C'est La Vie
What a beautiful piece of heartache this has all turned out to be. Lord knows we've learned the hard way all about healthy apathy. And I use these words pretty loosely. There's so much more to life than words..
Things I love
Thursday, July 31, 2003
A few months later (at the end of October), I went to church with just my mother, and we went to IHOP afterwards. I got those smiley-face pancakes with the chocolate chips and all that gooey stuff, and promptly threw up all over their bathroom about three-quarters of the way through the meal. I hadn't felt sick before, and I didn't feel sick afterwards, and the IHOP folks were very nice, and it was most certainly nothing to do with them. My mother, though, said that it must have just not settled well, and other people mentioned how eating that much chocolate in the morning (though it was noonish when we got there) may not have been wise. I knew, deep down in my quash, that it had nothing to do with the pancakes, though. All the same, I did stay home from school on Monday. That Tuesday, at practice, I just couldn't keep up with even the JV girls. Surely one day of practice missed didn't throw me that badly? Well, perhaps I really had gotten a bug and it was just slowing me down. Wednesday, same story. And Thursday, we were doing long-sprint practices, trying to run one lap around the track as quickly as possible, over and over. After the third (none of which I'd been performing well in), I was doubled-over in pain .. a highly unusual status for me. Apart from having a very high pain tolerance, and having been a competative runner for several years by that point, I was used to runner's cramps and could usually just keep going at about the same pace during them, and they'd go away eventually. This wasn't a runner's cramp. I was in too much pain to cry, or to move. My teammates asked if I was ok, and there really wasn't anything I could tell them. My coach was obviously disappointed, but I sat out the rest of the sprint drills all the same, and eventually just changed back into my regular clothes and watched the other girls 'till it was time to go home. I felt fine other than all that the rest of the week, Sunday morning I had a gut instinct that I should stay home from church (I hated missing church, even at that time when I wasn't going to a great one) and sure enough I got terribly sick again, just the once, with no other symptoms of illness either before or after. That Tuesday, I turned in my cross-country uniform and said I wished I could have gone with the team to districts, and then to States. They did well without me, but had I been up to par, I could have helped them along.
Meanwhile, that was it for the time being. No more sickness, no more feeling particularly off. And then, in November, I was on the bus on the way to school one morning, when that pain came back but even worse. Since the bus was mostly empty for the first hour of the trip (I was attending a school in which many students were bussed in from other areas to try to integrate the school more, so we had about ten kids from my city and the neighboring one and then we picked up about twenty from a ghetto right near the school), and since it hurt too bad for me to make any noise, I turned around in my seat so that the girls sitting diagonally behind me could see that I was in trouble. They told the bus driver, who promptly stopped to figure out what was wrong. One of the seniors on the bus was in the pre-med program, and he came over to check my pulse and see what he could do. Except that he couldn't find my pulse, because it does hide sometimes and was likely weaker at that point. And the bus driver called the ambulance, which brought me to the hospital after putting me to sleep with oxygen and an IV. I faded in at some point and was aware of my mother being there, and then promptly faded out again. And later, I woke up and was able to be a little more helpful in getting the nurses blood for all the tests they were running, and they didn't find anything, and I went with my mother to get some food and then sleep in the classroom where she was teaching that day. (Home, being over half an hour away, had to wait 'till after classes were done.) The next day, I went to school to hear about rumors of how I had been unconcious, had heart failure, or even died. A middle-school friend that hadn't spoken to me in a while came running to hug me, with tears streaming down her face, and apologized for being upset at me over something so bizarre as whatever we had fought about in middle school. My former cross-country coach was glad that I was ok, and I could sense some relief that I hadn't just faked my way out of running anymore.
In December, two days after Christmas, I had an endoscopy that revealed the beginning stages of an ulcer. That was after the Upper GI (which I fondly remember as the time when I was asked at least 14 different times if there was ANY POSSIBLE WAY that I might be pregnant, and the answer that I was a virgin seemed to satisfy them less than if I had said I hadn't slept with anyone in five months or so..), the several doctor's appointments, and popping Maalox like Smarties.
It's been eight years, almost, since those early days. I don't remember life without an ulcer, and I don't remember much about what the adjustment was like. None of the several medications that were tried worked to reduce reflux and such, except occasionally taking maalox and/or zantac (when we could afford it). Even those, of course, just calmed the acid down instead of getting rid of it. So, I still had my ulcer.
A couple of months ago, when I went to the free clinic (which was my first doctor's visit in five years), I was put on Prevacid. I have many friends that are on this, and it works well for them. It just didn't for me, though.. in fact, my reflux increased. So I gave the rest of my prescription to a friend that's having stomach pain (shhh.. don't tell the FDA) and went back to the free clinic two and a half weeks ago. The nurse practitioner there put me on Protonix, which I'd never heard of. There have been two days since I got the prescription when I forgot to take it, and one other when I wasn't at home and thus didn't have it with me to take .. and on those days, I have gotten reflux. The other 14 or so days, I have not had reflux. It is such an amazing feeling to now be on a medication that is actually working, and to suddenly have what has been a regular part of my life for the majority of it become something that is not part of my life anymore.
