A Love Letter to My Hair

This week, instead of posting new things I want to stay silent and instead allow other POC voices to come through. This is a particularly moving piece about one woman’s journey with her hair. I loved this post and I hope you do too.

Let me just say, this is the longest amount of time I have ever spent on a blog post. It is a wide open door into a hidden part of me that I never …

A Love Letter to My Hair

What’s Best

When you have something or someone that you love, you want to dote on them. Spoil them. Treat them right.

Like if you have kids, you want to make them happy. If you have a partner, you want to make him/her happy. Even if you have a dog, you want to make him/her happy.

So, you feed them. You buy them nice things. You spend time with them.

But you end up overfeeding them. Buying them too many things so you’re out of money. Spending too much time with them.

If you really loved them, you would want them to be healthy. And do what’s best for them.

And what’s best for them is not always what they want all the time. Sometimes, it’s more about what they need.

It can be tricky. It can hurt. And it can feel like you’re not loving them as much as you should.

But if you’re doing what’s best, you’re doing it right.

Love,

Bailey

Made My Day

Thanks to the little girls at the back of the school bus who smiled and waved and cracked up when I waved back and who I followed for a good 20 minutes (only because they were going where I was going–not in a creepy way.)

You made my day. And you’ll never know it.

Someone’s smile or kind word can make your whole day but you don’t have to let them know. It’s sort of special; it’s like a secret you share with that other person, except they don’t know.

But sometimes, you should let people know if they’ve made your day. People feel worthless on the best day. Don’t forget to remind them that they’re here for a reason, however small it may be.

Don’t worry kids. If you wave at me, I’ll always wave back.

Even a Smile

I pass a lot of the homeless on my way to work. And you’d have to have a heart of stone to not at least feel bad, even if you do just walk by them.

But today, one lady was making it really hard to walk by her. She was rattling a can of change and calling out to people on the street, imploring them, “every little bit helps! Every little bit helps!”

And as I walked by she said it again: “every little bit helps! Even just a smile!”

And that stopped me in my tracks. Because I wish I could tell you that I walked back and gave her some change.

I didn’t. I kept walking. But a smile did creep onto my face, one that only I could see, and as is the case with smiles, it did make me honestly feel better. It was so much preferable to the sour expression I was displaying originally.

And like the woman said, even a smile helps. It helps you, and it helps the people around you.

So go ahead and smile. I can guarantee that you have at least one thing to smile about.

Take a Guess

Everything in life is a guess. It’s an estimate. It’s a theory. Sure, it may be based on some really, really, really good evidence. But it’s still just a guess. An assumption. A belief. 

Don’t believe me? Try it out. 

So, you’re an expert on astrophysics. 

“Yes.”

How big is the universe? 

“Well, our science tells us that we can estimate it to be…”

See? Scientists, fifth grade teachers, bomb experts, teenagers, presidents, the bourgeousie, soccer players, and even the Pope have one thing in common: we’re all just guessing. 

About what? About our lives and everyone in them. What’s our next move? Does he love me? Why am I here? Will I be successful? The answers are not easy to find. But they can be guessed at. 

Which should make us all really, really, really cynical, right? We should all throw our hands up in the air and give up on foretelling the secrets of the universe because all we have is our best guess. 

But do you know something? That simply means that your guess is just as good as someone else’s. 

And that puts us all on the same playing field with the same amount of confidence in knowing that we’re right. 

So, what’s the answer to your question? 

Take a guess. It may be your best bet. 

Chew 

Have you ever had this experience? 

You’re sitting at your desk at the office at lunchtime. You aren’t eating, but your coworker is. You can’t see what he’s/she’s devouring, but it sounds like the most delicious thing in the world because they’re chewing it like it’s their last meal. You can almost hear every tooth grind, every tongue twist. A crunch and then they smack their lips and crunch, crunch, crunch. Slurp. Gulp. LOUD CHEWING. 

Okay, you get it. Now imagine your reaction. What are you feeling? Intense rage? Or just seething annoyance? Or like you’re going to murder that person’s whole family if they don’t put that apple down? 
Well, I know how you feel. I’ve experienced loud chewing before. And it’s annoying, definitely. (I’m not sure how you softly chew, but I guess you can work on it.) 

But have you ever thought about how that person feels? They’re just enjoying their lunch, and you’re not only judging them, you’re basically plotting their death. For eating their lunch. 

Maybe it’s time to look at yourself and ask why you’re so bitter. No, seriously. Why are you letting someone, who is enjoying whatever they’re doing, get in your way? Why is it their problem, and not yours? Why are you letting someone else’s life affect you at all?

Look, I don’t know you. You’re probably a reasonable person. But you need to ask yourself if it’s really worth getting fired up over. As long as it’s not hurting you physically, what’s the problem? 

You need to ask yourself: Are they being inconsiderate of others, or are you being overly sensitive? Go on. Chew on that for awhile. 

The Difference 

Look, I’m me and you are you. 

And I love thunderstorms, and flowers, and vegetables, and cider, and incense, and black clothing. 

And you? You may like sunny weather, and grass, and fruit, and beer, and candles, and bright floral prints. 

And that’s totally and absolutely okay. Because this is a gentle reminder that diversity is not only okay but necessary. 

We need different things, different opinions, different beliefs, different people. We need difference. We need it to challenge the status quo. 

What we don’t need is hate. What we don’t need is ignorance. 

What we need is different things, but we need acceptance too. 

