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My judgmental and non supportive family ..

user image 2012-04-29
By: Stephani
Posted in:

Today I am just drained and mentally exhausted. My brain has so many jumbled up thoughts, that I don't even know where to start this blog at. I apologize ahead of time if this makes no sense. It could quite possibly just end up being a crazy rant of sorts.

I thought my mom would have no problem with my dreads. My whole life she's known what a creative spirit I am. She has always been my biggest supporter, and never let me down. So I didn't think to ask her if she mined if I gave myself dreads. I am 26, a grown women with a husband and a 4 year old son. I have a great job, manage to pay all my bills on time, take care of my family and pets. Basically, I have my stuff together. It wasn't always this way for me, I had a rough childhood and some pretty wild teenage years. My Mom was by my side through all of the hell I put her through, and she always had my back no matter what. Anyway, The night after I did my partial TnR's, I was at work, on a smoke break. My phone started ringing and it was my mom. While chatting a bit about nothing in particular, I mentioned to her that I finally gave myself some dreads, after wanting them for SO long. The other end of the phone became immediately silent. I asked what was wrong, and she said, "you have never disappointed me with anything you've done ever, until now." I felt like someone had stabbed me in the heart (I know that sounds a bit dramatic, but really that's how it felt). She then went on to say that she couldn't believe that I would ruin my "beautiful" hair like that. Out of our family my brother and I got the "good" hair, and he shaves his bald. How could I tie mine up in knot's? Anyway, A few days later I asked her to come out to dinner with my son and I. When she saw my dreads, I asked her what she thought. She said they looked okay the way they are, and told me to never dread my whole head. She wanted me to just leave them the way they were with my other hair still not dreaded. Today I went to her house to visit and help out in her yard for a while. I said, I'm going to dread the rest of my head, please understand that this means a lot to me. She basically made me feel like shit. I wont go into any of the details of the words she used because it's really unnecessary, but she ended with, "I will disown you if someone in public asks if you're my daughter". Another stab in the heart, and I was fighting back the tears. Once she realized that I was getting really upset she said "you do what you want, I just don't like them".

I never thought I would be so changed by my dreadlocks. I mean sure, I was expecting to change physically from them, but I never in a million years thought my dreads would change me on the inside. This was something I never could have prepared for. It's like I found myself, who I was always meant to be. I feel so truly happy for once in my life and I can't share that happiness with anyone, because everywhere I turn I havecondescending attitudes and judgmental opinions.

My husband doesn'tnecessarily like my decision to dread, but he would never tell me not to. I know he would rather me not dread my hair, but he wont say the things my mom said. Whether he thinks the same way or not.

I wont take my dreads out just because people I love don't like them. I just wish there was some way to make my mom see past the dreads, and realize that my hair does not make me who I am. I wish she would take a minute to see how truly happy I am, and how comfortable I feel in my own skin now.

The only support I get is from a few girls at work. I just wish more people were open minded.

If anyone has been through something similar, and has any suggestions on how to deal with this, please help me. I love my mom dearly. I don't want to lose her over this, but at this point I can't go back to who I was before, for the sake of myself.

Panterra Caraway
05/16/12 10:12:09AM @panterra-caraway:

So glad to hear it! Good for you :) You never know what life will bring you or how one change can affect your life so much <3

05/16/12 01:32:28AM @stephani:

Cherie- That is so sweet :)

Panterra- Thank you so much, and I believe you are exactly right. I actually brought up some points that were similar to yours to her, and then I left it alone and didn't bring it up for a bit. On Mother's Day she actually told me my dreads were pretty, and that she wants me to grow them really long. I was shocked and completely taken aback by her. I'm not sure what brought on her change of mind so quickly, and I didn't ask either. If I had to guess though, I'd say that she has recently made some life changes to better her health, and I really think they are affecting her overall happiness as well. I am so happy that she has accepted me for what I am now, and that we were able to get past this and continue on. I'm not saying it wont be a bumpy road, but it may be a little less bumpy from now on. :)

