Why I Dreadlocked My Hair: Part I

 I could probably write a psychology paper on both why I got dreadlocks and why I got rid of them. It involved a lot of introspection, more than most hairstyles would bring, I’d say. I’ll spare you of that, though (for now), and list what I think are the three main reasons as to why I got my dreadlocks. Or, as I’ve been asked by several blunt elderly women, “What on EARTH compelled you to do that to your [used to be] beautiful hair?!” 

 

1.     I simply liked how they looked. 

   When I saw people with dreadlocks, I just thought “Wow, I really like how that looks. I would like to look like that as well.” Maybe it was because, around the same time, I was coming into a more natural lifestyle, so I was gravitating towards ways of embodying this newfound mindset externally (see- you can’t escape the psychology). Dreadlocks are, in essence, the most ‘natural’ hairstyle you can have! Not to mention, with dreadlocks your hair is now capable of swallowing an entire craft store. You can put beads (I made my own out of clay!), wraps (basically a friendship bracelet in your hair!), little charms, etc. all throughout your hair. Above everything, though, was the fact that whether it was someone I saw in person, on TV, or through social media, I was always mesmerized by their hair if it was in dreadlocks. I just felt like I would love to have them (and, spoiler alert- I did!). 

IMG-9498.JPG

 2.     I was ready to fit out. 

   All through late elementary and middle school, I was obsessed with being accepted, being liked, and fitting in. What is it about this age that makes us so easily influenced and so obsessed with fitting in? It’s definitely a thing for most at this age (for my psychology nerds, think Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, Piaget’s Stages of Cognitive Development, and the like. Everyone else, ignore this parenthesis). Nevertheless, I was brainwashed to believe that if I looked like everyone else- if I shopped at the ‘popular’ stores (*cough* Abercrombie/Hollister- and let’s be honest, we actually DID cough when we walked in there and probably have permanent lung damage from the excessive amounts of cologne we inhaled), straightened/curled my hair, and spent at least an hour on my makeup- I would be accepted and liked. Around the age of fourteenish, my paradigm shifted- I credit most of this shift to homeschooling (thanks Mom and Dad). I began to find myself, my own identity and individuality. I realized that fitting in and looking like everyone else was boring (and kind of scary), so I was ready to fit out. Starting my dreadlocks was almost like an outer representation of this internal change (psychology really can’t be avoided, can it?). 

IMG-9497.JPG

 3.     They were so low-maintenance. 

   Although not very exciting, this was a huge reason for dreadlocking my hair. As I said before, I was entering a more natural and semi-minimalist lifestyle, so the dreads just made sense. I went from shopping at name-brand stores to acquiring most of my clothes second-hand from thrift stores (and still do today!), literally throwing away all of my makeup (I wore mascara on my wedding day, then tossed it and haven’t looked back since!), and stopped ‘doing’ my hair. I was already wearing it naturally- no straightening or curling- but at this point it was down to my belly-button and was really good at getting tangled in impossible ways. The knots were impressive, and I was tired of trying to get rid of them. I already liked how dreadlocks looked, and liked that they were unique- so when I realized that I would never have to touch a brush again, I was sold! Yes, I still washed my hair just as much as before (almost everyone I spoke to assumed otherwise), but other than that I really didn’t even have to touch it. I simply let it do its thing! 

IMG-9501.JPG

 On October 1st, 2013, I started my dreadlocks. My younger sister actually started hers a few months prior, admittedly due to my convincing (I need time to think things through and observe, whereas she typically acts entirely on impulse- so it was the perfect scenario really). She had hers for about eight months, and I kept mine for just over five years. It may sound strange, but having dreadlocks taught me a lot. It made me feel more comfortable being myself and being different, it taught me a little bit about how our society views individuality, it taught me patience (when you do dreadlocks naturally, it is also referred to as the ‘patience method’- and rightfully so!), and so much more. My dreadlocks are now gone, and I will explain my reasoning for that in another post soon, but I do miss them sometimes and I may even do them again in the future. To conclude, 10/10- highly recommend. 

Grace Rash