Ten things I hate about you

I hate the way my voice fills with molasses when you compliment my legs. As if I don’t hear the thunderous applause of my cream colored thighs as I walk into a room. As if I haven’t been conditioned by men for millennia to hate every curve and soft spot of my life giving body. This body, that sheds blood to give life. I hate the way my cheeks redden when you compliment my breasts. As if these pendulous pouches haven’t been the talk of the town since I was 12. As if teachers, bosses, seamstresses, boys, and girls, haven’t shamed me into hiding under baggy clothes, minimizing sports bras, and the prayer for a reduction. Too long I’ve been taught to hate. Hate my hair, whose alternately curly wildness and limp tameness have caused me to be endlessly mocked and insulted. Hate my body hair, the ancestral remains of our evolution. I hate the way I’m praised for putting on makeup as if you haven’t told me time and again, “well, you should do what you can to attract a mate”. I hate the way I can see the beauty in my friends but not in myself. That I can’t let go of the insecurities I’ve wrapped around myself like armor. That for every half step forward, there are months of moving backwards. I thought I’d learned to be happier with who I am, but one compliment about my thick, creamy white thighs, and I’m back to being a quiet and shy pre-teen who quickly learned her body would never be her own, but a weapon to be yielded by suppression hungry men and the females they left plugged into the matrix.

One week later, I’m writing a letter nightly…

My parents haven’t called me since July.  I saw them in July.

My parents moved to Florida from Upstate NY in February of 2015.  I had a very very hard time with it.  I’ve also done extensive work in therapy about why I’ve had the feelings I’ve had about them moving and how to work through them.

I’ve done a lot of work with my therapist about whether or not I can say something to them.  Is this just them?  Is it just how they are?  Maybe.  They did the best they could.  They’ve raised two wonderful daughters.  They’ve given up a lot of my sister and I.  They worked hard, provided for us, supported us, loved us the best way they knew how.  How can I possibly take grief in them enjoying their retirement?  I can’t.  And I’ve done the work to process those feelings.

The problem now, is that I literally don’t hear from them.  They answer my text messages.  They answer my phone calls.  I have not had one uninitiated conversation with my parents since I last saw them in July.

Are there still things I need to work through?  Absolutely.  But they have things to work through too.  Don’t they want to call their kids?  Don’t they care at all?  My dad just texted “I brag about you everyday.”  That’s great.  Fucking call me.

I’m just so exhausted.

Running on empty, with nothing left in me but doubt…

I’ve been clinging to music like a lifeline lately.  When I find a song that speaks to me in some profound way, I will play it incessantly, as if I’m trying in some desperate way to ensconce myself in the words or melody.

Work has been, traumatic lately, to say the least.  I’ve been met with a situation that is challenging beyond belief.  If I described it here, your responses would probably echo those of my friends, “How is that in the job description of a teacher?”  “That’s a dangerous situation for you.  Can’t they do anything?”  “What are you supposed to do?”  I won’t go in to any more detail here, just know that things at work are traumatic.

I’ve recently rediscovered this song, “All Will Be Well” by Gabe Dixon Band.  It’s featured in Season 4 Episode 6 of Parks and Recreation (“End of the World”).  It starts as Andy and April get in the car and drive to the Grand Canyon.  It’s a beautiful song and I’m currently obsessing over it.

I have a large tattoo on my left hip.  It’s a ribbon of music.  I thought for years about a song that I would want tattooed.  When I came up with the design for this piece, I wanted the notes to be coming off the staff, as if they were floating into space, or floating down onto the staff.  What the tattoo artist ended up doing was putting the notes on the staff.  When people see the tattoo, they ask if it’s a specific song.  It’s not.  I have only a vague idea of what the notes play as a girlfriend of mine played them for me once as I stood half naked in her living room.  The truth of the matter, and the reason why I bring it up here, is that, I don’t care what song it is.  It matters that it’s music.  Music speaks to me on a level that’s almost cerebral.  It allows me to feel things in a safe way that feels acceptable.  Emotions are not an easy thing for me to express or accept – as I’m sure I’ve said in previous posts.

I have playlists for almost every mood.  My playlist for when I’m feeling angry is filled with songs such as “Still Life” by CrowneVict, “Trapdoor” by Rubikon and “Until You Fly” by Cade.  My playlist for when I’m feeling sad is centered around the soundtrack to the movie “The Piano”.  I can listen to “The Heart Asks For Pleasure First/The Promise” on repeat for hours on end.  The same goes for “Act 4: Ah Tutti Contenti” from The Marriage of Figaro.

I don’t have a point in writing this other than to say that music allows me to express how I’m feeling safely.  It speaks for me when I find I don’t have the words to express how I’m feeling, or when I can’t process what I’m feeling.

Here are the lyrics for “All Will Be Well”.  I’ll try to remember to try and embed it in this post when I get home tonight.  Either way, go give them a listen.

