Russ and I got home from our visit with Dimples last night. It’s a long drive, 750 miles round trip, so we had plenty of time to talk. The most notable observation is that Dimples is learning how to express herself and talk about her feelings in a way that we have never seen before.
Her counselor and I were getting ready to tighten her locs, and she asked if she could have them taken out. We’ve had this discussion before, complete with arguing and accusations, but this was different. She didn’t place blame, she didn’t argue, she simply presented her case for why she was ready to have them out.
Two years ago I had her hair locked; there were so many battles with Dimples, that hair was one I wanted to eliminate. Locs have been great – truly a gift. We went from hours of crying, screaming, and arguing every week, to virtually no time lost on hair.
Personally, I love her locs and think they are beautiful. While Dimples agrees that it’s been great not having to spend lots of time on her hair, she has not loved them.
Yesterday she calmly told us that she felt she was ready to take care of her hair, and then she added that when she looks at pictures of her curly hair, she feels that she looked prettier then. Even more transparent, she said that when she sees pictures of Bee’s hair she feels envious. She held back tears as she calmly talked with us.
This is dramatically different from saying things like, “You only love Bee, that’s why you let her wear her hair the way she wants to.” Or, “You never trust me! I can take care of my hair, you just don’t believe me.”
Russ was very worried about adding hair battles back to our life, but I suggested that if we were ever going to take her locs out, now is the time. She has staff to help her learn how to manage her hair, and by the time she comes home, she will have gained the skills to cope with it. I may be wrong, but I’m willing to give it a shot.
Dimples’ counselor and I began the task of taking out her locs. In two hours,with both of us working, we removed a total of seven locs. It’s going to be a long process.
More than anything, I want Dimples to know that we heard her – she expressed herself in a mature and honest way, using new skills, and although we would have preferred to keep her locs in, we were able to say “yes” to her request.
That, my friends, is progress.