If it keeps working, and my ulcer is healed, I will be ecstatic.
Other updates: My car accident is still pending the liability ruling, so I still haven't gotten a payout from the insurnace company of the guy who hit me, though I have gotten a rental car in the meantime which they will need to reimburse me for. I am moving on Saturday, across town, and have done a lot of packing. I missed a complete day of productivity, though, because of being terribly dizzy yesterday (I'm dizzy again today, but less-so, and have thus been more productive) and thus not being able to leave the place where I am dogsitting except to go to the free clinic to see if they could catch what was wrong since I was in the midst of the dizzy spell spell. My ears looked fine, the EKG they did was fine, the various samples they took came up normal, except slightly-on-the-low-side-of-normal blood sugar (but we already know I'm not hypoglycemic) and significantly low blood pressure. Which was a cause of which is yet to be figured out, but my suspicion lies strongly on the blood sugar and maybe pressure being caused BY the dizziness, and not the other way around. So, we still aren't certain of what's causing it. Because the vertigo medication I'm to take on an as-needed basis didn't make me any less dizzy yesterday, and because my ears looked fine, we might be back to square one. So the nurse is going with the theory that perhaps it's started by vertigo and then strung along by dehydration and not eating enough (I couldn't get anything down yesterday, because I couldn't do much at all while I was so dizzy, other than sleep a little), except that when I got home from the free clinic (around 3:30) I ate a lot and it didn't get any better at all 'till about 10pm .. and then came back today, though I've been eating plenty. Plus that I had had a bowl of cheerios -- which I just ate very, very slowly -- and lots of juice for breakfast, and I didn't experience any less dizziness at any point to indicate that food has the slightest bit to do with this. So, if you know of anything that maybe might be overlooked or maybe might be a possibility for what's wrong, please let me know. Either way, please pray (if you do) for this.. to find out what's wrong and make it bearable.
Further update: Lots of folks are gonna be helping me move on Saturday, and that's very exciting. And I went out for coffee with a newish friend and his sister (whom I'd only met once before, very briefly) after Bible study last night, and then brought her back with me to watch Phone Booth (which was a decent movie.. lots of language, lots of messing-with-your-mind, but great acting) 'cause he had to work early the next day and neither of us did. It was great getting to chat with her some, and it's exciting to have a very solid group of friends here during these last few months. Tonight, I get to hang out with Sarah, finally.. I haven't seen Sarah in a while, especially in the really hanging out with time to talk kinda ways. She's in town for a friends' bridal shower, but I'm really glad we'll have some time to ourselves in the midst of all that. On that note, I'm gonna go back to feed the pets and let the dog out and rest for a while. I thought about being really ambitious and going to my apartment after taking care of these animals so that I can pack some more, but that's not gonna happen. And the pharmacist at the free clinic won't have gotten there yet, so I can't swing down there to pick up my new prescriptions just yet. Perhaps tomorrow? I'll go in next week to talk to one of the doctors, as the nurse practitioner recommended in case there is something she doesn't know about. And the early part of this month will be pretty relaxed, and then there will be concerts and friends returning for school, and lots of other stuff going on. And hopefully this fall, I'll be able to visit both MA to see my relatives up there and FL to see my relatives and old friends from down there. Goodness, I hope so. My niece is growing up and I haven't seen her in over a year and a half now, and it's been over a year since I got REAL determined to go to MA asap, since I haven't been there since I was 11. I called my Aunt the other day to make sure I had the right address for her before I sent out my "Christmas-in-July" letter and she was talking about how amazed she was that I'm driving, and how she keeps picturing an eleven year old in a car and living on her own and such. So it's kindof amusing, really. But hopefully I'll get to see her and Uncle Bob and the rest of the family up there, and where I was born, and the Boston life I never experienced since I was just a wee lassy (turning seven) when we moved away.
So, that's that. I'm off to go pay attention to a golden retriever and some very large cats now, and I don't know when I'll next be online. Prolly not too long.
Wednesday, July 23, 2003
Starting on Friday and through the Saturday a week and a day later, I'll be housesitting for my landlords. Once that's done, I'll have moved into a house in town (yay, nomore boondocks!) where I'll be living for the next two months, rent-free, in exchange for caring for a cat and taking care of bills and such for a woman who will be going with what's basically a rent-a-midwife program for those two months. So, there are a lot of logistics to be worked out yet in every way, but the lack of rent for two months will be an excellent way to be less stressed financially.
Once that's up, at the end of September, I'll be moving to NC.
So, that's the update and the less dramatic version of the story and how it was all good news. Goodness, I could've posted THIS much last night. But I'm not sure when my next chance to get online will be, and didn't wanna not share the word..
If you pray, please pray for me. If not, please think kindly of me right now. And if you've got any words of encouragement for me (on any subject), I might could use 'em more than ever right now. I'm still doing pretty well emotionally and mentally, though, much helped by this moving situation. Still not car, though, still lots of frustrations and joys. Off now for who-knows-how-long. Buhbye..
