my dread journey: transformation ~ welcoming softness {part two}

shortly after i cut my dreads

cedar processing the loss and pretending to cut them. ; )

goodbye precious beauties of all tones, shapes and sizes. you hold so many stories and magic.

the products (details below)

cedar helping mama brush out a dread

mmmm...softness. taken last week. a bit more has been brushed out since.

cedar and me in vancover, b.c. last weekend. you can see how long my hair is even though the dreads were cut to my shoulder or above. when your hair is dreaded, it shrinks up in length.

Days have been moist with grayish tones in these parts lately. The sun will come out for a few minutes to remind us of what is to come and quickly hide beneath the mist. This morning the sun came out and shortly after our second snow of the season began to fall. In this moment as I sit up in our bed, snuggled in the sheets, looking out the bedroom window, I can see the snowflakes getting larger by the fall. Its so romantical to me. We are not used to Winter's permission to cocoon having lived in Southern California for 10 years. This time of cocooning has been full of so much transformation for my wee family.

Just as I am moving slowly and mindfully and simply in my life these days, I am doing the same with my dreadlocks. Brushing them out has been a very slow and mindful process. I didn't really know how long it was going to take. I didn't have much of a plan. I know some people just get to it and keep brushing until they are all smooth, a few days later. But for me, my life with a toddler that requires me to be fully engaged doesn't lend for that kind of time. So, I've been doing one or two during the evening when he is asleep. Most days just one because they take about an hour to an hour and a half to finish. I pick them out slowly and gently for less damage. There have been times when I let almost a week go by because I needed a break from it. As soon as I started to feel impatient, I took some time off. Because I want this process to be a peaceful one. And I want it to mean be a ritual of letting go of what does not serve me and keeping close what does.

I started with 40 dreadlocks. I think I am down to 25. When I do it, I choose one on each side of my head to keep the loose parts even in the front. So I am moving from front to back. Right now the sides of my head are completely loose and I am going to start with the back of my head tomorrow but will do the top part of the back first.

I thought I was going to have a few friends help me. A handful of beautiful souls have offered but I am finding myself wanting to do it alone. I also have a certain way of picking them out that is working, so I worry that it would be hard for others to emulate. Part of me wonders if this is a control issue I am having or if it is more my inner self knowing this ritual is something I need to do for me. I am not sure yet. I do know that if a friend is over and I am feeling it, I will most definitely try to have them join in. I know since I am doing it alone, it is why it is taking so long. My husband would do it but since his job is designing on a computer all day, the last thing his already sore wrists and arms need is to brush out one of my dreads. It all works out perfectly.

I have noticed that my boys are cuddling up to me more. As I said in my video, they both have sensitive skin, so were unable to snuggle me and my head for too long before red bumps or rashes appeared on their skin. This is part of why I am craving softness, although not the whole of it. But an important part. I love how Cedar's been laying his head on my shoulder for much much longer these days. I marinate deep in those moments.

As each dread is released, I am feeling lighter and more weightless. My head hitting the pillow at night feels more freedom to roll about and sink into its softness. I have less headaches and neck aches. In a deeper sense, emotionally right now I am rising out of some old patterns in my life that were not healthy for me and I know this ritual has been part of that. This transformation to softness so much confirms the gentleness I am wanting to attract into my life. It is all becoming so clear to me.

More on that later. Here is what most of you have been writing and asking me about...

Boho's Dreadlock Removal Ritual:

  • In the late morning, I soak the one or two dreads I want to brush out in a big bowl of warm water for as long as I can handle it. 10 minutes is ideal but I soak them realistically for about 5 minutes.
  • I then wash those dreads in the sink with Knotty Boy Dread Removal Shampoo and rinse.
  • I pour a quarter size dollop of Knotty Boy Dread Conditioner in my palm and work it into my dread and root.
  • When the dread dries (which for me is by evening), I sit on my couch or the floor in front of a mirror and begin picking with the comb that came with the Knotty Boy Dread Removal Kit (I hear Dreadhead HQ's Dread Zasta and their comb is awesome too).  I start from the bottom of the dread and finish up at the root.  The root is the most sensitive part.
  • I like to pull the dread apart first before picking.  Its not really a brushing motion.  The brushing motion seems to damage it more.  I just pick and pull out the hairs and I brush the dread at the end when I am all finished.  You will find a lot of gook in them, which is product that was left inside the dread probably from not rinsing them well enough.  Its a bit groovy to see what comes out.  ; )
  • When I am finished, I treat the hair that has been brushed out with a few Shea Moisture organic all natural products.  I start with shampooing with Shea Moisture Organic Raw Shea Butter Moisture Retention Shampoo.  Then after rinsing, I apply the Shea Moisture Organic Raw Shea Butter Deep Treatment Masque and leave in for about 10 minutes.  Once rinsed and lightly towel dried, I apply Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl and Hold Smoothie to retain my curl and bring bounce back.
  • All of these tips were inspired by watching this gorgeous diva's video.  Although she used Dreadhead products.  I wanted to but they took too long to ship.  I am happy with Knotty Boy.

While picking/brushing the dread, strands and clumps of hair come out and by the time you are done, you have a big ball of hair to throw out.  Which I hear is normal because we lose hair every day but if its been locked in a dread for years, all of that excess hair needs to be released.  It was an odd feeling at first because my hair seemed thinner and a different texture.  Once I washed and conditioned it, it felt a lot more like my hair but I know its going to take time for it to be more nourished.  I have patience. ; )

It does feel wavier/curlier than it used to.  Which is fun and playful.  And I have really enjoyed wearing hats that I was unable to wear with dreads!