Several months ago, I got a perm. I wanted more volume in my fine, limp hair. The perm burnt my hair so bad that in the couple of months following the perm that I had handfuls of hair falling out every day. Then, when Jarrod and I went to Riot Fest in September, we were both admiring people’s dreadlocks, and I mentioned how I had tried dreadlocks a few times and failed, brushed them out, etc. I had installed them alone, or with a friend’s help. But they never seemed right so I never kept them long. But Jarrod was really into the idea of me having them because he appreciates that style. So we decided I would go get them professionally done to ensure a long future with them. We decided to use real human hair extensions with them so I wouldn’t lose too much length, and they looked pretty good once done.
Over the first couple months things went well. Once I got over the initial shock to my scalp and the itching faded, I was quite happy with them. I was getting monthly maintenance to keep them tidy-ish and make sure they were locking up properly. At my 2nd maintenance session, my stylist started expressing concern for my roots. My hair was already fragile from that perm a few months prior, and the weight of the dreaded hair + extensions was making my hair break off an inch or two from my scalp. But she remained optimistic and told me we would just keep up on the maintenance and keep reinforcing it, and it would likely be fine.
Last week when I went in for my 4th tidying, she wasn’t so optimistic. She said my fine, brittle hair wasn’t doing so well, and I had a lot of factors working against me for a future with the dreadlocks. At that point, I felt I needed to make a tough decision. I could either keep going, paying her to maintain and strengthen my hair every month with no guarantee it was going to be successful, I could brush them out and have “crypt keeper” remains of my hair, or I shave my head and have a clean slate. Jarrod and I discussed all the pros and cons of all options involved, and came to the very difficult and painful decision to just shave it all off. And rather than stall that decision, we decided to do it as soon as possible so it can start the process of growing back. Before shaving. The final pic with dreadlocks.
I’m honestly okay with it. It feels good, like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I know it’s just hair, and will grow back. And Jarrod seems to be okay with it too. He said he was more concerned with my reaction to shaving my head than how he would feel about it himself. But since I am okay with it, he is too. The kids really don’t seem to care all that much. The girls were in disbelief that I’d do it, but the boys already know how spontaneous I can be.
For now I’ll wear plenty of hats to keep warm since it’s still the middle of winter here in Iowa. I plan to keep from dying my hair indefinitely, and certainly won’t be perming it ever again. I’d like to see what it does when left to grow naturally. It’s been decades since I’ve just let it be. I’ll find some decent quality shampoo and conditioner to keep it healthy. And I’m already taking Biotin and other vitamins to make sure it grows back stronger.
How can people live such fake lives? They wake up in the morning, paint on makeup, bathe in perfume or cologne, put on uncomfortable, restrictive clothing just to appear a certain way, slap a fake smile on their face, leave their sterile house, hop into a shiny, fancy car, and go about their day. Everyone they encounter that dresses and behaves the same as them, they are fake-friendly with. Everyone they perceive as above them, they brown-nose. Everyone they perceive as below them they sneer at and ridicule.
In groups they laugh loudly and act as though they own the place in which they sit. Each trying to prove to the others that they have a good life and make good money. In their world, no one else could possibly understand or live up to the way they attempt to keep up with each other. There’s no consideration. There’s no empathy. There’s no true joy. Just competition. And possession.
Why? Just why?
Myself and my family may not have a ton of money, a mound of debt for things to prove we’re better than others, or brand name shiny “things.” But I don’t want that. I love my life of honesty. I love my genuine, opinionated, down-to-earth, honest self. I love that I tell people what I think. I love that I don’t feel obligated to paint on a happy face every day. I love that my life is not a competition to me, with my peers. I love that I comfortably and freely exercise my right to self-expression. And I love that I’m raising my kiddos to do the same. Furthermore, I love finding like-minded people because they are some of the most fun and interesting people I’ve ever known!
I can’t imagine living a life of fake smiles and dinner parties, overly high mortgages and designer belongings. It’s so stuffy, boring…ordinary.
I love being unique, colorful and full of adventure. It’s the only way I could imagine a life worth living.
For me, 2017 started in a very stressful, dark way. The photos I posted of the party with my friends is only what I put out there. It was not the whole truth of the night… not even remotely. You see, I was in an abusive relationship. I had made it clear I wanted to spend that time with the guy I was seeing, but when he refused, I decided to spend time with my friends. So in return, he was blowing up my phone with absurd, wildly inaccurate accusations, insults, and shaming for enjoying a night without him, and more so, a night with people other than him. I was miserable. And yet I allowed it to continue.
A month later, in February, I lost the job I loved as a Veterinary Assistant. I had finally been able to get to the cause for my chronic hip pain, and a diagnosis of a permanent and progressive condition (hip dysplsia) was enough for my boss to fire me. Legal? Probly not. It was discrimination for a disability. Especially since I had requested a very reasonable and possible accommodation and was refused. But the fact was, I couldn’t do the job the same anymore. I couldn’t be on my feet for 8 hours, and so I was let go to pursue other avenues.
