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Bethany G. Paget

Midwife of words

Month

April 2014

Reclaimed Motherhood

I just looked over at Abigail, all of 7 ¾ and asked her what I should write about.  She looked at me with those big, puppy dog brown eyes and said “me, write about me.”

How can I say no to that; I mean really.

I could write over 100 blog posts about her, about how she’s drastically changed my life for the better.  I could talk about how when I look at her it feels like the breath leaves my chest.  Since the day I found out she was going to “BE” my life hasn’t been the same.

I never saw past being a drug addict.  From 12-24 that was my life; I never saw marriage or children.  I couldn’t comprehend college or a job, a future or any of the things little girls normally dream about.  My life was a chaos train that was moving fast toward a brick wall.

However on that balmy December day in 2005 I suddenly realized that I had a chance.  I was being given a do over.  The opportunity to start again, as someone’s mom.  It still strikes me as a little crazy that God saw fit to give me a baby when I was addicted to drugs and living in a cheap, pay by the week motel yet He did and she and I are here as living proof that He’s a God of Grace.

The beginning of our relationship was like being thrown out of an airplane not knowing if your parachute was going to open.  I had never been given any type of modeling from my own mother on what to do and was deeply neglected by all three of the parental figures in my life which left me at a literal loss with what to do.

It stayed hard for a long time.  There were struggles and choices made out of me not knowing what to do or why I was feeling the way I was.  When I was able to pin point what was going on the dry ground started to shift and change started to happen.  That’s when our relationship started to grow and flourish into this beautiful thing it is today.

Today we laugh at jokes and then laugh some more when one of us snorts from laughing so hard.  We spell our names backwards and it becomes the funniest thing since Buddy the Elf belched after drinking an entire 2 liter of soda.

She writes me love notes and hangs them up on the wall of the house.  Over the weekend she made me a breakfast in bed coupon and then actually made me breakfast, well on the couch but you get my point.  She’s equal parts sass and sugar and I wouldn’t trade one bit because she is exactly like me to the bone.  I look at her today with her amazing personality and I want to weep with compassion for the mom in me who was told to break her spirit because she was stubborn and strong willed.

We have coffee, movies and first breakfast on Saturday mornings.  We walk to 7/11 and make it an adventure (when really it’s because we don’t have a car) She makes me pancakes and brings me my coffee.  On the night of each full moon we go out together in the night and plant our moon water.  We dance beneath mama moon, grateful for her presence.

My girl loves little notes in her mailbox and surprises.  Her heart jumps when hears her favorite song or when I watch her favorite movies and shows with her, and not just watch them but am interested in the characters.  Can I tell you that I know ALL about Selena Gomez, Lab Rats, Good Luck Charlie, Frozen and Justin Bieber :0

She likes it when I dance with her, even more so when I agree to play the part of the handsome prince (somebody has to do it.)  She feels big and she feels deep and these days she trusts me enough to tell me how she feels.

I couldn’t imagine our relationship being like this if things hadn’t changed, if I hadn’t made the decision to claim healing once and for all.  It’s been a struggle, as I have gone deeper into climbing out of the darkness many things have to light that have caused several struggles.

Yet one thing remains clear I have one of the biggest reasons for continuing to walk forward and she’s 4 feet tall with curly brown hair and big, brown puppy dog eyes.

I have noticed a change in her over the last month.  At first it was subtle but then all of a sudden it hit me.  She’s growing up right before me and it’s a beautiful but hard thing to watch.  She’s still a kid but she’s growing into the amazing person before my eyes.  One who is strong and independent, and knows what she likes and doesn’t like.  Her creativity and imagination astound me every day and when I look at her I am struck by the fact that she is my mini me.

I remain thankful each day that I have been blessed by being given the opportunity not just once but twice to be the mama to this little girl.  Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that at almost 33 I would be raising a child.  Yet here we are, together.  Walking this road as a family united by The Spirit and learning as we go.

I am thankful for second chances, for the God of grace and peace and hope.  Without those things I doubt I would be able to look at where we have been and where we are now and see that there is life blooming even through the broken spaces.

