Hippie Hair

I made the decision recently to give it another try after several failed attempts over the last 4 years, and I started a new set of dreadlocks.

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First try, back in 2013

My desire for dreadlocks started back in 2012 or so.  I’m not sure the exact person or thing that made me want to give them a try myself, but I started doing a lot of research.  I joined a couple of groups on Facebook, I watched YouTube videos about how to do them myself, and I read a LOT of information online.  The first time I tried them, I had my mom help me, and I used wax.  Obviously that was a HUGE no-no, as the wax coated everything it touched including my face, clothing, bed sheets, etc.  That was very short-lived, and they were combed and washed out after less than a week.  I looked up some more natural ways to get it done, and found the twist-n-rip method to be something I could do myself.  I tried that, and they lasted about 3 months before I was so itchy, full of flakes, and felt incredibly unattractive and had a friend help me brush them out.

I tried it a couple more times in the same way, and the final time I decided I was never going to try again.  It was far too itchy, stinky, and uncomfortable overall.  I even made myself a private YouTube video to watch if I ever considered doing it again, explaining why it was a terrible idea.

I must say however, in retrospect, I believe a lot of the bad luck I had with this style was the lifestyle I was living as much as the misinformation and lack of support I had to pull it off.  As is said in many cultures, knots contain and keep energy, and I was never in a good enough place in my life, physically nor emotionally, to want to keep those vibes attached to me and worn on my head.

Then, in September, Jarrod and I went to RiotFest in Chicago.  There were quite a few people there with dreadlocks and I was in love with them!  I told Jarrod how much I admired dreads and wished I could pull it off, and he also said how much he loved them.  So we discussed it further and we decided to get some professionally installed for me.

A week later it was done.  It took 6 hours and human hair extensions to get them started because of quite a lot of damage I had due to a perm I’d gotten a couple months prior.  Its been over a month since they were started now, and they are still comfortable 90% of the time.  The only time they aren’t is if it’s wash day (because I wash when they’re itchy).  I have the proper shampoos and products that help them lock up the right way, and keep me from itching or stinking.  And my stylist is pretty amazing too, with her maintenance keeping them looking tidy, and advice as to how to care for them to keep them healthy.  Not to mention my mental and physical states are MUCH improved… I love my life!  I do believe with the amount of care and attention my hair is getting and will continue to get, these beautiful locs can last a very long time…. years, in fact!  I’m very happy with my decision to give it another try.

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I Know This

“…And I know that one day,
You will let me in.
And we will begin to love in a fashion I couldn’t fathom existed.
And we will laugh at the fact that we ever resisted this blissful togetherness.
And the sex?
Well, it’ll be off the charts.
‘Cause we’ll both be
Super freaky
But we’ll be fucking
From the heart.
‘Cause our loving will be something where the
Whole is much greater than the sum of the parts
‘Cause we’re artists, after all,
So what else would fate have us make besides art?
And I know that outside of this space time frame, we are one and the same
We’re a part, not apart
So I know that I can wait patiently for it to start…”

An excerpt from “I Know This” by Rachel Kann

What if…

What if I kiss all the spots you taught yourself to hate?

What if I placed my hands on them and left them still, long enough for my heat to join  ours and you to forget there was ever air between our skin?

What if I love all you loathe and what if I spend my days dirtying up your brain that was washed?

Show you new pictures of the same you you started avoiding in the mirror?

What if I say all they say is wrong and fill your ears with honest words in a language you stopped practicing?

What if I plant new flowers in the places you frown at, and teach you the names of them as they bloom?

What if I told you to never cut them and let the petals decorate the floor as you twirl through your life?

What if you forget you were ever anything other than beautiful?

~Tyler Knott Gregson

2 Months

It has been two whole months.  Two months since my husband and I tied the knot after being together for only 8 days.  And two months since I had my final weight loss related surgery.

I couldn’t possibly ask for a better husband and example of a real man for my boys.  I knew immediately when we confessed our feelings to each other that he would be my forever, and that feeling has only gotten stronger every single day since then.  He’s the best friend I’ve ever had!  We lay awake at night and talk about everything.  We intend often to watch TV or a movie, get housework done together, or take care of other errands, and often it gets put on the back burner to our conversations, or the conversations continue through it all.  We are attached at the hip and prefer to do anything we need to do, together.  We even prefer to work the same shifts together at work, just to be in each other’s presence.  We understand and are comfortable with each other on the deepest level.  I’ve honestly never felt anything like this before, and it’s the best!  He is wonderful with my kids, and they become more and more open to him each day.  His kids are pretty awesome as well, and I love how our family is blending.  Jarrod is my heart, my soul, my life.  This is my forever, and I couldn’t be happier or more content.

As far as my surgical recovery and body image goes, I’m quite satisfied now!  I started my weight loss journey in January of 2016 at 270 pounds.  Around summer of 2016 I had already lost enough weight to disqualify myself from bariatric weight loss surgery by getting down to around 230 pounds.  I had changed my lifestyle enough to take off the weight myself, by eating less fat and carbs, more protein, and cutting out sugary soda.  Then once I reached about 225 pounds I qualified for skin removal surgery, and got approved for my Panniculectomy (tummy tuck) in March 2017, which is when it was done.  I wasn’t satisfied with the results as it healed because I still had quite a bit of sag, my bellybutton was off-center, and a couple other details I was dissatisfied with.  So when I had my breast reduction and lift on September 1st, I was able to get my tummy tuck revised.  Now it’s been two months since I had that last surgery, and though nothing is perfect, I am VERY satisfied with my results.  I am now hovering right around 200 pounds, and still want to lose about 15.  I haven’t had the willpower to just buckle down and take off that last 15 yet, but I know I will and am not too concerned with it anyway.  I’m happy with the way I look now, with the way my clothes fit, and with my appearance in the mirror. Really, I feel I just need to tone up now.  I’m very proud of myself for having come this far without bariatric surgery.  And I plan to continue this healthier lifestyle forever.  I NEVER want to gain that weight back.  I have so much less body ache and pain now, I am more flexible and don’t lose my breath going up and down stairs, I have more stamina and am all around a much happier person.  I love it.