Panterra Caraway
05/16/12 01:17:45AM @panterra-caraway:

Stephani, I have read some of your other posts and I find you to be a very level headed, smart individual. First,let me say that I am really sorry that this is happening to you. I know it is very painful and you miss the closeness that you and your mom usually share. I hope that I don't offend you with what I am about to say...I say it with love and not judgement, please know that. I have 3 daughters and am now old enough to come from a different I wouldn't have come from when I was younger. I think we are lucky to grow, learn and change throughout our lives. And just because someone is older doesn't mean that they have necessarily achieved mastery over certain life lessons. I am curious, if you developed cancer and lost all your hair if your mom would refuse to look at you. Or, if you were disfigured in an accident if that would make you a different person in her eyes. Your mom needs to grow up alittle. She may never like the dreadlocks you have...but she needs to see beyond the hair and into your heart and soul. If she can't do that, then maybe you didn't have the relationship you thought you did. Maybe if you point that out, she may seeher error and you can get back to what is important...hope so. Much love.

05/15/12 12:47:55AM @stephani:

Like cultural appropriation? I don't understand why people can't stop considering things to be specific to one culture. To me, for someone to say having dreadlocks offends any one culture, that seems very ignorant, and a tad on segregation side of things. I don't see anything as being specific to one culture, just as I don't see anything being specific to one gender. I just think if someone wants to do something, such as dreadlocks, there culture shouldn't matter at all. The way I wear my hair shouldn't offend anyone because I'm not the "right" skin color for it.

I feel bad that your friends see's things way, and I hope it doesn't hinder your friendship at all.

05/07/12 01:27:54PM @stephani:

We'll see if she comes around. She has yet to see my whole head finished, and we still haven't spoken anymore about the subject.

I really like what you said about dreads are a symbol of separating from society and walking with god. Very cool, I've never heard it before. I've recently learned that people will make judgements on others regardless of how their hair is done. Even if I didn't have my dread babies, I would still be judged for something else. I'm okay with it now, because I know in my heart I am on the right path. Others can pass judgement, but they will never know what is right for. Just as I will never know what is right for another. :)

05/07/12 11:38:41AM @freebird:

Sounds like my mom...She wouldnt look at me or talk to me offered me money to take them out....But then out of the blue she called me and told me she watched abob marley documentary and was intrigued. She would never do that before and i was so greatful for her attempt to understand before she judged. It's the fear of the unknown. Different generation. I read somewhere that dreads are a symbol of seperating from society and walking with god. Then it goes on to say it will not be easy. People will treat you bad ect. I say..come on people it's just hair.....or is it?

05/03/12 08:27:10PM @stephani:

Thanks you guys! I'm really trying to see the positive and I'm praying she'll get used to it someday. If not she's still my mom and I still love her. We just wont talk about hair anymore LOL. I think she'll come around eventually though.

James Turk
05/03/12 05:56:44AM @james-turk:

Sounds like she just needs time. It's not justyour dread journey, it's theirs to. Everyone will learn something from it. She'll push through it, stay strong!

05/02/12 10:12:02PM @valrie:

Awe Stephani, just try to think positively. Eventually things will ease up between you guys, especially since you are so close. Maybe once her other stresses are relieved she will realize just how small a problem, such as hair, is to a relationship. After all, at some point she has to think that you are working in the hair industry and there is some validation to what you are doing as well as still being received by said industry.

Chin up!

05/02/12 09:26:28PM @stephani:

Thanks James!

So we went over. It was awkward, which is weird. BUT, She said nothing about my dreads. and I didn't bring it up. I did notice though, that she would hardly look at me. It's strange to me to not be getting along with my mom. Her and I have always been so close and it's weird and sad to me that something like this would be putting a strain on our relationship. :( It's kind of putting a damper on my whole attitude. I'm really trying not to think about it though.

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