Category Archives: photographs

On Being a Person Who Has Dreadlocks

So, I have dreadlocks. If you used to read my blog before I dropped off the face of the earth, you probably remember that. Back in 2010, my girlfriends locked up my hair for me. I kept the dreads for about 10 months before I decided that it just wasn’t working for me. Since we’d actually sectioned, backcombed, crocheted, waxed, and powdered them into submission (see also: into hard pieces of hair that resembled cat poop [love you, Jane and Joy!]), I was able to simply comb them out at the 10 month mark. Basically, they never really locked up – they just looked like dreadlocks. Oh well. It was still an important time of learning and growth!

Then, a few months later, I learned about the “freeform” or “neglect” method of obtaining dreadlocks. This method immediately struck me as right and good. I had been pondering my previous set and had come to the conclusion that for me, dreadlocks should never be an immediate result of one night. I wanted dreadlocks because I refused to comply with pointless social expectations; because I wanted a near-constant reminder to surrender control of my life to God; because I have more important things than my hair (being a wife, being a mama, cleaning my house, making art, connecting with friends…) to think about. So then, why should dreadlocks come easily? Obtaining them should be a slow, steady, thoughtful process. Each little knot, loop, and stray hair should be appreciated. And, perhaps most importantly of all, the dreadlocks shouldn’t look perfect. Wouldn’t that defeat the purpose? Wouldn’t it just be another hairstyle? What would I learn from having perfect hair? I would have naturally-formed dreadlocks, and they would happen in their own time, in their own way.

On February 14, 2011, I did a bit of sectioning to my hair and then agitated the sections a little bit by doing something called “twist and rip” (it’s the most gentle way to give your hair a few starting knots). Then……….I left it all alone. Yeah…that’s it.

Now, a little over 20 months later, my dreads are definitely coming along, but let me tell you – they look like freeform locks. They are squiggly and they are uneven and they are “interesting.” But they are exactly what they need to be and they teach me so many lessons and provide me with so many reminders to just let go. I am humbled by the way they have locked up and shrank to many different lengths. I am forced to look at myself in the mirror, recognize the glorious mess that is my hair, but then choose not to tame it. Oh, I’ve been tempted to chop it all off, and I’ve even wondered why I ever got myself into this in the first place. But all of that continually points me back (sometimes, with the help of encouraging words from wise friends) to the reasons I went down this road in the first place. Rise above. Surrender. Focus on what matters.

I first let go of my hair when I was still living in Rochester, NY, so I didn’t get a lot of attention (positive or negative) since dreadlocks weren’t all that uncommon around there. However, now that I live in Southern California again, I am amazed (and amused) at the things people have said and the looks they’ve given me.

My all-time favorite: “Wow! I love your dreads!…You’re obviously living a very free lifestyle!”

Oh, totally. Just, you know, living in a rental home with my husband and my three kids, cooking and baking and cleaning every day, going to church……that’s what you mean by a free lifestyle, right?

Seriously, though! It’s fascinating to me that dreadlocks elicit such an interesting stereotype. I do realize that there are particular lifestyles that are commonly associated with dreadlocked people, but I do find it interesting that there are people who simply give into that general assumption instead of opening their eyes and looking at the whole person standing before them.

I am not my dreadlocks. I am not my tattoos. I am not my height, or my weight, or my clothing. Sure, some of those things are physical aspects of my body, or they are reflections of my creative side and my spiritual beliefs, but they do not define me. Rather, they are defined by me. They are pieces of my story but they don’t give it all away. They provide glimpses into the story you’ll learn if you get to know me. But why stop with the pieces?

 

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Filed under dreadlocking, photographs, tea-timing

it’s good to be Mama.

I went to get an ultrasound today. It was my first for this pregnancy, and I was a little stressed out about it for some reason. I take that back – the reason is that they told me I had to guzzle down 24 ounces of water 30 minutes before my appointment and then hold it until after the ultrasound. (I really think that could be classified as abuse.) But it turns out that 24 ounces first thing in the morning isn’t too bad (except for when the ultrasound is done and you get up and your baby dances on your extremely full bladder and you think, ohmahgah why do these people hate me so much?). Truly, though, the technician was extremely sweet and she said that everything looked perfect.

I was amazed by how wonderful it felt to see my baby on that screen. I recognized the feeling – it’s something I felt with both my boys – but I guess it surprised me that I’m still in such awe of this process of bringing new life into the world. Those two lines on the pregnancy test, the swelling of my belly, the first kicks, those glimpses of my babies on the ultrasound screen, the incredible process of labor and birth and bonding and those teeny tiny little baby bodies – I love it all and I feel so honored to carry the title of Mama.

