. Some of it I've already said in replies to discussions or on my page, but...
I work in the medical industry as a scheduler/clerical assistant. Before that I worked in finance for 8 years. Why is this pertinent? The mindset, for one, and my first and second dread journeys happened at each place respectively.
Several years ago, I decided to dread my hair. I had been wanting to for a few years but hadn't worked up the nerve to do it because every time I mentioned it I got negative and some downright rude comments from family and friends.
"Why would you do that to your hair?" "You'll have to shave your head to take them out." "Dreads are nasty and dirty." "You'll look homeless." "Are you on drugs?" "You'll never get a 'real' job with hair like that."
I wasn't strong enough as an individual yet to turn a deaf ear on any of it.
Then it just happened. Maybe it was because my employer at the time was a super-controlling, "image is everything" freak. Maybe it was just that I was finally growing confident in myself. All I know is that many things were happening during that year and I finally said, "Screw it, I'm going to do what makes me happy." I knew that my hair style or clothing style had nothing to do with my productivity as an employee or my work ethic.
So a coworker came over and over the course off about 8 hours we backcombed and rolled with a commercial dread wax. I wish I had a photo of it. I was so happy, finally feeling more like "me" than I had in a very long time. The problem? I hadn't really done much research other than how to create the dreads using that method. I didn't realize that it was going to be nearly impossible for my hair to naturally continue dreading in to the formed, gunked-up locks. I had no idea that it was in any way bad for your hair, other than perhaps a few strands breaking as you combed and knotted it.
My mother CRIED when she saw them for the first time when we met up for our Curves workout, about a week after I had them done. She carried on and made a scene for the entire half hour of the circuit, alternating between sobbing and commenting very loudly about how awful she thought they looked. She told me in a disgusted tone of voice that I looked like Buckwheat from Little Rascals. I left that session extremely upset, in spite of the fact that a couple of the other women there had actually defended me to her - women I didn't know other than we occasionally were in the same circuit. My employer, while not quite as vocal about their disapproval, also made it clear that they thought of dreads as dirty and unprofessional.
I lasted seven months, backcombing and tightening constantly, before I gave up and decided it wasn't supposed to be quite that difficult or time consuming to have dreads.
Fast forward approximately four years. A friend who happened to be a professional musician started dreads by braiding her hair in sections and then just letting them be. Can I just say that my 'dread envy' was intense! LOL It got me thinking that I wanted to dread again, but I was in transition from my old employer to my new and I was afraid that I would jeopardize my new position. I started looking for ways to have temporary dreads, everything from yarn falls to fake hair falls, and tie-ins.
It would be nearly another four years before I found this very site and another that showed how to minimally backcomb dreads that I could do on Friday afternoon and take out Sunday night. I tried it and had that renewed sense of self I'd been lacking. I took photos, showed them to my supervisor, and was surprised to find that she was much more open to the look than I thought. I asked if she would be opposed to me having dreads on a permanent basis. She said no, so long as they were kept clean and in accordance with company dress codes. The company dress code states that hair must be clean and can not be "styled in such a way as to be overly distracting". I took that to mean that if my new - now to be natural and not backcombed - dreads started getting too wild during the process, a simple tying back with a scrunch would suffice. My supervisor agreed.
So here I am, fifteen weeks in on my journey. I've learned a lot about patience so far and what things to do or not do. I tried beads for a bit, hoping to help separate sections and encourage dreading. I also found that I need to separate frequently, almost daily, because my hair is fine and likes to try to congo constantly. The combination of beads and separating cause large balls to form over and around the beads. Setting myself back a couple of weeks, I combed out the three largest just to the point where the ball wasn't there but the rest of the dread was intact. I removed all but one of the beads and decided to just let the dreads be for a while. I think I'll go back to the bead decorating idea after they've matured.
During the last few months, I've learned that I'm not quite as patient as I thought - but now I can work on it. I also learned that more people are interested in the process and watching them grow. I get asked questions almost daily, and happily answer them and quell common myths. As for mom...well, she is more tolerant of it this time, or at least has learned to keep her more negative/disparaging thoughts to herself and let me be me. I'm glad to have found such a great community to be able to share with and learn from!
updated by @arkynstone-gypsyfae: 01/13/15 10:03:09PM