A little known fact about me is that I shave my head when things get out of control. Yup. Who needs meds? I actually try and shave my head every two weeks but if my life is suddenly like a three ring circus, I will pull that shaver out and take back a little bit of imaginary control.
Like now, life in our household is very much like a circus. Wait, not really a circus, more like a high school hallway all day long. Tigger the Dog is the mean girl, bulling Little Pepper for the cute boy, i.e. Husband’s attention. Meanwhile, dumb cute freshman Joe, is totally oblivious to them; he just wants to talk food and what he can do to get the coach’s – also Husband - approval.
And Little Pepper, who is losing a bit of her self-esteem mojo every day but still manages to come back at Mean Girl TTD with a literal snappy comeback when needed, shutting her down.
If high school movies are anything to go by, we’ve got another semester of this before they bond over some big school trick or they get one over on the Principal i.e. me, or they both dump the cute boy and become Best Friends Forever.
It is exhausting.
So I shaved my head.
Now my current hair ‘style’ is just my sides and back shaved with the top afro-ing itself silly. Most times I twist the top bit into little ringlets – well, little ringlets on day one and dreads every after until I comb it out and start over again. But my hair is also not happy with life right now and needed a break from twisting so I’ve just left it large and only slightly contained from going all over the place in a modified pony poof. Keep in mind that there is so much poof right now, it’s almost like my head has another hairy head on top, seriously poufy.
That is how it was ‘styled’ as I was standing in the bathroom, taking back control of my life one hair at a time, a second pony poof hair head on the top of my head. I shave the sides, the back near the base of my neck and I slowdown the process to try and give myself a somewhat even line around the base of the poof. This is delicate work made worse by the fact that I can’t wear my glasses so I can’t see so who the hell knows what it looks like back there. Anyway, I shave around the poof as best I can then slide the razor down for a last pass at the base of my neck, lift the shaver off my neck, bring it over my head – AND SHAVE A CHUNK OF POOF RIGHT OFF THE TOP!
Seriously, a large chuck of Afro buzzes right off the top and falls into the sink in front off me as I stand there, stunned and stupid, shaver still buzzing in my hand. The irony of the situation hits me and I start laughing. And laughing. And laughing. Fuzzy hairball in the sink, razor in my hand, hole in my poof, high school circus right outside the bathroom door – how could I not? I’m totally that girl from Sixteen Candles minus the Anthony Michael Hall make-out session at the end.
Now, I know this isn’t tragic. I have an Afro; no one can tell I’m missing a chunk of it but me - and I’d just be guessing. And the shave served its purpose; I am feeling slightly more in control despite the hole in my head. No real harm, no real foul…
And yet - Mean Girl TTD is so gonna make fun of me…
"Our perception and attitude toward any situation will determine the outcome." Or, "See other wrist."
If you’ve read my ‘About Me’ section, you might remember that once upon a time, during a particularly dark time in my life, I decided to get a ‘breathe’ tattoo to force me to do just that. I am nothing if not logical, with a slight tendency toward drama. Then, with the intention to not at all resemble the two child stars with imploding lives who have ‘breathe’ tattooed on their bodies, I went with ‘inhalexhale’ tattooed in my handwriting on my wrist so that I can see it daily and remember to do just that. Proudly, and somewhat defiantly, I showed it to Mom who promptly asked me, “Why did you get Whaleshark tattooed on your wrist?"
Yeah, not the result I was aiming for. But it did give me a great website name, so there’s that. And, to this day, when I’m freaking out about something, Husband will just say, “Whaleshark, baby. Whaleshark!” and it usually pulls me out of my head so really, the tattoo works. Right?
Anyway, for years now, I’ve been talking about getting a second tattoo. “What do you think if I got another over here?” I’d ask Husband as I hold up my other hand. And Husband would always calmly reply, ‘See other wrist?’” And I’d childishly respond with a flip of a finger - you know which one - and put off getting another tattoo.
But last year, my friend and I decided to get tattoos as a reward for our work in the art show last fall. I decided to augment ‘inhalexhale’ with a watercolor tattoo. A splash of color surrounding the words, to remind me to breathe and to force me to see the beauty in the world. Yeah, I know it sounds like dreck. Whatever. My body, my dreck!
