Tangled

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Before I get to today’s more light-hearted post, I would just like to say thank you to everyone who read and/or commented on my last post. I was worried about people’s reactions, but everyone was thoughtful and kind. I was really touched by how people took the time and read and comment, even if they didn’t entirely agree. I know it’s a tricky subject. So thanks. Thanks for being great people.

Back to more frivolous, Fridayish thoughts…

I am terrible at maths. TERRIBLE. Numbers make no sense to me. I have an extremely short memory when it comes to maths. If you teach me a formula I will learn it. If you ask me to do it again the next morning though, I will be absolutely incapable of even remembering where to start. It’s like my brain builds bridges to the answers, crosses over, and then immediately sets them on fire.

I constantly write down numbers back to front. If someone calls out their phone number for me to take down, I sigh internally. It’s bad, is what I’m saying. Numbers hate me. I avoid all forms of mathematics if I can possibly help it. The rest of the time I count on my fingers.

This is all a roundabout way of saying that when I say that discomfort > benefits = avoidance forever, even that completely fabricated formula is probably wrong. Yet it’s how I deal with things on a day-to-day basis. So, for example, I haven’t been to the hairdresser since last June.

LAST JUNE.

I got a trim. It was not traumatic in any way. The hairdresser didn’t stab me with scissors or give me a bowl cut that turned me into a monk from the middle ages. She was a chatty, lovely, gorgeous blonde who did exactly what I asked her to. “You should visit the hairdresser every eight weeks,” she said.

Eight months later, I am still dragging my feet.

I really, really hate going to the hairdresser.

I am not actually particularly attached to my hair. I mean, I would miss it if I woke up one day to find it packing a bag and heading for warmer climes… Although I couldn’t blame it (“I’m sorry, I just can’t do this anymore. You never even wear a hat. You don’t consider my wellbeing at all and it’s just not a healthy relationship for me. Bye Felicia“). I’m not someone who really does anything with my hair. It just sort of… chills out. I’m a bit weird about textures and always want things to be pleasantly tactile, so I never put product in my hair because I like my hair to feel soft and silky. I basically want my hair to be run-your-fingers-through-it soft at all times. You know, for any surprise moments when someone might run their fingers through my hair.

…Happens all the time.

Even if that weren’t the case though, I don’t know how to use any products on my hair that aren’t a GHD. I don’t dye my hair. I don’t know how to put my hair in a messy bun. I can’t use mousse properly. I don’t even really know what dry shampoo is or how it works its magic. To be clear, I would like to know how to do these things, I just never learned, and now I feel like it’s a bit late in the game for me to start braiding my hair and using texturising spray.

So it just sits. Which is fine.

Except that it really does need a trim every now and then, and now that we’re over 600 words into this blog post, and some people will have hopefully dropped away in boredom, I can finally, hidden-halfway-down-my-post, explain why I hate going to the hairdresser so much:

It makes my anxiety flare up something fierce.

I know. I even feel shame typing that. Everyone has anxiety these days. It must be social media or society today or maybe there’s something in the water. I could pretend that I don’t feel anxious about interacting with strangers, but then I would be lying and I’m not very good at that.

Some people hate going to the dentist. I actually really enjoy going to the dentist! All I have to do is show up, lie back, and relax for however long it takes to do whatever it is he does with all those spiky instruments. Then he has one-way conversation with me about the importance of flossing, during which I always open my eyes wide to show I’m taking his dental opinion seriously. He makes me spit in a cup, and then he lets me leave. It’s not so bad. I quite like it. I spend the rest of the day running my tongue over my teeth. So smooooooooooth….

But the hairdresser.

The hairdresser is a different kettle of fish. At the hairdresser, I’m expected to make small talk (something I am already terrible at) with someone who I’m reasonably sure could not care less about the holidays I have coming up, or how my week has been. I mean, they probably just want to do their job and cut my hair without hearing information that will be discarded as soon as I’ve left the salon. Still, it’s expected of them to make small talk and ask about my life, and it’s expected of me to tell them about it and ask questions in return, and so we get stuck in an awkward cycle of expectations and reluctant small talk, and basically the entire thing makes my anxiety flare up like crazy to the point where I actually feel bad picking up a magazine and flicking through it. Instead, I hide my hands in the folds of my plastic bib and twist my fingers so hard they feel like they might break, and silently wonder how much longer I’m going to have to talk about my plans for the weekend.

It’s horrible.

