Fast forward to 2011, and I am about to be homeless.
My parents were furious to find out that I have been pretending to go to college for the last couple of months, while little do they know, I have actually been preparing for the end of the world.
You see, between my parents threatening to kick me out, my probation officer threatening to send me to prison, and not making enough money to pay my marijuana fines, the idea of the end of the world and the end of that hell was rather inviting. Yet, when my Mom decided to kick me out after learning I was not going to college anymore, it felt like as good as a time as any to enact my plan: Which I had none.
And so, as any sensible person would do, I purchased a large Moldavite stone and decided to place all my faith in it, trusting in the universe to save me from the coming cataclysm. Meanwhile, after posting a video on Youtube to show off my new stone, I briefly mentioned my near homelessness, whereupon three girls from Chicago, Illinois saw my video and offered to help me any way they could.
They said that they recognized me as soul family and just wanted to help, thus with their support, I sold my laptop to pay some friends to take me to Chicago. When these lovely souls picked me up, I could feel the love they had for me, even though we had only just met. We spent 11 days and 11 nights together, talking, sharing, and counseling each other. This happened to also be the first time a new found sense of wisdom started to pour out of me. Somehow, I could just say whatever needed to be said in order to help them better understand their own issues, and this pattern would continue for the rest of my life, whenever I encountered anyone with a sincere desire to know - anything.
On April 11th, 2011; the girls and I decided that the best course of action was to send me on my way to Portland Oregon, whereupon they happened to have one relative that always talked about how great it was. The other option was Canada, but that did not feel as right as Portland, so the next day, I said my goodbyes and went on a Greyhound bus with an extra $100 in my pocket.
After arriving, I waited all day for their relatives to pick me up, and then I spent the next three days in their apartment, waiting for a sign of what to do next. (Remember, I am trusting the Moldavite.)
As it just so happened, they had new roommates that previously lived in a vacant house two weeks prior, and upon seeing my dilemma, they gave me a sleeping bag, a map of the city and the keys to their squat. When I arrived at the squat, I found a bicycle, fresh clothes, and new shoes, even in my own style. Next, I found a backpack, usable camping gear, and a clean room with a mattress to help me through the next three months, whereupon I also had running water and electricity, until one day...
That was the beginning of a long journey that lasted almost a whole year to the very day I left. Full of spiritual experiences and amazing people, I went from that squat into a healing house called the Ark, eventually living on the streets and in the parks of Portland, OR. Whereupon I discovered even more struggles as all of my previous challenges resurfaced into my experience as soon as I got comfortable and saught some semblance of security.
Yet, towards the end of my journey, that is when my dream of having the 'perfect' dreadlocks resurfaced into my mind. You see, up until after the world did not end, but my view of the world did, I had been imagining the 'perfect' dreads on my head, and due to some misformation about how to "manifest" this experience, I was under the impression that someday, somehow, they would just "poof" into existence. Ya know, just like everything else that NEVER does that...
Interestingly enough, the catalyst for my change in perspective was brought on by a fellow homeless friend that was living in a tree above a cemetery. His name was Vasue.
One day, while he and I were eating in a church together, he shared his concern about how his hair was turning into knots, and how he would either have to get dreadlocks or cut it all off. Upon hearing his dilemma, I realized that he was faced with the exact same struggle that I faced the first time I had decided to get dreadlocks: I either had to cut it all off or risk getting dreadlocks without knowing what to do or how to make it happen.
Before this day, I had had dreadlocks one time before.
They were not pretty and they were far from perfect, but I put them in myself as I tried every rumor I had heard in order to "make them lock up." Little did I know, dreadlocks lock up the quickest when they are CLEAN, and when the knots are premade, NOT by twisting the hair and using stuff to keep it that way. Thus, I could really feel the struggle that my friend was going through, and so, I convinced him to let me turn his mop into a masterpiece for free, even though at that time, I had no dreadlocks or any proof of my skills. After all, if he didn't like it, he could always cut them all off like he was planning to do anyway, or trust me enough to satisfy his dream.
