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Sunday, January 21, 2007

The Journey

Dreadlocks. The mere mention of the word has my grandmothers running for the hills. But I love them...and I have always wanted my very own. So, after we moved West, I decided that life is too short to keep wanting. I didn't want to turn 80 and wish I had done dreads when I was younger. So, I did it. My lovely and amazing friend, Becky, flew up from South Carolina to visit me and she helped start my hair on it's dreading journey.

For those of you who don't know anything about dreads...this will be a wonderful chance for you to open your mind and broaden your horizons. Dreads are not just for pot smokers, homeless people, hippies, African-Americans, or Rastafarians. Basically, ANYONE can have dreads if they stop combing their hair. They have been around for a long, long time. There is a great book I recently added to my collection called "Dreads". It has tons of stories and beautiful photos.

Here are a few excerpts of dreadlock history:
The first known examples of the hairstyle date back to ancient Egypt, where dreadlocks appeared on Egyptian artifacts. Mummified remains of ancient Egyptians with dreadlocks have even been recovered from archaeological sites.

The Old Testament also recounts the tale of Samson and Delilah in which a man’s potency is directly linked to ‘the seven locks on his head’ and according to Roman accounts, the Celts were described to have ‘hair like snakes’ Germanic tribes, Greeks and the Vikings are all said to have worn dreadlocks too.

Dreadlocks are a universal phenomenon in the East as well as in the West.
Spiritualists of all faiths and backgrounds incorporate into their paths a
disregard for physical appearances and vanity. And so, throughout the world,
such seekers often cease to comb, cut, or otherwise dress their hair: This
is how "dreadlocks" are born (click here for more info).

Dreads are hair that is knotted, matted, twisted...and uncombed. Stop combing your hair today, and in a year or two, you'll have some dreads. However, you can help the process along. There are several different ways to make them, but I chose back-combing. Becky separated my hair into random 1" sections and she used a metal comb to backcomb every section. It took 3-4 hours. I did have the option to use wax (a beeswax concoction) to help them stay together more, but decided against it. This is the method advised by dreadlock megasites Dreadhead HQ and Knotty Boy. However, I have heard way too many horror stories about dreadlocks and wax gone bad. It will take longer for them to "lock up" without the wax, but it's worth the wait.

One of the main misconceptions about dreads is that if you have them, you can't wash your hair. This is absolutely untrue. You can wash your hair every day if you want. Of course washing your hair everyday isn't good even if you don't have dreads. In the beginning, it's best to wait at least a week while they mature a bit. However, what I've found is that because I'm not using any products at all, my hair stays nice and clean for a long time! Every 2-3 days is more than enough. You can always spray your hair with some yummy essential oils if you feel like it. Peppermint is good.

I have had many people ask me why I finally decided to go for it. Here is the short list:

I like them. I think they look cool.

Profound, I know.

I wanted to simplify my beauty "routine".
Prior to dreads, I used (and toted around when I traveled):
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Mousse
  • Volumizing Spray
  • Comb
  • Round brush to straighten my hair
  • Blow dryer
  • Pomade/Wax
  • Hairspray
Now I use:
That is just mind boggling to me. I never realized just how freeing and simplifying having dreads would be. It has been so wonderful not having to "do" my hair everyday. I've had less stress...and more time. I use less products...and save more money. Hair products are expensive! Another perk is the added space in the suitcase! I love traveling light.

They are a reminder to me that I am set apart for Christ.
The entire journey is very spiritual. Dreadlocks are rooted in spirituality...back to ancient times. In these last 2 weeks, I have learned so much about myself and who I am in Christ.
    • I am learning patience. My dreads will take about 3-6 months to "settle down" and about a year for them to be completely locked up. Dreads are constantly changing and forming. There are lots of photos in this set of dreads I love. Whenever I'm discouraged with them and the process, I go and look at photos of people with mature dreads and I am encouraged.
    • I am learning non-judgement. In purposely becoming unlike anyone else around me, I can relate in a new way with those people who feel judged by others.
    • I am learning about commitment. Dreads are long-term. If I want them to look how I will take time. The same is true with my commitment to Jesus. It takes commitment become to become like Him! Every time I look in the mirror, I am reminded of recent commitments I've made to Him.
So there you have it. I'm going to be posting photos of my journey on this Flickr set. It will be fun to watch as they lock up.

