to dread or not to dread*

self portrait taken today of pretend dreads, via cell phone
(click for larger view)

I've had a fantasy for years. Me and and long dreadlocks tresses filled with pretty beads and headwraps. I was inspired by this hair style while living in Berkeley, California (of course) and have wanted to do it since. Although, I kept putting it off and off and off...and then I befriended gorgeous Em last year and that was it. Seeing her hair, touching it, smelling it ( smells so good) and photographing it confirmed that this passion to express myself in this way is still living in my heart.

Although, I've had some fears and it wasn't until this week, when I actually ordered my Dread Head kit and started dreaming of a ceremonial Dread Party I could have with my girlies, that the fears came to surface. You thing people have always noticed about me is my hair. My feminine, loose, long, flowy hair. So, in a sense, I have sort of hid behind it. Often wondering if I would be pretty without it. Wondering if that is the only thing that is really pretty about me at all. I rarely put my hair up because I feel self conscious about my face sometimes. I just never felt I was that girl that looked that great with her hair up. So, I would take time each day to spiral my wavy hair with a curling iron, so that it would fall around my cheeks, the way everyone loves it. It has pretty much become a sort of identity for me and my boho-ness and I think I am getting a wee bit too attached to my locks.

I think about those women that shave their head to feel liberated. To not hide behind their hair and what society feels a woman should look or be like when it comes to beauty. I also think about those women that slowly lose their hair from illness and the identity crisis they have to move through to embrace the new them. I admire these women. I want to sit in a circle with them and hear all about their process of discovering their beauty within without their beloved hair.

Having dreads will not only express a part of me that has always been there...but it will help me to embrace other parts of me. I imagine that while having my sweet Cedar, it will be up in a messy bun or pony most of the time and I would have to grow to accept and love my face and the parts I tend to hide behind. It will add texture and volume, which I always try to get with my curling iron and I am SO tired of my curling iron! It will also give me an opportunity to be more creative with beads and head wraps and shapes.

My husband is being so very supportive. His mindset is very similar to mine in that it will be a good exercise of not attaching myself to one way of being. Meaning, I don't have to have soft, flowy, spiral locks to be feminine and bohemian. He tells me he would find me sexy if I was bald (what a good man) and that he doesn't run his fingers through my hair anyways because I rarely brush it. ; )

People have an illusion about dreadlocks being smelly and messy and unclean. I think it just depends on the person and who they are and what they are comfy with. Dreadlocks are supposed to be washed with special shampoos and there are products to make them soft and smelly good, which makes me happy because I know that will be important to me.

So, I haven't' done this yet. I will receive the Dread Head kit next week. I can always change my mind...and I have plenty of time to think about it.

The thing is...I don't want to be rocking in a chair when I am older and grayer and always wondering what it would have been like to have dreadlocks. I don't want to have to wonder. I want to live the dreams I can live. And if I do indeed love them, how beautiful would an old woman with gray dreadlocks be? And if I don't love them, I will chop my hair and let it grow again. While the thought of chopping it off scares the heck out of me, it also confirms how very attached I am to my hair.

So, today, after putting Cedar down for a nap, I went up to the loft and sat in front of my mirror. I twirled little chunks of hair and banded them in two places. Here is a photo of my pretend dreads. To give me and you and idea of what it might be.

Bob Marley was playing in the background of course. ; )

Here are two lovely ladies and their fun slide shows of their dread stories...
My Dreadlock Journey
My Dreadie Adventure

How fun would it be to wear her headbands and hats during the transition (and after)? Weee.