Category Archives: Chrysalis Project

Cut

I’ve just made a second pot of coffee. I have today and tomorrow off from work because tomorrow is my birthday.

For various and sundry reasons, I’m contemplative.

I cut my hair off recently. It was well past my collar bone, faded blonde and thin towards the ends. Now it is short, an inch or two on top and trimmed around the ears, tight in the back.

People asked me why I did it, and my answer was short, I needed a change, It was unhealthy, I didn’t want to be stuck.

Those aren’t lies.

They just aren’t the truth.

There is an interesting social profile about the people who genuinely like it, and the people who really, really don’t. For the most part, they don’t think I can tell the difference. What they don’t know is that reading people’s faces is my superpower. I know when I’m being lied to. It’s why I detest talking on the phone.

In general, men fifty and younger hate it. Women 40 and younger hate it.

Women over 40, love it. I think they know without knowing why a woman past 40 would chop off all her hair.

So much of my life has always revolved around my weight. Have you ever played the Once-I-Lose-Weight game?

Once I lose weight, I’ll cut my hair. Right now, my double chin will be show.

Once I lose weight, I’ll buy new clothes that make me feel good. Nothing looks good at this size.

Once I lose weight, I’ll be the me I’ve always wanted to be.

Once I lose weight…

Once I lose weight…

Once I lose weight…

So the reason I cut my hair was simply because I wanted to stop being somebody I wasn’t. I wanted to force myself to see that I might not ever be smaller than I am now. And that I was okay with that.

When I was in high school, I’d eat a rice cake and some grapes and run around a stadium track after school. I would tell my parents I had eaten dinner at a friend’s house, and I’d tell her I had just eaten at home.

I’m 5′ 9″ and weighed 125 pounds. Nothing was more important to me than keeping that weight there. When I put on a pound, I’d stop eating.

I am now 185 pounds.

So I cut my hair because I want the magic of life to begin now. I  needed to prove to myself that nothing, absolutely nothing, has to wait because I am larger than I have ever been before.

My weight does not control my happiness.

So I cut off my hair to prove that I am a woman, not a girl, and I control my destiny. I decide who I want to be and how I move through the world. I am not trying to be 25 anymore. I am embracing, as of tomorrow, 44 years on this planet, and I’d like to spend them surrounded by people who are kind, who are thoughtful, who are creating anything, whether a craft project with their kids or a literary masterpiece.

And in turn, I want to be creating things. In the last week, I’ve finished a short story first draft. Today I’m going to work on another one and maybe type up the first one. The form seems more conducive to working full-time, and spending the little time not at work with my family. Short stories can be squeezed in on the train.

And I’m not thinking about publishing. I’m thinking about writing.  That’s it.

I’m thinking about second chances and what it means to be human. What it means to fuck up. I’m thinking about how life can surprise you when you don’t resign yourself to what is, but rather to what it can be. I’m thinking about magic and embracing all of me, not just the parts if they are improved. I’m thinking about work, the work on myself and the work of making art.

I’m thinking about making time for what’s important.

(Thanks to Nanea Hoffman of Sweatpants and Coffee for the quote above. If you don’t know about her, take a look. She gets the joke, my friends.)

Pursue it relentlessly, my friends.

Relentlessly.

But make another pot of coffee first.

Love.

 

 

 

A Tiny Big Thing

We took a child-free trip to Columbus that involved a Dead & Co. concert, runs every morning, and walking the streets the rest of the time. We stayed downtown and walked to the German area where they have a restaurant, Pistachio’s, that serves the best chocolate-filled croissants I’ve ever eaten.

I run to eat.

We walked miles upon miles incorporating a brewery and finally to the art district where we had a pizza with eggs oozing over the fontina cheese and pancetta. Oh my.

The drive was six hours each way. I love a good long drive. I’m a podcast junkie and finding a new one is like making a new friend, the excitement of not knowing what conversations may come once the polite talk has ended.

My new addiction is A Tiny Sense of Accomplishment with Sherman Alexie and Jess Walters. Two writers whose friendship goes beyond the writing share works in progress, talk to poets, novelists, musicians and challenge them to show the goods before it’s pretty. They laugh at themselves, at each other, and I find it so encouraging to see that what is published is nowhere near where they start out.

In essence, they talk about how it doesn’t get any easier. They discuss mental illness, therapy and what it’s like growing up poor and now having money.

They talk about juggling family, obligations, and the desire to create.

They talk about complications.

I love this show.

We listened to them for 12 hours, the entirety of the drive.

I got to thinking about who we surround ourselves with, the real people in our lives, and how perhaps we don’t do ourselves justice.

I consider myself a thoughtful person. I am unlikely to get into a political discussion whether you’re with me or against me because I can’t stand the intolerance that has become our world. Meme after meme on Facebook is spewing both side’s nonsense. There is very little thoughtful right now. And when there is, no one can hear for the noise.

Someone I know recently posted a Facebook meme declaring that Obama needed to get out, our borders needed to be sealed shut, and we needed to bring back ‘Merica. That was the gist if not the exact phrasing. I saw the smiling face of the profile picture and thought, why on earth is this person even tangentially in my life.

The fact that someone, regardless of their views, would think that anything is so simple, and then spew it as fact, while the comments flooded Amens, made me sick. They wouldn’t consider themselves a racist.

I have liberal and conservative friends. But we cannot be friends if you don’t understand what happened to the Jews in Nazi Germany. We cannot be friends if you don’t realize what happened to Americans of Japanese decent who were thrust in internment camps, right here, on our own soil. We cannot be friends if you simplify the world to suit your beliefs and fearmonger to rile up hatred.

There is enough hatred in the world.

What we need is more understanding.

And the problem, as I see it, is people like me allow people like you to spew your nonsense and we remain afraid to offend because we know we’ll run into you in the grocery store, at the school events, and we don’t want the awkwardness.

I say, no more.

If you believe that we cannot find room in this great big country of ours, the country that our ancestors violently stole from the Native Americans, we cannot be friends.

If there is no room in your world for doubt, for conversation, for more than a posting of a meme worthy of a maladjusted child, please unfriend me before I have to unfriend you.

If you don’t believe kindness and compassion is large part of the way out of this, move on from me.

I believe you have more to you than this.

I believe there is more to all of us than this.

Surround yourself with people who make you think, who believe in art, in literature, in shows that make you think.

Because you owe that much to yourself.