About a year ago, I read a great book by Anne Lamott called "Traveling Mercies". I wrote several quotes from that book in my Moleskin journal and found them recently. I love them and this is a great place to share them:

"No one knew the effort it took to make my hair look like it hadn't taken any effort at all (p. 234)".
  • This was definitely me BEFORE I dreaded my hair. It took so long for me to get my hair looking like I wanted it. My hair is very fine with no body at all...and it took a lot of coaxing to make it work.
"How much longer am I going to think about my hair more often than about things in the world that matter? (p. 235)"
  • So true. Hair is big business. Women (and men) are consumed by it most of the time. How it looks. What color it is. If their mother-in-law approves of the style. I'm not saying I will stop thinking about it...but I really want to focus on other things that are way more important.
"Dreadlocks would be a way of saying that I was no longer going to play by the 'rules' of mainstream white beauty...but that I was going to CELEBRATE instead (p. 234)"
  • Doesn't everyone want to CELEBRATE? I do.
The best compliment I've gotten came from my sweet daughter, Bella. We were talking recently and out of the blue she said,
"You're a good mama. These dreads are cute."
Children always know just what to say to make you smile.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been reading your blog for a long time now and even tough we're following different religions (I'm Muslim) we have sooooooooooooooooo much in common...the journey to simplicity, to spirituality etc.
I don't have dreads (actually I wanted them when I was a young teenager) but I cover my hair with a hijaab (veil) and wear a niqaab (face veil) when not inside the home and for pretty much the same reasons you mention: to set myself apart, to not be an object and just focus on my outer appearance, to be reminded of God spiritually, to simplify my life...
Thank you much for sharing and even tough we walk on different paths and probably wouldn't meet each other in real life, I'm glad I 'met' you online and I realize that we have more in common with each other than the mainstream average person.

1/21/2007 8:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was wondering when I saw your new profile photo if you were going for dreads!

For those who want to spend less time on their hair but don't want dreadlocks: grow it out and wear it in a ponytail or barrette.

I only wash my hair about every 5-7 days, although I do brush out the tangles every day. Shampoo and conditioner, but no other gels or sprays. After I comb out the tangles, I do nothing to style my hair. Easy! Your hair stays healthier when you don't wash it too often.

Congratulations on the beginning of your journey. Twice in my life I have gone from long hair to very short hair, and I remember how liberating it felt to change my hairstyle.

Off-topic: I don't mean to tempt you to break your Compact, but David loves Justin Roberts' CD based on the Hebrew scriptures (Why not sea monsters?) There is a second CD based on New Testament stories--we don't have that one, but I'm sure the music is good. Justin Roberts is so fun!


1/21/2007 8:43 PM  
Blogger Sara said...

And Laurie's hair is gorgeous! I know that for a fact :) Yes, I actually just read somewhere else that washing once weekly is the best way to keep hair healthy. Any more often, and it dries out (hence the need for extra conditioners, etc.)Thanks for the CD recommendation...maybe I can find it on eBay.

1/21/2007 8:51 PM  
Blogger Heidi said...

I love your blog. I came here last week when Stephanie from Adventures in Babywearing linked to you but I didn't have time to stay long or read much. I love what you are doing. I feel like I am "trying" to live more simply and I thank you for your honesty and putting yourself out here for us all.

In college my roommate and best friend shaved her head, I cut mine real short because I didn't have the guts to do it. It was amazing seeing how beautiful she was without hair and also seeing how others reacted to her. Always a great reminder for us not to judge.

Well this ended up being wordy for just wanting to say HI!

1/21/2007 10:05 PM  
Blogger Anna said...

Out of the mouth of babes!

Sara, I love your dreads and really enjoyed reading about the start of your journey. Cool pics also about how they will eventually look. It is nice to have something to remind you of the finished heaven. :)

Happy Locking!

1/21/2007 11:21 PM  
Anonymous Just Jana said...

Thanks for posting about this. I've been curious about dreads for years. It's really neat to hear about how they've affecting more than just your appearance! Way to go!

1/22/2007 4:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a nicely written blog. And what an adorable quote from your little one!

It's interesting to me to consider the spiritual/religious connection of dread locks. I hadn't thought of that before.

Good luck with the process.

1/22/2007 4:49 AM  
Blogger km said...

I love them already!

1/22/2007 6:18 AM  
Blogger Rachel said...

