Pity’s Party — Table For Zero, Please.

It came down to a decision. When does it ever not, right? In a single year, you will make over three point seven billion decisions. Did you know that? No – I completely made that up, but the figure sounded feasible.

Everything from waking up in the morning and deciding whether or not to make your bed now, later or never, to stopping to pet the dog on the way into the kitchen, is a decision you do or do not make. Life: a sequence of choices and decisions.

I thought seriously about shaving my head this morning.

Yeeep. Just taking the plastic claw thingy and dragging it over my scalp until I was bald and beautiful, and no doubt blubbering after the rush of adrenaline had worn of.

I think it’s interesting how people laugh politely at the proverbial insanity of writers. In fact, we expect them to be just a little mad; for if they aren’t, what good is their art? Well, madness may conjure up lots of pretty metaphors and glamorized ideals, but it’s only pretty to look at from a distance or read about after said Mad Writer has had mounds upon mounds of favorably quantitative success. Real madness is dark and depraved. It’s self-absorbed and megalomaniacal. It isolates and deteriorates, stripping hope and joy and selflessness from a person until there is nothing but a fragile, paranoid, moody individual who may or may not aspire to greatness. I see nothing about madness to laud and revere. I want no part of it. If you see it coming for you, run and scream, tuck and roll, bake a cake — do whatever you have to do to keep it away.

Might I be honest with you?

I tend to wait as long as possible before disclosing that I’m a writer; up until that point, to the stranger, I am perhaps intelligent, insightful, and well spoken. Then all of a sudden the chin bobs up and down, the eyes shrink to slivers, and it’s “Oh . . . well of course, then. You’re a writer.” Here a very marked pause counts the beats until wherein the next question goes something as follows: “So what have you published?”

Cue the death of a piece of my soul.

And now tis expected of you that rose petals should fall from your mouth when you speak, but it’s not at all wonderful if they do. Doctors save lives. Teachers educate children. And writers, they say lots of lovely things. Tell me, you, is a star any less spectacular when it’s coruscating in the Heavens? Further still, the act and very nature of a human being devoted to fulfilling its purpose is a marvelous treasure. We’ve only just forgotten that it is.

I’m back to considering removing all my hair.

The feint sound of buzzing coos to me in the distance.

And now I’m picturing my spouse’s face upon arriving home from work today. He’s standing in the doorway, his black and silver mesh lunchbox clutched in his left hand. It drops to floor – along with his jaw – with a loud thump. Then he begins to nod in a circle and says in controlled even tones, “You, uh . . . you look . . . good!”

And by “good,” he of course means hideous abomination, and then, bristling like a cat dunked in a tub, I skulk off to adhere all my hair back to my scalp, using Elmer’s glue and a staple gun.

The end.

So the decision is mine to make: I can continue to sit here feeling just a little too sorry for myself. I can shave my head. Or . . . I can finish my amazing cup of coffee, get cleaned up and dressed for the day, and leave the house thankful that I have both a car and legs to do so.

I’m hopping in the shower.

Have a very blessed day, everyone.

P.S. I’m keeping my hair.

64 thoughts on “Pity’s Party — Table For Zero, Please.

    • Alessandro, I’m afraid you’ve flummoxed me. It could be that you are simply a clever man and have out-clevered me, or perhaps “it” is so unbelievably simple, my abstruse brain is trying to make it more complicated that need be. Either way, what do you mean?

      • Ha!

        I appreciate your input. I think majority would agree with you. For now, anyway, I am keeping my hair. If it is to remain indefinitely affixed to my scalp . . . we shall see.

        Have a wonderful day, Alessandro.

