Waiting for today...: May 2014

Wednesday, May 28

Hair: A Metonymy, Part 1


related: Finding Me

No one could deny that American society has an infatuation when it comes to body image and beauty. Size, shape, complexion and hair lead most debates.  Then there are the various headlines in the media: “The Hot New Diet Pill”, “Five Beauty Products That Flatter Everyone”, “Powerful Hair Straighteners” and the personally overwhelming “Trends You Need Right Now!”  The capacity in which image and beauty is marketed drive the majority to obsession.   Those who fit the standard are typically praised, envied and desired.  Those who do not are often ignored, taunted or treated indifferently.  The latter will either view the standard as flawed and discover that true beauty is more than physical appearance or they will become hostages to the standard and spend their lives chasing unrealistic perfection… which is my story, up until 2 years ago.
I was an island bumpkin stepping off the plane in Philadelphia.  I had on a long green homemade skirt, a white Oxford shirt and brown penny loafers; my hair pulled back in a long bushy ponytail.  I took no thought of how I looked or how I dressed before entering the US education system.  I learned early that my appearance, in part, would determine how my peers would treat me and help to destroy my self-esteem in the process.   As I looked around every classroom that I've ever been in from elementary school to high school, the popular and well-liked kids were those with the newest sneakers and the latest fashions.  In high school it was the girls fresh from the beauty and nail salon every two weeks that caught everyone’s eye.  And then there was me, and the other students whose families didn't have the means to spend on expensive labels and beauty regimens.    
While I was one of only a handful of my peers with both long and virgin hair, it was long and bone straight hair that was labeled beautiful.  With limited fashion sense my hair became my best asset.   But it was very thick and prone to frizz.  So when I got my first relaxer, I believe it was in high school, I remember thinking it was one of the best things that ever happened to me.   And I did what I could to make sure my hair remained free of my natural kinks and curls.   Although I was constantly reminded by my peers and some adults that I was way below the status quo for the dress code, my long, straight hair made me feel confident and beautiful.  I became my hair.  I didn't feel pretty if it wasn't “right” according to my perception.  So if I was not having a good hair day, I was not having a good day period.  
Needless to say, as a teen, I had succumbed completely to the illusion of beauty set forth by society and the subcultures I was attached to.  I’d come to believe wholeheartedly that my physical appearance determined my worth.  Clothes, shoes, jewelry, other accessories, make-up, hair... whatever the trend, I wanted to rise to the expectation.  In trying to keep up with hair trends, it was during this time that my hair received the most abuse: heat, relaxers, braids, weaves, color and several short cuts which meant a greater effort was made to tame my locks.   



Friday, May 23

Friday the 23rd: Fear of Pain...


The paddle wheel of The Spirit of Peoria in Peoria Illinois...


The changing or loss of relationships is a fear that has stagnated the
further peeling back of painful layers.  


As a child, I remember being fascinated by everything around me.  I took to drawing early, trying to capture those things.  My earliest remembrance of this fascination is from elementary school.  Instead of paying attention in class, I went about trying to recreate a design I saw on a hand-woven bag.  My creativity has waxed and waned since then.  As I grew up and became aware of cameras, my interest shifted from drawings to photos.  It never evolved beyond pointing and shooting however.  And just as I lost my passion for drawing and “less than amateur” photography, I lose my desire to write from time to time.  I am almost certain it is related to my instability.  So on days like this, when I’m speechless and lacking or time simply eludes me, I’ll share instead one of my photos in hopes to somehow keep my diminished creative flow from dying altogether.



Sunday, May 18

Why Put Off Until Tomorrow?


From a Magnolia Tree at the Adam Thoroughgood House in Virginia Beach Virginia... 




"Why put off until tomorrow what could be done today?"--a quote made famous by Thomas Jefferson, one that I have been forced to hear one too many times.  There was a time that I was pressed to make this a cornerstone of my philosophy.  It is indeed an important yet simple principle.  Tomorrow is not promised. Time is a gift and we as mankind are become stewards.  Some of us are better stewards of time than others.  I have not been silent about my struggles, especially in my professional life.  But again, I don't remember having such an eerily discomforted and heightened awareness... personally.   It's uncomfortable and I can't shake the feeling that normal is going to be short-lived.  This feeling forces me to put off what could be done today.  That is, those things that do not pose a life threat... physical or spiritual.  After all, I've only heard this quote as it pertained to the material things of this world.  For me... that's vanity.  For me, those things can and will have to wait.



