To Dreadlock or Not to Dreadlock: Part 2

A few days ago I posted some thoughts on why I might do deadlocks in my hair, today I want to post some more thoughts on this... Bet you never knew a simple question about hair could lead to so much internal processing - welcome to my mind! Essentially I want to write a bit about why I am seriously thinking of stopping the process now and cutting my hair instead. You see I have a problem. I avoid looking good, hid from feeling attractive, run from the feminine.  Time and time again I show a lack of value for myself as a created daughter of Divinity. I essentially say to God, "I don't want to take care of what you created, I don't want to acknowledge or live up to the potential you created in me. I think you messed up a bit when you made me and I'm not worth the care or attention of others or myself." hum, doesn't sound so good when I put it that way, but of course when I make the little decisions each day I don't put it that way.

I can remember when I stopped wearing makeup. Ironically enough many women hide behind makeup, but for me stopping wearing make up was when I first started to hide my feminine potential. Now don't get me wrong I'm not pro-make up at all. I think the chemicals we regularly cover our faces with are unhealthy and unnecessary, but I realized something recently about when I stopped wearing make up. It was right after I started to notice I was getting attention from boys. It's when I really realized that I had feminine beauty and power... and that terrified me. I was scared of that beauty, scarred of that power. Scared that I had it... and scared that I would discover I didn't have it. So, I decided to avoid the question. I started to stop trying. Small blow after small blow to my self esteem and I started to hide more, until eventually I was rolling out of bed and wearing pajamas to class. A kid later and I was only showering twice a week. Two kids later and I've stopped brushing my hair and pretty much only ever wear sweats or yoga pants.

Back in high school when I first started drawing attention, and first stopped wearing makeup because of the fear that attention stirred up in me, there was something else going on too. Something that I now think was slightly sinister. Growing up in a conservative Christian environment I was starting to hear voices that (at least in my head) equated looking good and being attractive with "sin", or at least less than godliness. Sex was of course "wrong", dating was "wrong" (I was in high school when "I kissed dating goodbye" was popular), looking seductive or in anyway drawing attention to your body or looks was "wrong", and so I started to get this message that something must be wrong with beauty, attractiveness, and the feminine. Being in touch with and expressing your feminine beauty was dangerous. I

But, the truth of the matter is that I am feminine and I want to be beautiful and attractive.  I run from it, even with my husband, scared that I'm not beautiful or attractive I try to act like I don't care. Scared l am beautiful, attractive and powerful I "let myself go". Scared that if I tried I'd fail....but also scared that if I tried I'd succeed. I know it sounds like a dichotomy, but I think most women would understand what I mean (right??? or is it just me??).

How do dreadlocks tie into all this? Well, I think in some ways they are another way to hide. Instead of embracing my long, naturally wavy hair and taking the time to value and care for it, I have just let it go, especially over the past year. Dreadlocks would in some ways be a way for me to deal with this problem without really having to take care of myself. But, for me, dreadlocks would also be another decision to run and hide. You see my hair has often been a source of compliments for me, at least when I take care of it. I think choosing dreadlocks would be a way of running from those compliments as well as running from the lack of compliments I've had lately as I have stopped taking care of my hair and only ever wear buns. Not that I don't think dreadlocks can be beautiful - I think some people can really pull it off and look beautiful with them. And I wonder if maybe I could too. My husband thinks I could and has decided he thinks they’d look good and wants me to try them. But, for me, dreadlocks wouldn't be a decision to embrace looking good and taking care of myself. They wouldn’t be a way to embrace my beauty.

In choosing dreadlocks I would be choosing to say yet again, I am not worth spending 5 minutes on. I am not valuable enough to spend the time taking care of myself. And that is a message I would like to stop sending myself. It’s a message I would like to stop sending my children as well. I want my children to know that they are loved and cared for that they are valuable, but I also want them to know that every other human being is valuable too…and that includes mommy! And valuable human beings deserve to be taken care of…even mommies!

I think after writing all this I know what I have to do, I have to get a hair cut and start taking care of myself. I owe it to myself, and to my family. I'm not really doing them any favors by not taking care of myself. I want to teach my children that they are valuable and worth taking care of - that every human being is beautiful, powerful, and valuable. I want my daughter to know that she is beautiful and that it is ok for her to let that beauty show, she doesn't have to be scared of her attractiveness or her femininity. I want my son to know that every woman is beautiful and deserves to be taken care of, that his power does not diminish or dominate hers, that he cannot force his needs above hers. Maybe a small step I can take towards teaching them that is starting to believe it more myself, by taking small active steps toward valuing myself and my own unique beauty.

Rejoicing in the journey - Bethany Stedman

PS – if you want to read some great thoughts from another momma thinking about beauty and pleasure and taking care of yourself visit my friend, Vina’s blog, A Nourishing Home.