Opinion: Blamed for family’s mishaps because I grew DREADLOCKS
As I stated in my last article headlined; ‘How well have dreadlocks become fashionable in this era?’ that I would share my story years back when I grew locked hair, it is indeed necessary that I honour my words to our cherished readers.
Way back 1999 during my basic education at Maggie’s Preparatory and J.S.S then in Primary 4, I had painted most of my bags, belts, dresses and shoes the Irie (red, black, yellow and green) colours. My mom’s realized the rate at which I painted almost everything I could lay my hands on and expressed her worry.
Weeks later, she asked that I escort her to her friend’s place and while on our way, we came across running water although not deep, but one may hurt him or herself when crossing if not careful. Neither I nor she could cross without support.
Lo and behold, a man in dreadlocks helped us to cross the stream. I really felt happiness in my veins and when my mother noticed the big grin on my face, she said “weren’t you afraid of him? “ I replied “no” and continued that I would grow same hair some day when I am grown. The stunned look on her face did not scare me and I did not like it either.
In 2007, 5 months after completing then Senior Secondary School; I started nurturing my dreadlocks. My mother not cool with my hair, kept complaining and being the introvert kind of person, my external family never got to see my growing locks but they were told about my chosen hairstyle. Whoever told them, was and to date a no issue to me.
During one of the festivities, the entire family was asked to meet and celebrate; to me it was very naïve of them to think I knew not the reason behind the gathering yet as calm as always, I went with my mom and younger sister.
Upon reaching there, believe you me; all eyes were focused on me with murmuring comments coming from all corners of the party ground. They knowing very well my connection with kids curdled them away from me in order to get close to them let alone do the usual, play with them. And I kept my distance.
Whiles I kept my distance; an uncle approached and asked me in the Ga language, “What is this that you have on your head (M3ni ofe k3wo oyitseahe ne)?”. Although quite disturbed, I replied him with a smile.
Months later, my mother became very aggressive and really seems to have problems with anything at all I did because family members had called her to say all sort of unpleasant things to because of me therefore, she in turn had to be stiff dealing with me.
According to her, nobody in her extended family had ever grown locks and it is only fetish priests and priestess who had such hair on. Indirectly, she meant to say that her family and she think I am into something spiritual that hinders them.
Two years after growing and nurturing my locks, my ‘invisible’ and ‘well-responsible’ father showed up from nowhere to accuse me of being the cause of his misfortune. HOW? Sending me into mental slavery!
A man who abandoned me as at my embryo stage and was even hustled to cater for me till my 6th year and also my second cycle education where I had to lie for money (chobo) that I was offering an Economics classes before I got money from him. Likewise my school fees! Just pop up to blame me for his misfortune simply created the impression that he never really wanted me born after all.
I quite remember calling him and requesting that I went and see him so we sit and talk like a father and daughter should do instead of him blaming for everything that has gone wrong with him but you had to be there then to hear the choice of words, he used still claiming I was the cause of every bad thing that happened to him and my bad because of my hair. I was 21 years by then.
And really for the very first time in my life, I felt dejected, rejected, and ‘useless’ (which of course I am not) and blamed myself for everything yet #tweeaaaaaa, I never shaved my dreadlocks. But the least mishap in the family, I take lead in blaming myself before anybody else does.
My extended family wanted nothing to do with and it was the very least of my problems because I never remembered going to either of them my school fees or even food and water from them so why did I have to border my soul? I became one strong zealous woman about my work and children around me.
But another heartbreaking experience was the fingering from my neighbors who said a lot and added more sugar to my chocolate ice cream increased my mother’s frustration and believe me, I saw no need in arguing with my mother, let alone try explaining or even telling my mother to not listen to people.
She kept telling me, “Ama, I would pay you the very day you shave this (my hair) thing you have on your head.” She was so mean a time. She would call my favorite uncle and lodge so many complains to him but through thin and thick, he stood by me and assured me. He is a Reverend Minister.
Already the introvert type, I was extremely timid in everything and everywhere I went. I never would want to step on anybody’s toe to receive another set of blames and insults; hence I was always stuck in my chair but never did away with my broad smiles especially with people I felt very much comfortable and safe.
Wait o! Formerly cherished readers, I would never smile with you if I don’t know you, let alone sit close to you. I was indeed something else as compared to my present lifestyle when I finally assured myself with the saying that just anybody you meet anywhere, has a role to play in your life.
Honestly, life is indeed funny! In 2012 when my dreadlocks was 3 years, I decided to change faces and also free myself from all those bad and negative words pronounced in my life all because of my dreadlocks, so I had a clean shave.
Even those who rejected me and said all kinds of words including my mother and extended family came asking me why I shaved my ‘nice’ dreadlocks. You looked very beautiful in that hairstyle, I even intended to grow locks because of you were some of the funny comments I received shaving my hair to ‘sweat’.
That is the human nature and to date, I am still that strong hearted woman but very careful when dealing with my fellow human species. Smiling in your face, and ‘loving’ you in your back!