Two months since my life made some permanent changes for the better.  I am so happy to have had these opportunities come to me, and to have been able to grab ahold of them.  I am so happy with my life!

Matching Tattoos

Jarrod and I got matching tattoos today.  We both felt lost at sea in stormy waters (our exes, life) and we somehow found each other through it all (lighthouses), and we really anchor each other, ground each other.  Plus we are co-captains of this ship – our family.  This is our story.  And we wear it proudly.

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We took our original idea and a few images from online for a brand new, original design.  These tattoos are original art by Barron Bon-Chance McCollum at Hot Rod’s Underground Lounge in Newton, IA.

Riotfest 2017

Jarrod and I attended Riotfest in Douglas Park, Chicago, IL!  Here’s the lineup:

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My main reason for wanting to go was Nine Inch Nails, which I had wanted to see since my high school years – and they were AMAZING!  Totally worth the 20-year wait.  But Jarrod has gone quite a few years, and has sortof made a tradition out of it.  There were many bands there he enjoyed seeing.  Hopefully he will write a bit about it so you can hear his point of view.

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Dinosaur Jr.
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Ministry
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Nine Inch Nails

And just as a bonus, while Jarrod and I were driving around one night after the show was over, trying to find the nearest Wal-Mart in Chicago, I realized at one moment that we were in the neighborhood where the show Shameless takes place… which I was quite excited about!  So the next day we stopped at the Gallagher house before we went back to Douglas Park.

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Kev & V’s house, me in the front of the Gallagher house, under the L train bridge, and me in the back yard of the Gallagher house.
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Jarrod & I on the porch of the Gallagher house.

Besides the weekend-long concert that was pretty damn awesome, and the Shameless sight-seeing, we had a pretty good time as well.  We spent most of the rest of our time in our hotel room, just hanging out, watching Shameless, talking, and eating delivery food.  The trip there and back was pretty great too.  Jarrod and I always have some pretty intense conversations, and it really makes the time fly!

Also, here’s a link to the entire video playlist of what I recorded while we were there.  Enjoy! YouTube videos of Riotfest 2017

So In Love!

Throughout my life I have involved myself in a few romantic relationships.  Some seemed good at first and withered.  Some were bad from the start but I settled anyway.  Some were out of loneliness or desperation.  Some were out of boredom and the desire for company.  But ultimately, none of them worked out in the long run.

There’s that saying “someday someone will come along that will make you understand why it never worked out with anyone else.”  I always wanted to believe that, but thought it to be a fantasy; an inspirational quote to keep people’s spirits up.  Until it happened to me.

And now, now there’s this guy Jarrod, and he’s like no one I’ve ever met before.  It started off very casually, working together and associating with each other only at work.  But as time went on, we talked more and more during our shared shifts.  We discovered through our conversations that we have been through a lot of the same troubles in relationships, parenting, just life in general.  We discovered that we have the same beliefs on the big things, like religion and politics.  We share a very similar parenting style, with a great love and appreciation for our children and family.

Then we started talking and spending time together outside of work once my ex and I split up, which is where things started to move very quickly.  Days have blended together, nights have flown by, just talking and discussing our lives, and finding strong similarities at every turn, which is still continuing today.  It was sudden, and crazy, but we know with absolute certainty that this will be forever.  Kindred spirits, soul mates.  There’s no denying it.  The similarities, the comfort we find in one another, the deepest unexplainable connection we share.  Being with him makes me realize why it never worked with anyone else, for real.  No fantasy.  And he feels the same way.  It feels like we were born for each other.

We have had our children all spend time together which went well, as we both expected it to go.  And we are moving quickly on moving in together.  And the big news – we ran off to Colorado and got married on August 30th!  Because face it, life is too short and unexpected things happen, and neither one of us wanted to waste time getting wrapped up in overthinking and hesitation over something we both know will certainly last the rest of our lifetime.  We had a very private ceremony – only the 2 of us, and later on will throw a wedding for all of our friends and family… likely on our 1- or 2-year anniversary.

The trip was great! I had never been to Colorado, and Jarrod hadn’t been in many years. We drove there and back, and stayed in a beautiful bed and breakfast called Meadow Creek Mountain Lodge.  It’s just southwest of Denver.  The bed and breakfast had a hot tub, a heavenly king sized bed, and the owner was a pretty great guy too, and made a wonderful breakfast for us.  We were able to run around Denver a bit and shop for our rings, and have supper there in Denver.  Then we enjoyed alone time and slept in before we had to head back to Iowa.

We have both agreed to put this blog post out there for the public because we both know there will be people in our lives who will not understand why we would move so fast, or make such a crazy, bold, impulsive decision.  We are both very aware that is what we are doing.  But we are here to say that it is OUR decision to make, and we would love your support and understanding, whether or not you understand our reasoning.  We are very thrilled with our decision, and don’t regret a thing!

The story of the family of Jarrod & Shauna Hesse…