I’ve had my Lovelocks for a week now. (Most people refer to them as dredlocks but my term is more fitting for me). I’ve washed them twice and thank goodness for my daughter Rachael-Grace who works on them for me.
So. Lovelocks. Our third year out on the road, Handsome Husband assiduously studied YouTube videos when I decided that I’d like to dred my hair. We (he) spent 9 hours working them into my hair but we called it a night when the hands on the clock reached 12 midnight. I lay down and it felt a bit uncomfortable so I nudged him and asked if he would mind if I removed just a few of the dreds at the base of my neck. After a long day of dredding he was tired and he kind of just mumbled, very pleasantly, Do whatever the fuck you want. I’m going to sleep. I combed out the few bottom ones and it felt so good I took out a few more and ended up staying awake til 4 am, removing the remainder. The following morning I handed Handsome Husband scissors and said I’d like my hair cut to here. And that was the end of my first dreds adventure.
SugaPie, Fireman Nick’s bestest girl, sent me to her hair stylist here in Newtown CT for my second adventure with dreds. I explained to him the exact Whys I wanted dreds and he was on board for the excursion into this world of mine.
Lovelocks are not a simple thing. Because my hair is short, I sat for 9 hours in Michael’s chair. We pretty much had time to solve the problems of the world while he wove and back combed my hair and twisted it into what will become beautiful dreds. It’s a common misconception that dreds are dirty. No. No. No. Washing them actually helps the hair frizz out, which is necessary to the process. Having said that, I’m not washing my hair as frequently and that’s pretty freeing. And when I do, I use a sulfate free shampoo so that residue doesn’t build up. Think of the products you use in your hair that are actually counterproductive to what your hair needs; the natural oils are stripped, conditioner builds up-it becomes a vicious cycle. I can already get away with 2x/weekly and that has never happened in my life. Once I’ve washed my Lovelocks, I dry them with a dryer to ensure they dry throughly and Rae twists and weaves stray hairs into the strands and locks up the ends with a needle as needed. Then I use a flat-iron on them to shape and help them meld together. It will take up to 6 months to get a good head of Lovelocks. Mucho patience is required, along with daily attention.
This is a meditation for me. After Handsome Husband died I cut my hair off to my scalp. It was a method to externalize my pain and grief. Lovelocks serve the same purpose. They are a tangled mess on my head and pretty much reflect my insides and how this pain is for me, grieving the death of my husband. And they are reflective, too, of the care and attention I am giving to this grief as it weaves and tangles its’ way through my life. Each strand must receive my care and attention, same as my grief. I can’t do much with the dreds myself right now-my hair is too short. So Rachael is invaluable and a quick learner as she toils over my hair. She’s been with me for 3 months on the road now, and will be for another 3. She’s helping me shape them into something beautiful in much the same way that she has supported me in our travels together. Already, with her care, my Lovelocks are filling out.
I’ve known from the beginning of that trying to do this grief on my own wouldn’t help me. I need the strength of those around me, I need the support, I need the love, I need help in pushing my comfort zones, I need encouragement to be right where I am. As I sat in Michael’s chair and he wove single strands of my hair into one Lovelock and then another, he was winding the love and the hugs I’ve received from so many of you into them. Like Samson, whose hair signified his strength, my Lovelocks are another reminder for me of the strength that I have even when I’m unaware of it, and a reminder of the Love that surrounds me at every turn.