Tuesday, July 22, 2003
This is just a very brief entry, because I have some friends coming over right now (I'm at another friend's house, which means I'm not at my apartment to greet them..), but I'm still alive and I'm going up and down as far as the frustration and the gladness go, and I'll be posting about some fantastic news tomorrow from work (which is my last day, most likely, 'till I've finished up the contract and I haven't been there in a week -- hence the limited access -- and I'll be training new interns but will take some time to jump on here and make the good news posts..)
For now, off to let my friends in outta the rain if they beat me there.
Tuesday, July 15, 2003
This past Friday, I was in NC, driving on I-40 between Raleigh and Durham, on a particularly nasty stretch of that highway. To add to that, there was a storm and heavy traffic. I was going to Cary to see Brooks Williams at the Six-string Cafe, and I was within about three or five miles of the venue. Suddenly, the jeep in front of me slammed on his brakes and swerved left (onto the shoulder) to avoid the car in front of him. I started to veer left when I saw him brake, but then pulled back into the lane when I realized that's where he was going. I hit him anyway, but since we were both braking it didn't hit him much and his vehicle wasn't damaged more than a scratch on the bumper. However, the car behind me (which was also swerving left) then slammed into me, sending me spinning right across the four lanes of traffic. In the far right lane, a driver was kind enough to keep driving (perhaps even speeding up?) and hold down his horn, as if there was any purpose to that whatsoever. So, I maintained as much control of my car as possible (one of my strongest characteristics as a driver is my ability not to overcompensate and also not to panic) and got back over to the left shoulder without being hit again. The three of us gathered there in the left shoulder and the police came out a while later -- I must say that they did respond quickly considering the storm and traffic and all. Yay for the State Highway Patrol, I think is who it was, of NC.
So, my car was damaged and undrivable, due to the front right tire being shredded to the metal, and the rear left tire well being pressed against the tire. My seat broke when I hit it several times, and there is a large bruise on the back of my head as well as several on the outside of my left leg and foot. My neck and upper back were quite sore, though nothing compared to my stomach muscles, which were severely strained. Since I don't use my stomach muscles much (because of my hiatal hernia), this made more of a difference. It seems, though, that my hernia wasn't worsened and the soreness was minimal, all-in-all.
The other two vehicles and drivers made it away with just some bumper-scratches and a bit of delay, but my car is in the garage in NC nearest where the accident happened, waiting for the insurance investigation to be complete and the payout settled.
My car's current Kelly Blue Book value is less than $300.
Poor Gilbert Wayne Ellesar. He was an excellent car, and I loved him dearly, despite all of his quirks and issues. On the bright side, though, at least I don't have to worry about the VA state inspection for a while.
This could get very nasty, though, btw. This case, that is. If the adjuster for the insurance company of the guy that hit me so desires, it could be one of the nastiest messes I've heard about in a long time. And a big hassle.
So, there is that.
That night, I did go see Brooks Williams, since I needed that even more after the accident than I had beforehand. I stayed with my friend Dawn, and then on Saturday a friend (Chris) from here came down to pick me up. It's roughly three hours each way, and of course there was nothing really that I could offer Chris (except some gas money), so it's even more appriciated that he was there and able to help me out. When I got home, I was flustrated because of not having a car, and wanted to be out with my regular Saturday-night group of friends. My one friend that was going to come get me got a migraine, though I didn't know that at the time.. just that she wasn't calling. Other friends couldn't or I just got their machines. And then another friend told me that, "really, it's just a long drive out there." I live about 20 minutes from most anything in town, including his house, his friends' house (where he was), or the bar at which we all hang out on the weekends. So I was even more flustrated by that, because when my one friend drives 6 hours round trip, this other friend doesn't even want to drive 40 minutes round-trip to help me when I specifically say how much I need to get out that night.
Overall, the people that responded well and were true friends to me through all of this are people that I knew would.. but some of the people that didn't surprised me, in that I thought they too were true friends.
A friend in need is a friend indeed, eh?
So, I stayed in Saturday, and honestly had a pretty rough night and struggle with depression. Just in the whole flustrated sense of things. And on Sunday, I went to church and from there to the river house where a bunch of us played on/in the water all day, waterskiing and swimming and all. I got to drive the boat for Bob, too, which I always feel very glad about since it gives him a chance to ski when usually he's pulling everyone else around. I had two skis, both great fun.. since the first was my first of this year (since maybe September of last year), I took it pretty easy, especially because the water was quite choppy and the skis were a different design than anything I'd ever been on before. But by the second ski, I was feeling a little more spunky and even got to jump the wake a couple of times. Fell a couple of times, too, but in really gentle and fun ways. I love waterskiing.
After that, I drove the car that I'd borrowed over to a Sheetz, and left it there while Jeff and I went up to see Eddie From Ohio. Their soundguy, Bob, was kind enough to put me (plus one) on the guest list since they already had someone to work merch for them, so I was able to bring Jeff along for his first EFO concert experience. He enjoyed it very much, as did I, and it was great saying hi to the folks afterwards. Robbie recognized me after a second (very surprised) glance, and then told me that I pulled a Robbie. (Robbie is bald.) From there, while I was talking to him, Mike and Eddie also recognized me.. Julie came over a bit later and did not recognize me, even when Eddie asked if she did and thus she knew she knew me. And then she was very surprised and later on said she just couldn't get over seeing me with a shaved head. It's always fun to see these folks, of course, because they're one of the most down-to-earth and hilarious groups of people ever. And besides that, when you've got a band made up of a Jew, two Catholics (one practicing and one not-so-much) and a percussionist, and they sing gospel songs simply because they're from the south, right after singing songs about decidedly not gospel topics, you know you're in for a good time. So anyway, it was great.
