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?
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!!