Friday, August 7, 2009

WHY wont they GROW !?!

I started growing my dreadlocks January this year (actually already had my first twist last week of December last year), and it’s now midyear and they're not as long as I hoped they would be by now...I thought hair was meant to grow faster in dreadlocks?!

I’ve read up on maintaining them and all, got the non-residue shampoo and wax, wash once regularly and attempt a palm roll when they get messy and when they get too messy I go for retwisting (doing it all by myself would take ridiculously long!)...maybe I’m missing a step or something? Or just need to be’s just disappointing where I’m at with my hair.

I want to get them a bit thicker, fuller and even (what’s up with the 'knotty bump/lump' after the retwist that marks sort of the last time I twisted them-is that normal?)

I hear 27th comrade has that true? How long did it take for you to grow them to shoulder length, or to hold a puff? Did u have knotty bumps in them too after retwist? What twist technique do you use to touch up on them when they get messy? What saloon do you go to for retwisting???

My mum is always bugging me to get my dreads out and get a perm like "other normal girls". I'm not normal. And I’m determined to show her that dreads can be just as elegant as permed hair! ts proven to be quite hard (no one told me they needed this much maintenance!), but I’m not giving up on it!

It’s not that I’m being difficult or rebellious in any way. That’s not why I chose to lock my hair instead of perm it.

I chose dreads because frankly its one of the most real and healthy hairstyles one can have! I've tried most other black female hairstyles before (apart from weaves or extensions), and had some issues with them:

My biggest problem with perms is the chemicals, that stuff burns and makes hair thin and break at a certain length and smells nasty (or so according to my experience with it). Plus it just doesn’t feel right...African hair is meant to be thick, textured...not flat and limp...and since I’m light skinned, this particular hairstyle would not help my "muzungu reputation" which I try so hard to smother! LoL!

That automatically kicks out weaves for me, if I already feel fake (and bald) with straightened hair, imagine how being in a weave would be like! Hot and itchy (or so I’ve heard). The worst weaves tho are those afro ones…seriously, if your black, an afro comes easy, you don’t need to get a fake afro weave?! WTF?! And as for hot combing intense heat is not got to apply to hair…I’ve never been comfortable with that smell of burning hair! Plus it doesn’t last very long…if you want to straighten your hair, do it right…its like if you want to kill yourself, don’t cut your wrists and think a little blood will bring death, blow your brains out!!!

Which takes me to braids. Now these are pretty cool, and I had my hair in them a lot before…its just that I hate how every braider always wants to do the tiny sized ones (even if you ask them to do it big, they never do them that big) and oh my goodness does it hurt like hell! Not to mention that it takes ages too! Too much braiding also thins hair. There’s a time after braiding my scalp and hair line broke out in tiny painful bumps…it looked horrible and hurt too but it was just my scalps way of saying that my braids were too tight , my body was rejecting my hairstyle. So I listened and never did them again…

Had short hair too but it just gets boring…that’s when I decided on dreads…no chemicals, its not tight, and its my natural hair, which knots naturally anyways if I leave it!

I know that being black is not about kinky hair and head wraps or wearing African print and traditional outfits....but hell, it sure does help!!!

Seriously, that’s just what people who have never been called muzungu in their lives say to console confused souls like us(me?) much as we would like to claim we solely define who we are, society, environment/situation and media also affect the shaping of our identity (more than we would like to admit)!

Since self-image/ the way we present ourselves is meant to be a self reflection of who one is, not to mention its all the rage these days; why not use it to strengthen our identity and define who we are?

There’s a time in my life when I didn’t care what I looked like, (Tomboy days) but now I realize that that was oh so naïve! I’ve learnt not to underestimate image, psychology proves that non verbal communication which includes image as well as body language is several times stronger than verbal communication! I’ve actually witnessed and experienced this now and can testify to it. Its not so much how they look physically but the way someone presents themselves, that matters a lot, and also says a lot about them.

Since people can’t see who you are on the inside, you have to find a way to translate it on the outside, and to synchronize your interior with your exterior is the true art of living peacefully and at one with yourself A.K.A the art of keeping it real…A bit like feng shui (pronounced ‘fung shway’)- arranging and rearranging yourself till you’re in touch with your inner Qi (pronounced ‘chi’) and hence achieve a sense of balance, peace and positive energy ! *Chinese monk like Gong sounds in the distance* LoL!

Anyways, I just feel like the whole straight wanabe-white hair thing is fake, a side effect of colonization, like why is straightened hair more sophisticated and classy than natural kinky hair? Why is it considered more difficult? Because keeping African hair straight also has its problems…maybe the reason African hair is difficult is because we keep treating it like white hair?! It really annoys me! (like the whole light skinned African woman phenomenon).

Our aesthetics have really been molested by the west! I’m not saying that those of you African women with wanabe-white hair are fake (no offense intended), just victims of conditioning…or perhaps it’s just me being a ‘teenager’ trying to define boundaries and being extreme as I’ve very often been told by ‘adults’. (this means you can’t pull this comment btw, I’ve just blocked and countered it. BOOYAH!)

