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Spalding area's Callum Brazzo looks back at his past self and embraces the future

This week, I’d like to re-examine a part of my identity when I was growing up and through what I have often referred in the past to as The Depression Days, that I didn’t have the power to pull off back then. And I don’t mean my autistic identity.

I’m talking about my dreads.

Dreadlocks are seen as giving power in Rastafarianism. I am not a Rastafarian and never have been but at a time of feeling utterly mentally powerless, it was like a symbol of power for my dad.

Callum Brazzo in his younger years (26317891)
Callum Brazzo in his younger years (26317891)

I remember so fondly sitting in front of the TV watching Jeremy Kyle on a dining room chair whilst my dad stood behind

Except it wasn’t because I was bullied by my peers, one of their targets being my hair.

I was not prepared to embrace the eccentricities of my appearance.

Callum Brazzo in his younger years (26317889)
Callum Brazzo in his younger years (26317889)


The dreadlocked loner that I was in the Depression Days also characterized my most prolific period of pain and pleasure in the form of poetry. Written down, back then.

"I didn’t feel comfortable in my own skin, my own hair, my own identity knotted with tension and strife."

But now…

My dread wax from when I was about 14 years came from Mama Afrika in King’s Lynn, which has now become a Chinese herbalist shop, and 14 years later, at the time of writing, a new pot of dread wax has arrived at my dad’s place and I will retrieve it to give this dreadlocked look another go.

I am like Mama Afrika. I am a changing face in a society that is ceaseless in its motion.

I am waxing lyrical about the dreads I once had, about going to school which eventually led to being taxied to an alternative education setting at Boston College because I couldn’t take the bus. The dread of leaving my house to go to the local shop in case of seeing someone I might recognize from school and being paranoid that this would lead to a conflict I couldn’t defend myself from.

I wax lyrical about these dreads of the past because my roots, like the matted hair of my teenage years, are strongly rooted and by recognising their foundation I am able to grow.

Back in the days, my dad would stand behind me, crafting my mass into locks and that may still be the case in a literal sense.

But it has a different meaning now.

Because now, I am my dad, with the same stability he provided me throughout that time that, due to the black hole of depression and anxieties that enveloped me then, I couldn’t fully appreciate.

The same fighting spirit, akin to the Lion Of Judah and of Leo, my dad’s horoscopic animal, pride in who I am and who I can be.

Sculpted by my hands, my sense of vision, my future is strongly rooted and malleable…just…like…the wax.

Further reading:

Autistic Lincs

Autistic Led Support Group

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