Growing up I always felt very different from everyone else I encountered. I felt like an alien from another planet and although I could befriend anyone from a dork to a cheerleader to a doorknob, I felt a world away from them all.
I recall walking down the hallway my sophomore year in high school thinking; how can I look like all these girls, when I am so very different. I felt it was necessary for me to physically reflect my internal differences on the outside. At this point in my life I was going through extreme growth of the spirit and mind. I was beginning to evolve into a more conscious human being living in a more conscious state of mind.
During this process of evolution, I was given a terrible haircut that made me cry like a baby lamb. I remember looking in the mirror thinking, man you're ugly when you cry, and you are crying over something ridiculous like hair. At this point, I decided to rid myself of the vanity I was carrying in my long silky hair, in this image of beauty that i was interpreting as truth. Always having loved dreadlocks and what they represented, I decided I would strip away the societal view of beauty I was embodying, and knot my hair up. Considering the spiritual growth I was going thru at the time, it only seemed appropriate to create these roots coming out of my head connecting me to something bigger, something more divine, something spiritual that I was lacking in my being, yet searching intently for.
I waited until my parents went to Jamaica for their anniversary to begin my transformation. My good friend Logan and I spent an entire day locking my hair up. I looked like a cave woman, but I was so happy to be free of normalcy. When I went home that night, my parents had just arrived back home with a gift from the island: a fake dreadlock hat. To their surprise, I walked in the door with the real deal... I always loved shocking people.
The year was 2002. This was the year I created dreadlocks, shed this certain form of vanity, tried psychedelics for the first time, became an everyday pot smoker, began practicing yoga and studying sacred geometry, became introduced to the conscious art of Alex Grey, and felt an over all shift in my entire being, a shift from semi-conscious to fully awake.
I knew having dreads would be a challenge, but being the fiercely independent young Aries woman I was, I chose not to care. I chose to embrace every judgement and responsibility that came with having dreadlocks, knowing it would make me stronger in the end.
My life changed radically. I went from being cast as leads in school plays, to not being cast at all. Over the ten years I had dreads, I was put in a certain category when people met me. I was consider a simple "hippie stoner" by people who did not know the depths of my mind. I was denied dozens upon dozens of jobs because of my hair. My boyfriends' parents never liked me because of the preconceived ideas that came with having dreadlocks. And in the later years, I lost out on a lot of acting work. At the same time, I attracted some of the most amazing friends and like-minded people imaginable by blatantly representing an abstract lifestyle through my physical form. I got jobs that accepted alternative people and was able to connect to different people on a different plane entirely. People came to me to discuss philosophy and politics and art and human existence. Not to mention, I was swooped up by High Times for so clearly depicting the stoner girl next door they were looking for to represent the face of their magazine.
Having dreads did not make life easy, but it did help me to embody this carefree essence of not giving a damn. And over the years, my dreads grew into this beautiful goddess entity. They became my lion's mane, my crown, my pride and joy. I began to deeply fear ever losing them and would dream about accidentally brushing them out or having to get chemotherapy and losing them. When I realized how attached I had become to the very thing that was suppose to represent detachment, I knew they would have to come out eventually. For how could I continue to grow while remaining attached to an idea. I knew I could not hold on forever or I would become stagnant and stuck.
I considered shaving my head for a while, but I could never find the courage....well what if some amazing acting opportunity came along and they wanted my dreads. What if no one recognizes me anymore. What if I lose my confidence. What if my inner goddess withers away with the destruction of my dreadlock crown!... The excuses I came up with in the maze of my mind were endless. I could have justified keeping them forever.
When 2012 hit, I knew there would be a huge shift in the universe. I didn't quite realize that meant a shift within our own personal internal universe to the very core of our being. This is a year of transformation, of shedding unnecessary energetic and physical weight, of allowing the death of an era to make room for a new era. A time for embracing change at all cost and not allowing fear to deter us from growth.
I'm not sure what it was about October 2012, but this proved to be an extremely powerful month for transformation. I gave back a free jeep, i changed my phone number of ten years, i released all the dark energy vampires from my life, and i confidently decided I was going to cut off my dreads and start fresh. A week later, when my love was out of town, I had four amazing friends help me cut them off to my shoulders and brush the rest out. It took 20 hours total. My love had no idea i was doing it. Ten years later I still like to shock people for my own personal amusement.
I fantasized about what a huge emotional release I would have and how I would probably cry like a baby when I cut them, but it never happened. I never felt sad or remorseful. I was simply ready and when they were done, I was grateful for everything they taught me and all the light they shed upon my life. I was grateful to never have to be called "dready mama" or "rasta baby" by strangers ever again. I was grateful to be able to run my fingers through my hair. And mostly, I was grateful to have the strength to release myself from fear and attachment and this hair that I had come to consider my beauty.
I spent my entire adulthood and almost half of my life with dreadlocks. I loved them. I learned from them. I evolved with them. And now I am learning to simply be Sarah again. I no longer feel the need to represent my internal difference on the outside. I feel whole in myself and more free than you could ever imagine. I feel as though I have stepped out of a comfortable box and into a playground of endless possibilities. Sometimes it's necessary to consider the things that we end up becoming a slave to, whether it's money, a hairstyle, a draining relationship, a job, or our own insecurities.
We are meant to grow and blossom eternally, but only an individual can choose to evolve or stand still in the contentment and comfort of habit. I don't know about you, but I choose to evolve.