Posts Tagged ‘red writing hood’

The Language of Hair.

A woman’s hair can say many things. It can speak volumes about beauty and sex, power and desire. It can be playful or woebegone. Do its best to attract attention or help its owner blend into the woodwork.

My hair? Has been known to do all of these things.

For most of high school, it was fairly nondescript. Whether short or long, its dishwater blonde locks  clung to my down turned face and cowered around my stooped shoulders. But as I came into my own, it gained more personality, sporting golden highlights and glorious curls.

In college, it suffered from an identity crisis. At times it was dark and goth. At others, it mimicked the sparkling blondness of the cheerleading crowd. But when I was feeling most like myself? It was red. Glorious, unforgettable red.

It’s impossible to hide with red hair. No matter where you go, or how you’re dressed, you stand out a little bit.

Red hair says certain things about you. It hints that you’re a little bit hot-tempered. A woman not to be messed with. Someone with the soul of a firecracker, and in possession of a great deal of passion.

It forces you to stand straighter. Meet people’s eyes. Walk around with an attitude of, “yeah, that’s right, I’m right here, buddy. You got a problem with that?”

Most often, the answer is no.

So, if you see me, take note of my hair color. If it’s brown, blonde, or some variation thereof? You can be relatively sure that I’m feeling pretty mellow, and not in the mood to make waves.

But if it’s red? Regardless of whether it’s long and curled or short and sassy, you’d do best to watch your step. I am ready to take on the world—and I don’t take kindly to those who stand in my way.

 

Tales From Journalism School: The Tattoo.

If you went to college, chances are you waited too long to do a paper or two (hundred). Maybe you even had to pull an all-nighter on occasion. But did you ever have to mutilate your body just to make the grade?

I did.

I was taking a feature writing class, which was ostensibly designed to teach us how to write for magazines. In reality, though, the professor spent most of his time telling us that we’d never get magazine jobs. In fact, he told us that we should just give up and go get English Literature degrees instead.

I wanted badly to impress this man. To prove to him that I was good enough to write for any publication I pleased, thankyouverymuch.

So when it came time to write an essay about a personal experience, I was stumped. As far as I could tell, nothing I’d done in my quiet little life would seem newsworthy to him.

I considered bungee jumping, skydiving…even hitchhiking to Canada. But none of those seemed right. I had less than 24 hours to go when inspiration finally struck.

Before I knew it, I was in my car, heading to an address in Pontiac. I told no one where I was going, what I was doing, or why.

I felt very rebellious.

Still, when I arrived at my destination and saw the long-haired, tatt-covered metalhead who manned the front desk, I almost turned tail and ran. But I pictured my blank computer screen, took a deep breath and walked in.

“Hi. I’d like to get a tattoo, please.”

He took in my fresh-faced, trying-for-grunge-and-failing exterior and raised an eyebrow.

“Really. Oooookay. What did you have in mind?”

I told him, and before long, I was trying not to hyperventilate as a stranger swabbed alcohol on my back. Then he put a cool hand on my shoulder and said, “You ready?”

I nodded silently, not trusting my voice.

“Okay, just raise your hand if you need a break.” And he fired up the tattoo gun.

At first it wasn’t too bad. Just a mild pinching. Then my nerve endings realized what was going on. Suddenly, it felt as if an army angry bees had landed on my back hell-bent on revenge. It was all I could do to keep from hollering, “stop!”

But I pictured my empty computer screen and stayed quiet.

After an eternity (or, you know, 20 minutes), it was over. Winnie the Pooh had taken up residence on my back.

Back home, I fired off what I thought was a genius essay in the wee hours of the morning. One worthy of Rolling Stone—or at least an A.

Instead, I got a B minus. He said it didn’t feel authentic. Asshole.

But, oh well.  It was the 90s. It could have been worse. At least I didn’t get a tramp stamp.

My Life: As Told By My Closet.

Every woman’s closet tells a story. Some speak of high-powered executives in search of their inner yogi. Others spin tales about stay at home moms too busy to worry much about their shirt on their backs—and their inner goddesses who still yearn for sparkles and stilettos.

Mine? Tells the story of a woman in search of her identity. A woman who’s tried on many different personas.  Someone who’s experimented with more careers than anyone in their 30s has a right to. One who’s tipped the scales at over 200 pounds and walked lightly at 125—and who never once found perfection.

There’s the polka dot business suit lined in hot pink left over from my hot young PR exec days.

The baggy fleece hoodie decorated with St. Bernards wrestling in leaves that I thought hid my plus-sized belly.

The fire-engine red A-line dress with the rhinestone buckle still ready to steal the scene at any formal occasion.

The dowdy purple mock turtleneck that I thought fitting for an Indiana town when I first moved here.

The sweet 50s-style swing dress that I fit into for a brief moment in 2003.

And the 12 pairs of jeans, ranging in attitude from look-at-my-tight-ass to please-God-don’t-look-at-my-butt.

There’s even a maternity skirt or two, still hanging in readiness.

Or at least there was. Because tonight? I bagged it all up to give away. It’s time to find those old personalities new homes—on bodies who will appreciate them.

I know who I am now. Or at least, I’m more sure than I’ve ever been.

I am a wife, a mother, and a writer. I am creative. Inquisitive. Never satisfied.

I like to wear swirly dresses and kicky skirts.

I like color—lots of color—and super cool tights.

I still rock more than my fair share of jeans, but I like to think they all make my ass look good.

I have more curves than I should, but I refuse to apologize for their existence.

I am a Woman. One who’s never been more ready to take on the world. And my wardrobe? Is becoming increasingly reflective of that.

So I waved good bye to those size 6 jeans. Bid my snazzy business suit a fond farewell. Snuggled my maternity skirt close before folding it away.

There’s no room in my life for that tired baggage right now. I’m too busy becoming the person I want to be.

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