Sunday, May 27, 2018

Celebrating My First Year Dreadaversary

So Monday, Memorial Day, I'll be Celebrating my First Year Dreadaversary!  I had always intended to document my Journey here in the Land Of Blog, to talk about the experience of having Dreadlocks.   People seem to have a lot of curiosity or questions about them and so perhaps this will answer some from my own perspective during the Journey.   And a Journey it is, since unlike other hairstyles this one is definitely different and requires Patience and is more a Lifestyle choice than a Hairstyle choice.  Did I ever tell you I needed to develop more Patience since it doesn't happen to be one of my Virtues?  *Smiles*  It also tames my OCD, because there were a lot of things I needed to get Over about my Hair, Locs have already helped me thru some of that in just a mere Year, so it's been like Therapy!  It has given me a Peace about my own Hair and how it chooses to Be and to Behave, I always fought it before, now I don't at all, that's Progress of epic proportions my Friends!

I always pretty much Hated my Hair, how straight it was, how thin it was, how fragile it was, how slowly it grew, how opposed to Styling it was, how freakin' High Maintenance it was!  Since daily Care of it was exhaustive and it didn't look good anyway no matter how much time or pampering was given to it, I was always frustrated and had to just Live with it being less than the Hair I Desired!  Before Dreadlocks I simply had no choice but to over-work it and so Hair damage was my Norm and Styles were severely limited to either Up or Down!  Accessories would not stay in it and I had to deeply commit to any cut since it would grow out at the speed of Death!   It needed daily washing because it got greasy so quickly and conditioner weighed it down and immediately made it look greasy even after having been washed thoroughly!   ALL of that is now a thing of the Past, who knew Dreads would immediately solve a multitude of my Hair and Care Problems!?!  Now I Love my Hair and the longer I have the Locs the more in Love we become as they Mature... and I Mature along with them.

But there were some Adjustments and a Learning Curve about the Journey and about Locs themselves, how different they would be to have.   Lucky for me I'm already a Woman of advanced Maturity... Dreadlocks would be my Sixties Adventure and Journey, by the time you reach your sixth Decade, shit just doesn't bother you so much anymore.  Any Journey you take by your Sixties you are more All In about than perhaps you would have been in your Youth.  Most Dreadheads I've met, with only a few exceptions, didn't hang with the Journey for long, each had their own reasons for ending it.   Most miss their Dreads tho' and that's how I heard about their Journey, they always approach me and just talk about it.  Those who still have Locs are like an extended Family and they will connect to you in camaraderie, I didn't expect that, but I like it, it's being something larger than yourself in a way I didn't anticipate.  I had to get used to daily compliments about my Hair, that NEVER happened before Locs, I was surprised how broad a demographic give the compliments and don't have bias.  I had been told to expect some bias and stereotypes, it happens, but infrequently.

The biggest stereotypes seem to be the automatic assumption you're Rasta and you are a Pothead who can get the good Kush!  *LOL*  The Grandson's peers probably held that stereotypical opinion strongest, none Believed his Gramma didn't indulge in Cannabis.   She has the aroma of Nag Champa or Patchouli, she has Dreads, so it's a Given this Old Hippie has to be getting High!  *LMAO*  Luckily I never get approached by those Wishing to Score their own, perhaps they think I'd be using it all myself, I dunno?  *Smiles*   Other Rastas do Greet me now with, "Hey Rasta..." and rather than explain I'm not, and get into all that... I just nod in mutual Greeting and Smile, whaddya gonna do?  *Ha ha ha*  I have been warned by non-Rasta Dudes wearing very long Dreads that once your Dreads get long, some peeps get very upset if you are NOT Rasta, who knew?!?  Since apparently there is some mysterious 'Rule' that ya hafta be if your Dreads have been worn for beaucoup Years?!  Don't know who made up that Rule, it's just very proprietary on a Style many Cultures have actually worn for Centuries.   I can see why many Cultures have adorned themselves with Dreadlocks, I happen to Love mine so much they will stay with me to the grave.  I apologize for the crappy Dreadlock Selfies, I suck at it... all of the above are a Year in... most of the below were "In The Beginning" for comparison sake or at various stages of the Year long Journey.

