It's been exactly ONE YEAR since I said goodbye to my comb...and what a year it has been! I've experienced so many things in 365 days that it's hard to wrap my head around it all. It's been the year of changes. Our jobs and homes have changed many, many times, but for now...I will focus on how my HAIR changed...and how it changed ME as well.
I think back to the moment I looked in the mirror in Boulder after Becky dreaded my hair. Oh. My. Word. What have I done? That thought was quickly replaced with, "Ok. Here we go!". I knew it would be a wild journey...and I was up for it.
Those first couple of weeks were really rough...I was pretty self-conscious of my new 'do and it consumed my thoughts at all times. You don't realize how much you depend on your appearance to help you blend in to the crowd or to make first impressions. I kept them pretty tame and pulled back all the time...I was too nervous to "let my freak flag fly" (as Miss Becky would say). :)
And then one day I realized that I wasn't thinking about them as much...I wasn't obsessing about every little bubble or stray hair. I would get up in the morning and pull them back and be out the door. They were crazy and they were MINE. I wasn't "Sara with the baby dreads" anymore....I was just Sara. I felt more comfortable in my own skin than I had for quite some time. Other areas of my life became less high maintenance...my make-up routine pretty much went away. I found that I quite liked a fresh face rather than a covered up one. Even when I had imperfections showing, I didn't bother to cover them up like I would have before.
I even stopped painting my toenails. *GASP!*. Seriously. You have no idea how this rocked my world. I have had my toenails painted for pretty much my entire life. I think I might have been born with them painted. I was always jealous of women who had "naked" toenails. I always thought mine were too ugly to be seen in their natural state. But one day I decided enough was enough. If I could have dreads and stop wearing makeup, I could certainly give up the paint. And oh what a joyous day it was! I felt so free :) Don't get me wrong, I like a prettily painted toenail as much as the next mama...but I just didn't want to feel TIED to it...like I had to paint them for some crazy reason. Oh the fabulous side effects of dreads!
Like any hairstyle, dreads have their ups and downs. Some days I would look in the mirror and LOVE them, and some days...let's just say I wasn't feeling so much love. But, I have never once ever wanted to comb them out/cut them off...which really confirms my decision to put them in in the first place.
They are currently MUCH shorter than in the beginning...dreads go through a shrinking process as they lock up. It's Most of my dreads are right at or shorter than shoulder length. There are several that refuse to go into my ponytail...so most of the time I have to wear a headband to hold them all back. The front dreads are VERY short...and only come to the tip of my nose when I pull them down in front. I do have hope, however. They have finally started to grow faster than they are shrinking! I can imagine that it will take another 2 years or so to get them to the point where I feel like they are "long"...but that is part of the journey. It will be interesting to see how they change in color as well...right now, my natural color at my root is really getting long, and the ends are really blonde (I've dyed my hair blonde since my freshman year of college). I would love to have all blonde dreads someday...but I'm going to let them do their thing for awhile.
For those of you considering dreads...the first year is definitely the hardest. There is much to be learned about yourself and even about those you love (in their reactions). They go through so many different phases...changing almost everyday. But it's so rewarding...I love "knowing" my hair. I know every dread by how it feels! I definitely have my favorites...and Matt has his favorites too :) It's hard not to touch them all the time because the texture is so fun now!
I've met so many friends online (and now in person) with dreads and there is just something special about the bond that you have with another dreadhead :) They understand the commitment, the frustrations, and the joys of having this crazy hair. It like gaining a new family!
My favorite part about having dreads has been not having to "do my hair"...which was one of my original reasons for getting them in the first place. The only maintenance I do is wash them once a week (or so) with Peppermint Dr. Bronner's and rinse them with organic apple cider vinegar to condition. Sometimes I will palm roll them to smooth them out after I wash them, but other times I just let them go. So easy!
It's been a wonderful journey so far, one that I wouldn't trade for anything!
I've uploaded lots of new photos (it's been awhile!) of my dreads. My sweet hubby did a little dreadiversary photo shoot for me. :) Check them out here.