So if there is someone different than you in your workplace, your school, or even in your family, get to know their differences before you make a final conclusion. Before you treat them the same as others you’ve met. I promise that you’ll enjoy that your world has gotten bigger because you learned something new. 

And us different people? We’ll appreciate it too. Because even though we’re different than you, we’re still human. We still love and wish and hope and dream that someone will see us for what we are: different. 

Stereotypes

So, a policeman, a blond, and a vegan walk into a bar…

Now, this could end as a tasteless joke, and you’d probably enjoy that, but let’s consider what images this phrase conjures. What does the policeman look like? What ethnicity is he? How tall is he? Is he in full uniform? Does he have a crew cut?

And what about the blond? Is she tan? Is she beautiful? Is she scantily clad? 

And finally, the vegan. Do they have dreadlocks? Are they eating granola? Are they wearing flip flops? 

Just by giving the barest description of a person, you already seem to know something about them. Don’t you?

Except you don’t. And it’s not right to pin stereotypes on people before you get to know them, even if they seem to fit sometimes. Even when the policeman loves donuts, or the blond occasionally says something dumb, or the vegan chooses to preach their lifestyle to everyone in hearing distance.

So, why is it that even when you’re not fulfilling a stereotype you’re retroactively assigned one?

I mean, let’s say I love yoga. I love to practice yoga and meditation. This doesn’t mean that I also refrain from eating animals. This doesn’t mean that I am not interested in any other kind of exercise. This also doesn’t mean I solely wear yoga pants. (Okay, okay. The last one is true.) It just means I love yoga. That’s it. Fin. And do you know what it also doesn’t mean? That just because I don’t do any of the above that I’m not a true yoga “fan.” It’s like I don’t have the yoga street cred. 

Because we all just need to remind everyone that when you know one thing about someone, well, that’s all you can know for certain…until you get to know them for real. 

But also, if a person doesnt fulfill a certain stereotype, or even if they fill half of one or even all of one, you simply can’t assume. In the end, the time that it takes you to judge someone is the time it would take to ask them about themselves. You should try it sometime. 

Oh, Bother

Do you ever feel like you’re bothering someone? You don’t know what it is, whether it is the look in their bloodshot eyes or the tapping of their pencil that is tipping you off, but you can tell something is up? Well, what happens next? Do you take the hint and slink away, or do you keep at it until you get what you want, regardless of their glares?

What’s a person to do? Because if you’re anything like me, you may know when you’re bothering someone, but you don’t ever want it to get to that point so you just stop talking way ahead of time. And in short, this means that you pretty much don’t do anything in fear of upsetting or annoying someone, and this, in turn, means that you pretty much don’t do anything.

But I’ve suddenly found that I have to bother, nag, and remind people repeatedly of things I’ve said or done. (And this bothers me on the deepest layers of soul, see reason in previous paragraph).

Suddenly, I’m all like, the doctors’ office didn’t call me back when they said they would, I’m calling them. Usually, I avoid even calling the doctor in the first place, and now I’m actually following up on my check ups? What gives?

And then it hit me: I’m starting to have to put my own needs and responsibilities first, whereas I used to have my parents to do that for me. I’m an adult now, and adults apparently chase a lot of answers.

And that’s why it feels like I’m bothering people–because I’m used to being oblivious to whether anyone was going to answer me or not. I’m used to simply getting the answers–I’ve never been the middle man for this process. But now that I know that I need an answer to move on, I am a little more persistent, and it feels like I’m bothering people because they didn’t remember to contact me. (And technology doesn’t help the situation. “Did you read my e-mail or not…?” is how I start about half of all my e-mails and Google can obviously answer the majority of my questions).

But the point is that we’re not even really bothering each other. I mean, we all have busy lives, and most of the time, we’re just glad someone remembered to poke us about a situation, rather than starting a phone call with “Sorry about the slow response.”

In my mind, as long as it is not excessive, (I’m looking at you, car salespersons who e-mail people every day), it’s okay and even good to bother people to make sure you get what you want. In any case, when given the chance, they’ll bother you right back.

Cooler Than Cool

What makes a person”cool”? It usually isn’t just one thing about someone, but a whole medley of things.

And yet, you can still pick out “cool” people pretty easily. Leather jackets and Ray Bans have always been a staple of the “cool” population, for example. And you might as well have a “cool” sign blinking on your forehead if you have any type of piercing not in your ears or if your hair is a different color than the normal red, brown, black, or blonde.

But do you know what I’ve found to be most true about “cool” people? It’s that they are pretty aptly named. (I know, groundbreaking.)

Because if you know a “cool” person, then you know a standoffish person. A person who is afraid to go out in public when not looking or acting their best. A person who can freeze you out with a look. A person who has perfected one way of thinking while looking down on others. “Cool” people can quite literally be too “cool,” at times. And sometimes, that can be downright cold.

Because “cool” people spend their entire existence pretending not to care. They’re all like, hey man, that’s totally cool that your sister had her baby and named it after me. Catch you on the flip side. 

Okay, okay. “Cool” people don’t say “the flip side.” (I know this because I’ve never been a “cool” person, and I say things like “on the flip side.”) But then again, I’ve never wanted to be “cool.” Who doesn’t want to be excited about things and have to act like they aren’t interested? I don’t want to give anyone the cold shoulder; I’d rather wear my feelings on my sleeve.

And so, I’ll never be cool. But maybe, you shouldn’t be either. Because really, isn’t “cool” just the opposite of warm? And everyone loves a warm person, even if we are, truly uncool.