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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Fleeting...just like life

This will be a short post. Today a mutual friend told me that Tim Hensley had passed. I didn't know Tim very well. I had only met him once or twice, but he was always a very kind person. I remember him as being soft-spoken. And he was young, way too young to be gone.

While I hadn't seen Tim, or most anyone from the KennyLand days, in several years, I reflected on those days today. I kind of sort of miss that big, giant ball of crazy. And, while there are many things that I'd much rather forget, there's a lot of good that came from it too.

Some of my best friends in the whole world I met out there on that wild trail. People whom I can turn to when something goes wrong and they are always there for me. Good -- no, great -- people.

And, while there are many things I would change if I had a wayback machine, for the most part that crazy -- and, let's be honest, a little bit stupid -- time in my life somehow played a part in who I am today. I wouldn't say that experience is why I'm in Nashville, but I did have a friend here that helped me make it through when I didn't know many people in this town. And, country music tends to draw people here, so I've never been particularly lonely.

Things change. People grow. Acquaintances and friends come in and out of your life. All of that is part of the fabric of who you are.

Life is short. Hug your loved ones and kiss your babies. Be true to who you are, even if that person's a little nuts.

Song of the day: "Young" by Kenny Chesney

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Broken hearts

Just when I think my heart might be healing, I end up feeling like it's black again.

First of all, Boston. I can't even imagine what folks there are going through. My heart is just broken at the thought of such a senseless tragedy.

My mom asked me if I was still going to do my race at Disney in October (my family is going to cheer me on. Yay!). Of course I am. First of all, when we stop our lives and the things we'd planned to do because of something like this, then terrorists win. Secondly, Disney World is a pretty safe place. And, lastly, I'm one of those folks that believes your ticket is up when it's up and there's not much you can do about it.

So, my heart breaks for Boston. I had an actual physical reaction to hearing that news. I was nauseous and filled with pain in my soul.

And then, also last night, I decided to break my resolve on not Googling someone to see how he was doing, especially since I've realized that it was my little broken-hearted temper tantrum that is probably why I don't know how he's doing. And I found out his dad died. And I remembered how torn up he was over his mom's death and how I felt about him, and I wished I could be there, even if it was just to text him and say "I heard about your dad. I'm sorry." But then I realized that even if he did want to hear from me, I have no right to contact him. I think -- no, I know -- that is the worst part. That here is this person that I would have done anything for and now I can't do anything. Part of that is my fault for napalming what little bridge was left, but mostly it's not my fault because I was put in a circumstance I had no control over. Even though I have my own opinions on the situation and I know what I would do if I were on the other side of it, I don't feel right saying anything. It just can't always be my place.

It's amazing that someone who wasn't really in my life that long has wreaked such havoc on it. I think it was because it was such an intense relationship, and we hit it off instantly. Believe it or not, it took me a while to fall, but once I did I was a goner.

Somedays I wonder if I'll ever have that again. Not as much because I can't get over it (because aside from this blip, I'm almost there), but because I highly doubt that I will ever trust anyone again. That's the part of my heart that's really broken. The part that trusts people to love you and not hurt you and do the right thing. So many people poke at that part and little pieces of it die everyday.  Maybe that's the state of the world these days.

I'm also haunted by the fact that they say everyone comes into your life for a reason -- even those who aren't there very long -- and I'm still not 100% sure what his reason was. I'm pretty positive that having him in my life didn't make me a better person. I guess time will tell, but patience is hard when you've already given something too much time.

Maybe the next distraction will blow in soon enough. I feel like I deserve it.

And, if other folks are still using the Google, I'm sorry. There's more I could say, but "I'm sorry" pretty much sums it up.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

How I got here

I have been going to church every Sunday and really focusing on being a good Christian lately. Part of it is pure enthusiasm for having a new Pope (as you know, I was not a fan of the last one) and part of it is the serious commitment that I have taken to be Sofia's Godmother. I've made my peace with the fact that I don't get to birth my own babies, so Sofi is all I've got. I'm so serious about being there for her that most likely in a few years I will be heading to the Sunshine State permanently. (Also, I greatly underestimated my grumpiness caused by living in a land-locked state.)

I'm reading my Bible, I'm praying, I'm going to Church and I am really minding my Ps and Qs where the Ten Commandments are concerned. I've had the opportunity to do some pretty fun sinning and I have ZERO interest in it. Not that I'm a jezebel, but I have had my occasional lapse of judgment, and now such things are not even on my radar screen. In fact, I'm a little insulted that folks would even ask me such things. After all, I am a Christian who's been tasked with the responsibility of guiding a young child on her faith journey.