Now, my friend is a like a mother duck. Having raised three children, she is an expert at nudging along; pushing me gently in the direction she thinks I should go, leading me down a path that would best for me to follow. Most of the time, I find it amusing. I am without direction so being nudged has led me to places I never thought I’d be. It’s because of her nudging that I ended up at the fair last year, selling my trees. It’s because of her that I ended up in Washington DC in the first week of this year in 16 degree weather wandering around with a smile frozen on my face under the bundle of scarf. And it’s because of her that I found myself in a tattoo parlor in Pennsylvania getting a tattoo that looks nothing like I wanted tattooed forever on my wrist.
Now, to be clear, I don’t regret getting my tattoo. I am unhappy with the circumstances.
And I’m not mad at Mother Duck. I am PISSED at myself.
Pissed for not speaking up and saying, “I need a moment before you come at me with your permanent needles of pain.” For not saying, “Dude! Show me exactly what you’re planning to put on my body forever.” For trusting in the beauty I saw in Mother Duck’s tattoo and it thinking – assuming – he could do, would do for me what I he’d done for her despite the differences in style. He did not.
But that is not on him! I’ve been talking since the seventies and I’m apparently still unable to speak my feelings. THAT IS ON ME!
And my tattoo is not horrible. It’s just not what I envisioned. The details are not as precise as the image I showed him, the color not as varied. But, if I’m being fair, neither is the original tattoo, ‘inhalexhale’. That one is in my own handwriting and is somewhat muddy and inconsistent - and apparently looks like ‘whaleshark’. And that first experience was similar with my tongue-tied feelings and overwhelmed emotions - and I ended up loving the result.
My point? I do not regret my tattoo. It is not the perfect tattoo I imagined but I do have a reminder of all my doubt, my second-guessing, and my failure to speak my soul. Which, ironically, was the F-ing point of the tat in the first place. I do not regret it. In this, my year of positivity, I am choosing to see it as my beautiful mistake. A bright image of my insecurities and doubt, a forever reminder on etched upon my skin.
I was going to post a picture of the tattoo – of what I wanted vs. what I got but it’s not the point of this post. The point is to remind myself – to remind you – that every little thing you do is etched on your skin, on your self. We are all covered in scars. Some little, some big, some more visible than others. And regardless of the result, take these lessons, these beautiful mistakes and learn from them. Embrace them and grow forward, not back.
Or, as my loving Husband so succinctly said: “Stop looking at it, ej. It’s going to be there when you die."
On Thursday, as part of my annual body violation, I had to have blood drawn. “I have rolling veins.” I said to the bearded hipster vampire with the needle.
“Rolling veins are not something a good phlebotomist worries about.” He said in a totally patronizing and snarky tone as he wrapped the rubber hose around my arm.
Chastised, I smiled my awkward stupid smile as I made the requested fist. “I just wanted to let you know since lots of folks have had issues.” I said.
Readying his tubes and needles, he brushed my concerns aside with a curt, “Any good phlebotomist can draw blood from any type of vein. Now you’ll feel a prick on three,” and he stabbed the needle in.
Apparently, when he was bragging that, “Rolling veins are not something a good phlebotomist worries about...” he sure as heck wasn’t talking about himself because he sucked. Like SUCKED!!! This is what my arm looks like now. I’ve got a large sliding bruise down my arm complete with a hard lump under the skin at the site of the needle’s intrusion into and THROUGH my rolling vein.
Yeah, I’m so glad that I didn’t warn him that my veins might pose a problem for him. That my years and years of being poked and prodded and bruised wasn’t something to share with him in the hopes that he wouldn’t tattoo me with a motley bruise during the sleeveless holiday dress season. I mean, rolling veins aren’t something “a good phlebotomist worries about.” Right? I’m glad I just kept my mouth shut and let him do what he does well.
Ugh! Husband always says, if someone is bragging about how fantastic they are, they usually suck. And that dude sucked - and not in a cool bad boy vampire sort of way. He sucked in a "Dude. You're totally bad at your job but you think you're good which makes your sucking even worse." kinda way. He sucked in a been bankrupt four times, married three times, has a hideous dead animal wig thing covering his head and still thinks he's better than you kinda way.
Side note - and speaking of asses - Four years ago when I had my hysterectomy, these are the "flowers" the ass of a boss sent me.
And not at all as a joke.
Sigh. The ass of a phlebotomist will leave less of a scar on me than ass of a boss did... And I can't even talk about that blowhard trying to take over the world...
I need a sappy Hallmark movie and chocolate chip pancakes STAT!
Had my annual gynecologist exam yesterday. Always a hoot to have someone poking about in my nether regions while making small talk about the weather. At least this time the doctor got my jokes. Well, most of them. After she examined me – again, always a joy – she told me that my cervix looked like it was “still suspended nicely” and to let her know if that changed.
