I have been wanting elf locks for years: and have been voraciously combing the internet for any and all information I could find on the subject. Very nearly purchased products from the folks at KnottyBoy and DreadHeadHQ a time or two, but something about the use of product like WAX seemed unnatural even then.
I also even toyed a few times with interlocking some strands of my hair - took them out after seeing what time did to them...the constant maintenance also seemed...unnatural.
But lets get this straight.
EVERY site I searched all stated one thing in common.
WHY do you want dreadlocks?
I wanted dreadlocks because I was SICK and TIRED of waking up every morning and spending energy trying to decide how everyone else wanted me to appear that day.
What kind of make-up should I use? How should I style my hair? Should I dye it, and get it cut?
nothing seemed to be enough and I was spending hours a day on my appearance.
I was tired.
Six Years ago when I started my fascination with Locks, I had no social influence - no friends who had locks - I was not involved with a culture that accepted them - had no role models - wasn't even in to Bob Marley and hadn't even been to the Caribbean yet... Not even sure how I learned about them, just seemed like something that came out of Self.
2009, New Years, and I decided to incorporate an "official" beginning to my Elf Lock journey - and I burned my brush as a part of my new years ritual.
I chose the "neglect" method. And, much like how I face many problems, or obsticles, I decided to just "sleep" on it. I didn't bother with seperating my hair in to strands as tangles formed...I didn't use conditioner when I washed my hair...and, well, I didn't DO anything but keep it clean. It was wonderfully liberating.
But as the months passed, i started to notice my scalp was constantly in pain, constantly itching, and sometimes even bleeding.
One huge lock had formed at the back of my head.
I have a ton of hair, its very thick, and very long...all this weight, i guess (?) was pulling on my scalp and causing constant pain. I had even been gently massaging my scalp all this time to simulate the stimulation it used to receive from daily brushing.
After a month of agonizing over what to do, trying to wait it out hoping my scalp would adjust, i decided to brush out my hair.
This was in June2010.
It took two days.
I started over, and this time paid more attention to my hair as it was knotting. I kept the back, especially, seperated in to ropes of their own, and my scalp could not be more happy.
I also noticed a change in my mental attitude as i shifted more focus back on to my physical body.
Sometimes too much "neglect" is a bad thing, and makes the brain go in to a feral mode that is not always healthy.
Anyways, things were lookin good. I had about 10 naturally forming dreddies and they were doin their thing nicely.
but I had a trip coming up to SCUBA dive in the Philippines for ten days (HALLELUJIAH!! SALT WATER!!!)
and i was terrified that all my hair would matt back up again in to one massive lock.
So. I decided to Test The Waters for a couple days when I arrived and see how my hair handled.
I was correct in my worry - my hair started to tangle and twist and curl into itself..one big lock..
So, I asked some locals for help.
and before I know it, I'm in a tattoo parlour, down an alleyway, and the tattoo artist (who had amazing long healthy lookin dreads of his own) was taking a crochet hook to my hair. His name was ToTo (the whole week prior to my trip, I had been obsessing about the Wizard of Oz with a friend of mine, Synchronicity #1) - very appropriate, cuz lets face it, I haven't been in Kansas for a LONG time...
He had a full sleeve tattoo of elves, faeries, and imps - - - Elf Locks. (synchronicity #2)
He was very aggressive to my hair - and while most of my hair was already naturally seperated more or less - it seemed like a long process.
It cost me 7,000 Philipino Pesos. which in USD is $160...the EXACT same amount I USED to pay when I would go to the salon for a haircut and hairdye. I don't care who you are, thats synchronicity...#3.
When it was over with, my poor hair felt so abused. and i was left wondering - o shit...what have i done.
But its part of the story now, and I wanted the Islands to be a part of me and my journey forever...and now they are.
I was terrified, because I still have eight days of hard diving to do, in water that has strong currents...and I was jumping off of a high platform in to the water as well...abusing my hair further by constantly tying it back, keeping it wet all day long, and pulling a plastic mask strap over it multiple times a day...
At the end of a trip, I even swam in waterfalls, horrible weight of water beating my head and ripping at my hair.
I was SURE i would lose AT LEAST one.
Not yet anyways...
I expect to in the future, and I will accept that as just another part of the process and a bit of the journey.
ToTo tried his best to get my already formed locks nice and perfect and round.
He took all the kinks, bumps, twists, and shooter roots out...I didn't want this, but since he didnt speak english, and I cant say anything in Filipino except "Beautiful, I love you, can I have a beer please, thank you, have a nice day"....i decided, well shit, im here, just enjoy the ride.
And, after spending time in the water, wind, and sun, I am DELIGHTED that all those bumps and kinks and twists have re-appeared on their own, just as they used to be before all this was done...
I have roughly 45 locks now...all varying sizes, but mostly thick. 1/2 to 1 inch thick, i suppose...
And this is more or less what I would have ended up with had I let them go naturally - because my hair was already coiling up in its own sections of this size.
I've done a little work since my trip ended two weeks ago to weave in loose hair that escaped from my underwater escapades...
I've also tested them all for strength - they don't seem as fragile as they were in the first couple days, and I no longer have nightmares of waking up with all my hair left on my pillow...
I'm happy to report that they no longer look so manufactured as they did when i just got them...my hair is growing and roping on its own now.
But lets face it...
I have friends who have beautiful strong naturally formed locks - and theirs break from stress in life...
hair will fall out. hair will break.
I expect mine to do the same at some point.
I'm trying my best to adjust to what I have done - as all along I was doing so well with my commitment to do all this as natural as possible.
I'm a little dissapointed in myself for supposedly taking the easy way out...
But i love the experience i had, and i love the bond, and i love the journey.
I guess the chips will fall where they may.
I use doc bronners teatree and hemp bar soap to wash my hair now, once a week usually...
I sometimes dab some tea tree oil on my hair, sparingly...and i have some floral water i use to keep them smelling nice, or to maintain a healthy scalp.
I'm going to try out this Baking Soda stuff I keep hearing about.
about four of my locks have been blunted...I'm leaving the others As Is - most of my locks have unknotted ends of about 2-4 inches in length...and i LOVE how fast my hair seems to dry!!!! all that water just rolls right out!!!
IF I ever decide to dye my hair in the future, I will use high grade quality hennah - as I've heard this is healthy for scalp and hair...or even different herbal washes can be used to improve health and vivacity.
I will never use wax. Maybe Aloe Vera, but thats just cuz i'm in love with that plant - so useful!!
there are things I love and things I dont love about this process - but..
One thing is certain.
I am getting exactly what I asked of my locks...
I am now a What You See Is What You Get person...
and this is just one small step in the transformation process.
but don't judge.
I do enough Self-Judgement for the both of us
Thanks for Reading, Best Beloveds!!