Dreadlocks: Living Life With A “Let It Be” Philosophy

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As a teenager, I had a tendency to pull my hair back in a ponytail and then hairspray the life out of my head. I mean, seriously, I’d layer on the Aqua net to keep any potential stray hairs locked into place for all eternity. My head actually felt like a helmet. It was insane. But between my little sensory issues and my OCD tendencies (aka: need to CONTROL) it served its purpose.
It LOOKED stupid. But I wasn’t aware of that back then.
It has always been my tendency to want to control things. Probably because so very much of my life has been out of my control. So, whatever I CAN control brings me comfort. That’s where my OCD comes in to play. When the big stuff is spiralling crazily all around me I can draw in some sense of security and safety by rearranging my pantry shelves or lining up all of the books perfectly on the shelves. Its some semblance of power. It makes me feel better.
My hair, for many years, was an outer expression of my inner need to keep everythinginitsplacesohelpmegod.
In 2009 I fell in love with a man who had the same issue. With his hair as well as other parts of his life. He had a lot of insecurity issues and whenever he felt threatened in his security or if we were having an arguement he would walk away into the bathroom and fix his hair. Sometimes he would do it a half dozen times within a half hour. The water would blast on, he would grab his comb or brush and slick his hair down, sometimes adding a dab of gel. He wasn’t conceited. In fact, it was the exact opopsite. But it still drove me nuts.
Two years later he passed away. And I saw his body in the casket for the first time and I couldn’t stop focusing on the fact that his hair looked sloppy, not at all like he preferred it. It bothered me in a really irrational way. I went outside and called my mom to tell her how much it was upsetting me and how I wanted to go to the closest store and buy gel and a brush and fix it. I understood his insecurities all too well and even though he wasn’t even THERE anymore….I still could relate.
What his death taught me more than anything else, is the power that truly comes from letting go. That desperate clinging to control over things or people really just magnifies our weaknesses and worries.
Dreadlocks are all about letting go. Throwing out the products. Stopping the conditioning and chemicals and sprays and mousses and gels and straightners. Stopping the damage. Just ceasing. Just….LET IT BE.
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Man, that’s a tough one.
It almost feels like admitting defeat at first. To wash my hair, dry it and …….do nothing else. To let it be. Literally.
But the more freedom I find that comes from letting go of the things that cause me anxiety or anger deep within, the easier it becomes to allow my hair to do what it wants to. Because I see now how my hair is simply an outer expression of my own spirit.
And what an amazing spirit it is. Wild, untamed, creative, curvy, sexy, silly, spontaneous. I have heard it said that dreadlocks are like tree roots. All that crookedness lends such strength to the tree.
Dreadlocks are not meant for the impatient ones. They take time. They go through this phase that is utterly primal. Where really, you just look like a cave woman who just awoke from a slumber on a cavern floor. Then they begin to form. And THAT is pretty frickin cool. The individual, unique shapes they each take. The forms they blend into. I love decorating them. Adding color, wraps, beads, etc… Suddenly my hair is a scrapbook of my soul. There on my head is my crown. Purple hued with wooden beads and rainbow wraps and squiggles of joy right there in the strands. There is no perfection in it. No tidiness or proper placement. Because frankly, that is exactly what I am. A bit of chaos blended with happy and beauty and wonder and hopefulness. This crown I wear shows my journey. Where I’ve been, where I’m headed, who I was and who I am.
Dreadlocks are not merely a fashion statement or choice.
They epitomize a lifestyle, a mindset, an outer showing of the journey.
These beautiful, crazy dreadies are simply my heart song. My spirits calling. My very soul.
They are me, and I am them.
A beautiful chaos. ❤

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