Jeff and I drove back to the Sheetz for me to get the car I was borrowing (a Fiero, no less), except that it wouldn't start. So he drove me home and I called Alan about it the next day, and we went out to try to get it working. He replaced the battery (the one it had was completely dead) and may need to replace the altenator, too. Hopefully for him he'll get it working .. for me, though, I just still don't have a car. All my friends and church folks and whatnot are trying to find anyone they know that's got an extra one sitting around that I could use 'till this insurance mess gets sorted out, but in the meantime I'm pretty stranded and relying on the kindness of other people. It was one thing to not have a car when I lived on the bus line and near folks that could give me rides.. it's another thing now.
So, I'm doing much better emotionally today, but yesterday (which is when I started writing this entry), I was thinking about how I'll get really broken and think I'm as broken as I can get and need to heal for a while, and then suddenly I'll find myself being even more broken. And I had this image go through my mind of a vase being dropped, and lying in pieces.. and then being stepped on.. and then being ground into powder. I kinda felt like that, honestly. Not that I'm on a pity trip right now, trying to emotionally manipulate people into feeling sorry for all the hardships I'm going through and blahdeblah.. simply that that's how I felt. Like I was broken and then more broken and then there was nothing left to break. I know there's something left.. goodness, I hate the idea that it's ALL going to be grounded up soon.
And then, the slip. I started thinking about how even when a vessel is beyond hope of being repaired, it can be ground up and used to repair other vessels, to make still others complete.
Perhaps I need to stop thinking about myself being healed and resign myself to the idea that I really am to be slip, that my own beyond-brokenness is to be used to complete, repair, and beautify other people and so instead of being one shattered-and-glued vase, I'll be in many other vases, pots, bowls, plates, candle-holders, etc. Instead of being one person with one purpose, I'll be helping other people to meet a huge variety of other purposes.
Friday, July 11, 2003some of the mohawk pictures, taken at my friend Caren's house.
I'm off to Raleigh. More on Monday. (It's possible that tomorrow or Sunday, I'll be going waterskiing! Yay!)
Thursday, July 10, 2003
It's terribly high-maintenance.
(Why is it spelled maintenance when it's the act of being maintained?)
So, being a very low-maintenance person myself, I will not be keeping the mohawk as tempted. The only other time I did anything besides towel-drying my hair regularly was when it was between half an inch and three inches or so long and I had to put gel in it most mornings. Even that, though, took just a few seconds and looked better the less I messed with it. Other than that, though, the most time I ever spent on hair was if I was braiding it, and even that took less than a fifth the time of getting a mohawk to stand up. I spent an incredible amount of time working on it this morning, which is why I've officially decided to clipper all my hair down tomorrow and then a friend of mine will bic it on Monday.
I love the mohawk, though, and will be taking lots and lots of pictures. But I'll also be glad tomorrow not to have to do so much work to get it to be a mohawk. I mentioned something about how limiting it is yesterday, and they said "as opposed to being bald when you have lots of options", which almost made me think I was talking to myself. But anyway, the point wasn't that I'm limited to just a few styles, although that was a big part of it.. the real point was that I HAD to do something to it, because left along, it looks truly terrible. And that when the something I'm doing to it doesn't come relatively close to what I'm trying to do, it looks terrible. So I HAVE to spend a lot of time (except the french braiding, which took very little time really) to get it to be anything remotely decent looking, and THEN am limited to how much I can do.
My town is pretty conservative as it is, but the influence -- of the three colleges (plus the community school I've gone to some) and the people moving here from all over the country for their former jobs (poor souls have nearly all been laid off now) or school or to marry a person they met at school here or whatever -- all that influence means there's a LITTLE bit less conservativeness in this particular town. Right on the borders on all sides, though, are country-ish towns where there is less influence. The town directly to the north, in particular, is made up of the rich and the rednecks.
I went to the Wal-Mart there this morning to get my pictures developed, and experienced the dirty looks, the smiles, the good-hearted and not-so-good-hearted laughter, and a lot of interesting conversations. There were several young children that got wide-eyes when I walked by and then started pointing and telling whoever they were with to "look at that girl's hair!" There were others that would stare, but got shy why I looked at them and tried to pretend they were looking at something else. Even some that followed me around. One woman in her fifties (shopping with someone I assume to have been her son, around my age) stopped to tell me how courageous I was and how I was in the right place (near the photo counter) because I needed to get lots of pictures. My cashier told me about how she had a mohawk when she was 14 and her parents hated it, so she shaved it off to get rid of it and they hated that even more. She's got short hair now, to please them, but hates it herself.
