Monday, January 30, 2012

The dreaded adventure

Well, I did it. The hair is all knotted up & waiting to mature into lovely locs. The process took much longer than anticipated but gratitude & amazement go out to some ever-so patient & giving women in my life! In the words & photos to follow, I hope to take you through the first steps of my journey. It's been quite a trip!

Before it all started, this is what my hair looked like. Long (apparently uneven) & straight as an arrow.

Step one was to section & band my hair in preparation for the backcombing. (Backcombing is essentially teasing the hair.) I had plans to get together with friends the next day but had the brilliant idea of asking T, our lovely 19 year old, to section my hair the night before to make the first day's work easier. T graciously dropped what she was doing, grabbed a comb & got to work.

Little did I know, THIS was the first day's work. I sat on the chair in front of her desk and we talked & laughed as she parted & banded my hair into little strips and 2 hours later her task was complete. *phew* I had no idea. Check out her handy work....

Instructions on how to start dreads by backcombing don't include this step but it made sense to me & I honestly think it eased the following day's work. Plus, my dreads are incredible and I give partial credit to the prep work. When the night was over, I had a teeny inkling of what my hair would look like.

The next morning I loaded the kids into the car, stopped by Trader Joe's for some food & headed to a friend's house to meet 4 other mamas willing to sacrifice their time for my hair. Our 16 unschooled children enjoyed lots of quality time together in the hours & days to come as my hair became the center of attention.

I couldn't have been there 10 minutes before I was plopped in a chair. Me thinks everyone was just as excited about this adventure as I was!

Below you can see the tiny sections of hair they were dealing with. Each section was backcombed for 5-10 minutes, then slightly waxed & palm rolled to keep it's form. (I later read that waxing is not the best idea but it worked out ok, in the end.)

It's intense work & this dear mama took it very seriously. My lovely locs are due to love & dedication like this!

AP dreading!

The older kids enjoyed lots of Wii......

.....and play time outside.

Each friend took turns with a comb & soon, progress was being made.


Check 'em out!
More AP dreading!
At the end of the first day, my hair looked like this and I loved it! One pleasant surprise was that I didn't lose inches of length. I understand they shrink as they knot up & mature over time but even if I lose 3 inches, I'll be thrilled.

Here's a great shot of me & my "dread wives" on day two. Love you, mamas!

It didn't take long before they were back at it, sleeping babies and all.

When one of the little ones was asked what she thought of my dreadlocks, she promptly ran to the other room & grabbed an octopus stuffed animal. Ha! From the mouth of babes.

By the end of day two, my hair was looking dread-a-licious! These women backcombed their hearts out. 

......and palm rolled.

 We were all exhausted, by this point, but the task was not quite complete.

It looks like it's almost done but there were 26 more to go, on top & up front. Yowsa. 

Our trusty photographer came back on day 3 but because her hands were busy in my hair, few photos were actually taken. I think you get the gist, though, from the above pics, right? Backcomb, wax, palm roll. Repeat.

Drum roll, please.......

16 hours of love. 80 dreads.
They're wild & wooly & totally amazing! I adore the way the dreads look & feel & am anxious to grow & mature with them in the coming weeks & months. 

The journey has just begun.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Don't hate me because I want dreadlocks

I'm white. I live in the suburbs. I'm a homeschooling mom. I want dreadlocks. I am not a Rastafarian. I am not a pot head. I am not the creative artsy type but I still want dreadlocks. You wanna make something of it?

Seriously, though, they represent a free & easy lifestyle; a simplicity that I long for. I've appreciated dreads for ages and 5 years ago I started researching the process, dreaming about having them myself. I was pregnant at the time and the dream easily came & went as I focused on other more imminent needs but it has lingered in the back of my mind. Now may be the time.

I'm not a stranger to new hairstyles & my long straight locks have often been chopped to ultra short proportions & been colored random shades of brown, red & white. (I'm not much of a blonde fan but I enjoyed the bleached look for a short stint). Recently I've had the urge to buzz the hair again but then the thought occurred to me, now's my chance to dread this mess! I can try it out for a few months, see how it goes & get rid of it all if it doesn't suit me, right?

Not everyone appreciates the look of dreadlocks like I do, I'm well aware, but age brings this beautiful attitude of not caring. Thankfully my friends & family & church community & people in my neighborhood know me well enough to understand. I'm pretty sure most of them think I'm "out there" most of the time anyway. Ha! Homebirth? Homeschool? Cloth what?

So in the weeks & months to come, if you run into me with a bandana on my head & dreads hanging wild & free, I meant to do it. It wasn't a result of not washing my hair but rather a conscious choice to change things up.

Should be an interesting adventure.