Ahh…happy thoughts.

Oh, and since we’re on the subject, here’s a I-don’t-own-a-real-camera photo of me and my belly from a few days ago. I was 20 weeks and 3 days pregnant at the time.

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Filed under on being a mama, photographs, pregnancy

Six Dreaded Months

Six

whole

months.

Even as I write this, I’m giggling to myself. How weird would it be if someone who’d dyed their hair red, for example, were to write updates on the state of their hair? “It’s been 6 months since I dyed my hair [red/blonde/brown/black/whatever]. I feel like such a different person!” Hehe. It seems kind of trivial if you look at it like that — but with dreadlocks, it’s just…different.

Anyway, I haven’t gone into a lot of detail about my dreads, so I figure that their half-birthday is as good of a reason as any to enlighten any of my curious readers.

I think anyone with dreadlocks would admit that there are stages in which either you hate the way they look and want to rip them off your head, or you’re so in love with them that you get a little misty-eyed at the thought of ever chopping them off. In general, although I’ve experienced both stages, I have found that I usually land somewhere on the love side of things. I love them and they feel like they’re part of me, but I also sometimes forget that they’re even on my head. And that’s not to be taken as a careless remark – I think, actually, that it speaks a lot about how me they really are. They just belong there – so much so that I forget to consider that they ever weren’t there. Are you following me? Hehe.

My wash routine has stayed pretty consistent. I started with really, really short hair, so I washed my dreads once a week until they were about a month old. Then, once they were more locked up, I began to wash them twice a week, and I’ve continued to do so ever since. I wash with a rosemary shampoo bar that I buy from my local food co-op. I wrap my head in a towel afterwards and then I allow my hair to air-dry. Easy-peasy!

Surprisingly, I’ve gotten very few (positive or negative) comments while out in public. I’ve had one incident where I could tell a couple of goofy highschool girls were giggling at me, but other than that, I haven’t gotten any weird looks or anything. In our city, dreadlocks are fairly common, which probably has a lot to do with the lack of attention. I can’t say I mind!

If I could do it all over again…I’d do it again. I would! I was about to say that my dreads have taught me a lot – but let me be honest here – God has taught me a lot. By choosing to wear my hair like this, I gave up (the lie that I even had) a lot of control. My hair does its own thing. I have to roll with it. People may have their own (sometimes opposing) opinions. I have to roll with it. Sometimes I don’t look very put-together. And I’m reminded that on the inside, I’m not really very put-together either, and I’m glad that I can’t just resort to appearing like I am. God is in control. I am not. If anything, in my dread journey, I’ve come face-to-face with that single truth more than anything else.

Giving up my hair – choosing to wear it this way – is a reminder for me. It reflects what’s in my heart. I’m slightly messy and out of control, but creative and eccentric and I was chosen and I’m supposed to be here.

And now, any dreadlock-related questions out there? Ask away – I’ll respond in the comments section!

Pssst…see also:

Do you dread change?

5

Dreadlock Chronicles on Flickr (I promise to have Ryan take some real pictures of my head soon!)

and there’s also the dreadlocks tag on my sidebar for all posts pertaining to my locks

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this moment

{this moment: Jack’s house}

find other moments here

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Littlespeak

Whenever I sit down to nurse Forrest to sleep, Jack says, “Where is Brudder going?” It’s taken me a while to figure it out, but I finally realized that he asks where his brother is going because I always say, “Forrest is going to sleep.”

Hehe. Little people.

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Filed under laughter is good, on being a mama, photographs

5

5 months of

love

hate

(but mostly love)

coaxing

controlling

letting go

changing

accepting

scarves

surprisingly little criticism

learning

and more letting go.

Oh, and learning that I want to make every day the best day of my life. It’s amazing how much one can learn from one’s hair.

Yes. 5 months. (And counting.)

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Summery

I have a deep love for the outdoors and the warmth of the sun and

the sound of the

bugs.

Hummmmmmmmm.

I love it.

But I don’t get out enough. We tried to find a rental home in the country, and I thought that living there would help me remember to constantly bask in the all-encompassing beauty. Especially because we actually have seasons in this state. I can’t afford to waste any time

for the chill always returns!

But God had other plans for our living space, and here we are,

in the city.

It’s still beautiful but it takes more effort to get outside and find an enjoyable little spot of nature to lounge in.

But it can be done.

I did it today.

Bright and green and barefoot and lounging little slices,

sweet slices

of summer.

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