So, it's been a great day and I've had lots of fun with this hairstyle, but will be glad to be bald and low-maintenance again tomorrow. And then on Monday, when I'm really really bald, that'll be great. And I'll figure out then if I'm gonna keep it bald myself or clippered or if I'm gonna have it shaved regularly by professionals.
Reading back through this blog entry (which I normally don't do, but I'm having trouble focusing so I kept rereading to see what it said) I was shocked at how many typos and incoherent statements were in it. Hopefully I've found and corrected them all, but if not, please forgive them. I don't know what the deal is. Perhaps a cold coming on, perhaps my brain's intolerance for spending so much time in front of a computer at work (though I figured the week and a half vacation would help) or whatever.
Meanwhile, I've got a doctor's appointment on Tuesday morning. Very much looking forward to that. Hopefully she'll be able to tell me more about what's the stinkin' deal with my dizziness. I haven't been getting as dizzy lately as I was getting for a while there, though, so I'm feeling better about that.
Ok, must be off. The jr. highers are leaving for camp today, and I'm gonna go see them off. It's hard, the whole not-going-to-camp-with-them thing, but I'm constantly working on making the best of it. Please keep me in your prayers. So, I'll see them off, and take some pictures, and then go to Caren's house to hang out with her and Julie, and then who knows what. That's that.
Wednesday, July 09, 2003
I'm actually really loving having a mohawk, and I might keep it for a while, because I won't have another chance in the near future. The only thing is that styles are limited.
But, being me, I'll find every possible thing within the limits. Right now, I've got it french-braided. It's rad.
Tuesday, July 08, 2003
I read a newspaper article while living in CA in '97 about a local high-school student who was attempting to raise money for a teacher's lukemia treatements by saying that if she could raise $500, she'd shave her head. She was a beautiful girl with some Asian descent, and her hair was about shoulder-length. At the time, mine was past mid-back, and I thought a great deal about how it could be put to good uses apart from just the good use of existing in the first place. When I moved back to FL in '98, my mother was friends with a woman who worked at Locks of Love, and had finally donated her braid (cut off when she was 17 as an act of seperation from her father, and kept in a large envelope all these years) to them. This braid was roughly 32 years old then, but still exactly the same as when she had cut it off, and still more than suitable for their purposes.
Chris (my mother's friend who worked at LOL) talked to me often about how much they would love to receive hair like mine. I told her that I promised I would cut it all off and send it in soon. After about ten months in FL, I moved to Virginia, and just over a year later, I shaved my head. Because I had been planning and tentatively planning it for so long, I was more than ready for this big change, though of course I had no idea what I'd look like without hair. Before that, my hair had never been shorter than shoulder-length. Along with my own readiness, everyone in my life had been hearing about it for quite some time. There were those that saw me regularly (at church or work) that didn't know about it, because we hadn't ever talked or talked much, but other than that, there were few surprised folks.
During the first few months after I shaved my head, though, I met a number of people, both online (due to the website on which I had posted the pictures and the reasoning for this event) and offline (including a great number of people that started talking to me BECAUSE of this), and my relationships with all of those folks is strongly connected in my mind to the fact that we met when I was relatively bald.
It's been three years. A very long three years. And my hair got down to my waist in the meantime.
While preparing to shave it again (which I could have done last summer, as it would have been long enough to donate to Locks of Love if I so chose, but I decided to grow it for another year since I may not want to grow it out again for a long time after the next cut), I thought a great deal about my experience last time.
There were the thoughts, of course, about how much fun I had last time and in each of the re-growth stages. But there were also thoughts about how awkward a lot of things were:
For one, there was the most common reaction: "Oh my goodness! You shaved your head?!? .. oh, but you did it for a good cause, so it's ok." Well, what if I wasn't doing it for a good cause? This reaction caused me to wrestle a great deal with where my identity came from and where the boundaries were between what is good and what just is. Can one do something for fun and have a good bonus to tack on without the thing being all that makes it acceptable? Sure, so long as one is doing something "normal". If, say, I robbed a bank in order to feed the thousands (or tens of thousands) of orphans in India, would that be ok because it was for a good cause? No. So of course we have a right and a wrong, and something is one or the other or nuetral. Something does not start out wrong and become right because it was for a good cause. (Now, now.. don't bring up the old nun lying about harboring Jewish orphans during the Holocaust.. That's a whole nother post, but I'll go there if you want me to.. just email.) So, I struggled with the issue of where my identity stood in relation to rebellion vs. good-clean-fun, and where my relationships with other people stood in levels of acceptance of me for who I was vs. for what I did and why. And then there was the whole issue of right-and-wrong in and of itself, and what the deal was with shaving my head. So, I finally came out with the conclusion that not only was my motive entirely in good-clean-fun, but also that other people were silley to take so much personal comfort in how what I did was ok because it was for a good cause. And I decided that I was going to end that comfort this time around. I therefore very intentionally was not doing this for a good cause.
