Thursday, December 17, 2009

Playful Mind . . . Playful Body

Today is the last day of having short hair. That’s right, I said it. Actually I said it last night, and a girl said, “Umm, how is that possible?” I smirked and said, “Girl, I’m getting my first weave!” One of the perks of having a best friend who’s also a hair stylist. And being playful with my mind and body.

I don’t understand people who say tattoos, piercings, and hair dye (among other modifications) are so bad for you. You know who you are! Let’s face it; if women in the stone ages had the options we do now, they would be walking around with different hair or their caveman’s name tattooed on their foreheads. Think about it for a second. It’s a basic trait of the sexes: we want to improve ourselves to fit either our own version of ourselves, or what we think will attract the hottest mates.

But for the moment, let’s examine my weave. It’s really just an example of the transformation I’ve been going through for the past few months – or arguably, for my whole life. Ever since I was old enough to buy hair dye or get tattoos and piercings, I have played with my self-image. The first time I dyed my hair black, my sister’s best friend Lucas was sitting in the kitchen.

“You look like a vampire, Jess. Wash it out.” I didn’t. I proudly wore it, even though people teased me mercilessly. The most odd part of my first hair dyeing experience is that my hair is naturally almost black anyway. What was the difference? Since that time, I have had my hair dyed red, purple, and even bleached blonde. Why not?

There is a song lyric that mentions having ‘fake hair, fake eyes, fake nails – what on you is real?’ To which, I argue, the person underneath is real. That is the version of a woman that works for her, so get over it. That’s my theory.

Now, let’s move onto tattoos. Emali and I used to say we never wanted tattoos that could be seen under our wedding dresses. Well, the older I get, the more I realize that I don’t need to look like someone else’s version of perfect: I do however, need to be my version of perfect. (There is also body makeup, but we won’t get into that right now.)

UPDATE: This weave thing is not for the faint of heart. This is PAINFUL! The hair is actually braided and sewn into my scalp, and for those who have tattoos, it feels like the gun is stuck in my scalp. Chew on that. I’m drinking a Corona in hopes that the pain will be numbed. Anyone have a flask of whiskey?

To be continued . . . .

Saturday, December 12, 2009


Aah, Sleep, you wiley thing. I am awake, wide awake, and Kendall Payne's 'Scratch' speaks so much truth in my ears. And Johnny Lang's 'Breakin' Me' does the same. I can't turn the music off, because usually it lulls me to sleep. Not tonight! Damn!

Regardless, I decided to do something useful with my past-midnight time. I'm looking through my old blogs, and two themes keep throwing themselves in front of me like teens in a suicide pact jumping in front of a train: searching and the opposite sex. Not necessarily in that order, I guess. I can't believe it, but they actually seem to be tethered together by a common underlying theme.

I want a soft place to land.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Strength and The Sweetest Thing . . .

. . . is a pineapple, according to me. I'm not sure if I've written about my Pineapple Philosophy, but it goes like this: I am a pineapple. I have a lot of defensive prickles, but if someone takes the time to push past those, they'll find a lot of real sweetness inside. So, I'm lying here on Emali's couch crying a little, evaluating things, listening to ridiculously painful music (the likes of Destiny's Child's 'Emotion' and Des'ree's 'Kissing You') thinking of someone's lips, desperately trying to keep my heart above water. You see, painful waves of feeling (fucking 'f' word) keep washing into my heart, relentlessly peeling back layers of prickles. These waves, these waves, they keep me off balance.

I have the feeling that I shouldn't allow myself to feel these things, it's my instinct to keep them at arm's length, hand outstretched, palm sternly on the chest of the heart of all this bittersweetness. It's probably not the smartest thing, says my head. The same head that holds the eyes that keep leaking warm, salty tears which stream down my cheeks, landing on my chest. Odd, I think, that the tears keep landing on the chest that hold my heart, thus feeding the waves. It's a time worn feeling, but crash go the waves, unfailing, lapping at my defenses.

Half of the time I don't realize that they're there, those walls. But it's nights like these, when it's pointed out to me that I - what am I? What do I write to describe myself? I'm a witty literatus, endlessly cowering behind clever banter and quick, verbose returns - am afraid, like a child hiding behind stone, brick, and mortar, all carefully placed and meticulously stacked in order to save myself - from what? From looking like a fool - that fool who lunges for something, opening up, showing the pineapple innards, only to be denied it and hurt. What does it really cost, though, should I be hurt again? Failure (or heartbreak) is just another spade full of mortar, smudged onto a brick and stragetically placed, plugging the potential hole that I have already decided will end up there. Aah, cynicism, my old friend. Hello.

I don't know how to show how I feel. I almost wrote that I don't know how to feel, but that's not true. The tears and open, raw sensation in my chest can attest to that. My heart hurts, my head is clouded, and I am frustrated. When I worked at the hospital, I used to watch recovering stroke victims struggle and strain, desperately trying to open up and tell me what they wanted, what they needed, and I pitied them. Now I pity me. I am the same. Worse, actually, because it's a self imposed prison.

Luckily I have Emali's help. She is so strong, and she patiently teaches me how to feel, and to express myself. She is patient and kind, like love. The way she is with her Angel amazes me. I would have shut down and walked away time and time again, when it got too hard. Express yourself or walk away? Emali takes fear and love (intertwined) by the hand, shows it what she is, and breathes life back into it. Jessie, however, drops the hand and steps away, like feelings are the business end of a gun and the safety is off. I would dance away from the peril time and time again, but Emali, in her gentle manner, taps her forehead to the barrel and says, 'I can handle this, and so can you'.

It would appear that I have a lot to learn in the ways of feeling and strength and bravery.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

After the fall from grace?

Life has a tendency to grow and develop just in time to crumble and leave one feeling more desolate than ever. The higher you climb, the harder you fall, I guess.

But what then? What happens after the fall, after your butt hits the ground and your are bruised and covered in dust and disappointment? Do you lie there and wallow in self pity, rolling in the dusty earth, crying about how you fell? Or do you get your ass up, dust your pants off, look around and say "What now?" I would love to say that I just jumped up off the dusty ground and looked for the next best opportunity.

I didn't.

I wallowed, and I cried, and I acted like a big, silly baby. I went home to Mommy, to be held in the arms of my family until I could get my mind back together again. Never before this recent set of struggles had I even believed that my bubble could burst. I always thought I would land softly and spring back immediately.

Just last night, as I lie awake on my best friend's couch, I thought to myself, Have I hit my knees enough yet? Is this the bottom? Have I fallen far enough? When again will I have the strength to get up and stand up proudly and with purpose? I can safely say that after three months of feeling lost, that I am just now beginning to get my ass up off of the ground, and am taking stock of my dusty rump, and the bumps and bruises which resulted from my fall.

But I wonder, when will I stand tall again?