  1. Cara, you wrote:
    “And now tis expected of you that rose petals should fall from your mouth when you speak, but it’s not at all wonderful if they do.”
    Yes, it’s not at all wonderful…This reminds me of the fairytale in which a young woman has been enchanted so that when she speaks jewels fall from her lips. This is not a good thing in our world. And if experienced, would be kind of awful physically.
    :0)
    You’re right, a star is no less wondrous when WE can’t see it. It’s still a shining star.
    Are you tempted to self-pity about some publishing thing-ee always asked of you the writer? Tell them you publish a blog – would they like to follow it?
    So glad for both of you that you didn’t do that awful thing with your hair. Hair is somewhat sacrosanct for us women.
    Also, you’re right about madness. It’s an affliction not a part of creativity.
    Maria

    • Ah, Maria, yes! I have heard of that story, though haven’t had the opportunity to read it quite yet. I look forward to checking it out at the library. Could you tell me the name and author, please?

      And I agree with you 100%. Awfully discomfiting to endure jagged, sharp jewels stabbing your cheeks and bloodying your tongue every time you tried to speak. Can’t imagine that would look at all pretty. I would must prefer the rose petals, mmm . . .

      Actually, my self-pity stemmed from my actual hair. Can you believe it? The whole writer/published bit was somewhat impromptu; though I would’t be a true writer unless I was pitying about some writerly thing, would I. So yes, I suppose I am a bit wan over something, but I have begun to realize that is actually part of the process.

      Oh, I hate to worry you, but the decision is not at all set in stone. I am hoping I get to keep it, but it’s up to those follicles for succor my scalp to act as bulwark. Darn strands just keep on falling out.

      All the best to you, Maria.

  2. I’ve always wanted to rock the bald look.seriously. I should have tried it before I got married, though, because A’s not having it. That , and jumping out of an airplane. Le sigh.

    I hope your shower cleared your head and washed some of the crazy off. Deep breath, you’re awesome and gorgeous and, yes, a little crazy. But that’s why you’re lovable!

    • Christy, I think you actually could pull of the bald look; and well! Too bad A won’t go for it . . . maybe for your 50th? ;)

      Shower. Hm, well, yes, there was definitely clearing, but most of it was being done on my head, not in it, unfortunately. I took some of those deep breaths, though. They helped. Thank your for the sweet words. At the end of it all, if I can still remain lovable, I have not completely been in vain.

      C

  3. I completely agree with you I had a roommate once who said she had ‘borderline personality.” My take was that she was self absorbed and narcisstic.
    I wait to tell people I’m an artist if I tell them at all. They always say the same thing if they find out. “Why aren’t you teaching?” I have nothing against that profession. If I were male they wouldn’t ask me that. I don’t want to be a teacher. Not every female wants to play a caretaker role.

    • Your roommate sounds like very little fun. Did you kick her out? ;)

      Those questions are the bain of my existence. I just want to claw my ears off when I hear them? Grace. Lots and lots and lots of grace for the daft and obtuse. I have a plethora of shortcomings myself, so I know I must grant those who unknowingly hurt me with the grace He gives me daily.

      Thank you for the commiseration, Susan.
      Hope you had a nice day,
      C

  4. Those billions had me click ‘read more’ – even though you admitted making it up. Was just wondering where it was going…

    ‘Coruscating’ – my word for the day. As I write this, I don’t know what it means – will have to look it up. Excellent though, to say that a star is no less brilliant for the fact you don’t see it ‘coruscating’ through the heavens. I have heard it said, & live by it! – a WRITER, is no less a WRITER, if they’ve not been published. If you practise writing, you’re a writer. And there’s varying degrees of quality of writers, & SO many un”discovered”. But this piece of yours – excellent. Rose petals falling from your lips…. just great writing. Brief even, attention grabbing in the titles ‘May I be honest with you?’

    Guess what: I DID shave my head. I was utterly sick of grooming it every day… oh, a bad hair day, joy! a good hair day – how much it was a part of my confidence annoyed me, & I took my underarm shaver in the shower one night – when I walked in to have a shower, I had no idea I would do this; it was THAT impulsive – and I shaved it off. I had to cut it jaggedly short first, toss chunks in the bin, but I shaved it.

    My son at first was worried about me, why I was taking so long. I had to say to him, “Darling, I’ve done something a bit different – I’ve shaved my head. I just want to warn you before I come out.” He was about 10, I think. He looked at me a few long seconds, and then he said I looked gay, and then he said “But I still love you.” True.

