As one woman asked last week, “What possessed you to do that to your hair?” It was said with complete acceptance and the spirit of friendship but it is indicative of the questions I will face. In fact, I have been searching my memory, trying to pinpoint the exact time and reason I first decided to dread my hair. I can’t even remember the first time I saw someone with dreadlocks but I do remember feeling an immediate kinship. It was like I had found my long-lost family.
Rarely do I rush into things so I began to read, to research the how-to, to gauge how my family felt about it. It would be quite a departure from my long hair:
It was during that time that my father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The prognosis was not good. I loved my father and I knew that he really wouldn’t understand the whole dread thing. We had so little time left together that it seemed best to postpone starting the process.
Daddy died November of 2004. Grief plays interesting games with your mind sometimes. I became attached to my long hair again, for various reasons. One of those reasons was my husband. I knew that he loved my long hair so I struggled with radically changing it. Little did I know that fate would step in and make that decision for me.
My hair continued to grow to waist length by May, 2006. Then came the infestation . . . lice. Still, I don’t know where I got lice. No one else in my family had them, thank God. No one I knew had them. But I had them. Two times, we treated and nitpicked and I was facing a third attempt. My concern was that I would eventually infect my children which in turn could have infected dozens more. My husband and I were working in the children’s ministry at our church and I worried I could be exposing all of them to lice.
What could I do?
Originally, I thought I would just cut it down to a quarter inch, that should have been enough. The guard to the razor wouldn’t move through my thick hair so in frustration, I just shaved it all off. You learn a lot about yourself as a bald headed woman.
I found inner strength and confidence. I discovered my beauty. I also uncovered the longing for dreadlocks. It took about 18 months to grow my hair long enough. It seems to grow much slower when you’re older.
A couple of months passed before we could find time to comb in my dreads. I knew it would take awhile but I wasn’t prepared for five days of sitting and letting others do the work. The most challenging part was giving over control to others. That and the constant touching. Argh!
Which brings me back to that question: “What possessed you to do that to your hair?”
I was possessed with the desire to be authentic, to be true to myself. Simply, it is who I am.
~~Grace and Peace~~