The new day dawns
And I am practicing my purpose once again
It is fresh and it is fruitful if I win but if I lose
Oooooo I don’t know
I will be tired but I will turn and I will go
Only guessing til I get there then I’ll know
Oh oh oh I will know

All the children walking home past the factories
Could see the light that’s shining in my window as I write this song to you
All the cars running fast along the interstate
Can feel the love that radiates
Illuminating what I know is true
All will be well
Even after all the promises you’ve broken to yourself
All will be well
You can ask me how but only time will tell

The winter’s cold
But the snow still lightly settles on the trees
And a mess is still a moment I can seize until I know
That all will be well
Even though sometimes this is hard to tell
And the fight is just as frustrating as hell
All will be well

All the children walking home past the factories
Could see the light that’s shining in my window as I write this song to you
All the cars running fast along the interstate
Can feel the love that radiates
Illuminating what I know is true
All will be well
Even after all the promises you’ve broken to yourself
All will be well
You can ask me how but only time will tell

Keep it up and don’t give up
And chase your dreams and you will find
All in time

All the children walking home past the factories
Could see the light that’s shining in my window as I write this song to you
All the cars running fast along the interstate
Can feel the love that radiates
Illuminating what I know is true
All will be well
Even after all the promises you’ve broken to yourself
All will be well
You can ask me how but only time will tell

All will be well
Even after all the promises you’ve broken to yourself
All will be well
You can ask me how but only time will tell

You can ask me how but only time will tell

…But Alexander, I’ll never forget the first time I saw your face.

I wish I could hide my face.  If one more person asks me if I’m ok, I’m going to lose it.  I am not ok, but I also don’t need every Tom, Dick and Harry at work asking me.  They don’t need to know my business.  But I can’t.  I wear my emotions on my sleeve, especially when I’m upset.  Anger, I can occasionally hide, although it usually comes out as tears.  Happiness, I’ll wear with a smile.  Sadness, it’s written all over my face.  My eyes are watery.  My mouth, turned down.  The light, gone.  I’m sure I look like an empty shell.  A hollow person.  I’m barely surviving this week.  I know I’ll swim through the seven layers of shit I feel like I’m buried under and come out the other side, but until then, I wish I could hide my face.

I never was a very good actress.

A month into this endeavor, I received a letter…

I needed you last night and you weren’t there for me.  I texted to let you know what happened.  You sent a perfunctory response.  You know how hard it’s been for me.  You knew how hard I’d take the news.

I called a few hours later.  Maybe it was only a few minutes.  I called.  It sounded like you clicked decline after a few rings.  Maybe that’s my perception.  Maybe you just let it go to voicemail on it’s own.

You didn’t call me back.

You tagged me in a post on Facebook.  You made no other attempt to reach out and see how I was doing.

You spent the day at Disney.

I needed you.  I needed you to return my call.  I needed you to reach out in a personal way and check in on me.  I needed your reassurance that somehow, someway, we’d make it through.

You posted pictures about how scary the Rock-‘N-Rollercoaster was.  How scary the Tower of Terror was.

What about how scared I am?  How scary this decision is?

I am furious at you.  I am disappointed.  I am 8 different levels of upset.  I feel irrational.  Unvalidated.  Unloved.

I understand that you deserve, that we all deserve, to go out and have fun.  That you deserve to live the life you’ve worked incredibly hard to accomplish.  I understand that you won’t always be available the minute I call.  I understand that I can be a lot.  That I’ve shown a tendency to catastrophize or fall down a dark tunnel in terms of thinking about the future and what some of these decisions mean.  I know that I cry, loudly, and have a hard time incorporating other perspectives or reasoning.  But I also know that I’m not wrong.  At least not fully.

I know I’m a lot, but I needed you.  Tagging me in Facebook isn’t enough.  That’s not enough to show you care.  That’s not enough to show that you understand my concern, even if I’m approaching it incorrectly.

It wasn’t enough.

I needed you.  And it wasn’t enough.  Is it because I’m not enough?

Cinq, six, sept, huit, neuf

It’s Monday!  This is “post experiment” update two.  I have nothing in my hair but some frizz-eaze.  I’m wearing my hair down (for now) and I don’t have make up on.  I feel much more like myself than I have since starting this experiment.  I’m interested to hear what comments I get from people today.  I feel good.  My hair feels soft.  I’m wearing an outfit I’m comfortable in (which I wore both the week I did my hair straight and the week I wore my hair curly).  It’s science at this point.  Keep everything the same and only change on thing, in this case my hair style, to see what the difference in comments is.

As always, I’ll keep you posted.

No one has said anything to me.  Good or  bad.  It’s playing with my head.  I think I said it in another post too (the first time during the experiment that I forgot to wear make up).  I’m half panicking that everyone is saying how shitty I look behind my back.  I shouldn’t worry though, people here have no problem telling you they think you look like shit, so I guess if they aren’t saying it to my face, chances are they aren’t saying it.  It’s weird though, before the experiment, I never would have thought twice about people talking shit about me.  Now however, after two weeks of compliments on and off, I’m looking at everyone wondering if they are whispering about me.  I think that’s one of the biggest take aways for me.  I want to be able to wear and style myself how I want, when I want, without having to spend my day worrying about what type of feedback I’m going to get.  If I want to wear my hair straight, curly, or otherwise just a mess, I should feel like I can without worrying about the social consequences.  If I want to wear make up or not, I shouldn’t feel like any less of an attractive or valuable woman.  But there’s that little voice inside of me that disagrees.  I got compliments for two weeks.  I was even complimented on my figure (which seemingly hasn’t changed over the past month or so).  Today, nothing.  Is it a coincidence?  Is it a factor of what I’m wearing (I can’t imagine it is as, as state previously, I’m wearing an outfit that I’ve worn once a week for the past three weeks)?  Is it the lack of mascara?  Again, I don’t think so.  My use of make up was inconsistent at best across the past two weeks.  The only thing I consistently altered was my hair.

