Dreadlock Journey

About a month ago, I decided I would finally install dreadlocks. Yes, I do mean the hair kind. I watched innumerable YouTube videos on this before making the commitment. And a commitment it is. Two days later, I combed them out, unable to handle the frizz and crazy look of baby dreads. I watched more videos. I heard more people talk about the process of forming dreads as a journey, a spiritual practice. This being my line of work, I was intrigued and I began to take note: what am I learning from this experience?

Two things jump to mind immediately: 1) I have long envied other people’s dreadlocks and I really do want them and 2) I am in the process of learning and honing a new skill – for me, quick competency is a given; maturation takes time – just like dreadlocks. Hmm…connnection? Yes, indeed. So, two days later I reinstalled them. That was three weeks ago.

Yes they are fuzzy and crazy and weird. But at this point in my life, I am seeking the Wild Woman wisdom, and she says, “Do this.” Maybe looking back, this will be a midlife crisis moment. Maybe it’ll be a bad coronavirus decision. Or maybe it will be a defining moment of taking my own freedom and living boldly, out loud, unashamed.

Looking at the comparative photos… Big mess? Yes. Sassy? Yes. Progress? Absolutely. If you’ve never tried to wait patiently for a set of dreads to mature, my declaration may seem absurd. And I would totally understand why. From a distance, for someone who doesn’t intimately know them, these knotted lumps of hair do look somewhat the same in the way that to a stranger, twins look the same. But I know that this hair is a visual representation of the maturation of an adult learner. The maturing clumps of hair are now tighter, shorter, more knotted, than 2 weeks ago – but not as much as they will be two weeks from now. Step by step (where have I heard that before? Oh, right, my post-Camino post….). I watch their progress with eagle-eyed hyperawareness. Each morning and evening I separate them (I have no desire for one big rat nest on my head) and I am coming to know each one as it changes (and considering naming them all, which is kind of weird, but ok). Each individual section of hair has a personality, a uniqueness, something that is distinctly my own – no one will have locks exactly like mine.

I have never in my life spent this much time on my hair, nor given it this much thought. But I am currently fascinated with the wealth of wisdom to be explored and found in this most quotidian part of life.

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