like a five-year-old with dreadlocks

12 Feb

dreadlocksI’ve never been one to seek out the spotlight. If there’s a stage, I don’t want on it. Center of attention? No, thanks. I’ve never wanted to blend in, per say, but I like to keep to the outskirts. Out of view and out of the crowd. That’s where I feel the best.

This was the only thing that made me consider NOT dreading my hair. I love dreadlocks and always have, but I knew they’d make people look at me twice. In the end I decided I was going to have to get over it. Let people look. I wanted dreadlocks, dang it. And besides, I’m an adult. I can make my own choices, and if people don’t like them, well, they can deal with it by themselves, right? Right.

That’s when my five-year-old started begging for dreadlocks too.

Now, there are lots of things that draw attention. Like a 26 year old with dreadlocks. Then there are things that draw A LOT of attention. Like a five-year-old with dreadlocks.

“Sweetie,” I tried to tell her. “Dreadlocks are messy and fuzzy at first. They take a long time to mature. Wait until I get mine, and then you’ll see.”

She waited, and I put my dreadlocks in, backcombing my hair into a mess of knots. And with them sticking straight out from my head, just as frizzy as you please, she cried, “I love them, Mom! Please, can I get mine now?!”

At this point, I  started getting really nervous. Give my little girl dreadlocks? People would think I was a terrible mom! Kids might make fun of her, and old people might make rude comments.

“Honey,” I told her. “Most people don’t like dreadlocks. Some people might even say mean things to me because I have them. I really like them, and think they’re beautiful, but not everyone will.”

“I know, Mom,” she said. “I don’t care if people don’t like my dreadlocks. I like them!”

I thought about all the attention we would draw. I thought about the conversations people would surely have behind my back and the ones people might want to have face-to-face (or Facebook comment to Facebook comment, as it turns out). I ran over everything in my head a hundred times.

Then I thought about the things I’d heard women say for so long: “I just love pixies. If I were braver, I would get one.” “I’ve always wanted to dye my hair that color, but I’ve always been too afraid.” “That hair cut is awesome, but people will think I’m ___ if I do that.”

Here my little girl was wanting to be brave. She was wanting to go for what she loved even though I had warned her countless times that others might not like it. She was wanting to look to her own soul and not the judgements of others. She persisted… for a whole month.

So, I dreaded her hair.

She fell in love with those dreadlocks the moment I made them, the frizz and all.

As brave and beautiful as they come, she trekked off to church with us a few days later, me shaking in my boots behind her. I was so terrified that something would happen. Someone would say something and hurt her feelings. But Kadie didn’t have a fear in the world. She burst through the doors and quickly found her best friend.

“Gracie, I got dreadlocks! See? Do you like them? It’s okay if you don’t. I do!”

Gracie looked at Kadie’s hair for a few moments, not quite understanding, before a smile broke over her face. “I do like them!” she said.

At which point I nearly collapsed of relief.

People’s eyes linger on Kadie, but she doesn’t notice. She’s too brave for silly things like that. And I could not be more proud of my amazing daughter who truly does not care what others think of her crazy hair because she knows what she thinks about it.

She loves it.



7 Responses to “like a five-year-old with dreadlocks”

  1. Tom Demma February 12, 2013 at 9:52 pm #

    Outstanding!!! I don’t like dreadlocks. Couldn’t have them if I did…being bald, you know. But I say “Hurray for you and Katie”. When I finished reading your blog and thought on it for a moment I realized that both of you feel the same way about your “DREADS” as I do about my “BALD HEAD”. And you know how much I love being bald. So enjoy your dreads and I will enjoy my bald head. Katie you are so beautiful it doesn’t matter how you style your hair.

    Love, Dad/Poppy

    • clayanddust February 15, 2013 at 2:24 am #

      You are so wonderful, Dad. Really. The best.

  2. earth2laurag February 12, 2013 at 10:31 pm #

    I just LOVE this post. You and Kadie are brave and inspiring! Way to go!!!!! 🙂

  3. Anita February 13, 2013 at 4:57 am #

    How fun is that! Go Kadie!!!

  4. Mary February 13, 2013 at 5:06 am #

    You girls make dreads Beautiful!

  5. bjpramann February 13, 2013 at 7:11 pm #

    Go you! And Go KADIE!

  6. clayanddust February 15, 2013 at 2:25 am #

    Thanks so much, guys! You’re encouragement means a lot, and I’m thankful for each of you.

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