Dreads are mature when you are
I was waiting until Sept. 10th (when my dreads have their fourth month birthday) to post again, but the process is developing so quickly that I`m scared I might miss or forget something if I don`t catch it now.
When I first dreaded my hair, I felt like the most beautiful thing this side of the moon. It seemed it released my true self from a self-imposed prison which had lasted nearly sixty years.
Fairly quickly the top layer of dreads started to go gnarly and loopy, and I only went outside with half-updos (which I always "freed" the minute I got home).
Then one side got dramatically shorter than the other, and there were loops everywhere, and I didn`t feel beautiful any more, and hiding my hair before I went out became the new "problem" (though "freeing" it the minute I walked through the door became as much of a ritual as ripping off my bra the minute I walked through the door had been ten years before, before I dispensed with bras altogether).
All this time it was puzzling me that I was so sensitive about what others might say or think, because most of the time I don`t care a rat`s behind about what others say or think. I was hiding my hair because the opinion of others might hurt me and yet generally I don`t care about the opinion of others. I really racked my brains trying to figure it out.
At the same time, I was growing increasingly resentful that I "had to" invent new, neat hairstyles every day to avoid hurtful remarks from others.
At some time I realized I didn`t have to. So first I went to my vegetable garden with loose dreads, then I visited my family with loose dreads, and finally I started to go to my music lessons with loose dreads. It wasn`t until I started to do this that I realized that other people`s negative responses can only affect me if I have a negative feeling about (whatever it is) myself. I had a negative feeling about my dreads when they started to go gnarly and loopy, which made me vulnerable to negative criticism. I got some negative remarks (and some funny ones). It didn`t matter by then, because I`d finally learned to "stand by my dreads" (one of my friends told me I looked like someone who had lived for thirty years in a cave without realizing that the hippie movement was finally over. I laughed, it was funny).
Wearing them loose anyway was the best way of breaking free. They`d never been loose outside before, and they just loved it. They got wind, sun and fine rain, and pretty soon they`d figured out how they want to lie and which hairs want to go where; as long as I was hiding them, they couldn`t learn that.
I love them again, and feel something very akin to grief that there was a phase - however short - where I didn`t love them and even tried to force or coerce them.
I feel beautiful again, not because they have changed, but because my attitude has.
So, for the record:
The short side has kind of relaxed and I have around 5 cm of regrowth that side which stands up like half a halo (the other side has around 1 cm new growth).
My hair`s growing like fury and is almost back to my waist again.
Most dreads have like a sheath of loose hairs surrounding them; they are not dreaded yet, but you can`t pull them away either. They`ve decided which dread they want to hang out with. The texture is velvety, like a mole or a beaver - short, dense fur. Or like the mossy-like stuff which covers reindeer horns. They are so beautiful right now - beautiful like a boy soprano is, because the time they are going to be like that is so limited.
I`m sorry now that I was so fixated on what they`re going to be like when they`re "done" that I failed to recognize how beautiful they already are. Hopefully I won`t get into that again.
Im late to this post here but this was such an amazing post, I had to comment.
Thank you you for sharing. Such important words were said, and I needed to read them.
i think you are soooo beautiful! this was so beautifully said too. now i would reply to that remark with "my goal in life is to be a caveless cavewoman' wild and free no longer tied to a cave .. then just to punctuate that statement throw your head back and howl at the moon