As Always,

Bethany

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Sacred – A Guest Post by Juan Lopez

The next guest in my Sacred – the Light and the Dark is my dear friend Juan.  Juan shares a heartbreaking story of how he found sacred through loss.

Juan and I met on twitter and bonded over a deep affection for all things In and Out!!

– Juan Lopez is a Youth Pastor at “Casa de Dios” Assemblies of God Church in Bell Gardens, CA. and also manages a paper store in Hollywood. He met his wife, Anabel, in 10th grade Algebra. They’ve been married for 3 years. He spends his spare time chasing his 2 year old son Joshua around their apartment. He longs for the day when the unscripted freedom of Pentecostal theology would hold hands with the beauty of Sacramental Liturgy-

Please welcome Juan as he shares:

We visited our son on Easter Sunday.  It took us some time to find his grave. The patchy grass looked different from the last time we were here. We knew the number of his grave but we doubted ourselves because it looked different. Ugly thoughts crept in my head:

You’re a bad parent! How could you forget? Why haven’t you bought his grave marker?

I kept looking. My wife searched the cemetery website on my iPhone. We double checked the number assigned to his grave. We were right. We had passed it because someone had placed Easter decorations on his grave. We grieved for the visitors who might have decorated a grave believing it was their baby. There was a plush toy with a name written in sharpie on it. It wasn’t our son’s. I looked around and saw the same name on a nearby grave.

We had talked to a young couple the last time we were here. Did they decorate it for us?

I placed the plush toys on what seemed like the correct grave. Feeling happy that someone was nice enough to decorate our child’s grave. Feeling sad that someone might have decorated the wrong grave. There was no way to know. All you can do is hope that you’re right. It felt like life.

No answers. Only hope.

Every moment is a sacred moment. My wife carried our son in her womb for eight months. We felt him move. He kicked so much at night. He moved at the sound of my voice. Our first born would kiss mommy’s tummy at bedtime. All sacred moments.

We knew his condition early on. We were told his skull never formed. This was not something that could get better. We were asked if we wanted to terminate the pregnancy. We respectfully declined. We believed in a God of Miracles. So we did the only thing we knew to do. Pray. We prayed together. We prayed with our Church. We prayed with strangers. We cried. We believed. We hoped. God surrounded us with a community of loving people. All sacred moments.

When Caleb Anthony Lopez was finally born, we covered his head and held him close. Each time he cried meant the world to me.

Go ahead, scream my son. Leave your mark on this world. Let it hear you. You are here. You are alive. You have name. You are loved. You are known. You are.

All sacred moments.

Why do we visit the graves of those who sleep? Not because it’s all we have left of them. It’s because it will one day be the place of a miracle. Our hope is in resurrection.

All of life is sacred. Every laugh. Every tear. Every. Single. Moment.

To call any moment secular almost feels blasphemous in the light of the resurrection. God in the flesh being raised from the dead. It means that this body matters. This world matters. What happens everywhere has to matter. Jesus is the first born amongst many and our hope is in resurrection.

 

Sacred – The Dark and The Light and Guest Post by Bethany

I first met Bethany (I know there’s TWO of us!!) last year on Twitter.  We were both recovery from different surgeries so we had interesting stories to share.  When she and her husband moved to my home state last summer I was super excited to have my first Twitter friend become a real life friend, and that she is.

I love her words here about how sacred nature is to her.  I fully agree and we have some beautiful nature here in the mountains!!

Here’s Bethany with her words on “Loving the Sacred”

She blogs over at bethanypegors.blogspot.com

I love The Sacred. There’s something about it that just evokes a feeling a peace in my soul, and I find myself fighting to get a glimpse of it when life gets to be too much.

 It wasn’t always that way, though.

 When I was young, I was taught that a strict line existed between the secular and the sacred.  Anything labelled “Christian” was sacred, and everything else was “secular.” I wasn’t allowed to listen to “secular” music, read “secular” books, etc.