Now growing up Catholic (you know, some people don't think we're Christians even though we can track our church right back to J.C.'s original followers), I was taught that being a Christian is about more than reading your Bible and going to Church every Sunday. Christians are responsible for helping their fellow man and fighting for justice, which is something I've been deeply committed to. In fact, at my former parish St. William, our priest asked me to serve on our social justice committee. I believe in following the golden rule and helping those who can't help themselves. Between that and studying political science and Constitutional law in college, I aligned myself a lot closer to the left than the right.

My politics aren't a struggle for me even though there have been plenty of people who told me that Democrats can't be good Christians or good Catholics. I read my Bible and I read my Constitution, and I'm pretty sure they're not intertwined. In fact, I'm pretty sure some of our Founding Fathers were atheists or at least agnostic, not a Christian nation, but that's cool. A Christian nation would be boring.

Sometimes I wonder what my Christian friends think of me, especially my Kappa Phi friends and especially in the age of Facebook. I'm exactly the same person I was when I joined Kappa Phi in 1994, and even back then there were plenty of different viewpoints because it's an organization of Christian women of all denominations. But sometimes I wonder if I'm a bit too controversial and not a good Christian role model, especially because of my stance on gay marriage. It's not that I think I'm wrong about gay marriage; I just think too many people are being inflexible about the evolution of our society and using the Bible to justify hatred and hurt.

Aside from the fact that Jesus commands us to love everyone, my views on being gay come from a very personal place. And I feel like if more people had experiences similar to mine that maybe they'd be a lot more understanding. After all, conservative Ohio Senator Rob Portman (still hard to type that) changed his view on gay marriage after his son came out to him.

For those of you who are newer here, you may not know that my best friend -- the only man I've ever really loved, my soulmate -- is gay. It was a long, hard journey of fear and self-loathing on both of our parts, but we love each other as much as we always have and we realize that sometimes soulmate doesn't mean happily ever after with two kids, a station wagon and a golden retriever. We still finish each other's sentences; he still has the uncanny ability to know when I need him; and we still love each other with all our hearts, but we also both love men. And, when he finally came out to me, he told me about his journey to get to this point. A journey where he struggled with being Christian and gay and prayed to God that he would love me as more than a friend. And, of course, I had my own journey. My journey where I didn't understand why he just stopped talking to me (he shut everyone out because he was afraid of how they'd react to him being gay) and thinking that I was incapable of ever being loved by another human being because I didn't understand why he didn't love me as much as I loved him. Basically, society's thoughts on what's right and what's wrong almost killed both of us. I'm not being dramatic; we both had some very dark and dangerous days along the way. He probably many more than I.

My best friend didn't choose to be gay. For years, he prayed every night that God would make him straight in the morning when we woke up. The fact that God never did and the fact that every single person I've ever met who was gay has told me that it was just how they were, not something that they chose, leads me to believe that God knows that folks are gay and it's part of His plan. And if it's part of God's plan, much like the sun rising and setting every day, we should probably just get used to it. Spiders and snakes were also part of God's plan, and I'd rather not have them around, but I've adjusted.

A lot of people who are against gay marriage have their whole "love the sinner, hate the sin" mantra. The problem is that as long as we are against gay marriage it's our fault that folks are sinning. Because if God makes people gay and gay people can't get married, then the only way they can express their love is to be sinners. If they can get married then they don't have to be sinners anymore. And, in this era of divorce and rampant infidelity, I think anyone who can stay together for 20, 30, 40 years should be allowed to get married. God bless them for finding someone they want to spend the rest of their lives with, because believe me that is a very special gift from God that not everyone gets to experience and shouldn't take lightly.

I guess there will always be people who think you are wrong. There will always be people who judge you. But I guess maybe I feel like even if people don't agree with me, it'll be helpful to understand where I'm coming from. So, now you know. If you made it all the way to the bottom of this way-too-long post, thanks for reading.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Splitting hairs?

This post is hard to write. But if it helps one other person, then it's worth it.

Part of the reason it is hard to write is because I am so invested in improving my community and I am all about promoting local businesses. And, this blog is not going to be very good advertising for a local business. It's a local business that I have promoted because the owner says if he doesn't get more business he will have to leave our community. Well, maybe he will be the one person this post helps, because he's about to get a lesson in customer service.

Women like to look pretty. We wear jewelry. We get manicures. We spend thousands of dollars on make-up. And we love to get our hair did. (That's how they say it in the South, y'all.)