“You’ll be the first to know after Facebook.” I said.
She didn’t think I was joking.
After a quick meeting with a friend where my mocha was definitely NOT decaf, I went to Costco with Husband. Husband is funny - inappropriate and rude but funny. Husband is even funnier when I’m on caffeine – especially the inappropriate stuff. This is what he said we should get instead of my going to the gynecologist next year.
“It’s only $50,” he said.
And then, when I was telling him the Doctor told me to do Kegels so my cervix didn’t fall out – though she used way more technical language like, “They will help to strengthen your pelvic floor” – Husband said that the possibility of my cervix falling out was all the more reason to put things in it.
The look on the woman’s face next to us = priceless.
Then last night, I spent waaaay too much time looking at prolapses on the Internet. Did you know that a wrestler’s butt prolapsed while he was lifting? Like his insides popped outside his butt THROUGH his leotard. Like I could not look away.
Needless to say, the combo of caffeine and the Internet did not result in the most restful of sleeps. I am, however, up to date on all the horrible things that can pop out of your body while lifting weights. Or pooping. Or sneezing.
Yup, doing my Kegels right now. “And contract and relax, and contract and relax…”
My brother told me once that I couldn't tell any stories about him that hadn't happened in his first five years or the last five years because I don't get my facts straight. He's not wrong. But, quite frankly, my un-factual stories are way more interesting than the real stories. And his stories are absolutely fantastic even without my embellishments.
I bring this up because I had a massage on Tuesday that was the best massage ever, mostly because I was actually able to relax. And while I was lying there, melting into the heated massage bed, I remembered this story about Brother and his massage. And since brother doesn't read this blog, I'm going to tell you all my version of the story he told me, five year rule be damned.
One year, I talked my mom into buying Brother a massage at the new all male salon that had just opened near him. Brother is a pain to shop for but he runs so I thought a massage would be a good thing. And they served beer and all the TV’s had sports stuff on and the staff talked sports stuff and it was all very alpha male but with good smells. Can't go wrong with a little pampering, right?
Well, apparently we were wrong. Very, very wrong.
Why? Well, the guy massaging Brother thought he was very attractive and told him so. Several times. In fact, not only did he make a point of telling Brother he was hot, he also asked if it was true that African-American men are well endowed. While Brother was lying face down naked on the table, I might add.
Now Brother is very secure in his masculinity. He isn't the type to get all bent out of shape with someone telling him he’s pretty, no matter the gender. He likes being pretty. But lying naked on a table with a guy rubbing his back and asking if his package is up to the hype? Well, that will lead to more than a few uncomfortable moments.
Then it got worse. The masseur had brother flip over and lie on his back and then scoot down so he could massage his legs and shoulders.
Now the flip from lying on your front to your back in massage land is a well-choreographed dance. Usually the masseur stands on one side of the table holding the sheet up and looking away while you roll to your front facing away from them. All the while, they make sure you don't take the sheet with you as you flip and that they can’t see any bits and bobs that might flop out from under the covers. This is always the point where I start giggling. I am not coordinated in the least and invariably trap a boob under an elbow or roll in the wrong direction and panic us both. But we're not talking about me. We’re talking about Brother.
So, in the darkened candle lit room, new age-y music moaning away on low in the background, the masseur asked Brother to flip over to his back and the choreography began. Masseur held the sheet; Brother flipped and scooted. Masseur placed the sheet down and Brother and lay there waiting for the massage to commence. Masseur adjusted the sheet, removed the head thing you put your face in, moved down to Brother’s feet, tucked them in and then moved back to his side. And then Masseur LIFTED UP BROTHER'S JUNK AND, said something along the lines of, “Wow! I see the legend is true.” WHILE HOLDING BROTHER'S JUNK AND MOVING IT TO THE SIDE!!!
Needless to say, Brother has requested we don’t get him gifts anymore. I don’t think he has had another massage since. And, after hearing that story, I sure as hell can’t get Husband to get one, let alone explain why I find them so freaking wonderful.
I can’t leave you with that image - though it’s a pretty darn funny one from my point of view, Brother is still not laughing. Here are a few pictures of slide pictures of Brother and me as wee ones in Kenya. He got cuter. I did not.
My name is ej. I'm a girl. I say that because with the short hair and the short initials, folks aren't always sure. More brilliant insights to who I am in About me