 As I’ve begun walking through my adult years, I can’t help realizing how there is so much more to this idea of sacredness than what is “Christian.” In some cases, I don’t believe some “Christian” things are actually sacred (certain CCM and Christian novels, for example), but rather are shallow, unmeaningful attempts at tickling the ears of American evangelicals.

 As I’ve branched out, I’ve come to adore art and nature as forms of The Sacred. I don’t attend art museums as often as I’d like, but each time I do, I feel a sense of awe and peace. The amount of God-given talent those artists have/had is amazing and inspiring (even if they’re unbelievers. Shocking, I know). I find myself magnifying the Creator of all things, that he could gift someone with such creativity. As a person who doesn’t have an ounce of artistic ability, I can’t help but continually be impressed and amazed by what others can do.

 And then there’s nature. Even the word itself is a breath of fresh air (pun intended). When I lived in downtown Chicago for three years during my undergrad, I always felt as though something was missing in my heart. Granted, I absolutely loved the adventure and thrill of living in a city, but looking out my window and seeing a giant building just wasn’t the same as seeing a beautiful tree or colorful plants. My heart dances when I enter a garden of brightly colored flowers or smell the sweet aroma of fresh-cut grass. A smile erupts from my lips when I gaze at the beautiful mountains outside my window.

 This… This is The Sacred to me. Those moments in life when I cannot help but say, “Thank you, Lord.” Those moments when the beauty of my Creator is so evident that I must stop and catch my breath.

Treasure those sacred moments, friends. Don’t take them for granted. No matter what we’re dealing with in life, no matter what we’re going through, it is so important to stop, take a breath, remember our Creator, and “go and smell the roses.”

I Know you, Grieving Mother

I know you

The grieving

Wounded mother

You are not alone

Those aches

They are mine too

I have cried those weary tears of frustration

Of never ending, steadfast love

Locked bathroom doors

Hot angry prayer

Of why?

Not again – Not tonight

As fists rage

A battle not worth fighting

I lie here with you

Solidarity

Tired

You CAN fight

Get back up

I have

But for tonight

Dear mother

Rest

 

As Always,

Bethany

Sacred – The Dark and the Light. A Guest Post by TC

I first met TC through an online blogging workshop we were both taking.  We just kind of clicked and turned out we had a mutual friend so our relationship blossomed from there.

Back in February I was joking around one night, posting on Twitter movie quotes and I said that the first person who gets the quote gets a “free” guest spot on my blog.  Ha!

Turns out several people commented so I decided to run another series.  The word sacred has had several different meanings for me and as my faith ebbs and flows my definition runs with it.

Here to kick off our two month foray into the word sacred and it’s many meanings is TC:

 

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There’s something about a cliché that makes my eye twitch.

…Maybe not literally, but you get the idea.

It’s the same with Christianese and those answers all neatly packaged that serve nothing except to shut down conversation. If I can shut you up with a tidy answer, then I don’t have to entertain your idea as valid. If I lift the drawbridge, then your issue with a certain doctrine or theology shall not pass.

There are those who don’t need to wrestle their beliefs because they’ve arrived at an understanding that soothes their questions. However, there are also those who can’t be in the same room with questions because then they’ll be forced to look that question in the eye, and if they do that, the other questions will line up behind the first, and the faith that seemed to sound, so solid, could get tippy and unstable.

For an example of a lousy cliché, let’s take the beautiful idea that we will never be given more than we can handle.

(This can go hand in hand with the verse that says God will not allow you to be tempted past your endurance, but will always provide a way out. (I Corinthians 10:13))

In the instance of “handling it”, I call bullshit.

We are given more than we can handle, sometimes way more.

Some people don’t handle it – some people don’t have the resources to do so and it isn’t right to expect it of them. Some people could no sooner lift an elephant barehanded than be asked to “handle” one.more.thing.

Some of us are bleeding.

Some of us have heads thick with sorrow.

Some of us buzz with indignation, anger and offense.

We can’t in good conscience be given anything else to handle.

The thing that’s the killer, the thing that makes this both beautiful and infuriating is that many, many times, when we can’t handle it, those are the times when we’ll let someone step into our lives and help us.

Those are sacred moments.