As you can clearly see "In The Beginning" mine were tidier, that is due to the Method I chose to have them installed, which was Crochet Method at a Salon. Since all my peers have Arthritis so an 8 hour installation Dread Party would have taken way too much Wine to get thru and God knows how they would have turned out?!!  *Bwahahahahaha!*  Besides, not a single Senior I know knew anything about Dreadlocks, I had to spend a Year of due diligence myself before taking the plunge just so I'd know what I was really getting myself in to!   Thank God for the Internet and Dreadhead Groups Online and the Dreadhead folks I happened to already know who were all so informative on my behalf and Schooled me.   There is a lot of misinformation about Dreads and the Care of them because it is not a Style even most Salons know a damned thing about.  Perhaps that is why so many peeps who don't have them ask such questions as do you wash them and the very invasive can I touch them!!!   Yes, you have to get used to random people asking if they can touch your Hair, it's not as creepy or awkward now to me as it was at first.  Now if they are particularly personable I will oblige and then they usually want to talk about Dreads and the secret Desire to have them.  Most folks are concerned about what other people will think, Social backlash and judgment, Family pressure, regrets and what to do if it was a mistake to get them, or if it will affect their employment, I 'get' it.  Socially conforming IS a Big Deal sometimes.

One handsome Young Man who used to have the most luxurious Nine Year Old Locs down to his hips told me he cut them off to get into the Medical Field of Employment he wanted as a Career.  He keeps them in a bag in his closet and misses having them every day, he preferred having them and is still attached to them.  I could feel the heavy lamentations he had about the difficult decision to Conform and detach from the Lifestyle and end his Journey.  I remembered him with his luxurious Locs, they were striking and he wore them Well, he was one of a group of long time Dreadheads who convinced me to get mine actually and has given me valuable information about the Care of mine and the myths and things you shouldn't do.   Yes, there are things you shouldn't do, tho' opinion is divided and varied about many Loc Care or Installation and Maintenance methods.  I have decided never to Crochet mine again, just to avoid damage and it more resembling Braids.  I don't mind my Crocheted lengths of Dread, they're doing Fine, but I prefer my Natural and Neglect formed Dread length best, it looks and feels way different and IMO Better.   I now have four inches of Natural Neglected formed Dread length in just a single Year, tho' I did experience the usual shrinkage too as the Crocheted sectioned lengths tightened and locked up.  Who knew my Hair actually did grow quickly, it just used to break off or I'd have Hair loss... neither happens anymore... Problem Solved!!!

My baldy looking sections "In The Beginning" are gone now, as I have tons new Hair growth too which hides the initial Sectioning.  The new growth which is the Lion's Mane effect you see going on closer to my scalp, I got used to it and got Over having or wanting tidy Dreads.   I no longer worry about my new growth locking in right away, often it doesn't, I just occasionally try to Guide it into a nearby Dread when it's getting long and just hasn't yet.  Wearing Wool Beanies helps, Thanks to a tip from long time Dreadheads, or just gently massaging the roots with the Wool Beanie.  I quit Palm Rolling, waste of time IMO, tho' some are Devoted to the Practice, it wasn't necessary and I have Arthritis, nuff said.   I do not do Wax, I do not do regular Shampoo and avoid Conditioners completely now.  I buy Dread specific Shampoos, my two Fav Brands are Dollylocks and Lockin Up Shampoo which I buy Online.  I was guided to these brands by long time Dreadheads who were 10-27 Years into their Journey so I've never used anything else on my Locs.  I buy the Liquid and the Bars tho' the Bars are better when your Dreads are more Mature and not so Untamed looking.  You have to NOT be bothered by the Process your Hair will take to Loc Up, which will initially mean bumps and loops, with some crazy angles and paintbrush ends... I embraced all of that, it just doesn't bother me.  The Natural Neglect forming lengths have none of that on mine, so it just goes away as the Dread grows out.

Which brings me to the fact that hair does not come out of your head Dreaded, it takes time to knot and Loc and so 1-4 inches of Undreaded Hair at your roots is perfectly normal, don't sweat it.  I'm no expert just a Year in, but I heeded the advice of Sage Dreadheads with many Years in and Trust their advice more than any Salon.  Salons which will tell you Maintenance is crucial... and expensive... it's not and I'm usually too broke anyway... Problem Solved!  The Methods to start Dreads is controversial too and everyone has their preferences for their own Lifestyle and Look they Desired.  Rip and Tear, it just sounded too painful... Backcombing just sounded very damaging and like what Teased Hair in the 50's looks like... Neglect Method takes too long and I'm Old already... Crochet can cause damage but I liked the results of it not looking dreadful for the first few Years, which might have been off-putting to me personally.  For me the installation by Crochet Method was expensive but worth the Investment, my Dreads I've Loved since Day One and Love them all the more as they keep Maturing so I've never had what I'd call a Bad Hair Day again!  *Whoop Whoop*

