I am cutting my 5-year-old dreadlocks!!! Gahhh! What am I doing? Why? Why, why, why?
Simply put: It is time.
Part of the reason I started my dreadlock journey is that I was looking for a way to express myself.
I was grieving at the time, and if you know anything about grief, you’ll nod your head in agreement when I say it’s an internal process that’s hidden from the world around you.
Five years ago, I was facing the aftermath of losing two children through miscarriage. It was the loneliest, hardest experience, and yet — I looked unchanged. I needed a way to look changed.
And that’s where dreadlocks came in.
- They were a hairstyle I’d always been drawn to and interested in.
- They were a challenge and a step into the unknown.
- They were a way to help my grieving mind focus on something positive.
- They were my own creation — an extension of myself, quite literally, and I could form them to look however I wanted.
- They were a fresh breath of something new at a time when new life had been taken from me.
- They resembled, to me, my desire to be an unhidden soul, and a voice that could be heard.
- They stood for freedom, uniqueness, power, and strength.
So why am I choosing to cut them now?
It is time.
A few months ago, much to my surprise, I looked in the mirror (something I rarely do these days as a busy mom dealing with an illness), and suddenly, I just knew — it’s time to say good-bye to my dreads.
Up until then, I’d had the occasional fleeting thought, the sudden urge to just chop them off.
Because, let’s face it, dreadlock upkeep is not for the faint of heart. It takes a lot of work and commitment to take care of them.
My problem was, with Lyme disease, my arms and hands would get numb within seconds of trying to put them up or perform maintenance. As soon as I’d feel the numbness set in, anxiety would overcome and I’d have trouble breathing. I grew frustrated and soon felt depression follow — wishing I could just be normal again.
For me, the decision to now cut my dreadlocks is a way to say: I accept this.
I accept that I am not “normal,” and that this is okay.
What I’ve realized is, the anxiety I’d felt when my tingling arms would again, fail to master my ideal dread bun, was rooted in my belief of who I was. And what I was holding on to.
It’s because I was forcing myself to live up to unrealistic standards, that I dealt with this anxiety.
I’m sure this could transfer to other areas of life — especially for the chronically ill person.
- I never call so-and-so, I’m the worst friend.
- I forgot that word again? My brain is so lame.
- I wish I could go on a hike, ride a bike, go grocery shopping — you name it, I miss it.
How do we find a new normal when we’re forced to live such abnormal lives?
In order to find our new normal, we must create a new normal.
We must accept what’s in the past, while not letting it hold us back from our future dreams.
Despite temporary anxiety and frustrations, I have loved my dreadlocks.
- They’ve been a conversation bridge, leading to some cherished encounters and friendships.
- They have served as the most perfect ‘pillow’ or ‘scarf’ on a whim.
- They have empowered me by helping me feel unique and beautiful.
And so it is with a sad expression that I bid these heavy, thick-knotted pieces of art adieu.
But sadness can exist along with joy and hope. I’m choosing to move forward with the freedom that comes when you find the strength to say good-bye to something meaningful.
I’m choosing to, once again, create a new normal.