Bye Bye Dreads

Getting rid of my dreads this time was difficult. Seriously, honestly, heart-breakingly difficult.

This time around, I started my dreads soon after my wedding. In fact, I returned to Turkey from Bulgaria and I stopped brushing my hair. In that way, they were a testament to my marriage, a symbol of a happy, twisted, natural relationship with a husband that I adore.

My first baby dread forming June 13, 2013

But that was just when, not why. I started them because I was tired. I was tired of doing my hair. Cutting it and dying it and managing it. I was tired of trying to look young and beautiful. I was in a relationship with a man who did not care how I looked, but loved me whatever choices I made, and I felt free to stop the daily beauty care routine.

I started them because I felt an extreme violence to my body- inflicted by myself- in order to look edgy or sharp or just cute. And I was tired of that violence.

So I started natural dreads. When I say natural, I mean completed, undisturbed natural. No combing, no fiddling, no crocheting, no chemicals, not even palm rolling. A bit of light separation at times, but mostly, for the past three and a half years, I have just left my hair alone. It took a long time for the dreads to actually look like dreads. Maybe 6-8 months. Even at the end, I had plenty of loose, wild, frizzy hair.

But recently I have wanted a change. Which is difficult to say because, usually, when a woman wants to change her hair it is because of a significant life change. You know how it is- get a new job, so you get a haircut. Graduate from university and take the color out of your hair. Break up with your boyfriend and shave your head. You know, those types of changes.

Full dreads, colored blue and purple- Feb 9, 2016

And the thing was that I didn’t want one of those changes. I love my husband- certainly don’t want to break up. I love my child. Okay, I don’t LOVE my job, but I am happy in it for the next few years, until I can manage to go back to school and get back into sociology or education. All in all- I didn’t want a life change, just a physical change, and that felt weird.

Weird and slightly shallow. But over the past few months I have been getting more annoyed at my dreads. The length is hot during the summer, and they were super thick, making them difficult to put up in a hair tie or to swim with. And- perhaps most aggravating of all- they were annoying to sleep on… or have sex on— they constantly got pinned under me and pulled at my scalp. Or they fell in Nikola’s face and annoyed him. Or Peatuk somehow ended up sleeping on them.

Finally, a few days ago, everything came to a head and I decided that enough was enough. Enough being wishy-washy. Enough being frustrated. Enough wondering if it was the right thing to do. I mentioned to my friend that I wanted them out and, when she said she would help, I asked to start immediately.

New haircut, July 13, 2016

She snipped off the ends of my dreads. They fell on the ground, lonely and a bit sad. Then we started the process of combing out enough hair to give me an option longer than a pixie cut. It took all night. As we cut and picked, besides the thousands of loose hair that fell out, there was also a disgusting paste of filth in my dreads. White and greasy. I wash them regularly, letting the soap soak through them, but I guess there was just no way to really get inside them. I suppose tighter dreads lock up a bit more which helps protect them from dirt and grime. Natural dreads on straight hair do not have that advantage.

When my tender head was mostly combed free and I looked like a rag doll with a dead creature on my head, we started washing. The water came out black. But after two washings, my hair felt somewhat soft.

My friend gave me a cute little bob, tossing my part onto a new side, and I felt light and free.

Nikola loves it- it reminds him of the girl he first met and it is easier to pet and play with.

It is still severely damaged, but I hope it will spring back to life with a bit of conditioner and time.

But immediately the hair violence started again- I bought a brush. I thought about when I will be able to dye it (not until after the baby comes, I guess) and I wondered if my grey hair will pick up electric blue like little highlights.

It is so easy to fall back into my old ways.

But I am happier, for sure.


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