Another thing I wrestled with is how much attention I got from it. Mostly that also has to do with the whole "good cause" thing. Last time I shaved my head, yes, I was doing it primarily for good causes (which is how it differs from this time, where any good cause would just be a bonus) and yes the whole idea was to gain attention so that I could inspire others the way the girl in the newspaper article had inspired me. But this was too much attention and not enough inspiration that I knew about. I wasn't looking for people to shave their own heads, just to give more of themselves than our self-consumed American society is accustomed to. Give up a meal out per week and have anywhere from 20 to 100 extra bucks to donate to your favorite charity. Lord knows it'll go farther. And of course, if I did succeed in both inspiring people and yet encouraging them not to make it a bighugepublic deal (which was another struggle initially for me in the attention aspect, but overcome by the appeal of inspiration), I wouldn't ever know that I inspired them, which is the catch-22 of this whole fiasco. But all the same, the point being that it seemed lots of effort, little return, and a fantastic amount of awkwardness for me. As much of an extrovert as I am, I don't like being the center of attention for things like this. I don't want people to think that I'm better than I am, though I'm not always certain I want them to know how much worse they SHOULD really be thinking. The bottom line being that all these people were praising ME for shaving my head for a good cause, and completely missing the point of why I had really done it. I didn't want the praise. I wanted the glory to go to God and the awareness to go to others .. not just Locks of Love, but also to the reality of children that must deal with diseases that prevent hair growth, and to the presence of many organizations that are trying to find both/either cures for the diseases and/or ways to help the patients lead higher-quality lives in the meantime. Yet, instead of that, it seemed like the glory and the awareness were both going to me, and I didn't know how to deal with that. I still don't. So, if I'm gonna get attention anyway, I may as well get attention for what I did and not for why or what it says about me; and perhaps telling people that I haven't decided about selling it or donating it will make them think even more in that subtle way about what they would or could do. Not to mention that telling people about some of the offers I got for my hair last time (ranging from 500 to 2000 dollars) has certainly made them more aware of what people who donate their hair are really donating.
A third struggle was the reaction in the internet community among people I didn't know. When I posted my pictures, someone stumbled across them and spread the word, and soon my site was published on every girls-that-shave-their-heads site ever made. Some asked for permission, some didn't. I granted it when asked, under the condition that they encouraged their visitors to read the page I had up at the time about why I was doing this, and that they were a tasteful site not all about one-step-or-less-away-from-porn. Of course, my pictures were about as far from indecent as possible, so I wasn't terribly concerned about that. But there are minds in this world that are just as responsive to pictures of a bared scalp as bared flesh, and my own decency didn't seem to make much difference. The number of emails I got asking if it was a sensual experience and many much less appropiate questions appalled me. I didn't pull the pictures, though, because I figured they were still doing good somewhere, and that God could use my site even in those situations. I also did answer every single email, as tactfully as I could. Even to this day, the idea of how many people in this world have fetishes with bald girls perturbs me, though the long-hair-fetishes are perhaps even more numerous. Perhaps that is part of why I did not pull my pictures. I think one of the greatest reasons, though, is that a stranger stumbling across my website is more likely to be inspired (whether to help out or just to do something "brave" or whatever) than a person I talk to every day. Or so it seems to me.
There were so many other thoughts that ran through my mind, so many other things I wrote about in my pen-and-paper-journal, but these are the ones I wanted to blog about. I am glad to have shaved my head again, and I am glad to be having even more fun with it. I will be posting the pictures taken with friends' digital cameras soon, and will have a link up here once that happens. At some point, I'll get my own pictures developed and posted as well.
So, I have not yet decided about whether I'll be selling or donating my hair. For the time being, the braids (each about a foot and a half long) sit in a container, laid out straight, very dark-smokey-brown at the top and sun-bleached-medium-blonde at the bottom.
When I cut it off this time, I left a mohawk-ready stripe, about two or three inches wide, from forehead to neck right down the center. Today, I parted that in the middle and braided it on the sides, and it looks like I have a full head of hair, though much thinner than my own real full head of hair. To me, it is incredibly noticible, physically (that is, when I touch my head or when I move and the braids swing more freely) as well as visibly. I figured that strangers wouldn't be able to tell that I had ever done anything with my hair, but that people that knew me would notice its thinness. Not so is the case, though. First thing my landlord said when I got there for babysitting this morning was, "You didn't do it!", as was said by most of my coworkers/bosses throughout today. Then I would lift a braid to reveal stubble underneath, and they would say "Oh! Goodness!".. Though I certainly didn't make as big a deal out of things this time, since my intentions were quite different, I was sure to let people know that I was going to be bald, because it is a very big difference.
There are some people that don't know yet, unless they (unlikely as the chance is) have read my blog recently. I will be seeing some of them within the next week or two, and I am very excited about that.
So, tonight I will have a standing-up-mohawk, and tomorrow night as well. And then either Thursday or Friday I will be shaving my head completely, bic'ed and all.
We'll see then if I like it enough to keep it that way for long. Even if I don't, I will very likely keep it clippered to a short length for a while, unless I need to grow it out some for job prospects. I did clipper the non-mohawk-parts last night down to the lowest setting on the clippers last night, and it was fun actually clippering myself for the first time. Since it was just me at home (I had some friends coming over later), I was using my bathroom mirror to get the back. I don't think it'll be nearly so complicated or time-consuming when the mohawk isn't there to be gone around, though.