    Loved your article – excellent :)

    Noeleen
    http://www.VodkaWasMyMuse.wordpress.com
    http://www.WordsFallFromMyEyes.wordpress.com

    • Well . . . if you aren’t the most delightful thing my day has seen. Wow. This was certainly a pleasure to find in my inbox. A “thank you” hardly seems like it would suffice, but I shall give you one anyway; and of course any rose petals that should fall from my mouth between now and then. ;)

      Wow. You actually did it? You shaved it all off? How did you feel afterward? Were you glad to be rid of it? Or did you mourn a little? I’m afraid of the mourning part, honestly. It might not be enough to stop me, however. I am growing (Ha, no pun intended) tired of dealing with these hairy (pun most certainly intended) situations. Either it will be lovely and I will appreciate it, or there will be none and I will give it no more of my precious time and energy. There is no in between with me. Hot or cold — lukewarm is for pee. Sorry. I am kinda just flying here, and not really wanting to stop chatting with you.

      Your son; wow. The truth certainly hurts. I am so very glad he added the subsequent “But I love you” at the end. That almost makes it all better. I had a “the truth hurts” moment this morning when I received an email with not as much enthusiasm as I had hoped for. It quickly went down hill from there, but I was lucky enough to see myself degenerating into a selfish pile of goo, and decided to turn the day around. I got out. I ate food. I read a book. And then I stopped by the library, picked up two books I had on hold, and impulsively selected 4 movies to take home with me. My husband, bless his beautiful soul, told me I was beautiful, and we are about to go grab some dinner together. The day, all in all, was not so bad at all. How was yours?

      Your accolades and kindness truly was the shining spot in my day. I have this saying I made up and it goes something like this: “You don’t realize how desperately you are in need of kindness until someone actually gives you some of it.” Thank you, Noeleen, for giving me plenty. My heart was lighter after reading this.

      So very looking forward to wandering over to your blog shortly,

      Much thanks,
      Cara

      • Hi Cara, Wow! :) Thank you so much for your appreciation, but truly your post was great, & it was easy to let you know.

        Re the email that started going downhill & you changed – excellent job. Like changing gears in a car.

        Your day sounds wonderful – sunshine, a library, a loving husband who isn’t shy to say it… I just worked all day, that’s all! There’s a girl at work who reads like you seem to – she goes to the library every second week. She’s unreal with how much she reads.

        Hope you had a great meal – cheers.

    • Ha! That’s funny you should mention that, Jenny. I just took Bella to the groomers last week to have her shaved. She is so gosh-darn pretty and soft. I squzzle and squzzle her every night until she practically asks me to put her down.

  5. Cara,

    Stress can manifest itself in such strange ways. Some people turn to self medication or maybe a carton of Ben and Jerry’s to deal. It’s so funny you mention shaving your head because when I get particularly stressed, I get an overwhelming urge to grab the clippers and shear off my flowing locks. It would be so liberating! I’ve even mentioned it to my family (they highly discouraged the idea.) And I have no doubt I would immediately regret it.

    I am laughing to myself right now, and at the same time thinking that I am indeed “crazy” for admitting to this at all… I’m going to go rock back and forth and blubber in the corner for awhile now. ;)

  6. You know what they say! ‘A woman’s hair is her crowning glory.’ But hair is somewhat harder when it is blonde, ridiculously thick, halfway down your back, and alternates being crazy curly or wavy, depending on my mood and/or the humidity. :D
    As far as the writer thing, I totally agree. In my mind, I have no doubts that it is what I dream of and truly, truly desire. But I also would love to be a nurse someday! My true passion, however, is writing. Hardly anyone knows this about me! To some people, saying you want to be a writer is like saying ‘when I grow up I want to be homeless’ which is not true at all, of course. When someone asks me what I want to be when I’m older, I often respond with something indistinct, like ‘oh, you know, still figuring it out!’ while in reality, I have no doubts about my dream. Or the fact that I can and will achieve it.