[Sidenote: This is one reason* why I have never been to a nail salon. That scene in Legally Blonde where she goes and unburdens herself to her nail technician freaks me out. Like, do you have to make conversation for the entire nail … experience? You’re hardly going to sit in silence avoiding eye contact while someone literally holds your hand. Then again what if there are awkward silences? What if you run out of things to talk about? How long does it go on for? Just thinking about it is making me bounce my leg anxiously.]

It’s now March, and my hair is almost at my waist. It needs a chop. What I really need is for someone to drag me bodily to a hairdresser. Realistically, after typing this, I will avoid thinking about it for another, ooh, three months? Sounds doable.

So that’s my frivolous Friday thought; my first world problem of not having the cojones to go to the hairdresser. Wednesday: long blog post about awful truths. Friday: long blog post about getting your hair done. This blog is a rollercoaster of emotion.

If anybody has any tried-and-true methods for making yourself do things you don’t want to do as a grown adult… please leave it in the comments. Or carry me to the hairdresser, tie me up in one of those black plastic ponchos and dump me in a chair.

Either or.

I’ll see you on Monday! Have a great weekend.

*My other reason is that the sound and feel of nail files completely freaks me out. Just typing that out made me curl my fingernails protectively into my hand.

 

Life’s Little Disappointments

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I am big into art and crafts.

I’m not into all crafts. I’m not even into useful crafts, but I really enjoy making new things with my own two hands. I go through phases of intense focus where I NEED to learn how to decorate cakes/use watercolours/pyrograph/d├ęcoupage/make jam. Then, as soon as I’m good enough at it that I’m satisfied I could gift the results to some unsuspecting victim without having my skin fall off from the holy mortifying shame of it all… I lose interest. No sooner am I happy with the results of my jewellery-making than I’ve dropped all my beads and picked up some oil pastels, ready for my next challenge.

I’m like a tiny, fickle, Martha Stewart but without the multi-million dollar empire and the tax-evasion and the facial expression that implies she is perfectly capable of killing you with her own bare hands.*

For about two years now I’ve wanted to make a dreamcatcher. Yes, I’m talking about the tragically uncool, yarn-and-feather, possibly culturally-appropriative things that everyone used to have on their wall. They weren’t very useful for catching nightmares – or whatever it was they were supposed to do with your dreams – but they were a surefire sign that you were probably a girl growing up in the ’90s.

I have tried a couple of times to harness the power of the dreamcatcher, but every time I’ve just ended up with my fingers tangled in yarn. For about five glorious minutes, my creation looks like something spun by a drunk spider, and then it unravels completely, spilling beads across the floor. Every few months, I try. Every few months, I fail. You know what they say though; if at first you don’t succeed, just keep trying until you almost amputate your own finger by means of an accidental yarn tourniquet.

With this in mind, imagine how excited I was when I received an e-mail from Ikea telling me they were having an activity day during which there would be a craft class for how to make dreamcatchers. I was excited. I mean, I was really excited.

I put it in my calendar. I planned my weekend around it. I knew I wouldn’t have the car and Ikea is a trek away, so I plotted my route accordingly. When D-Day (Dreamcatcher Day) arrived, I set off on my adventure with high hopes. I took a bus to a place I had never been, and then walked to another bus stop where I took a second bus to a stop about half an hour from Ikea. I then walked (bounced, really) the rest of the way. I was going to CRUSH this! I would finally, finally, learn how to make a dreamcatcher. You know when cartoons think of money and dollar signs flash in their eyes? If I had been a cartoon in that moment, my eyes would just have been a series of potential dreamcatcher colour combinations.

I walked in the entrance to IKEA and looked around for my craft class. I was bang on time, so I knew it should be starting. It took me a couple of minutes, but eventually I found the sign for the dreamcatcher crafting crew. Once I realised I had found it, I stood, blinking, trying to comprehend what I was seeing.

The people making dreamcatchers were toddlers.

The “dreamcatchers” were big circles made of cardboard.

The “craft class” was actually just a sort of advanced childminding station.

Paralysed with disappointment, I watched as a dozen toddlers scribbled fiercely on their cardboard circles with fat, washable Crayola markers. A couple of IKEA employees moved from child to child, wiping snot and spit and encouraging them not to draw on the table. Tongues poked out in concentration as they pushed their markers back and forth, squiggling thick lines of colour all over the place.

When I could bring myself to move again, I glumly trudged to the homeware section and picked up a candle and a potted plant to soothe my soul.

Then I left, and got my two buses home.**

 

*Seriously. Does nobody else find her smile completely terrifying? I think it’s a combination of the smile and the wrinkle-free shirts. There’s just something very Patrick Bateman about her.

**To this day, I still have not mastered the art of the dreamcatcher.