Sara -

They look great already! I just got my hair highlighted this past week (my mom gave me a gift certificate to a salon for Christmas for that purpose) and when I got home I'm looking in the mirror thinking about what I'm going to do when they start growing out, how much work - and money - it would be to keep my hair a lot lighter, and how much I like my natural hair color. I was feeling kind of sad that I got it highlighted at that point! The experience was fun, but the upkeep won't be, so I need to figure something out when they start to grow out.

I don't like to spend a lot of time on my hair, but it seems like I always do. I've always wanted to cut it super short (a pixie cut) but don't have the guts! Maybe someday... :-)

Anyway, I really love your dreads and how you wear a scarf/wrap around your head, too! :-)

1/22/2007 6:51 AM  
Blogger Pamela said...

WTG with the dreads! My SIL who is an AfricanAmerican Muslim had dreads for many yrs. They were very very long. She used to twist her hair. One yr ago she cut them OFF!!! All off and started growing her hair. Now she has an afro. She covers her head when she leaves the house. But in her home with family, I can see her hair and I was shocked to know she cut it. I loved her dreads!!
good for you for setting yourself apart!! Your blog always gives me something to think about!!

1/22/2007 7:18 AM  
Anonymous Ann Kroeker said...

I was thinking about Anne Lamott from the first few words/photos of your post, then you quoted from her! I love your own responses to her thoughts.

My whole approach to "beauty" (in terms of products and hair/skin routines, not in terms of the real meaning of the word) has been simplicity. What's simple? I'm the mother of four, and I just don't like taking time to deal with a complicated routine. I don't like thinking about all that stuff any more than a few minutes. So for 16 years, I've had long, straight hair. It looks fine. It's simple. And it's cheap.

But not nearly as cool as your dreads....

1/22/2007 8:13 AM  
Blogger Troy and Becky said...

YEA! You are back!

I love your dread journey....I've been following it on your flickr site!

Hope that you are all settling into your new home!

1/22/2007 8:30 AM  
Blogger catina jane said...

your journey is seriously inspiring
me to pray about my own "dread journey" for alot of the same reasons.

this (if i lock again) would make my 4th time , i will be 34 in a few weeks, i know many changes are ahead in my weight,my faith,etc. and dreading again feels right .
im still praying on it but we shall see.. i tried to dread again a few summer's back and just felt awful about it.. because of some folks i knew dreads became unlovely to me.
(i can explain that via email).. which was so weird as i have always loved!!! dreads and had them alot..
congrats on your journey!!!
i may be making it with you :)

1/22/2007 8:52 AM  
Blogger Chelee said...

Way to go and follow your bliss! I think dreads are cool too. My dh on the otherhand is not so fond of them.(even though he had them when we first started dating).

1/22/2007 9:07 AM  
Blogger Heth said...

I'm so happy you did this, they are perfect on you. It was fun to read the "why" behind your choice.

1/22/2007 10:28 AM  
Blogger Heth said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1/22/2007 10:28 AM  
Anonymous Kim in IN said...

They look very natural already. It is a spiritual journey isn't it? As they grow,you will grow. I'm excited to read about it as you walk your path.
I have almost a shaved head and I'm a 46 yr. old wife,mama,and grandmama. It is nice when someone says my hair just "fits" me. Though the look on their face is alot of times one of dis-belief. Like they can't believe they are saying what they are saying.
I've always wondered why we have such a stereo-type of what beauty is on a woman. Beauty is being truly who you are,and sharing that beauty with others.
Good for you that you didn't use wax. I've two friends with dreads who say never ever use wax.
I hope you post pics frequently. It will be fun to see your
In Him,

1/22/2007 10:46 AM  
Blogger Carolyn said...

I love the dreads- LOVE THEM.

I love all the reasons you got dreads.

I cant get them because I am too worried about what people would think-and thats a big lame thing about me- Im a HUGE people pleaser.

I already get flack for my blu hair (its blue underneath)

I already do nothing to my hair- and I'm looking into shampoo alternatives. I love the idea of being outside of the whole beauty culture. I'm almost there.

BTWm Traveling Mercies and Lamotts PlaN B are some of my favorite books. Her writing is amazing.

1/22/2007 11:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sara, I think this beautiful post ranks up there as one of my favorite posts by you ever! WONDERFUL!

I immediatly emailed the link to my "knotty" sister so that she could come & read, too.

Best Wishes!