At the end March I had my first skin removal surgery, my Panniculectomy, followed by a 6-week recovery period. During my healing process I was actively looking for a job, including attending several interviews. All I could really find where I didn’t have to be on my feet all day was office work. Tele-sales, mostly. I interviewed at 3 or 4 different places and none of them offered me a job, saying I needed direct sales experience. After just so long, and so many refusals, I started widening my options. I started applying at places I’d have to stand but could be accommodated. Pizza Hut was one of those places. I figured being a delivery driver, not only would I be able to sit (driving) most of the time, but I could also be outside, and not have to stay in a stuffy building day after day.
In June I was hired by Pizza Hut as a driver, which is where I’m still working today. It’s a fun, laid-back atmosphere most days. The management isn’t too strict, and the majority of the customers are pretty chill. I definitely have the flexibility to accommodate the hip pain and still earn a paycheck, and that’s what matters to me.
In July, after months of persuading him, I was allowed to go to the Freedom Rally with the guy I was seeing. The rally itself was a blast, but it was then I finally realized I needed to get away. Why it took me nearly a year for that to actually click in my head, I’m not sure. But it was then that it did. I deeply enjoyed the weekend – the atmosphere, the bikes, the concerts, and everything else the rally had to offer. But I knew that when the weekend was over, it was time to start planning the end of that relationship. It took me a few weeks to finally build up the nerve to do it because I knew he would be very harsh, loud, threatening, and insulting…. but one night in August I told him it was over, and that he needed to move out. It was a very dramatic 3-4 days, but once all of his stuff was moved out, I was free to be myself again, and my boys were free to be themselves again. A big sigh of relief.
The next day, I confessed my attraction to a co-worker of mine…. one I had been talking to and building a very strong friendship with. That co-worker just happened to be Jarrod – so as you can see, that turned out well! 🙂 In less than 10 days of non-stop texting and spending every waking moment together (which was a lot because we couldn’t shut up long enough to sleep much), we ran off to Colorado and got married. Our families and friends really didn’t get it, and they likely still don’t, but we both KNEW within the first 48 hours that we were meant to be together. We’ve never been so sure of anything in our lives.
When we got back from Colorado, I had another skin removal surgery. This time a revision of my Panniculectomy and a breast reduction. And then Jarrod and his 3 daughters moved in with me and my 3 sons. Over the last 4 months its been an interesting set of challenges blending our families. And though there will likely always be some sort of “us vs. them” mentality between the boys and the girls, it is certain all 6 of the kids can see the love and respect Jarrod and I have for one another, and that has brought about a level of acceptance that has made everyone settle in pretty well.
Our families have now celebrated Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas together. Blended. Successfully, with very little opposition. No big arguments. No family feuds. And now we are about to end 2017, and begin 2018 together. A new year. New challenges and goals. A new chapter.
The year started off dark and hopeless, and has ended completely the opposite – bright and hopeful! My family has doubled in size, and the man I am sharing my life with is my best friend. We laugh together, dream together, complain about the same stuff together, plan for our future together, and spend every waking (and sleeping) moment by each other’s side. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Other happenings in 2017:
– Surgery on my back to remove a lump
– Traveled to St. Augustine, FL, and back home north through Ohio and back west to Iowa, hitting 14 states en route.
– Attended a Pop Evil Concert
– Got my voodoo doll tattoo (by Barron @ Hot Rod’s in Newton, IA)
– Moved back to Newton out of Otley
– My friend Amber got veeery sick, but then got better after a couple months.
– I had a Panniculectomy (tummy tuck)
– Attended a Highly Suspect concert
– Attended a Def Leppart / Tesla / Poison concert
– Threw Andy a birthday party – age 15!
– Attended a Stone Sour concert
– Got hired at Pizza Hut
– Attended the Freedom Rally
– Threw Evan a birthday party – age 13!
– Took the boys to Adventureland
– Set off our own fireworks legally on the 4th of July
– Threw a birthday party for Cory – age 12!
– Witnessed a solar eclipse.
– Ended a very bad relationship.
– Attended the Rocky Horror Picture Show reunion
– Traveled to Colorado and saw the Rockies for the first time AND…
– Fell madly in love and got married to the best man ever!
– Became a grandma!
– I had a Panniculectomy revision (tummy tuck again), and a breast reduction
– Went to Chicago with Jarrod for an entire weekend for RiotFest
– Also in Chicago, visited the Gallagher house (Shameless)
– Got matching tattoos with Jarrod
– Started dreadlocks
– Took Evan to his first concert to see Hollywood Undead
– Got a Halloween tattoo (and so did Jarrod)
– Took all the kids trick-or-treating
– Went to a Highly Suspect concert again. 🙂
– Hosting a very LARGE family Thanksgiving
– Attended a Seether concert
– Spent weeks planning Christmas gifts for the family and making the purchases.
– Started this joint blog with my dear hubby
– Celebrated not only one, but TWO successful Christmases with our whole family
– I got my lip pierced twice (snakebites)
– And finally…. NYE at home with the family!
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.
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.