As a child, I remember being fascinated by everything around me.  I took to drawing early, trying to capture those things.  My earliest remembrance of this fascination is from elementary school.  Instead of paying attention in class, I went about trying to recreate a design I saw on a hand-woven bag.  My creativity has waxed and waned since then.  As I grew up and became aware of cameras, my interest shifted from drawings to photos.  It never evolved beyond pointing and shooting however.  And just as I lost my passion for drawing and “less than amateur” photography, I lose my desire to write from time to time.  I am almost certain it is related to my instability.  So on days like this, when I’m speechless and lacking or time simply eludes me, I’ll share instead one of my photos in hopes to somehow keep my diminished creative flow from dying altogether.




Tuesday, May 13

the Aftermath


Sunbathing turtle on Windsor Lake in Virginia Beach Virginia...


One of the unpleasantries of coming out of depression for me is that eventually I am reminded of how difficult it can be for me to prioritize and manage my time.  For the first time since late March I am faced with that fact and I must admit it's a bit scary for me.  It may even be the culprit of my recent streak of irritability.  In the past and over a period of time, issues with time and priorities have overwhelmed me.  I would find myself frustrated, then hopeless and ultimately depressed.  Today, clarity has helped me see that managing priorities and time is easier when the list is simple.  So, seven weeks later, I have simplified my list in hopes to keep a grip on my normality: faith, hygiene, home.  If all else fails, I'll be okay.  I have to keep telling myself that it will be okay.



As a child, I remember being fascinated by everything around me.  I took to drawing early, trying to capture those things.  My earliest remembrance of this fascination is from elementary school.  Instead of paying attention in class, I went about trying to recreate a design I saw on a hand-woven bag.  My creativity has waxed and waned since then.  As I grew up and became aware of cameras, my interest shifted from drawings to photos.  It never evolved beyond pointing and shooting however.  And just as I lost my passion for drawing and “less than amateur” photography, I lose my desire to write from time to time.  I am almost certain it is related to my instability.  So on days like this, when I’m speechless and lacking or time simply eludes me, I’ll share instead one of my photos in hopes to somehow keep my diminished creative flow from dying altogether.



Thursday, May 8

Finding Me

So get in when you fit in, go on and shine.  Clear your mind.  Now’s the time.  Put your salt on the shelf, go on and love yourself ‘cause everything’s gonna be alright...




In the summer of 2012, I didn't realize that I was taking a huge leap toward establishing my own identity. It was over a year later that my world came crashing down.  It wasn't until then that I was faced with the reality that I was far from being the independent person that I boasted.  Sure, I have my own income by way of a career, can manage my income as to pay all my bills and indulge a bit, can get myself here to there as the Lord wills and I don’t have to have anyone else's permission.  Yet, I was far too dependent on people when it came to me… well, being me.   But not the person I was meant to be.



Ever since I moved back to the states as a school age child music has played a huge role in my life. In the late eighties, Michael Jackson, Madonna, the hair bands and hip hop grabbed my attention as my home in the islands did not have cable television.   Music helped me through that transition, from elementary school to high school, from college to the working world. You name it music has helped me cope through it.  When the world seems to be crumbling down around me, music helps me to escape.



Saturday, May 3

the Way, Ahead


image from: imgur.com, uploaded by user zimgodo


I’m reaching the end of my timeline to have my home C.H.A.O.S. free: three more days including today. There is much more to do.  But so much has been done: the laundry, my room, the living room.  The kitchen and the bathroom are still clean and tidy.  Three more days and I will be clutter free; home and mind.  With all that the Lord allowed me to accomplish over the past week, I am feeling more and more balanced.  More... at peace.  More prepared, to take on the challenges that are ahead of me.

related: C.H.A.O.S., Taming the Chaos