Ital (eye'-tal): of or from the earth; vital; life giving; natural.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Haircuts and Humans

Last weekend, we indulged our urban side and spent three days in Kingston. We watched Netflix on high speed internet, ate Chinese food, attended the St. Andrew Horticulture Expo (where I picked up my first bunch of orchids~) and got haircuts. Well, Cy and I got our hairs cut anyway.

Cy's was the typical cut a child gets sitting at home on the front stoop while a parent with scissors hovers overhead trying to get everything even.

My experience was a little different. I found myself in an uptown salon painted an outrageous pink hue and attended to by a young urbanite named Princess. My very presence created a silent awkwardness. Yes, I'm white. Yes, I'm foreign. No, I'm not here for braids with beads. Just a haircut, please.

Hair is a complicated topic. It's entwined with race. I've written a number of posts trying to express these complications and implications. I don't possess the eloquence to write in detail about how these cultural subtleties possess us, define us, unite us or repel us.

I know that my presence in the salon put Princess on the spot. She had to up her game. She was, after all, responsible for cutting and shaping a white foreigner's hair~that thing that we still use so frequently to define us. I don't blame her for her nervousness or awkwardness or general feeling of being overwhelmed. I would have been too. And I did feel weird because I represented the "other", the one holding the bar high, the one with the power to make this go well or to turn it into a disaster. I'm not comfortable being placed in this role, but I find myself in it quite frequently. It is all very subtle but I notice how the barristas change their tone of voice when they talk to me or how the bus conductor directs me to the best seat...

Princess liked that I liked my new 'do. She appreciated my laughter, my small talk and chit-chat. We connected through our humanness.

At the end of the day, we are all just people. People with hairs that need trimmed, ideas that need to be expressed, feelings that need to be understood, hearts that need to share love, friendships that need to be cultivated, bellies that need to be fed, families that need to be cared for, insecurities that need reassurances, minds that need to be inspired.

Are you connecting on that most basic human level?                                                                                             

Friday, May 1, 2015


My business minded husband has conditioned me to think in terms of "quarters" and to set goals, mark time, assess budgets and the what-not accordingly.

The First Quarter of 2015 has passed and has set the trajectory for the rest of the year. I have officially started a family business. I have also completed a small business training program for a community project I'm involved with. We've planned our family vacation, created a family budget, made projections, made plans for the kids' birthdays, scheduled events and activities and yadda, yadda, yadda. All of that happened in the First Quarter. We congratulate ourselves because we've been busy. We've accomplished things. Crossed things off "The List".

I appreciate this orderliness to life. I like to be able to say that I've done "stuff". But I wonder sometimes if this parsing of time and dates and schedules and goals go against the fabric of living? Or place too many demands on meeting expectations?

In the Third Quarter of this year, I turn 40. FORTY. That sounds like I've reached a pinnacle. I'll be in the Middle Quarter of my life so to speak. I'm supposed to be wise and accomplished or at least own property and have assets.

In many ways, I'm not prepared. Or at least not prepared to face the 40 that carries with it all of these expectations. I'm still very much in the throes of figuring this life thing out. But then I remember that time is a construct. This timeline is self imposed. We make more lists and set benchmarks according to our age: By 25 I will do this, by 30 that. Some of us are so good at list making that we forget to allow room for life to happen.

And life does happen. We cannot foresee or plan for or anticipate each and every little occurrence.
Are you making room for Life?