Have you ever stopped and wondered why you wear certain things in a certain way? Or why you like certain things? Sometimes the answers you come up with are…controversial…uncomfortable to admit true…or just bring up more questions (like in my case)?!

Either way it’s always enlightening.

Check this out, got it from Malcolm (without the X) LoL.


Sarah said...

AMEN TO THAT! My hair is not permed and i suffer. But proudly! haha. I support your dreads! As for my hair, i live up in Mzungu territory so it suffers seriously. I walk out the door during winter and it FREEZES. A frozen afro. It doesnt look good haha. Let the afro be an afro, stop combing it like white mans hair! i hear you! :D

Mckeith said...

Hahaha...Funny funny funny.... I'd say cheers to your dreads wow...

Well I have always wanted to have an afro and each time I grow my hair.... I get criticised and am tempted to trim it. The problem is mine is poor quality. Ever seen brown hair (kaweke). Its so annoying, so i'd say props for the dreads.

lulu said...

27th dreads are thick long ish and wellkept you ought to see.
my big sis is growing!

ck said...

hair hair hair.i would make the suggestion to cut it of but...just that

yz said...

When i let my hair be au naturel people ask if i am an ugly ethiopian or a fat somalian. I'm lucky that my permed hair is thick and full but then again i spend a fortune on upkeep and i do it my self...makes you think...

yz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The 27th Comrade said...

@Eizzy: Yeah, I have dreads. I've had them for a little over three years.
That bump that shows up after a re-twist goes away with time. As in, the hair is still taut in places soon after a re-twist, but as it all relaxes a bit, it loses the tautness and puffs out a bit.

I could hold a puff at about two years, but it was not the way it is now. Currently, I can hold it at the back of my head. Back then, it was only at the top, and some locks would not be within the puff.

By the way, yes, dreadlocks grow longer (not faster) than other hairstyles, because they lack the invasive procedures (such as combing) which breaks Negroid hair (even though it has a much-smaller-albeit-similar effect on straight hair).
Here's something (from Wikipedia and a statistical study, so the usual accuracy caveats apply): Finally, in most cases, unless natural afro-textured hair is left alone (i.e., not styled or grown into dreadlocks), its unique shape itself often limits the length that the hair can reach because the act of combing and brushing tends to break the ends of the hair; resulting in what is effectively a "natural haircut" each time it is styled. In other words, due to conventional grooming practices, loose natural afro-hair, upon reaching a certain length (which varies by the tightness of the coil), reaches a "steady state" such that it does not appear longer despite continual new growth.
The page is this one: Afro-textured hair.
So, yes, if you dread it, it will get long. Otherwise, it won't.

I used to go to Salon Sparkles at Garden City. Expensive bastards. :o) 20,000/= every time, twice a month. I used to pay 25,000/= most of the time, actually, because the chic there (she was called Irene) used to do a good job. These days, she no longer works there. Then again, I've not had my hair re-twisted for over a year and a half. I don't advise that for you (it starts to look more militant after a while of no twisting), but I don't mind it. I like not having to care for my hair. :o)

Actually, dreads require more maintenance (and money) at the start. Then they become pretty much free gorgeousness, especially for girls. Dreadlocks are the safest. Also the oldest hairstyle. If you want to see pretty dreads, some Ugandan blogger girls have them. One of them is Nappy Brain (who, unfortunately, cut them, but I think they were really cute, and it's all on this search page), Angela Kintu (seemingly no picture on the web, but I've seen them personally, and they are gorgeous! - thinner than mine, and quite a bit longer), Heaven! (just starting out, and they are looking really great, and even prettier than her original hair did), Jazz (whose blog's link I seem to have lost! :-o She'll kill me if she finds out), and more. I'm the only guy I know of who has dreads.

Yeah, we have many inherited aesthetics, many of which are damaging, like most things that haven't been given time to grow into a people. In any case, any attempt to let straight hair become "our idea" (in that, we are why we do it, rather than the West being why we do it) would immediately make it obsolete, because straight hair is misplaced among us. Of course, like you, no offence intended to those who do have straight hair (my mother does!). After all, I think they agree with me: none of them does it because she picked through a list of styles that have proven themselves for thousands of years. :o) Then again, style is not generally a utilitarian choice (usually anti-utilitarian). Cf. Chinese foot-binding! :-o


James Tubman said...

every ethnic group has their own cultural traditions

and they should be proud of them if they are worthy of being proud of

i love many aspects of afrikan culture

its so diverse and advance some people might wonder why we would even adopt other people's cultural traditions

what tribe are you from anyway

Sleek said...

the comments here are posts in their own right..i once had dreads; didn't last

Heaven! said...

hey! just read this!i do have dreads. had them since march this year. i think they are harder(and more expensive) to maintain in the beginning like now but every time i go to re-twist them, i can see considerable growth even though sometimes i thing banange they should grow much faster.
so be a little more patient. i'm sure we will be having a power puff party soon!

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