Those are moments I like to avoid.

I don’t want to be in a place where I need help. Darn my pesky individualism but I want to do it myself. I don’t want to be pushed past my endurance. I like being capable, I like managing, I like getting it done. To be unable to “do it” – whatever the “it” is – means admitting a weakness or a shortcoming. However understandable the circumstances, however excusable the reasons, I don’t want to be weak. I don’t want to be pitied. I’d rather pity the fool while wearing thick gold chains and a Mohawk than be the fool myself.

As someone who generally manages and putts along just fine, to be in a place of need is uncomfortable.

Regardless of how uncomfortable, it is also a divine position.

It is a place where I finally allow others to express God’s care for me. It is a time when I stop controlling everything and let God shower me with his provision, his love letters that arrive in the details and the little things.

Sometimes I need to be the guy on the mat.

Relying on the faith of others

Do you know this story?

Jesus was teaching in a packed out house, no room left inside, people leaning in the windows, not even any more standing room. These guys in town had a friend who was paralyzed, and they wanted him to be healed. So they haul this guy on his mat up to the roof of the house. They work and strain and pull away tiles or hardened mud or thatch or whatever they used for roofs in that area. They’re dirty. They’re sweating. And they’re disruptive – there’s no way to be in the room below and not notice something funky going on with the ceiling. Finally they get through the roof and carefully lower this paralyzed man through the hole. I imagine him being kind of folded up at first, like he’s sitting in a roll-away cot or a pull-out couch, until he’s far enough down for the ropes to clear the hole and straighten out his mat.

They lower him down and Jesus forgives him, which causes a stink with the religious leaders. Then Jesus goes to something that is probably like yawning to him, he tells the man to get up and walk. And the man does it. (Luke 5: 12-23)

Here’s the deal: sometimes I need other people to carry me. For any number of reasons, I find myself unable to walk, unable to believe, unable to bear up under the burden of it for one more day. And even if it is in a mystical, transcendental way which I don’t understand, I need to rely on the belief of others to shore me up until I can walk again. This is the place where the sacred visits the scruff, where the divine stoops down, gently smoothes back my hair and offers a cup of water to soothe my scratchy throat.

It is okay to need help. It is okay to be unable to handle it. In those times of need and exhaustion, Jesus himself tucks his head and slings my arm over his shoulder, places his strong arm around my back, and helps walk me to a place of safety and rest, a place I could not get to by myself.

I’d be wise to accept this, rather than limp along under my own power, but how often do I shun the assistance of others or muscle through it, jaw clenched, heart racing?

Much too often.

And why? Because if the acceptance of a sacred mat requires me to be unable to walk, too many times I have crossed my arms, stayed on my feet and been unwilling to see it for what it is:

a holy opportunity for the sacred to draw near.

What holy opportunities have you been offered lately? How did you receive them? How do you tend to cope when given too much to handle?

Birth

Birth is bloody

Aching

Growing with each contraction

Setting forth to bear life

I strain against the pain

Of this unseen birth

 

What would leaning in be like?

 

This is a set before time birth

A “Just for this time and place” resurrection

Untold hope unleashing

From the dark stillness of the womb

 

It was quiet and safe there

 

It’s messy here in the

-in between-

As cords and entanglements rip and need to be cut

The groaning grows louder

My sides split

 

As His was pierced

 

Weeping now

For the years this birth is erasing

Washing away the pain

Evacuating years of grief

To give way to new life

 

Birth is bloody

Painful

Yet gives way to

Life

Being

Hopeful

Resurrected

 

As Always,

Bethany

Walking on my Knees

Walking on my knees

I have – yes

For many years

With scars

Knees bloodied and torn

From kneeling, praying and repenting

 

Confessing to God

I would do it better next time

That I would try harder

And be nicer

 

If my heart were to match my words

It would say:

“Bethany repentance and the blood on your knees – the –

Be better

Do better that you feel you have to be

Those bloodied, scarred knees

That repentant heart

You feel is your responsibility to carry

It’s not”

God Whispers

“Weep

Lament

Repent and mourn

But don’t be good or better

I don’t expect better

I want you – whole –

Not good

 

As Always,

Bethany

A Churched Relationship

I have shared before about how when I first became a believer that I was wide eyes and bushy tailed.  I had no idea what to believe so I absorbed whatever I heard as truth even if it made my spirit feel slightly off kilter.  I figured that the people I was spending time with had been Christians for much longer than I had so “they HAD to know what they were talking about, right?”

