The musings and misadventures of a girl unprepared

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Being yourself: Officially a Dreadhead!

Another dread update! Last time I mentioned their progress I'd just brought the number up to 11 in Sarajevo. I now have a couuuuuple more than that.

I used the twist and rip method and despite the adverse advice, used elastic bands to secure the sections because my hair is just to smooth and straight to do it without. Will be taking them out within a week though! No product and I'm going to throw out my crochet hook because I've only heard bad things about them since I starting using it. I also have a few beads and fancy bits which I intend to start putting in soon. So yer, this is how they look right now:

Dread count: 36

I finally took the plunge and thought, 'Hashtag YOLO, let's just go the whole hog and hope I don't look too ridiculous'. I've wanted to dread my hair since forever (well early high school but that does seem like a life time ago) but to be honest I never really thought I'd pluck up the courage to do it. It's not that I've always tried to blend in, far from it, I've always liked to do my own thing. However, for some reason doing anything crazy with my hair has been something I have been worried about being judged on.

I worked out recently that this was mostly to do with the fear of not being considered 'attractive'; that because so many have people have warned me that I won't suit dreads or they look dirty or just plain awful, I started to think, 'Well maybe they're right. Maybe if I change my hair I'll all of a sudden turn into some hideous monster that no one will ever love ever again and I'll have to become some crazy-cat-lady-spinster who is forever alone.' When in actual fact, that is just THEIR opinion (the not liking dreads thing, not necessarily the crazy-cat-lady bit) which of course, they are fully entitled to. I, on the other hand, have always loved dreadlocks. If I see someone rocking dreads I will literally fall in love with them on sight (no exaggeration, ask my friends) and have always thought of it as a really beautiful and individual hairstyle.

Most of the above realisation came to me during a conversation with a friend whilst travelling, when discussing how society has conditioned us to think that looking a certain way is attractive, whilst everyone else becomes completely undesirable. It attempts to impress on us an ideal way to look and boxes us off into categories. Short skirts, long blonde hair, fake tan etc etc are a big yes, whilst dreadlocks, baggys jeans and facial piercings are a big no-no. Now I'm not suggesting that if you want to have the blonde and bronzed look there is anything at all wrong with it - I'm merely suggesting that if that's not how you want to look, don't just to it because society says you should. I know plenty of people who find their other half more attractive without make-up and dressed down anyway.

Too many times this year I've found myself wearing tighter and more revealing clothing than I'm comfortable in, simply because that's how you 'look nice'. Then I spend the whole evening feeling self conscious and either go home early, or get a stupid level of drunk so I don't have to think about what I look like. True, I'll get a lot more attention dressing that way than I do dressing the way I prefer, but it is attention I've never enjoyed. It's nice to be called pretty, but when it's accompanied by a slap on the ass (swiftly followed by a return whack in the face from yours truly) it completely loses any complimentary value. Being treated like a piece of meat just makes me feel cheap.

I finally made the decision to progress from my 11 hidden dreads to a full set due to meeting a guy in a hostel in Zagreb, who was just as infatuated with the hairstyle as me. I'd never met someone else who has as much love for dreads as I do, whose first question wasn't, 'Have you thought about how you're going to take them out?', but rather, 'They look incredible, when are you going to do the rest?!'. I know it sounds silly, but that was literally all it took and my mind was set. I think far too often people are scared to do what they want to do with their lives because they feel like they'll be the only one to think that their choices are the right ones. That they'll be alone in their decisions and it'll be difficult to find any support. But if I've learned anything from that accidental meeting, it's that sometimes you'll find people you can really relate to completely by chance, in the strangest places and at the most unexpected times. And really, if the decision is right for you, who cares what anybody else thinks? Also it turns out that after all my worrying, aside from a few exceptions, almost all of my friends and family admitted they actually quite like the do, or can at least tolerate it.

(Instagram @gracelund1)

Aimee and Pete actually HELPED to finish off the last couple.

I know it might seem a bit odd getting all deep about a hairstyle, but for me it's more about what it represents. It's a lifestyle choice that allows me to express myself, despite the stigma which can come with it and I'm just really pleased that with a little encouragement, I've finally been able to carry it out. In today's society I don't think there's enough emphasis on the importance of being yourself, so I hope I can at least do my little bit to spread word that it's OK just to be you. Judging people is for losers, so who cares what anybody else thinks?

This post is inspired both by my new dreads and the above video my Jenna Marbles, who I think is an absolute babe. It's an inspiring video for me, so I thought I'd share it with you all :)

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