And Then I Fell Out the Window

Life, examined and punted around


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Gender Styles: A Paradox and A Revelation

Yeah, I know, stuffy title. If you’ve been following this blog, you know that a few months ago I shaved my head.

DSC_0243 Here’s what I looked like not too long before I shaved my head. My hair wasn’t really anything spectacular; it was a boring shade between blonde and brown, it was thin, it was limp, and I never knew what the hell to do with it. Everyone told me not to shave my head, saying it would look terrible, but I was at the point where I didn’t even care if I looked ugly; I just didn’t want to deal with my hair anymore. It felt like an enemy, not a part of me.

 

 

 

 

 

Photo 13I was completely shocked how much more feminine I looked with no hair! Something about having all that hair away from my face brought out my feminine features and the shape of my head. I was completely in love with it and felt more beautiful than I had in a long time.DSC_1315

 

 

 

So if shaving my head (doing something known as very un-feminine) made me feel more womanly than ever, what would happen if I did the opposite? In other words, what would happen if I did something very feminine to my face? One night, while bored and with a pile of makeup supplies on hand, I slathered enough makeup to kill a horse on my face to find out.

 

DSC_1323With a metric ton of foundation, eyeshadow, eye liner, brow liner, mascara, lipstick and blush on, I ended up looking like Brian Viglione from the Dresden Dolls  (see below)url

 

 

 

In other words, I looked like a man in a bunch of makeup. For whatever reason, putting on a ton of makeup intended to exaggerate feminine features only served to make my jaw look more angular, my short hair more jarring, my cheekbones higher (and not in a fabulous feminine Beyonce kind of way). I’m not saying that if every woman puts on a lot of makeup that she looks like a man, or that women with shaved heads look more feminine. What I am saying, and realizing, is that looks that we categorize as being strictly for making people look more or less feminine or masculine don’t always work that way. How cool is that? I’m also not saying that a person should necessarily strive to look more or less feminine. If a person finds a look that they like, that makes them stand proud and say, “Oh hey…this is me“, then what does it matter?

Gender bending for the win, y'all.

Gender bending for the win, y’all.

 

 


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A Catch-Up and a Blissful Week of the Mundane

It’s been a while. I feel like before I write about anything I should update about my dad. After the surgery I was so drained that I didn’t feel like writing. But the good news is, everything went well! It was a long surgery. Grandma and I were there waiting for maybe six hours before we heard anything, and Grandma grew increasingly nervous. “I have a bad feeling. It shouldn’t take this long.” “It look a long time last surgery,” I pointed out. “Not this long.”

But Dad is okay! Our badass Norwegian neurosurgeon, whose first name is Thorer (I know. I. KNOW.) said everything went really well. Both tumors came out, and when we finally came in to talk to Dad, he was sensical and cognizant and all there. It’s hard to explain the relief that comes with knowing that the bad stuff got removed from the brain and yet the good stuff is still there. I so often wonder about the holes. They must fill in eventually…but it’s odd to think of our grey matter as rearranging around foreign objects, then getting used to their absence. 

My dad’s mind was all there immediately, which was a relief, but his body is a taking a bit longer to recover, especially his left leg. He is out of the hospital now and able to walk with a walker. Recovery is slow, so we postponed our Scotland trip to 2014 which is a relief and so sensical. Dad needs this time to heal and, as it turned out, I need this time to sink into summer life with my new housemate Pumpkin. 

Pumpkin is my friend’s older sister, and even though I’ve spent far less time with her, we clicked instantly because I already knew her sister and that bloodline and I get along, apparently. She is in love, she smokes on the porch, and she reminds me why having the a great roommmate makes the mundane so awesome.

This week I worked every night from 3 pm-10:30 or so. And every night I get to come home, sit out on the porch and drink wine or whiskey, play my ukulele, watch Pumpkin’s cigarette smoke billow outside the halo of our porch light, and share our thoughts from the day.

It’s more than just this great time with Pumpkin, though. I have finally, finally come to a point where I am able to be happy with what I have and abide in whatever I’m doing, fully and joyfully. I’ve stopped wanting things to be different. Every moment is a good moment. It’s the complete opposite of when I was depressed, when even the good days were bad. Now it’s the opposite. Last weekend I went on a short camping trip out on a nearby lake with a few friends. I was so stoked to go, and while it was a great time, I wasn’t any happier than I was working at the bakery. This wasn’t to say that I was unhappy. I just attained a steady happiness that doesn’t seem to waver whether I’m having an awesome experience or a “mundane” one.

I think three-months-in-the-past me would’ve been shocked that one of my happiest weeks was this week, where nothing particularly amazing happened. I went to work at the bakery, enjoyed my time there, singing along to music when there was nobody else there, or getting to know my coworkers better. Bonding with the muffin batter, finding satisfaction in mopping the floor. Admiring the oven burn on my arm, that red stripe stinging in pain. And then coming home and laughing myself silly with my housemate. I realized, finally, that I’ve been wanting all these experiences that wouldn’t make me any happier. I have it all right now. The age of 23 is one big lesson in experiencing the present. I dance from paycheck to paycheck. Pumpkin and I paint our bodies and wash our warrior designs and smeary swirls off in the shower. We line up our empty wine bottles by the trash can and wonder what else we can scrounge to eat from the freezer. I feed my rats and let them run under my futon and then try to find them again when it’s once again cage time.

Three months ago I thought that happiness was somewhere else, in the mountains, with a group of people I wasn’t cool enough to meet, within a finished book. Now I finally am free to exist where I am, and while that may seem like the most obvious thing in the world, it was such a revelation that everything feels different now. Nothing has changed outwardly. But my perception has. And wow, what a difference that makes.