PS - hubby and I officially wrote up our Compact. Yikes! & Hooray! And many thanks to you for the inspiration :-)
- Kara

1/22/2007 12:30 PM  
Anonymous Anna said...

Sara, you look great with dreads! I also enjoyed reading your reasons for having them. It makes me want to have them.

1/22/2007 12:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sara, good decision on the dreads! A friend from Mail in West Africa told me that they make some sort of black soap product over there that people use for styling dreads. It had some sort of wax in it to hold together hair and can be found in big city flea markets (not sure if you'll find it in Montana or not) He also confirmed that you can wash your hair and still have dreads. That seems to be a popular misconception.


1/22/2007 1:43 PM  
Blogger Pea said...

I just officially stopped "styling" my hair. I gave away all kinds of shampoo, conditioner, styling products, curling iron, hair dryer, etc. I was a slave to my unruly curly hair forever. It took an hour to style every day. I cut it all off and now, I'm letting it do its own thing. It's very liberating. I don't turn as many heads as I used to when I had long flowing locks but that's okay. I'm in love with my husband and he thinks I'm beautiful without all the products. In my early twenties, I did some modeling in NYC and that really messes up your idea of beauty. I'm happy to have found that really does come from the inside and from God.

1/22/2007 4:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you ever considered corn rows or just dreads?

I've enjoyed reading your take on the process.

You're a good writer and you have interesting ideas! Keep the blog entries coming! :)

1/22/2007 5:03 PM  
Blogger FillingMyQuiver said...

Sara~ I've been waiting for this post!!! They look fabulous and I can't wait to see the process you go through with them. The choices yoiu make and your thought processes behind them are inspiring. I'm glad the Lord opened you blog to me :)

1/22/2007 6:38 PM  
Blogger Andrea said...

I love this post!

My husband cut his dreadlocks 6 years ago. Before that he had them for 10 years. It was definitely a "spirtual experience" for him when he cut them--more of a "letting go of the past" kind of thing, I think. They were long, past his behind. :)

People used to come up to us in stores and say, "Do you wash your hair?" We would tell them your *scalp* is what got dirty, not your hair!!

Anyway, your post brought back memories and a smile to my face. I love your dreads they look good on you. Look forward to seeing your journey.

1/22/2007 6:49 PM  
Blogger angie said...

oh,Sara...I have to confess reading this made me long for another chance at my own dread journey.Ya' know,even though so many had warned me---I went ahead and went with the wax.It's so typical for me,I'm so impatient and always wanting to speed up any process that might require time or long suffering from me!Even the day I was driving to have my dreads waxed and combed in,I "knew"I shouldn't have her use the wax.I'm SO glad you didn't,and in the long run I know you'll be glad too.I'm grateful I get to follow this journey with you,though.
From one white girl hippie to another....:)

1/23/2007 6:23 AM  
Anonymous Ela said...

I love them! How beautiful you are mama!
I have not gone dreadie, but as you know I keep my hair very short and that in itself gets many a comment. I just don't get it. I don't want to spend hours on my hair when I could be using my time (and $) much more wisely!
I look forward to more pics!
In Christ,

1/23/2007 8:54 AM  
Blogger bluemountainmama said...

lucky you.... getting a visit from miss morning glory! she's one of my sis' best friends and used to come to the mountains to visit us and play faeries! i have naturally curly hair that would dread easily....i've had several people try to talk me into letting it grow into dreads, but it's just not my thing. and dr. bronner's is great! i use it on my son for hair, body, etc. i'll have to check back and see how the dreads are coming along.... :)

1/23/2007 8:58 AM  
Anonymous J said...

I learned a lot from your blog. I enjoyed reading your "why you did it" too. Your daughter is so precious...I love the things kids say.

1/23/2007 10:37 AM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Does it count if I just dread thinking about hair stuff in general?

Oh, and, I think you will probably start a trend. you're just always doing that, you know?

1/23/2007 11:23 AM  
Blogger Staci said...

I learned so much here today. WOW.

Good luck on your dreading journey, they look beautiful!! Seriously!

1/23/2007 12:12 PM  
Blogger Caitlin said...

Sara, where can I get a head scarf/wrap like the ones you are wearing? They are so cute!

I love the idea of just wrapping my hair all up in a bright and texture-full scarf, knowing it looks great, and being done with it for the day! Simple and stylish.

1/23/2007 2:40 PM  
Anonymous Jamie said...

