a.connotation

love is transient

february angel

it feels strange to talk about someone in the past tense when i am so used to using the present.
“my grandfather was the epitome of goodness.”
when i desperately want to say, “my grandfather is the epitome of goodness.”
he really, really was.

i don’t know why the most prominent trait that stays with me is his laughter. maybe because he was always doing it. laughing. or because it was just so honest. he had big, booming laughter. the kind that you would hear from the next room and it made you want to run over and see what was happening. he was always lifting weights or just finishing a work out. he was always smoking a marlboro. he had the most penetrating blue eyes i’ve ever seen, but they were also the kindest. he was hardworking and did everything he could for his family. he believed in honor and pride. he was a true example of a real american man.

i remember sleepovers at his house when i was a little girl. the jars of peanuts and candies in his kitchen. the exact set-up of the living room. his dog luke standing guard at the front door. the room at the end of the hallway with a desk in it that i never quite understood the purpose of. you know how there are certain places that stick with you and are your go-to images when you hear a word? well, when i hear the word ‘basement’, no matter what someone is referring to, i immediately think of the basement in that house. small, but comfortable. he had a pool table and a punching bag.

i was his first granddaughter and he was my Meepa. i gave him his name since grandpa was far too hard for me to pronounce and just not worthy enough of his awesomeness.the respect i have for him is immeasurable and i will try my best each day moving forward to be half of the person that he was.

closure is a tricky thing. sometimes it can come incredibly easily, moreso than you believed it could. other times it is much more difficult to attain.

i was not there when my grandfather had a stroke. i was not there when he was in the hospital holding on long enough for everyone to get there. i was 3,500 miles away unable to do anything. i did not see him take his last breath. i did not witness his body jump and then collapse into the calm. i was not there to hold my mother when she did.

my last memories of him come from christmas, when i was home for the holidays and we were eating lasagna at my aunt’s house. i was lucky enough to be seated next to him at the dinner table and kept trying to coax him into eating. at the request of my mother, we all got together for a family portrait. my brother and i drove him home that night and he paused to catch his breath outside of the car in the 20 degree weather. i asked him if he was okay and he assured me that he was just fine. we walked him inside of his house and spent some extra time chatting with him before we went back home. i am so thankful for that night. for saying “i love you” five times. for hugging him and telling him i would see him soon.

that was the best way that i could have said goodbye.

relevant

i walked to the downtown library today. it’s a gigantic, mall-size orpheum of books, if you can imagine that. there are seven different floors and each floor has 2-3 subcategories. it is truly a sanctuary for literary folk. i skimmed through many books on fashion, sewing, designing, and the art of body decoration, but i ended up running into a cultural investigation appropriately entitled “Hair”. since hair has played a huge role in my identity, i obviously had to read it. i’m only 10 pages in and i’m already enraptured. it’s already begun to make me think about my own experience growing up with my hair defining a huge portion of my existence.

growing up as a woman without hair was never easy and i would be lying if i said that it’s gotten easier. it continues to be my pink elephant, worst enemy, and any slew of other phrases that capture feelings of shame, hatred, and embarrassment. making friends as a child was difficult, especially as a chubby, bald girl. i would wear pink, put bows on my head, wear headbands; my parents even got my ears pierced shortly after i was born so that there was no way i would be mistaken for a little boy. all of these innately feminine things gave me a strong sense of myself as a girl, but there was still something missing. i would watch other little girls play, their ponytails swaying from side to side, and be envious. i would watch their mother’s comb their perfect straight hair longingly and delicately, wishing my mother could do the same. i would go home and wear a blanket on top of my head, pretending i had long hair and i was a beautiful mermaid, i would think: this is what is must feel like to have long hair.

when i was old enough to wear wigs, my mother encouraged me to try them. i thought they were great fun, but when entering wig shops i would always feel a sense of shame since most women thought that i had cancer. i learned that not having hair was something i should feel ashamed of. i would go to school with my wig on and still be made fun of, since everyone knew that i didn’t have hair. boys would always try to pull my wig off at recess and in the hallways. they would make a great game out of it. i did not think that it was funny.

i tried hairpieces from the Hair Club for Men. they were made of human hair and were glued directly to your scalp allowing you to shower, swim, and sleep in them. it was like having real long hair. i was finally able to see what it felt like. for the most part i liked it, though the process of taking it off my head every month to get properly cleaned hurt more than words can describe. my hair technician was a woman named Angel and i adored her. she never told me that i should be ashamed, hair or no hair.

sophmore year of high school came, and i decided i was sick of hiding. i had spent the last five years going through an identity crisis and was ready to just say fuck it. i had Angel shave my head entirely. what little hair i did have came off and i started going to school that way. bald. i got stares, dirty looks, taunting, words of encouragement, and high fives. everyone knew who i was. i made my own clothing, got even more piercings in my ears, and acted the part of a rebel.

in college i favored head scarves and various hats when i didn’t sport a troll-like, wispy do’. i got my nose pierced, got a tattoo, and generally did my own thing. i liked getting lost in books, in my own words. i had lots of friends. i was still chubby, still bald, and still unsure of what “feminine” was to me. i would read books on feminism, study other cultures where hair wasn’t important to women, surround myself with artists and musicians, people that appreciated the differences in others.

i am 25 years old. i have a shaved head and about 15 different wigs. i have just recently realized what a terribly difficult dynamic i have forged in myself by being somebody different everyday. one day i have a brown pixie cut, the next long, black locks with blunt-cut bangs. i don’t allow people to know ME anymore. and i’m not sure i even know me anymore. i don’t think i’ve ever fully realized how much of an impact your hairstyle has on your development of self until now. i need to look back, and start over. i need to understand my own femininity and not allow my hair to be the basis of that. i am lucky that in this day and age, women with short hair are not looked upon as oddly as they were twenty years ago. i am lucky that my good friends and my family know who i am regardless of what wig i am wearing and they love me.

now i just really need to start loving myself.

interlude

i like the way that the strings of silk on the bottom of my curtains look right now. it’s gray outside. the typical kind of new england gray that i miss with a fervor. los angeles has been growing on me, but my heart still belongs to the east coast. well, i think my heart really belongs to various parts of the world, but the core is still in massachusetts.

i painted my nails a strange mustardy-gold.  they match the weird 70’s sofa i have in my apartment. my teeth are aching. i have florence and the machine and gotye on repeat. and i should make it a goal to actually write on here everyday. i have commitment issues.

inquieta

A blog shouldn’t be that difficult for me to maintain, since writing is something that I do almost everyday. However, when I find myself confronted with a blank screen and an endless amount of topics to discuss, I become dry. Anyone can read this, anyone can comment, and that is very daunting. Let’s just say that this month is a crossroads, just like five months ago was a crossroads. I took a road trip across the country from Massachusetts to Los Angeles in search of an idea, a career, and a new perspective. Have I found all of that? Not so much. My problem is, I can’t stay in the same place for too long.