The Story Behind My Dreadlocks

by Kari

I am often asked about my dreadlocks.  Yes, they are a little unconventional.  Yes, they are a little edgy.  Yes, they are a little me.  And yes, there is a story behind them.

Unsplash / Pixabay

Once upon a time
there was woman
who didn’t know herself
as well as she thought.

She was happy enough
and also healthy
with 4 young children
a good marriage
and a vocation of
ministry that
suited her just fine.

Happy was her lot
to serve with her husband
sacrifice for others
and reference the Word
to herself about
“dying” to self
“take up your cross”
“consider others better
than yourself.”

And though all of this
brought her pleasure, joy
there was something
burning within
that wanted out
but she had no words
she could put to it.

One day she saw
someone with dreadlocks
and she was struck
by the twisted mass of hair
the creative flow
and the words they spoke to her.

This secret fascination
she scarcely let out for fear
of ridicule or judgement
and surely it could never be
after all, she was
a pastor’s wife!

Time went on
and she served
and she loved
and she worried
and she compared
and she shoved
and she shamed
and she served
and she loved
until she
couldn’t do it anymore.

And after weeks of
intense mercy
by her Maker
and transformation
by her Redeemer
and vulnerable epiphanies
in group therapy
she began to find herself

Not discounting the old
but shedding light on the true
on the light within that
made her, her.

Dreadlocks were now a reality
that was confessed to the counselor
to the husband
to the children
met with a variety
of opinions and concerns.

Would her husband
still be attracted to her
in the same way
as before?
What could this do
to her husband’s

Her old self told her to stop
and really consider the risk
while her true self
said take it.
And together with her husband
they risked something new
that they knew not.

With trusted friends
interested in her quest
and her vulnerability requests
she started the process of
ripping and twisting
and tearing and matting.

If anything it was a journey
of receiving
which was a very difficult
pill for her to take
because as a pastor’s wife
she had been accustomed
to giving
but her giving had been
from an unhealthy belief
that her story wasn’t important.

So she received
from skilled hands
and a generous heart
the dreadlocks she had
dreamed of.

They became an
oracle of the complexities
of her inner struggle,
a testimony
that life isn’t meant
to be tied up in a neat bow,
and a revelation that
she is loved and adored
for more than the
physical can attest.


10 comments on “The Story Behind My Dreadlocks

  1. So lovely. When I see your dreads they represent courage and transformation. I remember the conversations. I rememeber the hours spent. And though it was a form of working through things for you and I know it was painful , I cherish the hours we spent. It meant so much to me. And I’m thankful you got the professionals to fix what I did (it was a new adventure for me too). I was honored to be a part of the process. And proud of your courage.

  2. How I admire the courage and insight your dreadlocks symbolize, and you’ve written about it so movingly. Thank you.

  3. Mary Beth! One of my favorite memories is you knotting my hair and me cringing in pain! Weird? Maybe, but I was so humbled that you would hear my crazy request and walk through that vulnerability with me. THANK YOU!! You will forever be a key part of that experience and a forever friend indeed. I love you!

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