I met the only guy I have dated since Abigail’s dad at the counseling center I was working at back in 2007.  He also went to the church I was going to at the time.  This church was very conservative, very truth rather than grace based and did not believe that many things were truth including mental illness and taking medication.

I knew I liked him and shared that with him, after he shared with me about his porn addiction that he had struggled with in the past.  It didn’t bother me because I saw him as such a godly man that in my eyes he could do no wrong.

We finally started dating and things were good for like a week.  Until he came over one night and said that we needed to have a two month probation period where we didn’t pray together, do devotions together or anything God related.  His mentor had told him that would bring us too close and we needed a two month period where we hung out in groups, had boundaries and a curfew.

I was 27 at the time and didn’t know any better.  I figured that’s the way all Christians did things no matter their age so I went with it.  However when I would talk with my friends about “the steps” of our relationship they would look at me cross eyed like “WHAT he’s actually making you do that”

He held firm to the teachings of this church, which were very conservative and they held fast to their teachings that mental illness is not real and that one should not take medication.  He had an older female friend that he thought would be perfect as a mentor for me.  I agree so she and I started meeting.

This was a very bad time for me emotionally.  I was depressed although I didn’t realize it; I was also extremely triggered and reactive a good majority of the time.  I was living in a constant state of fight or flight.  When I brought up the subject of mental illness in one of our meetings she told me “that mental illness doesn’t exist because we cannot see past the blood brain barrier” *headdesk*

I never went to see her again, but the pastor received an earful from some friends.

I was also seeing a different therapist at the time who could see that I was depressed and she recommended that I look into medication.  Me being the dutiful and submissive girlfriend (because I thought I had to be) girlfriend that I was I brought it up with him.

His response, even after me telling him I was suicidal and wanted to walk away from Abigail was that we needed to try some spiritual stuff first and then in three months if I was still depressed than we could consider medication.

I didn’t know what to believe at that point.  I knew enough about myself and my mental health history to know that when I need meds I NEED MEDS.  But I did not want to break this submission that I figured was required of me now because we would be married later.

He also chose to have us go through this ancient (1970’s) purity book called Choices.  It was hideous.  Probably the most hideous book I have ever read on purity.  The section on sex overall was terrible and downright shaming of women who have had sex before marriage.  It was incredibly triggering seeing as my abuse was still an extremely raw subject.  I started to see it as my fault that I had been abused and now I was tainted.

He also set some very firm physical boundaries.  Holding hands and side hugs (sigh) and it became frustrating for me because I had obviously had sex, hello Abigail J

There was also the underlying lack of worth I felt because it was bound up in my sexuality.  When we finally lost control of our hormones and boundaries and started fooling around it sent the relationship on a spinning cycle of messiness.

On one hand it was normal for me, because that was a normal relationship.  For him, he was wracked with guilt because he was sinning and needed to repent which meant we both had to repent.  That set off my rule bound, legalistic self into bemoaning and beating myself into submission.  It didn’t matter if I was mentally chastising myself or going to the gym and working out for hours.  I felt punishment was the only option, our only option.

It didn’t help that he would blame me for us fooling around because I was the “experienced one” and I needed to slow down and stop acting that way.

Every single time we would “sin” he would feel the need to confess to either the couple that was mentoring us or a pastor at church.

Because we just couldn’t keep our damn hands off each other geez (sarcasm)

The last time I really saw him as a couple, he had stayed the night at my house and we had sex. He woke up guilt ridden and refused to talk to me.  I left for the day and didn’t hear from him until that night.

It turns out he had gone to our church and confessed everything to a pastor, including the fact that we had both had orgasms and just how much we had been fooling around.