These are my thoughts on shaving my head, on being a bald-girl, and on struggles with motive and reaction. Methinks there is a whole nother set of struggles to be had this go-round. But then, it's been said that struggles are the stuff of life, the trials that make us stronger and more sure of our own identities and our dependence upon God. Amen.
Hippie: (after hearing Max wants to avoid the draft)You still have options man.
"So how do i do normal
"It's been known for a train to jump its track. It's ok, so you'll know, most times they come back. It's ok to lose your life, when you finally see your birth. It's ok to say, "I love you," and figure sometimes it's gonna hurt.
"As a comedian, you have to start the show strong and you have end the show strong. Those are the two key elements. You can't be like pancakes, all exciting at first, but then by the end you're sick of 'em!"
"Hey, this is weird! I ordered one frozen yogurt and they gave me two. You don't happen to like frozen yogurt, do you?" "I love it!" "You're kidding! What a crazy random happenstance!"
"Only one more trip," said a gallant seaman,
"It was Flannery O'Connor who said that 'grace must wound before it heals.' Her words help me to separate what is most true about life from the things we want to be true. We want life to be painless. True grace is a hard sell because in order for the human heart to understand forgiveness and love, it must first experience darkness and isolation. A life lived under the rule of grace is a life of need which allows us to receive an appreciate the gift of the giver of grace. This is why we will always have the poor with us; this is why God will not allow us to ignore injustice; this is why we are called to a life we cannot handle alone, which can and will break us in the effort to live it -- because grace must wound before it heals."
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
I thought Christmas Day would never come. But it's here at last, so Mom and Dad, the waiting's finally done. And you gotta get up, you gotta get up, you gotta get up, it's Christmas morning.
O little town of Bethlehem,
Walk humbly, son
Strings of lights above the bed
"In a little while I'll feel better
"Please tell me once again that You love me. That You love me. Please tell me once again that I matter to You and You really care. Please tell me once again that You're with me, forever. It's not that I could ever doubt you, I just love the way it sounds. I just love the way it sounds."
"Every once in a while, a bannerzen posts."
"7:30. What kind of people have to be at work at 7:30?"
have you seen my love
Traveling is significant because it takes so much effort. Either you're going to some place you love, or you're leaving some place you love. Usually it's both.
I think I have Bond's ability to get into trouble but not his ability to get out of it. Someday I'll be in some foreign country with 5 thugs with automatic rifles pointed at me, and I'll just.... fart
"You had no alternative .. We must work in the world. The world is thus." --- "No .. Thus have we made the world."
The summer ends and we wonder where we are And there you go, my friends, with your boxes in your car And you both look so young And last night was hard, you said You packed up every room And then you cried and went to bed But today you closed the door and said "We have to get a move on. It's just that time of year when we push ourselves ahead, We push ourselves ahead."
Looking out the bedroom at this snowy TV.. ever since commencement, no one's asking 'bout me. But I bet before the night falls, I could catch the late bus.. take small provisions and this Beethoven bust. I could find work in the outskirts of the city, eat some fish on the way.. befriend an old dog for a roadside pal, find a nice couch to stay -- a pull-out sofa, if you please!"
Ooh! Get me away from here I'm dying
"The trouble with folks like Brownie is they hold their life in like a bakebean fart at a Baptist cookout and only let it slip out sideways a little at a time when they think there's nobody noticing. Now that's the last thing on earth the Almighty intended. He intended all the life a man's got inside him, he should live it out just as free and strong and natural as a bird."
"Life is a phantasmagoria .. It is a pell-mell of confused and tumultuous scenes. We try in vain to find a purpose - to bring an order, a unity to life. I suppose that is the appeal of art. Art is the blending of the real and the unreal, the conquering of nature. It is real enough for it to reflect life, but has the unity that life lacks."
"in time memories fade.
I've always had this feeling about Patty that she's complex and intriguing...I like Patty alot. She's got a good heart and tells terrible squirrel jokes.
"Try to remember that world-weariness isn't necessarily a bad thing. In the book of Mark, I think its Mark, Jesus looks at a blind man and sighs. Jesus sighed before even telling the man he would be healed. He sighed, and I'm not sure that there's a much more human expression of frustration than this. Faced with the horrid picture of a cursed earth and looking into the white eyes of a man blind from the day he was born, He sighed. The Creator of the universe in human form was sad "of the evils of this world," the world He created. Your Creator sighed for you in the same way before He healed you and made you His."
After the last secret's told
After the last bullet tears through flesh and bone
After the last child starves
And the last girl walks the boulevard
After the last year that's just too hard
There is love
-- Andrew Peterson, After the Last Tear Falls
"when you most need people, you don't need perfection - just to know someone gives a damn"
"My brother's always [telling me], 'You should be more mysterious--boys like that.' But I'm not good at that. It would just make me more uncomfortable."
"Loners want to kill you, but not for any particular reason, and they'd probably like you if they weren't being guided by the violent voices in their head."
"No one wants to oil a snake these days!"
Her mom: "We're all safe."
