Monday, June 29, 2009

Darling Don't You Go and Cut Your Hair

I don't remember the circumstances, but one time in High School I got pretty upset. Really upset. I can't remember why or what caused it, but I was pissed. I know I stormed out of a class room, a pair of scissors in hand, making my way out of sight and down the halls. My friends Jacob and Carni chased after me, worried about what I might do with a set of scissors in my highly agitated state. I'm not sure what they expected when they ran breathlessly into the bathroom -

But I'm pretty sure it wasn't me in front of a mirror, very calmly attempting to cut my hair, looking relatively surprised at their befuddlement.

I got so angry I needed a change, then and there.

Fast forward to earlier tonight when, sitting at my computer attempting to write a post, I was struck with an extreme and sudden wave of Existential Depression. The kind of depression you get when looking at people in line at the grocery store, and suddenly realize how pointless we all are (this happens a LOT to me in grocery stores, I don't know why there specifically). A sudden, total, and complete understanding of the insignificance of the average individual and your definite place within that system. A brief burst of hopelessness. Never long lived, but overpowering.

Today it was the Facebook mini-feed that did it; an array of status updates without charm or wit that made me realize once again the arrogance it takes to assume that we have something worth putting out to the world and just how easily we all assume that to be true, without thought or effort. None of which made attempting to write easier - compounded by a computer running the speed of a dying tortoise and a broken chair, things were not going well. The Existential Depression swiftly turned into a wave of self loathing (funny how that happens - my theory is that self-directed anger is much easier to feel ownership over than insignificance) until I was standing in the bathroom, staring in the mirror shaving my chest.

That's right - obviously the natural evolution of my impromptu hair cut some 6 or 7 years ago.

I was a good pectoral and a half done before I realized I was making a pretty big mistake. But a half-shaved chest looks even worse than a very conspicously shaven chest so at that point I had pretty much made the commitment.

I now feel ridiculous.

I have this need to create immediate physical change when I feel personal disatisfaction; as if I can somehow assume total control over my appearance and therefore my life and attractiveness (which is what this always comes down to). Body hair is a major self-esteem issue of mine (I hate it, can you tell?) second only to weight. That obviously has no quick fix so suddenly I'm in the bathroom presiding over a shearing. What I seem to forget every time though is that the result of this impromptu power struggle never, ever, looks good and invariably leaves me feeling even worse; because now I have to worry about the ludicrousness of chest stubble if I hook up with anyone over the next month.

The lesson should probably be something related to body image and self acceptance or the beauty of individuality even on Twitter or in Giant.

But I'm pretty sure it's actually that I need to be kept away from styling devices anytime I feel down or I'm going to spend my life looking like a test subject for bad DIY fashion trends.

And that tomorrow is gonna be REALLY itchy.
Gotta say girls, I don't know how you do it.


Dennis said...

Grocery shopping alone is the most depressing thing on the planet. Hmmmmmm do I want meatloaf and garlic herb mashed potatoes for dinner on Thursday or lemon pepper tilapia and asparagus???? Then that little (big) voice in my head......


"GTFO Dwa-!!"

But before I can finish his name he slams me in the head with a steel chair. Yes, *my* existential depression comes at me in the form of none other that Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.

I loved everything about your post and I miss you Jason.

Ozkirbas said...

For a lesson on manscaping:

Jstone said...

I got two things out of this post:
1. Hehe speed of a dying turtle.that's funny.

2. Your focus is always on the negative. Instead of looking at everyone in line at the store and thinking about how meaningless we all are remember that everyone goes to the store at some point. Einstein went to the grocery store. You don't know anything about those people, or your own future so think less of the banality of the mediocre man and keep in mind that the greatest minds still struggle with the mundane. Also when you get into a facebook slump, I find that closing the browser and opening a new one that contains great poetry or hilarious web comics that are clever and witty is a helpful reminder that somebody is worth something.

miiaoww said...

Three things which, while not particularly funny, seem relevant:

1. Yes, I too once made a drastic haircut choice. It felt good to take control of something! And a whole new person emerged, but not, I realize now, because of the haircut. Because of everything else going on in my life. That's what's worth pondering. Still, it wasn't a bad choice, and even if it had been - it's hair, it grows out...

2. Although I can understand why the grocery store might depress some, it's largely a matter of perspective. I could see the mortality of each cart-pusher, but I prefer to revel in the endless possibilities. Good food excites the senses - taste, sight, smell - like nothing else. There are new flavor combinations just waiting to be tried. Old favorite comfort foods that soothe the soul. (Always go with a list, though! Checking things off a list actually adds to my sense of the day's accomplishments and, when you have to stick to a budget, it really helps.)

3. Don't worry too much about the hooking-up-chest-stubble thing - trust me, any girl worth hooking up with will have other more important concerns when push comes to shove. As for a lady's shaving hints - any time you shave a new area, it's going to be uncomfortable. Use lots of good shaving cream and a sharp new razor blade. Don't shave against the grain - that's asking for trouble. Moisturize afterward with a light unscented lotion. Lubriderm for sensitive skin is usually good. Then, for extra skin protection and so you don't feel sticky, powder. (Sorry, I don't know if there is a manly equivalent to baby powder.) If you decide to continue shaving, the skin will get used to the razor and the itching from regrowth will stop, but this can take time. How often you shave is all personal preference. I can't stand a stubbly feel so I shave everything, every day. Other people can go weeks. Of course, if you don't want to mess with it, it's like I said - it's hair, it grows out.

SK said...

You started an entire blog on the presumption that you have something worth putting out to the world and you're looking down on others for their arrogance in jotting down one-liners in their facebook statuses and twitters?

Or is it that you assume your way is charming and witty and that makes it less arrogant?

Daniel said...

When I'm looking through my facebook feed, and i see that someone has posted a funny link, or video, i like them more.

maybe you should just post more funny links, or videos?

Anonymous said...

All of my existential crises used to happen in the grocery store until I switched to self checkout. Plus, I end up with my groceries bagged by location in the kitchen, like I like.

I'm proud of you for finishing what you started. I wish you and your chest the best of luck.

Jason Heat said...

@ SK -

Not looking down. More realizing the general ineffectualness of all of us - this idea that our every moments are worth recording and sharing (myself included). Sometimes I actually think that's totally true - that every thing we think of or believe has intrinsic value.

Most of the time, in fact.

But then Existential Depression engages and it all looks rather pathetic. Such is the nature of things - they look one way at one moment and another the next.

Jason Heat said...

Also, I'm totally charming and witty.

I mean, really, was that in question?

Matt Lindeboom said...

Nope. But I recognized that in you; for I am also witty and charming in the extreme. Sometimes, it's hard for me to walk down the street without cracking myself up at the observational remarks that seem to roll off my tongue. Indeed, sometimes I just have to stop and shake my head in wonder at how I just always seem to know the right thing to say.

Anonymous said...

Jason... Don't UNDER estimate what you are doing when you do a drastic cut of hair, be it on your head or chest! It IS a sign of something deeper..a depression..
AND..believe me, it will NOT just stop on its own. I first did a "drastic-hair-cut & DYE job..all by myself of course..the worse possible..when I was early, mid-twenties... I have a slight chemical imbalance, am on Paxel for years now, and much therapy later...and what do you think..wah-la... I JUST did it again.. and Im now 50 yrs.old.. DEAL with it now, at your age, or it will continue to destroy your state of mind.. it really is just another type of physical cutting of your is NOT a joke, NOR funny..only something having gone through it knows how much it hurts!!
best wishes!!