I did not see his actions as wrong or unfaithful or breaking my trust.  At first that is.  The more I thought about it I was sickened that he would go to a male pastor at a church where I had never been welcome and tell this pastor that we had both had an orgasm the night before.

It feels now like just more of the rigid system of purity and patriarchy that I was caught up in where I had no say in what went down or what our relationship was going to look like.

It turns out I didn’t.

He came over that night and we went on a drive and we discussed “the next step” which to him was a carefully laid out boundary plan.

I couldn’t do it anymore.

I thought I was going to marry this man that we were going to be together; he was going to be Abigail dad and he was going to save me.  That’s where I went so wrong.

That wasn’t a new thing for me.  Being a survivor of sexual abuse who was still stuck in and very raw with trauma I had not yet dealt with it was so easy for me to just want someone to save me.  It wasn’t always a man.  When I was a kid I would become easily attached to my teachers, I’d want them to take me home.  I couldn’t stand the enormous amount of hurt in where I was on my own so I looked to Chris to fix everything.

He didn’t and couldn’t and never was supposed to.  I still played out our relationship like the end of our boyfriend/girlfriend status was going to be husband and wife.  When it actually ended with me saying “I think it’s over” it was like a punch to the gut.

We still told people that we were breaking up so we could get our hearts right before God so we could get back together.  It was a desperate hope I clung to after we broke up that we would get back together.  I was SO certain that God had TOLD ME that he was going to be my husband, I was sure.  I was wrong and the more I started to realize that I started to see that I needed a 100% clean break away.  That meant no contact, getting all my stuff back and deleting his number.

Once I did that I was able to start healing from more than just the relationship.  It time for heart healing.  Being alone and straight with God (nowhere like I am today, it was still pretty rigid) I didn’t like those months but I needed them.

One of the first things I did after we broke up, call the mental health department at my insurance company and make an appointment to get on medication.  I knew in the beginning that I needed it and now I felt like I had the room to breathe and take it.

My relationship with him taught me a lot.  I haven’t really dated since, maybe a random smatter and my last tryst who got a letter posted on my blog but no relationship.  I had and still have to go deep and allow healing to pour into that wounded soul within me who looks for her worth and salvation in a man.  Part of it is from the abuse but part of it is a learned behavior and I saw it a lot growing up.

That’s not something I want to have the wounded souls within me to continue to be subjected too and I don’t want Abigail to grow up seeing that.

 

As Always,

Bethany

Dreaded

I am an incredibly vain when it comes to my hair.

I don’t have an actual “person” who does my hair because I have found anyone who I can actually deem worthy of cutting and styling my locks.  If they mess up even once they are bounced from my hair care routine.

Since I was born my hair has been every color that exists.  I was born with dark hair and when that fell out I was a toe head blond; however it grew darker over the years.  When I discovered hair color though I went through a 20 year period where my hair was not my natural color but was everything other, including several that fall on the rainbow spectrum.

I have had every style in the book.  When I was in 5th grade mom my paid me $10 to cut it all off, we are talking boy short.  That was traumatic for me, and still is.  People would see me from behind and call me a little boy.  I still shudder.  I have had “The Rachel” (Ya’ll remember that right”) It’s been down my back long and to my chin short.

To say that my hair is strongly attached to my identity is an understatement.  I would feel shame if I had a bad hair day because it’s strongly attached to the way I look which is attached to the way I feel internally about myself and who I am as a person and a woman.

My worth and who I am.

I’ve written before that I have never really had an identity or know who I was or what I liked.  I finally started to discover my”self” about three years ago, right around the time I started therapy.  Coincidence?

No

I finally started to see me, underneath the rubble of my shattered heart and the pieces left behind.  Then the cocoon I built the one of protection that I had started building, the one of safety shattered again.  I was left again to wonder who I was in the eyes of the god I thought I knew and loved.  Because the god I was following and the Bethany who was following with him went down with the pieces.