What I'd call Maintenance of my Dreads consists of keeping them Clean and Separated so they don't Congo... that's about it... very easy peasy and low Maintenance with results I prefer and costs me almost nothing.   The Dreadlock Shampoos are spendy but a little goes a long way and should last a very long time, so are cost effective actually.  I Love that the two Brands I use come in Nag Champa scent as an option, tho' many of their other scents are sublime too and they've generously provided Free Samples for me to try when I place my Order.  Itchy Scalp, I had it for a single day very early into the Journey and bought a spray called Rasta Jamaican Mango And Lime No More Itch And Gro Spray... it soothed the itch and worked right away tho' the Name is a mouthful!  It's in the Black Hair Care Section of most Grocery Stores around here.  I used it one day and haven't had to use it since.  Because I don't suffer from itchy or dry scalp or even itchy feeling Dreads against my skin, since my Hair Type is quite soft so my Dreads aren't particularly scratchy feeling against skin.  My Hair is no longer oily tho', so washings can be way less frequent than before Dreads and my Hair looks just fine.  They are getting mad thicker tho', so now I actually have thick hair for the first time in my Life, Loving that!   I used to have Thick Hair Envy... now I Love my own Hair's thickness and how is just IS... Problem Solved!   Accessories now stay in my hair nicely because Dreads are rather like Velcro, everything will stick to them actually!  *LOL*  Invest in high quality Towels, so you don't get lint in them when drying your Hair! 

Just about everything has been Upside for me to have Dreadlocks, but I guess there could be some Downside considered.   When they get really long and heavy I might not be able to take them Swimming lest I sink and drown?  *LOL*   When you do get them wet or wash them, drying them takes Time, which is why I opted for thinner Micro-Dreads rather than thick Festival ones.  Also, thinner ones are easier to Care for and don't get moldy or smelly, but I do typically wash mine in the Morning to help them dry before bedtime.  Also, if you have thin Hair like I did, Micro makes sense since Phat ones would use up too much Hair and you'd have like three Dreads or something!  *LMAO*   I have forty-nine from what The G-Kid Force have counted for me, which is a reasonable amount of them to Care for and looks full enough and is manageable enough for me.  I wanted to wear Beads and Cuffs on mine so Micro allows for that, tho' already my Neglect Natural Forming lengths are already too Phat for the Beads or the Cuffs now.  I could order Dreadlock specific hand-made Beads and Cuffs Online which come in larger sizing.   

I have some Cool Exotic Fabric Cuff ones coming from Hong Kong or somewhere afar actually, they look like the pix above tho' those aren't mine... they haven't arrived yet, slow boat from China I guess?!   The Young Prince says these look like a Pre-School Project his Little Brother would have made for me... don't Care, I Like them and will wear them Proudly as if he did!!!  *LOL*   So... some other things you might have to Get Over in the early days before your Dreads Mature sufficiently.   Some being flat and compressed, they'll eventually round and bulk out, a few of mine already have within the Year as they become denser.  Blunt ends will take time, I used to try to keep mine blunt but the paintbrush ends would just come back so now I don't bother and waste my time and energy.  I actually don't mind how messy or wispy the ends are anymore, I have become very Laid Back about my Dreads which has eased my OCD compulsions considerably.  Will having Dreads Cure my OCD, who knows, but I'm mos def less Obsessive or Compulsive, about my Locs anyway, so it's Progress and a Start!  *Winks*   Crazy fly-away Hair not locked up yet, it's annoying but it happens and at least it's new Hair growth, which only serves to strengthen what you already have so I embrace that.  Don't cut or trim unruly Hairs, I think it would only weaken what you have and every Mature Dreadhead I've seen has less of the unruliness so I'm assuming it eventually self-corrects if you're Patient enough.  Rubber Banding the Ends or at the Scalp to keep things tidier and Controlled... I don't do it... too much Work and potential Risk of damaging my Locs rather than helping them.  I did see a Child Dreadhead with Awesome Dreads that his Mother used torn Rags at the scalp as either adornment or to Control Lion's Mane {the Kid had thick Hair}, I've thought of trying that, but I don't think I'd look as Cute as he did.  *Smiles*

