I sat on my basin
Reading my cares away
When along came a spider
I fled to the side...er...
And dribbled right down my leg
Arachnophobia: the irrational fear of spiders and spider-like creatures. It is my curse; the ball and chain I drag with me on my journey through life. I am terrified of spiders. I have unreasonable fears that they will jump on me or crawl on me. I have been known to hurt myself trying to escape them. This particular time, I was not injured. Just thoroughly humiliated.
I was sitting innocently on the toilet when the attack happened. I was chattering at my husband who was going about his nightly getting-ready-for-bed rituals and reading from a local paper (one I had actually picked up from a local store and carried with me most of the day). Suddenly, this enormous, butt-ugly wolf spider crawls out of the pages of my paper, right over the top corner and...HORRORS...almost onto my hand!
There was no time to think. I closed the paper (Big Dog said I actually folded the paper but I have no memory of this action) and flung it as forcefully as possible in Big Dog's direction. I simultaneously leaped from the toilet, into the shower, placing myself as far as physically possible from my attacker.
What happened from that instant on was a biologically primitive reaction that was completely beyond my control. My sympathetic nervous system took complete control of my physical body. My voice forced shrill pleas for assistance, my legs went numb and rubbery, my heart raced, and my bladder deflated like a busted birthday balloon.
Big Dog stomped cluelessly at the spider, missing it entirely, and causing it to flee in my direction. I continued to scream in sheer terror. Finally his big shoe found my attacker and with a final crushing blow the terror ended.
As I finished undressing and turned on the shower my heart descended from my throat and my bladder began to regain some resemblance of its former self. I felt so ashamed, so dirty. This ugly thing, this SPIDER, had taken my dignity from me. Like all victims of assault, I suffer PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). I can no longer read newspapers and magazines on the potty. I am relegated to sit there on my throne, bored, eyes patrolling the perimeter for a possible attacker.
Little Miss Muffet, I have walked a mile in your shoes, I have sat where you sat, and you, my dear child, have my utmost sympathy.
Sunday, January 30, 2011
Friday, January 14, 2011
“What after all is a halo? It's only one more thing to keep clean” –Christopher Fry
So, I’ve revealed that I have hair issues. I vowed at a tender age to never, ever dye, perm, bleach, crimp, straighten, or otherwise abuse my hair. The challenge hasn’t been too difficult. I’m kind of a blue jeans and basics girl. I change my hairstyle every few decades and then only under extreme duress, but I must confess that I have not always been true to my vow. I was a teen in the late ‘80s and I am guilty of mass hair spray consumption. Yes, I too had poofy bangs teased to humiliating heights with a blow dryer and curling iron. I even sported a spiral perm for my wedding. Then, for the next decade or so, I settled on soft, feathered bangs and tamed long locks, courtesy of blow-dried, hair-frizzing heat. I was perfectly content. Until…
I partied like it was 1999. Nah, not so much. The dawning of the millennium found me heavily pregnant with twins. It was then that I first began to notice it- the first signs of betrayal. It was subtle at first. The color shifted. My auburn locks were turning blonde on the ends. I looked like I was growing out a dye job. My hair was mocking me! Gradually the changes became more aggressive. My soft feathered bangs wouldn’t behave at all. They wanted to…GASP!...CURL! My hair was becoming coarse, multi-colored, and un-manageable. Well I was not about to go down without a fight. I applied more heat. I spent more time brushing and coaxing and pressing my hair into place, but the battle was on and I was losing.
Finally, several years later, a friend (and supervisor at the time)
convinced cajoled coerced inspired me (yes, that’s it!) to let my hair do its thing. I worked up the courage to just step out of the shower one day and sure enough (how could she have known?!) my hair dried in soft, spiral curls. Well…I’ll be damned. All that time I thought my hair was misbehaving and it was actually transforming.
I set out to learn how to handle my curls and stumbled onto Lorraine Massey’s Curly Girl method. Now I am a born again poo-free curly girl. That’s right. I said poo-free. I haven’t used shampoo for over two years. I step into the shower every morning, rinse, condition, scrub my scalp, rinse, finger comb, and leave it alone. I plop my curls in an old t-shirt to dry, which by the way is a fabulous way to embarrass your teenagers. I add a little clear gel to tame frizz and I’m good to go. I confess I love to set my curls with a bit of diffused heat (I know Lorraine, I am hanging my head in shame) but that is the limit to my hair care.
I finally embraced my hair and let it do its own thing. I was at peace with my curls. Until…
I shot a glance at the mirror one day and holy crap! There was one, defiant, solid white curl plastered square on the front of my forehead. For the love of all things, where the crap did that come from?! In an unforeseen instant I was back to coaxing. I separated the white hairs and poked them back into other, more pigmented curls and added a bit of gel to keep them in place. I thought I had conquered the curl, but occasionally, without any warning it would just reassemble itself. It was totally unpredictable. Two, three days would pass and then out of the clear blue sky whoop! There it is, right smack in the middle of my forehead. I was mad. I was grumpy. I was beginning to consider…GASP!...hair dye. And then one day it occurred to me- this little white curl- it’s my halo. That’s right. Some days I’m a handful. Some days I wear a white halo.
I am again at peace with my curls.
Monday, January 3, 2011
My beloved Skiffy has the most beautiful head of hair. Thick, dark brown, healthy spiral curls. It is absolutely gorgeous. Of course, like a good rebellious teenager, she hates it. She would love to dye it, bleach it, flat iron it, or otherwise find some way of turning it to straw. This is incredibly painful for me as I am a devout curly girl. (More on that another day, but in short, I don’t use shampoo, sulfate, silicone, etc. in my hair.) You see, my own mother developed an extreme complex within me, a true fear actually; a fear of dyes, bleaches, and hair chemicals in general. She had a horrid habit of ‘doing’ her own hair at home and then paying a visit and a wad of cash to a professional to repair her do from the doing she’d done to it. Her hairdresser once told her she would be lucky if she woke up without all of her hair on her pillow. The result of this hair fear/complex is that I have made a serious commitment to loving my hair, sans chemicals. It is the curse of motherhood that my beloved daughter will not embrace her own fabulous locks as I will her to.
Enter Jerome Russell’s Punky Colours hair dye. Skiffy got $20 for Christmas and has been ‘dyeing’ to get to the store to buy her dye. She returned home with her dye, but no tint brush, no rubber gloves, and no knowledge whatsoever of how to dye her hair. Curly girl au naturel that I am, I have no idea either. What I do know is that I cannot fight every battle. As she journeys down the long and painful road of asserting her independence and establishing her own identity it is my job to keep her on the high road. I am doing my best to help her avoid body piercings, tattoos, destructive hair techniques, and bad boy selections, but I can’t win every battle and temporary hair color is certainly an easy one to lose.
So, off to the bathroom she went with stern warnings…no…outright threats about what would happen if she turned my bathroom green or blue and two bottles of hair dye in tow. I stayed in another room trying to subdue my blood pressure. The rational parent side of my brain said: Whatever will be will be. She will learn. Perhaps the hard way. It is her hair. Not mine. It can’t be THAT bad. So what if her hands are green and blue. She will learn from the experience. The insecure mother side of my brain said: Oh holy hell! What if it is horrendous? What if she comes out crying? I shouldn’t be letting her do this! Where did the years go? Why has it come to this already??
Two hours later, with much prompting…no…threatening, she opened the bathroom door, soaking wet, a bizarre turquoise tint from head to toe, everywhere except…her hair. That’s right. Not one ounce of dye attached itself to that beautiful, dark, healthy hair of hers.
I nearly dyed laughing.