Grief Is a Fickle Bitch

She throws the worst surprise parties.
I mean, you have to give her credit–she knows how to ambush.
But, all tears and no cake do not a happy party make.

Grief is emotional herpes.
The first outbreak is terrible. You’ll never forget it.
As time passes, the outbreaks lessen.
Though, you might need a pill to keep them at bay.

Grief is a thing you must experience when you face loss.
But, no one can tell you what exactly grief is, or how to do it properly.
Grief is not a feeling. (“How are you today?” Alright, I’m just a little grief.)
But, grief causes feelings.
Is grief an action? A verb? (“I am grieving.” “I grieve.”)
Such a tiny word that means nothing and everything.

If every action requires an equal and opposite reaction,
then grief is the reaction to loss.
It is the thunderous blowback from a sudden absence in space and time.

Grief is a many-tentacled beastie who trolls the murky depths of your subconscious.
If it surfaces, watch out and hit the deck!

Grief is Death’s bedfellow–
a sultry seductress who enters the hospital room at Death’s side.
He aims for his target, and she claims those left behind.
Her silk-gloved finger lovingly traces the tears as they fall down your cheek.

Grief is a greedy, hungry creature.
It gluts itself on your many losses.
Death, in its literal form, is not enough.
It sucks the marrow from all the little deaths.
The divorce, the dreams diminished, the woulds and shoulds all make for Grief’s buffet.

Inevitably, eventually Grief retreats from whence it came.
You share a nod and a smile, knowing you’ll meet again.

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My Shaved Head – Month 1 Update

In June, I shaved off all my hair. The ends were still bleached and pink, so I had to wait a few more weeks for the roots to grow out. Then, I shaved it again. So, as I track the hair-growing-out process, the official start date is June 21.

I also thought it would be a neat project to document its growth–not just with monthly updates here, but a daily, photographic compilation. So, since the end of June, I’ve been taking a selfie every day, with the goal of capturing my hair as it grows for an entire year. Naturally, I’ve already slacked off, and there have been days when I’ve forgotten to snap a picture. But, I’m around the 80% mark, which I think will still be representative.

So far, I love the short, short hair. The timing wasn’t purposeful, but I’m happy I started this in the summer.

I’m definitely transitioning in and out of awkward hair days. The front has gotten to the length where I either let it look like a jerky ’90’s Caesar cut or I push the baby fringe to the side. It’s also starting to grow over the tops of my ears. Again, I just push the hair behind them. Soon, my cowlick will actually be a cowlick again. I don’t think, however, I’ve officially entered the super-awkward, poofy hair grow out stage yet. No matter, bring it.

As to its color, as I suspected, it’s darkened. I’d say it’s a level 7G, dark, golden blonde. (For those pro and amateur colorists out there.) It’s still hard to say what it will look like as it lengthens and light shines on it.

A couple weeks in, it did occur to me that, while all of my styling products are in semi-retirement, I should probably invest in some hair care products that will help these new, virgin hairs be shiny and strong. And, off to Lush I went. (For those that are interested, I grabbed a NEW! Shampoo Bar, American Cream Conditioner, and Roots Hair Treatment. I’m not convinced these products will make my hair grow faster, but I do know I won’t loose length due to breakage. I also know that my hair smells yummy!

This is me day-dreaming about long, beautiful locks of hair. ;p
This is me day-dreaming about long, beautiful locks of hair. ;p

What else? People’s responses? No weirdos have approached me. No one has asked me if I have cancer. Compared to my previous hair stylings, public response has been very low key. Speaking of my previous hair stylings, though they will now be retrospectives, I do plan on writing posts on some of my unnatural hair coloring experiences.

I suppose that’s all for now. If you somehow found your way here because you too are growing out your shaved head, I’d love to hear from you in the comments section! Smooches.

Perfection (or When You Half-Ass Half-Assing It)

Allow me a Shel Silverstein moment:

If you are a procrastinator, come in,
If you are a procrastinator, a nit-picker, a quibbler,
An over-achiever, an all-or-not-er, a good-better-best-er…
If you’re an avoider, come sit by my (perfect) fire
For we have some tasks we won’t be half-assin’.
Come in!
Come in!

Welcome! Come have a seat. I know you’re out there–those of us who walk that fine line between genius and ambivalence. Or, we think it’s a fine line. The truth is, though, there is a vast, grey-scale canyon between all or nothing. We just fail to see it. Or, if we do see it, we can’t seem to make our way down into it. Where are our pack mules and hiking shoes?

For me, perfectionism is tied into the Gordian Knot that is my mental health–the ropes of anxiety, depression, illness, catastrophizing, shame all twine themselves together in this beautiful, intricate mess. So, in my efforts to slowly untangle it all, I find myself staring down into that canyon where the balanced people live, wanting to join them.

I’m of the opinion that being a writer of any sort makes it more difficult to avoid the impulse of perfection.

I hate writing. I love having written.

-Dorothy Parker

When I was a technical writer, I figured it out, mostly out of necessity–wrangling with debilitating and chronic pain (in my case, migraines) forced me to shift priorities. My job wasn’t a career, my job didn’t define my identity, my job was simply a job. I decreased my level of investment, and found perspective. I could have conversations with my employers about quality versus quantity, and, more importantly, I finally accepted that my 75% was a hell of a lot better than most other’s 100%.

But enter today, and I’m struggling again. I’m writing academically and creatively, and I care deeply about both. I’m in a masters program where, to me, there are no throw away classes. I’m not taking classes I hate, where I can just toss some words together, because who cares anyway, it’s just a means to an end. That, however, does not mean I need to make my life more difficult, which, of course, I have done.

One master degree concentration? I think I’ll do two.

I don’t like any of these classes on the schedule. I’ll make up my own!

You’re going to assign paper topics? I’ll ignore those and write about something much more complex.

Half-ass? Nope, just can't do it.
Half-ass? Nope, just can’t do it.

No one can say that I haven’t embraced the “you get out what you put in” philosophy. But, really? I need to give myself a break. And, I almost did it. I’m so close. I wrote a paper last week that I’d been anxious about writing. (Why was I anxious? Just because.) My therapist challenged me to just sit down and write it in three hours. It’s a reasonable amount of time for a 1500-word paper. But, I was already in too deep; I’d dragged Aristotle into it. It took me an hour just to compile the works cited and figure out how the hell I was going to document the thing.

Ahhh. Whole ass. Much better.
Ahhh. Whole ass. Much better.

So, here’s to next time. Maybe I’ll finally perfect this whole half-assing thing. 😉

 

(Shel Silverstein moment inspired by his opening poem in Where the Sidewalk Ends entitled “Invitation.” Not familiar? Shame on you. Get thee to a library!)