Back in June 2017, I decided to add a few dreads to my hair. Within the week my entire head was full of dreads.
I guess once you start making them you can’t stop. I basically ended up with a little over 30 dreads. There were a few reasons why I did them but the most important was that I could no longer raise my arms to do my hair, which when I washed it took me about 40 minutes from washing to combing out the knots, not to mention the hours of waiting for it to dry even when using the hairdryer.
So I decided since my arms hurt so bad and I couldn’t raise them over my head I’d make it so I really wouldn’t have to fuss with my hair too much. The option of cutting my hair was a no go since my dad had asked me not to cut my hair right before he died, and I haven’t cut it since 2011. Someday I’m sure I’ll cut my hair but in the meantime I’ve decided to honor my dad’s request.
Dreads have a really great history from the Rasta movement to a fashion statement dreads have been worn by all races historically throughout time. From Viking to Egyptians people of all walks of life have worn dreads. Dreads are not dirty or stinky if a person wearing dreads smells bad it’s because they aren’t washing it has to do with their personal hygiene and not the dreads themselves. I actually washed my hair more often with dreads then when it was loose.
I recently combed out the dreads because I had decided to attempt to go grey which didn’t go as planned, and although I have changed my hair color from black to a deep violet the grey was just too hard to achieve and I didn’t want to ruin my hair with over processing it.
I did learn a lot though, in the almost year of wearing the dreads, first I learned that you do not have to cut your hair when you no longer want the dreads. It does take some time and patience but you can comb the dreads out, it took me 3 days to get them all out. Also, having dreads does not damage your hair as a matter of fact my hair grew about 3 inches in the time I had them, and although my hair is much thinner now which I’m totally ok with since it allows me to wash and dry much faster my hair is perfectly fine and there is no damage.
Dreads are great in my book since it allows you some freedom from having to worry about doing your hair. However, if you’re vain then dreads aren’t the best to deal with in the beginning.
Dreads tend to have a life of their own. You end up learning to let go of your vanity and to have a lot of patience waiting for them to mature.
Sometimes I’d wake up and feel like hell yes I’m rocking these.
And sometimes I’d wake up and my dreads would say f-you deal with us.
I also had some fun with decorating them and just letting them be wild and crazy.
When I first stepped out of the house with them I have to admit I was really feeling self-conscious but they quickly became a part of me and most days I’d totally forgot I even had them in. And although I’m not genetically fully white I was concerned about how I would be approached by others who are against “White people” wearing dreads.
I do have to say in the 9 months that I kept them in I have never experienced any negativity from anyone except my mother who in typical fashion felt I had ruined my hair by making it look like I had “pelo malo” which translates to African textured hair. I hate to say it that way but my mom and my older brother have the textured hair and for my mom, she always attempted to change that and make her hair look whiter by making it blonde and wearing it as straight as possible. But that is a sign of her growing up in Puerto Rico with deep Taino and African roots and being made to feel less than as a result.
I loved wearing my dreads it gave me a sense of freedom from being worried about my appearance and of having to deal with struggling of doing my hair. It also taught me how to be patient and just let things go and develop on their own. It taught me how and where the term dreads came from and why people wear them. It taught me how spirituality can play an important part in having dreads. I got to meet a lot of awesome people with dreads because other dreadheads will walk up to you and ask about your dreads or you walk up to them and ask about theirs. Now I’m back to the straight hair which maybe in the future I’ll re-dread again.
Have you ever worn dreads? what were your thoughts on them? did you love/hate them? Tell me your experience in the comments below.