-- Jamie Bevill and her mother during Christmas-Decorating dinner, December 20, 2002
i'd throw out all my shoes
i'd set up cans for friends
to dump their shoes senseless shoes
a pioneer of callouses
lordy-be and bless my soul
i'd be a barefoot spaceman
the first you'd ever know"
"The best way to have God's will for your life is to have no will of your own!"
"Generations circle and each one atones. The sins of the father are seperate from my own. In Pilgrim's Progress, it's forgiveness that makes whole, and as time levels and consoles, I place the daisies in your bowl."
"For a moment he just stared at her. Then, with an urf-urf-urf of laughter, he turned back to the controls."
"It's on the internet.. so, then, it must be true."
"Be at least as interested in what people can become as you are in what they have been."
Blessed be the rock stars!"
Get up for the shower.. wash and scrub and scour every part as if a cleaner man could better bear the shame..
"She was eating gnarly amounts of calcium."
Homeless man to girl trying to give him money: "No, thanks, ma'am. I never work on Sundays."
"Wow! I never thought I'd need a radar-guided spatula!"
"Isn't it great that I articulate? Isn't it grand that you can understand? ... I can talk, I can talk, I can talk!"
I believe that people laugh at coincidence as a way of relegating it to the realm of the absurd and of therefore not having to take seriously the possibility that there is a lot more going on in our lives than we either know or care to know... I suspect that part of it, anyway, is that every once and so often we hear a whisper from the wings that goes something like this: "You've turned up in the right place at the right time. You're doing fine. Don't ever think that you've been forgotten.
When I lay these questions before God I get no answer. But a rather special sort of "No answer." It is not the locked door. It is more like a silent, certainly not uncompassionate, gaze. As though He shook His head not in refusal but waiving the question. Like, "Peace, child; you don't understand."
CCM: You've spoken a lot more about crying than I ever thought you would.
"Youth is not a period of time. It is a state of mind, a result of the will, a quality of the imagination, a victory of courage over timidity, of the taste for adventure over the love of comfort. A man doesn't grow old because he has lived a certain number of years. A man grows old when he deserts his ideal. The years may wrinkle his skin, but deserting his ideal wrinkles his soul. Preoccuptaions, fears, doubts, and despair are the enemies which slowly bow us toward earth and turn us into dust before death. You will remain young as long as you are open to what is beautiful, good, and great; receptive to the messages of other men and women, of nature and of God. If one day you should become bitter, pessimistic, and gnawed by despair, may God have mercy on your old man's soul."
""Don't go matchmaking for me, Ilse," said Emily wit a faint smile... "I feel in my bones that I shall achieve old-maidenhood, which is an entirely different thing from having old-maidenhood thrust upon you."
"I wish Aunt Elizabeth would let me go to Shrewsbury, but I fear she never will. She feels she can't trust me out of her sight because my mother eloped. But she need not be afraid I will ever elope. I have made up my mind that I will never marry. I shall be wedded to my art"
"Tomorrow seems like a long ways away. But it will come, just like any other day... Deep inside, where the wounded creatures hide, I am afraid. Maybe I got lost somewhere along the way somehow. Please rescue me... Yea, though I walk through the valley of the dark shadow of death, I will fear no evil. For you are with me... Though I fear, though I am afraid, You are with me. Though I'm angry, tired, broken down and confused, You are with me. Though I sin like I've never sinned before, lose myself right out an open door, You are with me."
"The invisible people agreed about everything. Indeed most of their remarks were the sort it would not be easy to disagree with: "What I always say is, when a chap's hungry, he likes some victuals," or "Getting dark now; always does at night," or even "Ah, you've come over the water. Powerful wet stuff, ain't it?"" -- C. S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
"When People object... that if Jesus was God as well as Man, then He had an unfair advantage which deprives Him for them of all value, it seems to me as if a man struggling in the water should refuse a rope thrown to him by another who had one foot on the bank, saying, "Oh but you had an unfair advantage." It is because of His advantage that He can help."
"But, you know, as a Christian, one of the big questions you always ask yourself is, "So we believe in Jesus, we believe in the teachings of the church, but what does that look like when it's lived out?" Because surely, one of the things that Jesus said that I think we often overlook is, "The person who hears my words and does them is like the wise man who built his house on the rock." He didn't say "the person who hears my words and thinks about 'em" or "whoever hears my words and agrees with it." But he said, "Whoever hears it and does it."
"find that which gives you breath and grants you more to give
"I have packed all my belongings. I don't belong here anymore. This pair of sandles, one pack to carry, this old guitar and this tattered old Bible. And I know I won't be afraid. 'cause I know, I know Home is where You are."
"Open up your weepy eyes, everyone is dancing. Angels peer through sweet disguise, through a fire of cleansing.
"You may be bruised and torn and broken, but
"I don't deserve to speak, and they don't deserve
to hear it. It's makin' me believe that it's not
"Kickin' against these goads sure did cut up my
feet. Didn't your hands get bloody as you washed
"They say God blessed us with plenty. I say
you?re blessed with poverty. ?Cause you never
stop to wonder whether earth is just a little
better than the Land of the Free"
"Computers will know everything in the 21st
century. They'll be like me in the 20th