Let me first start this by saying I love dreads. I think they are awesome, for the most part. For a long time, I wished I had the courage to dread my hair. So I did, finally. And here's why I started combing them out this morning...
When I first started my dreads - close to 6 months ago (and yes, I know it takes years to have great dreads, and they keep getting better with time) I thought I wanted them for the following reasons: I wanted a low maintenance hairstyle and I felt like they were a shunning of our cultural norms of 'beauty', though I myself found them to be attractive.
Over the past few months, through lack of research early on in my dread formation, I started doing various maintenance 'tricks' to help speed along the process, ending up with really crazy, loopy looking dreads. Plus, I was starting to realize that if I wanted something other than a beaver tail dreadlock, I was going to have to do lots of separation and maintenance on my new locs. (And I was hoping to have a maintenance free, lazy hairdo...)
Last night, I came to the realization that my dread locks were acting in the opposite direction then I have been directing my life to go. What I mean by that is I have been practicing non-attatchment, and have been clearing out clutter in my life, rather than holding onto old things that no longer serve me. I realized that I was clinging my old dead, shed hair (and various other things - we'll get to that in a bit) and that the energy I was attracting - around myself - was becoming built up and stagnant, not free-flowing. I also realized that I had this overwhelming urge to create dreadlocks around 7 months post-partum (when my hair stopped falling out after having my baby - but if you've experienced post-partum hairloss, you know that it feels like you are not going to have any hair left afterwards). I lost probably 2/3's of my hair... I came to the realization that I was holding on to my hair (subconsciously grasping onto that which I was afraid of loosing) - hoarding my hair. When I started the locs, they were so thin, because I wanted many small ones. Now that my re-growth is about 6 inches long, the dreads had fattened up at the top.
Maybe coming across this old photo helped spur my longing for flowing hair again...
Anyway, I lay awake for quite a while last night thinking of what I was going to do. I concluded that I needed to keep my dreads until the completion of the project insectae, as I already started it with the dreads, and then I would cut them off as part of the project...
I woke up this morning, ironically admired my dreads in the mirror - they seriously looked great...
Then I tried to comb out a little short one at the nape of my neck that had gotten really fat at the bottom. Just to try it, to see if it was possible to actually comb them out. It wasn't easy. It took a LONG time, but I could do it. Then I wanted to do another one. So I tackled one on the side of my head, one that had gotten really fatter than I wanted it - the thickest dread on my head.
I also got through that one, and my hair looks great! I thought it would be all ratty and ragged, but it looks healthy and pretty... that was a surprise. Let me say that I wash my dreads 1-2 times each week. I am obsessive about picking out junk from the locs, and felt they were pretty clean. As I combed out all the hidden junk from the big loc, I realized just how much stuff was stuck in my hair. I'm not saying all dreads are dirty - I'm saying mine are. Probably due to some lack of maintenance on my part. In combing out that stuff, and seeing my loose hair afterwards, I had the overwhelming urge to comb out the rest of my dreads... all in time. I will probably have time to comb out a couple a day, but I look forward to having loose hair once again. It was a nice experiment. I feel like the amount of time it will take me to brush my loose hair is actually less than the time it takes me to roll all of my dreads currently (and that's not counting the time I take to pick junk out of my hair...)
As I said, I love dreads. Just not on me. And my view of dreads as hoarding is my interpretation of MY situation - I am by no means extrapolating that onto others. I realize that the type of dreads that I would want my hair to be in take a tremendous amount of time and maintenance, at least at first, and that is the opposite of what I was hoping for. I also realize that my hair is a magnet for lint and junk, and my personality just cannot cope with carrying that stuff around with me. I am in awe of those of you who are able to devote the time and maintenance to having clean, beautiful dreads - more power to you!