Amazing blog! I'm so happy I stumbled across it.

I've been pondering the dreadlock journey as well. You've definately pushed me a little bit closer to actually DOING it instead of just dreaming about it. :)



1/23/2007 5:22 PM  
Anonymous Rae said...

Hey, I've been here a couple times, and this post inspired me to comment and say congratulations! My dreadlocks have been a spiritual thing for me, also, as a commitment to God, my lifestyle, and my family. I started letting them dread up right before my first son was born, and my husband, daughter, and many people in my community have dreadlocks, some for more than ten years. Many blessings, and great post!

1/23/2007 11:07 PM  
Blogger debby said...

Congrats on the dreadlocks.

At 37, I'm resigned to having missed my dreads. Can I have them vicariously through you?

1/24/2007 2:36 PM  
Anonymous turnip said...

Your dreadlocks look AWESOME! I have wanted some forever, but chopped all my hair off instead...waiting for it to grow out again. Now if I could just convince my husband that dreadlocks would be a good idea...
they really do look great!

1/24/2007 7:21 PM  
Anonymous tinybutterfly said...


1/24/2007 9:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are such an amazing gal. Honest and true. Your dreads are looking great already. I noticed that you have a pic of Ani on your dread page. Love Ani. There is a breathtaking blonde dready too. Wow. Inspiring. I am so glad the move has went well and things are great for you in Mont. I spent many summers in White Fish.. what a great place to move your family.

1/25/2007 12:39 PM  
Blogger The Flip Flop Mamma! said...

Love the dreads!! I've made so many changes in my lifestyle, and my families within the last year that If I did this, they'd lock me up! LOL. I'm so glad I found your blog. (through adventures in babywearing.)

1/25/2007 6:35 PM  
Blogger Daughter Awaken! said... inspire me!!

Thank you for being a daughter of our God who walks the walk and talks the talk!! Blessings!!

1/26/2007 5:50 AM  
Blogger Eugenie said...

Weird. Weird and strange. I had just finished a post on my blog on the vexed topic of my hair, and decided to check in here to see what had been happening with you...and you've gone and got yourself dreadlocks!

I've had my head shaved for about 15 years and never thought I'd grow it again. But in the last few months I've been dreaming about getting dreaded, so now I'm seriously contemplating it.

Problem is, my hair is currently about 2 centimetres in length! I have a long, LONG way to go to get dreads - it will be a spiritual journey all right!

So keep us posted on your dreadlock journey. Those baby dreads look fabulous already.

1/26/2007 2:01 PM  
Blogger Carla said...

Very cool! Thanks for sharing your journey with us. I've enjoyed reading about it.

1/26/2007 11:35 PM  
Blogger FillingMyQuiver said...

So I'm commenting again. I was just looking at your Flickr set and realized, your dreads change your face. Not in a bad way at all. I'm not quite sure how to explain it. You look more mature (although I don't know if that's the word I'm searching for). Anyway, your dreads make you look fabulous, there is a definite glow about you in the pics :)

1/27/2007 7:08 AM  
Anonymous Carolyn said...

Looks great!

1/27/2007 1:01 PM  
Blogger rebecca said...

ahhhh, i know those dreadlocks...kisses mama...

i love your guts.

1/31/2007 10:21 AM  
Blogger LuccyInTheSky said...

Love the picture!!! Great blog!

2/01/2007 8:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just curious...why not do the hair according to the women of the time (like Mary)...similar to the scarf Muslim women wear? Just curious to why you went the route of how men wore their hair.

They do look great and fun though. :-)

2/09/2007 2:53 PM  
Anonymous Jennelle said...

This post is so interesting!

I had no idea that they had dreadlocks back in the old days [or in Egypt!]

Way cool! :-)



2/19/2007 6:01 PM  
Blogger Sabira said...

Wow, I love your stories. I am a Sufi(ish) Oregon girl living in Egypt, and I made my dreads in August. They're really coming together. I also identify with a lot of your environmentalist methods, and I get really sad in Egypt because no one. . .and I mean no one. . .recycles. Most people just throw garbage on the streets.

Thanks for sharing so much!

2/27/2007 6:02 AM  
Blogger Tracey, in MI said...

Your dreads made me smile today- too- thanks for sharing your journey;)

A sister in Christ- if not dreads;)

3/29/2007 12:54 PM  
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3/22/2013 9:08 PM  

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