I like perusing the Web and seeing what Loc Accessories I might try next, these Cuffs look Promising, I might Order the one on the Left and the Middle ones.  Accessorizing my Hair with all kinds of Wonderful objects has been a real Joy of having Locs since I Love Accessorizing!  *Smiles*  All said and done, a mere Year in and I think my Locs are coming along nicely, way better than I ever expected so I'm totally Jazzed and absolutely Lovin' them.  Zero regrets for having taken the plunge, when asked if I'll ever want them out, one can never say never, but I suspect I'll Enjoy them for the rest of my Life as much as I do now.  I have no intentions of wanting them out and going Mad Max as an alternative Style if I did want or need them gone.   If they get too long or too heavy they can be cut and trimmed, many long time Dreadheads do that with no ill effects.   The too long doesn't bother me as I doubt I'll live long enough they're Nine feet long and a nuisance, but ya never know?  *LOL*  I like long Hair so I'm looking forward to mine becoming longer and more luxurious actually, but I will not do extensions.  Just a personal choice, I've seen extensions and they're Cool, but I'm not trying to speed up my Process and Journey by prematurely lengthening with synthetic Hair... plus they're expensive... and I'm mostly broke... Problem Solved!   Some decisions are easily made when financial options are more limiting.  On a fixed income you tend to weigh financial options carefully to stay within budget and be prudent. 

via: Pinterest credit Carlos Pinto Photographer

Be realistic about your own Dread Journey, mine are likely never going to look like these luxurious Dreads but I can aspire to look and Age as Gracefully with mine as she clearly has.   I see less Seniors with them but oddly a lot of Seniors have approached me and told me they have considered getting them or secretly like them.  I don't know why it has to be a Secret if you do, perhaps Social conformity and opinion to NOT like Outsider Hair Styles, I dunno?  Almost every Young Person tells me frequently that they like mine so I do think the Younger Generation is less judgmental about extreme Hairstyles and a lot more accepting and respectful about the personal choice to wear one's Hair as you want to.  Because after all, it is YOUR Hair, your personal choice of how to wear it is deeply personal and shouldn't be unduly influenced or coerced by others IMO.  It's just Hair, it's not even permanent, it is subject to change without notice if you want to change your Mind and Style or length.   I didn't go into having Dreadlocks casually, I pondered it actually for several Years and did research and due diligence first, my ONLY regret, that I didn't DO it Years ago!  

I'm Celebrating my First Year Dreadaversary, I may even throw them a Party!  My Family think I'm totally Nuts of coarse... *Winks*  I might even Dress them up for the occasion and buy them Pressies... so many Online Inspirational Imagery about Accessories to buy for your Dreadies.  It's almost as Fun as buying for my Grands... who am I kidding... it's MORE Fun!  *Winks*  I actually ordered some of those Fab Turquoise Buddha Charms for my Dreads from Purple Finch on Etsy.  Tho' the Wood Beads are Awesome they are too bulky for immature Baby Dreads, mebbe in a few Years when I have to go larger...   I do have Dread Favorites, some just Mature better than others or Behave better than others, but they're always Evolving so that can change as Maturity developes each and every one of them.  I haven't been plagued by any Congos, my separating has been very successful because I keep up on it, which you have to or they will want to combine and meld with one another... another personal choice you'll have to decide for yourself along the Journey as to what is best and healthiest for strongest and best looking Locs.  Hope my Post has been informative to any of you who are curious about or considering Dreads and want to become part of the Tribe?


Blessings, Love and Light from the Arizona Desert... Dawn... The Bohemian


  1. You have answered all my questions about having dreadlocks. Very generous of you to share this info. I think many of us wonder about the process.

    1. Thank You Colette, there isn't a lot of information handy and candidly talked about so those of us with new Locs had to find out and inquire ourselves from whatever sources we thought we could Trust. Since so many opinions and misinformation exists it could be a very confusing decision about what to do in order to get them and then to properly Care for them best... I'm still learning as I continue the Journey.

  2. I worry about the itch factor. Otherwise I totally get it! May be in my future who knows?
    Yours are really rockin' Dawn! Thanks for this info, and Happy Dreadaversary.
    I love that you will buy them presents on their birthday!
    xo Jazzy Jack

    1. Some people do have dry scalp and so there may be products specifically designed for Dreadlock scalp relief that could be used in tandem with the Shampoos.

  3. They have really filled out marvelously! I remember when you first had them. They look great!


A life touched by God always ends in touching others. - Erwin McManus

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