I'll be the first to admit I am not the world's best hair stylee (I just made that word up.). I go and get all my hair cut off in some cute, short style and then I decide I want to grow my hair out again. And then I get to the point where all I do is pull my hair back in a pony tail and decide that growing it out was a bad idea and then go to the salon and get it all chopped off again. Part of this is probably because hair salons are not cheap, and sometimes I can be. Even more so now that I am on a budget.

When I was back in Michigan, I would drive a half-hour to go to the Aveda Institute in Ann Arbor. Yeah, the students were slower at first, but the school was so reasonably priced and I loved my student stylist so much that I let her try all kinds of stuff on me. That's where I got hooked on manicures, paraffin treatments and highlights (but not waxing. That shit's for sadists.). And, I even went every four to six weeks like you're supposed to when you have short, highlighted hair with layers.

I hadn't ever found anywhere like that in Nashville. Most of the time, I just let my hair go until I could get back to Ohio where I could go see Lisa and Ali, who didn't have big-city prices at their small-town salon. Plus you still get ALL the gossip at the local hairstylist in little towns.

My hair is very thick, so I have to be very picky about a hairstylist. I even had one woman who told me that my hair was very difficult to cut and she worried that she would mess it up and recommended a new stylist for me. Aside from that and one time in high school where I got a new person and a bad cut, I've had little hairstyling trauma in my 37 years on earth. Well, until today.

I have seborrheic dermatitis. It's an inflammation of the scalp that causes scabs and flaky patches that look like dandruff. Hormones and stress don't help. I had it when I was a baby (cradle cap) and then it came back when I hit puberty. So for 25 years I've lived with it. I went to a dermatologist once for it, but the medicine to treat it is considered cosmetic and insurance doesn't pay for it. So, aside from vanity and my secret desire to use shampoo that doesn't smell like tar, I figure I could have much worse medical issues. I should mention that in none of these 25 years has anyone ever refused to cut my hair.

Until today.

Based on my good experience at a beauty school years ago, my lack of funds and my ever-present ponytail, I decided to make an appointment with the Paul Mitchell School by my house. All of my neighbors go there and I have been recommending them because, as I said, the owner indicated if business didn't pick up he might have to leave the neighborhood.

I got there and talked to the stylist about my hair and she even talked me into highlights. I think I was going to look pretty cute. She did a new customer interview with me and asked me if I had any issues with my hair and scalp. I told her about my dermatitis and that there's not much you can do with it if you can't afford the medicine and/or don't have much desire to rub steroids on your head (near your brain) three times a day.

At this point, she didn't mention that she might not be able to do my hair cut. She just told me we had to wait for her instructor to come so she could review my treatment plan. I've been to the Aveda school dozens of times so I was used to that.

The instructor came over and just started rifling through my hair. And then she says, "Oh, it looks like you have some open sore here and it appears to be bleeding, so we can't perform any services today."

As I said, my condition really only hurts my vanity, so I thought maybe I did have an open bleeding sore, and I was embarrassed that I didn't catch it before I wasted their time (and also embarrassed to be publicly called out on my skin condition). She told me just to reschedule when I didn't have an open sore, maybe put some neosporin on it.

She thanked me for being understanding, but at that point I thought I was oozing blood and posed a safety issue so of course I didn't raise holy hell.

I rescheduled. Then I sat in my car and cried. You go to the hair salon to feel good about yourself, and I didn't feel good about myself. I really wanted to pull a Britney Spears and shave all my hair off with clippers and run down the street.

I got home and I went in the bathroom and looked at my scalp. There were sores; there always are. But there was not one single oozing or bleeding open sore.

So, now I'm pissed. I'm calling the Paul Mitchell school tomorrow to cancel the rescheduled appointment, and I'm going to explain to them the following things:
1. I don't think that my scalp condition of 25 years will clear up to their satisfaction in the next two weeks.
2. A beauty school should want to train their students on how to deal with folks with skin conditions. I googled to see if anyone with dermatitis had ever been denied service at a hair salon, and if anyone else has, they didn't bitch about it on the Internet.
3. I will no longer be promoting their school. I was a big cheerleader before, but I plan to tell people what happened to me. No one deserves to be humiliated when they're trying to feel pretty.

I still have no idea where I'll get my hair done. I'll probably just go back to Lisa and Ali's when I am in Ohio next month (That is a long time for ponytails, though.). They know my hair. And, I need to get caught up on the hometown gossip anyhow.