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Location: Mcdonough, GA
Zipcode: 30253
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In Response to Positive Self Image, Life Style, and People's Perceptions

2012-03-11
By: PeacewithDreads
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I put this here, and not in response to Nicholas Janousek's posting because I always fear getting too long-winded in my replys. I didn't reply to this when it first was posted, but I thought about it often. I did not feel compelled to respond until after I had this pretty remarkable week.

As is my habit, I wrap my baby dreads in a scarf and they kind of poke round the top and spike up a bit. Because I am 69 days into my journey, my dreads are still what I call "wannabes". When I use the www.dreadlockshampoo.com locking gel when my hair is wet, it leaves the separation stiff, so when I wrap my head in a scarf they look good, and I feel very confident in it.

Anyway, that being said, last Sunday as my daughter and I left church I heard this raised voice from behind me in the parking lot say, "excuse me?" I turned around and looked at this attractive older women i would imagine to be in her 60's. She touches me on the arm and says, "I just wanted to tell you that you are simply beautiful!" I was touched, moved, and shocked. (pleasantly). My husband has always told me I was beautiful, but I have NEVER had anyone, let along a complete stranger, seek me out to tell me I was beautiful.

I know and give credit for this to the dreads. HOWEVER, I want to qualify that this is not because I have changed, but that the dreads cause change. I believe perceptions of dreads can be positive, and move people in a positive way. Dreadlocks have a two way impact, and it is not enough to speak to my own self-esteem. I believe people, seeing my dreads see the hope and change. The freedom I take to express myself in such a radical way (for this rural area) allows others to explore the possibility of change in their own life.

I knew it wasn't just me who moved her, but the dreads and what they represented to her. It is not self modesty, I know I have my good qualities, but lets face it, I am an over the age of 40 white woman with a middle age paunch.I know my dreads had a big part of her focus, especially since my family have been attending that church for 4 years and she had not approached me. I am convinced they think my husband is having an affair, or dating a new woman. I had rarely received any regard,but they seek me out, they greet me, and go out of their way to comment to me where they never did before. In fact, on Wednesday, one of the other parishoners in our church thought my husband had divorced me, and was dating a new women...me! She boldly (i thought) asked my husband if "this woman with you is of any significance' (I wanted to say "I am standing right here!") and he was like..."Sarah, you remember my wife, don't you?" (because I am a full-time student I am usually studying on Wednesday evenings, but because of Spring break I was able to attend with my husband this last week).

Even the pastor knows what pew we sit in each week. My husband jokingly said that he wanted to remind the pastor that I was his wife because he kept looking at me while he preached. I laughed because I had no cluesince I had forgotten my glasses...(remember...middle age..paunch..and short-sightedness--amazing howeasy direct eye contact is when a face is a blur)...and on Wednesday when my husband introduced me he said, "Well of course we have met!" to which I pointed out that we had never been formally introduced, but he had probably seen me, certainly...to which he said, "well it feels like I know you". In fact, today he felt comfortable enough to joke with me and say, "i saw you straggle in late this morning" (okay, just so you know..it was 3 minutes late - my husband and I drove separate cars, and he got ALL the green lights!..daylight savings is the curse of Spring).

The point is, who I am at the core is still the same, but for some reason their perception of me has changed and it has to be the dreads. Why? Is it because of the fact that I feel comfortable in my own skin now. I have this freedom to express myself as I believe God intended, and because of such I present a more open appearance?

The remarkable part of all of this is that my family has been impacted only in a positive way from this change. They realize now that our world did not fall apart because I "grew dreads" and in fact, they unanimously agree that I need to keep the dreads. My husband loves the positive attention, and loves seeing me as being more confident. I agree with Nicholas about the growth in self-esteem. A positive self esteem is a positive impact all around, and it has had a tremendous growing impact on our family and those I interact with.

So, for day 69, the journey has been positive, and I hope to cherish these feelings and continue to have a positive impact on people, which is kind of my goal as a peace activist.....thanks for reading...until we meet again....peace.

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