It’s a curious feeling, what I’m feeling right now.  I can’t adequately describe it.  I feel more genuine and more like myself than I have in the past two weeks, but I also feel slightly awkward and unsure of myself and I’m worried about comments I wasn’t worried about before starting this journey.

Un, deux, trois, quatre

Saturday.  I wore my hair curly again to see if my therapist would notice a difference.  He didn’t.  Or if he did, he didn’t comment on it.

I wore it curly later that night too for a night out at the bar.  I even kept it down the whole night…in a crowded bar…with dancing.  I’m impressed with myself.  And I had bright purple lipstick on and it stayed on all night.  I really am impressed with myself.  I don’t do that.  I don’t go out.  I don’t wear lipstick.  I don’t keep my hair down when I go out.  I am a very hot person.  A sweaty neck is the last thing you want when you are out.

It was a fun night and I got some compliments from the ladies I was out with.  It was a fun night.

Number 10: Paces FIRE!

Full disclosure, I’m writing this on Monday and day 10 was Friday.  Friday my last day with curly hair.  The comments made fall in line with everything else that had already been said.  I even got a lot of comments on my weight, as if my hair being done suddenly made people think I had lost weight.  Perhaps it had.  Big curly hair could make my head look smaller, which could make people look like I’ve lost weight.  Nothing else to add really I guess.

Number 9: Look ’em in the eye, aim no higher…

Today was a good, but weird, day.  Second day curly hair (I just wet my hands and gently wet my hair, put a small amount of extra product in, and used the diffuser to set it).  The nice thing about wearing my hair curly two days in a row without washing it, is that, if it set well on the first day, the small addition of more product and setting it with cold air, makes the curls even nicer.

I’m telling you, I’ve worn my hair curly for four days now and today around 10 coworkers said something to me.  That’s a huge number, comparatively to every other day…even when I wore it straight.  The large number of people really loved my hair today and told me I should wear it like this all the time.  One of my co-workers, with stunning curls, even asked me what product I use.  I couldn’t believe it.  So interesting.

But here’s the problem…1/4 days had my curly hair looking good enough to bring more than 1 or 2 people out of the woodwork.  My hair never does the same thing twice when it’s curly.  Everything from the water quality, to the shampoo I use, to the humidity in the air, affects how my hair looks that day.  It happened to look great today.  The other downside to constant curly hair to me is that, especially today, it feels like it has product in it.  I like being able to run my fingers through my hair.  I’d want a partner to want their fingers through my hair.  It’s not really feasible when my hair has this much product in it.  Thankfully, I use hair “lotions” so my hair doesn’t maintain that “wet curl”/”crunchy” look, but it’s also not “run you fingers through my hair” soft.

It was weird how many people came up to me today.  I feel like all of them.  All of the people came up to me to tell me to wear my hair like this.

Anyways…Number 10 tomorrow!  I’ll do a bonus 11 and 12.  11 to catalogue my therapist’s reaction and 12 to catalogue the reactions when I go back to normal (despite it all, I still consider this to not be my norm) Monday.

Number 8: Your last chance to negotiate…

Send in your seconds, see if they can set the record straight.  I feel like my second again today.  My hair curled really well today, which I am grateful for.  It’s actually interesting, because it curled so well today, people are treating it as if it’s the very first time I’ve worn it curly.

“Wow!  Your hair is so curly!  Is that what happens if you just let it dry?”

“Your hair is so curly!  I love it!”

“Is that your natural curl?  It’s so pretty!”

All comments I’ve sort of gotten the last few days, but the emphasis and the intonation in which they are being spoken seems vastly different than Monday or Tuesday.  I told you, wearing my hair curly is a risk.  I never know how it’s really going to turn out until it’s fully dry, and there’s NO WAY I’m waking up early enough in the mornings to have time for it to fully dry before I get to work.  I got up and did my hair at 6:15 this morning.  It wasn’t fully dry until maybe 8:30.  No way I’m getting up at 4 something just to do my hair.

I forgot make-up again today though.  Even though doing my hair (seemingly) became routine quickly and easily, putting on make-up still hasn’t.  Throughout this process though, no one has mentioned my use of mascara anyway.  Maybe the glasses block their view.  Maybe they don’t see it.  Maybe they don’t really care.

In thinking about this experiment, and it’s glorious end just within site, I think it will be incredibly interesting to hear people’s reactions when (I’d say “if”, but let’s be honest here) I come to work on Monday with my hair back to it’s normal frizzy, undefined curly mess.


I got a lot of comments today.  More than I remember.  My hair held up all day, which was nice.