Ey Yo! Rasta Girl!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

And herein we welcome you to the life and times of K. A lovely lady with locks to match. Enjoy the read!

Anyone who has dreadlocks has to field three questions: why you have dreadlocks, how long you will keep them and when you will cut them off. Also, your hair will be touched. A lot.I don’t tell people the real reason I got dreadlocks. Like many girls weaned on Hollywood movies, I change my appearance when I want to reinvent myself. And after spending my first year in college systematically trying to destroy my life, logic reappeared and I celebrated with a new haircut. But who wants to explain an existential crisis to a complete stranger trying to make polite conversation? I just say that it’s an easy style to maintain.

It’s been five years since, and I’ve learnt a lot about taking care of my own hair. My friends make fun of me because I am a firm believer in d.I.Y. In a fit of ‘inspiration’, I hacked off my own hair and inadvertently had to have a barber give me a very unflattering buzz cut to correct the mess. I (lopsidedly) trim my own eyebrows. And I massacre my cuticles quite regularly in what I believe to be home manicure sessions.

By the way, the most awkward time is when you are a bullet head. I guess it’s a rite of passage, because many give up and go back to normal hair. I don’t blame them. Because once you get past that stage, your friends start telling you just how ridiculous you looked. (Which you did).Early on, I realized that wax was my worst enemy. A few drops of water on my head and my eyes would be stinging. I couldn’t touch my hair because my hands would get greasy. My face would break out anywhere my hair touched it.

After trying out lots of different ‘wax free’ methods which inevitably contained some heavy gel that would be just as bad, I stumbled on a method that lived up to its promise. My hairdresser was called Shepherd (Zimbabweans just recently learnt that just because a word exists in the English language, it doesn’t necessarily make an appropriate name for a human being) Shepherd has one customer less now: I watched him at work and pretty soon I coulddo my own hair, with nothing but a crotchet. It’s still difficult to explain, and I get many sceptical looks, but I basically knit my hair together the same way you knit a sweater. The first trials hurt a lot. But the rewards were well worth it.I also tried to colour my hair. A glorious shade of maroon that looked beautiful on the bottle.

At first, it only showed in the sunlight. Then my hair slowly turned purple. And then the sun grilled it to a bizarre ‘sunset orange’. I had to go back to black. I tried again, with a shade lovingly called ‘midnight passion’ specifically designed for African hair. So now I’m walking around with purplish patches in my hair. No one has made any comments about this, which tells me everything I need to know about my latest experiment.

I hate washing my hair because it takes ages to dry. Ihave to wash my hair regularly because I’m afraid everyone thinks dreadlocks stink. The truth is, they have a wonderful capacity to absorb all kinds of smells. The other day my housemate fried some particularly potent sausages: my hair smelt like a barbeque until I gave in and washed it.People often try to touch my hair. Some wait a polite amount of time before they start asking leading questions. It happens almost without fail. Others just ambush me and I feel a tentative hand exploring my head. Everyone expects me to be radical. Or poetic.Or artistic. I’m not. I’m just a girl with dreadlocks.

If you have any questions for K, please send them via the comments :-)
Anonymous said...

K's locs look great! I related so much with this story. I've had my locs for 5 years and everyone keeps asking when I intend to cut them...more like never! Random people touching your hair like it's unbelievable...hair taking forever to dry...don't I relate!

Despite all that, I love my locs so much and I intend to keep them for as long as I possibly can.

nappy headed black girl said...

Lovely hair. It looks very thick and luscious. I'm also a frequent washer...every other day. But mostly because I workout every other day, and I have a thing about walking around/sweating on stinky hair. I know I could always just rinse or do a CW, but I figure if I do all that, I may as well take a few more minutes and get a complete wash, ya know?

Anonymous said...

Absolutely. when I used to go the gym I had to wash my hair after a work out. Tried some 'waterless foam shampoo' but it made my scalp unbelievably itchy! advice on colour? I really want a dramatic shade!

NaturaLocs said...

great post, i liked the last bit. i think i was drawn to locs because they're popular with "radical" "artistic" folk but you've reminded me this hair style is for anyone. i like colour by the way

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