The people that knew and “loved” me didn’t like the way the pieces were being put back together.  The questions I was asking were making them uncomfortable.  They were uncomfortable question for them I imagine because they were questioning the safety of God.  I was questioning the prettiness of a god who spends his time and love being wrapped up in a pretty box with a bow on it; so I suppose I can see why they didn’t like it.  Yet to stop being in a relationship with someone over those questions, to gossip, to lie, to walk away?

I couldn’t be that Bethany anymore.  I couldn’t be the Bethany who preached about a safe God who is always good even when shit gets throw at your walls because I wasn’t sure if I believed that anymore.  I stopped trying to be her; I let her go down in the flames with everything else.

I stopped pretending I was someone I wasn’t and someone I was learning I didn’t want to be.

Funny how I started this post talking about my hair and wound up here, about a pretty God but it’s totally related, I promise.

One of the first things to start changing; honestly was my appearance.  I had always paid careful attention to how I dressed so that I followed the strict modesty rules that I believed were necessary.  As my heart changed so did my thoughts on those rules and how I “needed” to dress.

It stopped being about others and keeping them “safe” and became about me and what I liked; which I needed to learn.  Learn I did.  And it’s been a fun journey.  I’ve learned that matching isn’t essential, that more color and different patterns together is fun and that I love to wear clothes that accent my hippie/gypsy flair.

My hair also changed.  I started with a super fun, rockstar haircut, and then added a purple streak then last summer I decided I wanted to do something even more wild and adventurous.

A few of us in my tribe of wild women started talking about dread locking our hair.  I had always thought that dreads were pretty cool but the thing that scared me was the thought that you had to shave your head when you didn’t want them anymore (you actually DON’T have to J)

I started thinking seriously about it as fall rolled in and was researching it more.  It started to seem impossible because my hair is so much shorter than most of the people’s in the videos I was watching and I was starting to feel disappointed.  I was really looking forward to dreadlocking my hair and really trying something new.

But then on the weekend of the full moon in October my two wild lioness sisters and I were having a Vox party and Jamie decided to go for it, so I did too.

And thus became my foray into dreadlocks.

It’s been way different than I imagined, I knew it would be difficult but not like this.  The process of initially starting them was a lot more frustrating than I expected and took longer.  Each dread was taking over an hour to complete, by myself and my arms were about to fall the eff off.

I slowed down on forming and maintaining them and let it happen on its own and on the advice of a close dread friend I just let it happen.

Part of that was the wildness of dreadlocks that I never expected but have totally come to enjoy.

I have never been the type of person to just let my hair do what it wants.  I was always very conscious of maintaining it and making sure that it was styled and ready to go.  Even if I was sick or not going anywhere the one thing I always made sure was done is my hair.

Not so much anymore.  The nice-ish thing about dreads is I don’t have to wash them as much as I did my undreaded hair, the hard part is that since they are still babies I have to blow dry and take really good care of them after I wash, which can take forever.

But once that’s done I can just go with what my hair does.  I can finally put it in a pony tail, or pigtails and I have learned how to wrap it in a cute scarf thanks to my lovely Sarah.

My dreads now almost six months later are more formed, even the newer ones since I have a better grasp of what I am doing – that they are more fun.  I have wrapped some in thread and even have beads in some.

It’s become quite the adventure of just letting go of expectations of what I thought I wanted to look like, or what people expected me to look like based on the person they thought I was.  I have been able to let go of a lot of those ideas of what I thought my appearance held about my”self” and relax.

Because it’s okay; I am still me whether I am put together and my dreads look awesome or if I haven’t had time to wash them and I have my hair wrapped up like Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean.

Even though he’s super hot 😉

It’s been a fun, interesting and sometimes really hard ride of introspection and allowing me to just be NO MATTER what.

I really can’t wait to see what they look like after two years of maturity.

I get more compliments on my hair now than I ever did before, even when it was purple.

I can safely say now, six months later that dreadlocks were a choice that I am glad a made AND one that was more than about doing something different with my hair.

They were about identity.  Something I have grown to know in myself and cherish over the last year.  I love finding out more and more each day the things I like, don’t like and the things that make me really happy.

My dreads make me really happy!!

As Always,

Bethany

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