Wednesday, October 19, 2011

"Don't want to be a richer man"

I've had a forever battle against my hair. It started at a young age when my mom talked me into wearing it short, and forcing me to use talc powder, and then the animosity grew after I dyed and flat iron my poor hairs to death. My hair can't decide if it's straight or if it's curly, so instead it waffles at stringy and frizzy. There's really no winning. But I'm not writing this to complain! See, I made my peace with my hair somewhere around the time I stopped caring.

And I stopped caring because of this girl. (And yeah, this story is so much more interesting when you know which girl, but, you'll just have to figure it out.) 

Okay, wait, see. This is what happened. You know those people, the ones you want to hate because it seems like you're compared against them incessantly, but you just can't hate them because they're so awesome? That was this girl. We were in the same speech and debate league, and we were about the same age, and we competed in all the same categories, and had very similar rhetorical styles. Still, she was hilarious and well-dressed and charming, and you couldn't help but love her! We were never very close friends, but I was a fan. 

All her considerable skill and good qualities aside, however, what I couldn't get over was her hair. It always looked perfect! She appeared to have hair very similar to mine in that it was versatile; it could hold beautiful banana curls, or bow willingly to a straightener. I always wondered what kind of shampoo she used, because her hair always had a healthy, glossy shimmer to it, and at this point I still believed shampoos were magic and actually did what the labels said they did. (Advertising broke my heart. But that's another story for another time.)

At one tournament, the New England Speech Tournament, the year was 2007, it could have been 2008, I was walking down the hall and I stopped to chat with this girl and, I think another kid was there too, but I'm not sure who it was. Yeah, extraneous details. We were singing David Bowie's "Changes" and being silly, and then this girl turns to me and asks, "This is kind of a random question, but what kind of shampoo do you use? Your hair always looks so smooth."

Hahah, wait, what? 

I spent a few minutes laughing at the utter irony of this, and then we chatted a little more about our hair and how unmanageable it can be, and then we parted ways. But it was then that I realized the utter futility of driving myself nuts over my hair. No one cares! It's just hair. What I fuss over and battle with ends up looking normal, sometimes even good, to other people. And here was the worst discovery: my hair looks the same when I put a lot of work into it as it does when I don't. Oh, the humanity. So I don't care what my hair looks like anymore. Sort of. I occasionally make an effort to keep my hair from looking unkempt. Occasionally.

All this to say, we're learning about self-identity in my interpersonal communication class, and it's pretty interesting. That's all. I hope you're well. :)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

"This ain't the Heartbreak Hotel"

1) Song I've been listening to over and over since I walked in the door.

2) Some of the best sleep of my life has been at the Hathaways' home. I don't know if it's that mattress Lilly's always deferring, or if it's those worn jersey-knit sheets and heavenly feather pillows, or if it's the hilarious and heart-warming conversations that always precede sleep. Or is it the waking up to unbelievable quiet, with the faintest sound of mooing and quacking in the distance? The place is magical.

3) I'm struggling a lot in my abnormal psychology course, not because I haven't been studying (though truthfully, I have no time to study) but because I'm finding it incredibly difficult to believe that some of this stuff is real. Take dissociative fugue: you wake up somewhere else with a new name and a new life, and no memory of who you used to be. How does that even work?! It sounds like a cheesy sci-fi movie plot. (Indubitably it has been a cheesy sci-fi movie plot.)

But because of my abnormal psychology course, when I found out today that one of my friends is suffering from severe depression, I found that my reaction was terribly, horribly blasé. In my mind I scrolled through the DSM description, rattled off common treatments, imagined the symptoms. As my mind went off on a tangent about ECT, I forgot there was a person in front of me, burdened by how this was affecting the family. (I'm really sorry. And of course you know I'm praying.)

But that's what's so challenging about problems with the mind. The mind is not the body. You can't pin it down and slice it open and measure it endlessly. The mind is mysterious. And even though I'm learning to think about this stuff medicinally, the reality is that things like dissociative fugue and depression are frustratingly intangible. You think, "No problem, a little medication, a little therapy, good as new." But it's rarely that simple, because there's so much about the mind we don't (can't?) understand.

4) I returned the shoes, okay?