I remember sitting in my Japanese class many, many years ago. We were asked to choose a Japanese name for ourselves in the class. And I chose ‘Wildflower’ (Kanako) because I didn’t feel like I belonged there.
Part of this was because I was one of those kids in high school that while I had friends, I was an outsider. An observer, something that has come in handy for writing actually, and people watching is still one of my favorite hobbies. And I don’t mean it in a creepy stalker kind of way, just that even being semi-anti social, I can find peace in a crowd, or off to the side, just watching what people are doing. I know, it’s weird.
Anyway! Let’s fast forward about sixteen years (I know I’m old), and in one of my fits of depression, I find a few grey hairs. Something that would easily be fixed with some hair color, but I’m kind of bored of dying my hair now, and I want to show the world how messed up I am inside on the outside.
Mind you I’ve wanted dreadlocks since that young teen sitting in her Japanese class learning Katakana and Hirogana, who never quite mastered reading or writing Kanji, and learning about the culture (Which I am still in love with mind you. I have two bento boxes which I try to make traditional meals in when I can). I’ve done research on ways to start them, what you need to keep them healthy, and all that. I also know the issues that can come up because let’s face it I’m a white girl. My normal shade is dead fish, which is lighter than paper, sunlight is not my friend… And many people out there would say I’m doing the culture appropriation thing by doing dreadlocks.
In all my research it wasn’t really stated that the locks are just one culture, all hair types can do dreadlocks, it’s just harder for some to get them to form. And my hair type… One of the hardest to get the locks to form.
So naturally, CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!
I went to get a dreadlock kit, which is a plastic rat tail comb and a ‘crochet hook’, which really it’s one of the hooks you use for latch hook rugs not crochet, but the crafter in me decided okay I’ll go with it since that’s what they call it. On a whim, since one of the sites I read said flea combs you can get at the pet store work better, the metal teeth on the comb doesn’t break as easily after all, I went to get a couple of those as well. Figured I’d see which style I liked more.
The crochet method, I tried really, but it felt like i t was too damaging, maybe I was just doing it wrong, but I didn’t care for it after about an hour on one lock. So I went twist and rip, back combing with the metal comb. Fifteen hours later I had started my dreadlock journey.
Since then I’m on my third job, the first one I left because back issues that were starting and the fact that my co workers were a little hostile towards me because of the locks (Let me see how shallow people can be, seriously I was asked to do two drug tests in the three months I was there because they associate dreads on white people with drug use. Hardest drug I’ve ever done is coffee and a few drinks now and then. Second job I left because ugh hated coming home and feeling like I needed a decon shower. This one, even though it’s harder work than the previous two I enjoy, and I did ask the day I was hired if my locks would be a problem. I was told no and introduced to several co-workers who have them so, the whole feel of the place is more relaxed and openminded, which is cool.
The little wildflower isn’t feeling as much of a weed, growing in the wrong place anymore, even if I do get the comments about ‘why would you do that to your hair’, or… “When are you going to shave it all off?”
One: I’m showing how a mess can turn into beauty. Two: I’m not shaving it off. I’m a year and three months into the process right now, and I feel more liberated with this hairstyle than I ever have before. So, the locks are going to stay.
And not to mention, they are more eco friendly, I don’t wash them every day, and don’t use harsh chemicals on them, which is better for the environment. If that makes me a hippy then fine I’m a hippy.
Only downside I’ve had with them, is they take longer to dry, and going swimming, getting out of the water it feels like I have an extra few pounds on my head, and my locks are only shoulder length, so that feeling is only going to get a little worse as they get longer, but I feel it’s a small price for how free I feel lately.
Travelling will be easier with this style too. A bar of solid shampoo lasts me about six months, and as far as I can see, no restrictions for that when travelling, and the ones I use, have no harsh chemicals, they’re fully organic, so they’re safe to rinse away even if I’m out camping near a river (Though I would still only rinse them in a bowl and pour the water on the ground not in the river, but still). The bar is also about the size of my palm, which means I’m not having to lug a large bottle in my bag, which could open and spill over my clothes. The sea salt spray I use, is in a small spray bottle that is clear, and only herbs mixed into it are to keep away bugs (Because that’s one thing I’m a little paranoid of, but a little tea tree and eucalyptus deals with it and makes my hair smell better than any of the hair sprays I used to use). So yeah, there’s not much else I would need to grab on a long trip, at least for hair care. Not like I need a brush or comb to take up space, and hair bands, I usually have one on my wrist (I know not a good look), at least until they’re long enough to use some locks to tie them back. The bandanas I use will look cute in the longer locks too.
So yeah, that’s why I have dreads. And one of these days I’ll start remembering to take more selfies in daylight hours for when I’m posting in the early hours of the morning.