Head case

So apparently it had been–gasp!–three whole weeks since I wrote something that didn’t contain one of these words or phrases:”Primal leadership,” “Satisfied customers,” “Library administrator,” “Hiring for talent,” or “Workplace climate.” If you are thinking to yourself, “Wow, that sounds about as exciting as plucking off your own arm hairs one at a time,” let me assure you that it was even worse than you can imagine. And it’s not even over. The very last assignment I have to complete, an assignment I have never even seen because it is “still in the works,” is due a whopping four days before graduation. I am pouring most of my energy into avoiding a stroke. The remainder of my energy is dedicated to something much more important: hating my hair. At least I can think about grad school selectively now, with only a few weeks left, but I have to see my hair every time I pass a shiny surface, and worse, I have to feel it, and also not feel it, every single minute of the day.

Here’s what happened: back in March when I went for my regular monthly haircut, I was having a Really Bad Hair Day. Really, Really, Really Bad. I had spent the entire day fantasizing about a time not so long ago when my hair was about 2 inches long all over my head and stuck out in all directions (see bottom photo) and–now this is the really important part–did not touch any part of my face. I needed desperately for my hair not to TOUCH. MY. FACE. And so when I sat down in my stylist’s chair and she asked if I wanted the usual trim, I told her to CUT. IT. OFF.

As it turns out, I was not at all ready to go back to short hair. For one thing, due to my accumulated grad school stress, I’m  having a serious acne problem. You know, the kind of acne that looks like leprosy. On your NECK. So having short hair made me feel like an actual leper, like everyone was staring at me all “WHAT is wrong with your neck?” Also, I liked my hairstyle. It suited me, and it was easy to fix. It was just too long. I realize this now. But the worst part of all, the reason I both feel it and don’t feel it every minute of the day, is that although my neck is all naked and exposed, my bangs still TOUCH. MY. FACE.

So now, six weeks later, it is starting to grow a little, mainly in the front where it’s annoying and, oh, did I mention, it touches my face?! But the sides and back are growing at a slower rate, so I still feel exposed, and my leprosy zits have not gone away, so people are probably still staring at me and wondering things like, “Is that a hickie or an infectious disease?” and now I find myself in a position I am certain every woman has been in at some point in her life: I am growing out my hair so it will look exactly the same as it did when I got it cut.

And why am I telling you this? Because my hair is partly to blame for my lack of blogging. No, really, hear me out. I don’t consider myself a vain person, but my psyche is inextricably linked to my hair. If I think my hair looks awful, I feel awful–sad and irritable. And ugly. And even though I thought I’d get used to my haircut, because hey, I used to wear it like this all the time, I still haven’t. I still hate it. I still feel awful and sad and irritable. And when I feel awful and sad and irritable, I don’t feel like writing. And so I haven’t.

What? You think that’s a lame excuse. Oh, all right.

Of course that’s not the only reason. What writer do you know who puts off her novel or book of essays or poetry collection because her hair feels ugly? I am sure Barbara Kingsolver has never said to her editor, “Hey, yeah, look, I know I was supposed to have that manuscript to you this week, but man, my hair looks like shit and I just can’t bring myself to develop the story any further. Would you mind if all the characters just died of scurvy or something?” Right. So it’s not just my bad hair that’s been encouraging my low profile. The truth is, I am avoiding writing about something, someone, actually, that really and truly ought to be written about, and every time I open up my notebook or a new post page, all my thoughts and regrets and memories push their way forward and demand to be set free…but to set them free I’d have to see them and communicate with them and talk them over with myself. And I don’t want to.  

There’s nothing wrongwith me (aside from that hair story above, which is not exaggerated in the least). There’s nothing wrong with my kid. Life is, in spite of its fickle ways, life, and it’s going on as usual. I’m just doing a lot of thinking, and a lot of searching for right ways to say things I need to say. So if, in the meantime, I post a lot of bulleted lists of randomness, I’ll just chalk it up to bad hair, and my editor* will just have to understand.

*Editor. Ha. Hahaha. See, I am mostly fine. I can make a little joke. Editor. Heh. I kill me.

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