Living mortality

When I was thirteen or so I was plagued with thoughts of and feared death so badly that I could hardly sleep at night. Even now a fleeting thought of my ultimate demise can leave me frozen with fear. The only difference now though is that I’m more accepting of the idea than my thirteen year old self could ever have been. When I have my moments these days, I first try embrace the thought. I then say to myself, “Okay, so you’re going to die. So what are you going to do now?” This helps me immensely by: a) getting me through the moment and all the feelings that come with it,  and b) deepening the meaning of the life I’m living today.

Although the concept of “living while we’re alive” has become almost cliche and that unless literally faced with a life threatening situation, most people will struggle with applying this concept to their lives; It doesn’t make the need for its application any less immediate.  I don’t believe that there is much more that I can say that hasn’t been said already about the loss of Steve Jobs. It is a profound one, but one we knew was coming. As did he. When first faced with Pancreatic cancer, he made a choice; he chose to live. In the time between his diagnosis and his death, Jobs lead the charge in changing technology in ways that would affect the lives of millions, all while doing something he absolutely loved doing.

No, I know my efforts don’t have to be as seismic as Jobs’, but the passion with which I live my life should be. What do we have to lose by living life fearlessly? Not a damn thing ;). In recovery, or in one of scores of self help books I’ve mulled through there was a quotation about birth and death dates that boils down to this:  There’s your birth date and your death date, what really matters is the dash in between.

What are you going with your dash?

Stacey Rose

February 15, 1976

Sisterhood of the Traveling Naps

As if conversations with strangers in public restrooms aren’t awkward enough…I, upon exiting the baptism via the power flush of the JetBlue toilets at JFK, am approached by woman reapplying her make up in the mirror. She has a burgeoning cropped blonde kinky afro. She gives me a knowing glance in the mirror. It’s coming…

“It’s good be a part of.”

Before I have time to contemplate what in the hell she’s referring to, she gave a kind of “wink-nod” at both our hair dos. “Oh.” I think, “This again. The whole…’natural thing’.” I give a slight grin, and a less than enthusiastic thumbs up, and exit.

Since I’m just chock full o’ confessions these days, I’ll make another one here. I hate combing my hair. I have ALWAYS hated combing my hair. It hurts. I am as my people say “tender headed”. I can remember crying myself into a case of the serious snots whenever it came time for my sister to braid my hair. My hair and I have always been quite rebellious. Kiddie perms, straightening combs could not, WOULD NOT hold us. Going natural was ultimately more my hair’s choice, than mine alone. Little did I know that my hair’s militancy would at long last lead me to become a member of an exclusive sorority…The Sister Hood of the Traveling Naps!

“But wait…you got that good hair.”

I will slap the shit out of the next person who says that to me! (Or at the very least give them a very stern talking too.) What quantifies good? The texture? I still can’t comb this shit (see above paragraph). My hair is what it is. Your hair is what it is. I’m a plus sized woman (doctors say I’m borderline morbidly obese). Should I walk up to thinner people and go:

“Dang, you got that good body!”

Me thinkest not. Human beings will always find SOMETHING to set themselves apart from one another. To make themselves special/different. Our newest fixation “the natural”. Like having a “natural” makes you instantly deep and meaningful. Natural hair care has alas become just as complicated as getting and maintaining relaxers. Hence my addiction to Shea Moisture products. All of this of course as wonderfully backwards as can be. There was a time in our history that the way we’re currently wearing our hair would be worthy of shame…and a tub full of pomade.

Now, while I do believe abstaining from chemical straightening and using natural products for your hair is absolutely wonderful, I don’t think it’s something “in crowds” should be built on. Let’s make “in crowds” that feed homeless people, or “in crowds” based on making our children stronger readers? Meh. We’d find away to fuck that up for our own egotistical purposes as well. Okay, so let’s just, between twist outs and deep conditionings of course, try to do something nice for someone else without anyone else knowing.

It’s just hair. When I embrace the weirdness of mine I feel better about myself; when I don’t I feel like shit about something that more than likely only I notice. Life is so much bigger than that.

So, as I apply my moisturisting mask and tie town my hair for the night. I will try to remember that I indeed am not my hair. I am the soul that lives within.


Thanks India 😉