His hair was probably 18' long and a total mess, but over the course of a week, I came back to the church every day to work on his head for 3-6 hours per day. It took a lot of work and a lot of patience on both our parts, but the results were amazing. In fact, my friend was so shocked and thankful for what I did for him, he tried to repay me in so many different ways until I finally convinced him to accept my gift and pay it forward, not backward. Meanwhile, I was so inspired by his gratitude that I realized: If I want the perfect dreadlocks, I might actually have to do something about it.
One week later, I returned to my friend to show off my new dreadlocks, which I did myself with only the use of a pencil and good friend to help me part the back.
Non-coincidentally, this was also when I returned to being homeless and living on the streets until one day, while visiting a friend, I go outside to find myself surrounded by the FEDs, guns drawn, ordering me to lay down with my face on the ground. At last, they had finally caught me for absconding that marijuana probation in NC, and so they took me into custody...
What happened over the next 3 years was a series of transfers from one jail to the next, and from one prison to the next, whereupon everywhere I went, all kinds of people would see my dreads and wonder how a white boy could have better dreadlocks than most other people. This was when I began to thoroughly experiment with installing, repairing and maintaining dreadlocks for all hair types and ethnicities on a regular basis, only using a pencil to assist me.
In the final year of my incarceration, I had a full-time dreadlock and photorealistic portrait business. Mind you, I did not fully believe in the quality of my work was worth too much, so I would install a full set of dreads for $24, and maintained those heads each month for $6 each. Between drawing portraits for $30 per face, tattoo designs, working on my invention schematics, learning and teaching Jeet Kune Do in the cells, and teaching yoga, personal training, and experimenting with memory techniques while doing my own workouts, I was a very very busy person.
When I returned to Raleigh in 2015, I knew crocheting dreadlocks was the way to go and that using a pencil would only get me so far. So, my sister purchased some crochet hooks for me and I went to work, refreshing my own head, and luckily enough, a friend and client of mine got out at the same time, so I refreshed his head as well. At last, I used our pictures on craigslist in order to get my first clients, and I even used my mugshots because my dreads were superb in or out of prison!
That was 4.5 years ago and it will be 5 years, December 11th 2019.
When I started, I only charged $10 / hour, and I worked 12 hour days, but time and time again, I would see people cut off their picture-perfect dreads because they were "too much work," or some other excuse. I had even given those people a huge discount (on a $10/hour price!), and they still cut them off sometime later.
Due to these experiences and many others, I started raising my prices, and slowly but surely, I started to place a higher value on my own time and the work I have put into this craft. Likewise, I have seen many clients disappear as I improve my skills, my lifestyle and raise my prices, but I have come to accept that I only want a particular kind of client.
I cannot do everything, nor can I serve everyone, so I might as well serve the people that I want to work with and let someone else serve all the others.
My purpose is to deliver my absolute best in every moment of everything I do.
Whether that means I am crocheting your dreads, having a conversation, sharing a story, giving a hug, or seeing the best in you, I live a judgment-free life, and my ideal client is someone that shares a common vision, or who is open to growing as a person, instead of only receiving a service.
I'm not a vending machine.
And you are not an ATM.
Dreadlocks are only the beginning...
Join me and let's grow as people :)
YOU deserve the best.
I do not believe this; I know it.
You could be getting dreads for the first time, or may need some assistance with your own, but whatever the case, I will treat you with the same quality and care that I give everyone else, including myself.
I've been creating, maintaining and repairing dreadlocks for almost 10 years, but I've only recently accepted this as a passion and source of joy in my life.
Since this is my Reality, it is my sincere wish to serve you, and I will do whatever I can to help you get the dreadlocks of your dreams.
Oh, and that's Sage.
You'll probably meet her soon.
BE Your Self ;)
The clumsiest pup around! All of our clients love her, because she is so sweet, sensitive and drop dead gorgeous. (If you are allergic to dogs, please say so and we'll make the proper adjustments.)