    • Olivia, who ever coined that term should be shot (with a BB gun). I do not for one second believe that a woman’s hair has anything to do with her exceptionality. It’s true, our hair can indeed make us feel feminine and coy, sexy and sophisticated, or it can make us wish we had none at all. All that said — it’s hair!

      Hm . . . I am having difficulties discerning where your troubles come into play? My dear, it sounds as if you have a head full of luscious blonde locks! I am envious, to say the least!

      And you will write, Olivia. If that is what your heart is telling you you must do, then so you shall.
      ;)

      • They also say ‘The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.’ :D My hair is just… large. And frizzy. And long. But I appreciate having any at all, although I frequently get the same urge to hack it all off!
        I know I will! It sounds silly, but I can’t wait to prove to everyone that I CAN be successful! :) Have a great weekend, Cara!
        Olivia

  7. I’m glad you decided not to shave your head. Good call! Writing is tough. We have to mope. We have to go through all the highs and lows. And being misunderstood by all non-writers is the worst. :)

    • Well, to be honest, the verdict is still out. While I was somewhat ambiguous about why it is I want to shave my head, my hair is causing me grief, and the idea of not having any does hold an appeal. It’s the after-the-appeal-is-over I am worried about, though. For the meantime, it’s staying on my head. But I cannot make any promises about further impulses.

      Thanks, Kourtney.

  8. Oh, Cara, thank you for sharing your writers’s insanity. I twirl my hair when I get stressed and my husband and I joke about it. Thank you for sharing…it will be ok.

  9. Good for you, Cara. But, my dear, shaving it all off needn’t be an act of madness, or self-doubt. I did it as an act of giving – raising money for Leukemia. It was liberating. And I raised several hundred dollars for research!

    • Wonderful, Mere! I know of a similar organization, Locks of Love, that does mainly the same thing. If and when I am ever to grow my hair out and they will accept it, I hope to donate as well.

      The madness is not so much self-doubt, but comes from being denied the right to choose. You gave your hair away; you made the choice to do something kind and selfless. That, unfortunately, is not my situation. I cannot seem to coax my hair to stay in for anything. In the end, I will not be decided by hair. I will have it or be rid of it. It is hair; nothing more, nothing less.

      • I should say then, that I feel forced into making a choice. It doesn’t need to all make sense; they are called feelings for their lack of rationale and logic. If I could, I would choose to keep my hair. Simple as that. I am a woman, and thus appreciate a full head of thick strands. It’s a bit sad to see them all falling out, like lost children in a department store, scattering and searching in every direction sans the right one!

      • I just might! Though . . . you think Michael would be okay with me having a Bob? Heh . . . I couldn’t resist.

        Hope you are happy and well, Mere.

  10. I wish the words could flow from my brain like they do so eloquently from yours. You have an amazing gift that you share with everyone every time you post, surely your days of being published are right around the corner. Until then, please hold onto your hair!!

    xo
    elisa

    • LOL! Elisa, you actually made laugh and smile. Thank you. I don’t know, but coming from the beseech sounded both endearing and unoffensive.

      Thank you for supporting me,
      ~ C ~

  11. It didn’t really turn out that well for Britney, so that was probably a good idea!

    Put it this way, I have friends who have the same issues when they say “Oh I’m an artist.” But they just continue to make art anyway.

    • Yes, well, there’s many things that didn’t work out so well for Britney. Being the product of society’s impulses will do that to you.

      Good for your friends. I will follow in their steps. :O)

  12. You are a beautiful person with or without your lovely locks, Cara.

    I believe everyone contributes, or should strive to contribute, something that makes the world a better place. Part of that bit for me is RAKMs (Random Acts of Kindness Moments). I know you have a passion for those, too.

    I choose to be a writer, and have (finally!) overcome that dreaded “published” glee-killer. I smile at the person making the inquiry. I choose to assume they ask the question because they are truly interested, admire writers, and want to rush off to buy my books.

    With that mindset, the answer is simple, heartfelt, and (Power of Expectation) true: “Not yet. But, I will be.”

    • Thank you . . .

      Yes, we most definitely share a passion for RAKMs.

      Such great wisdom and positivity in these words, Gloria. I like this perspective. I sometimes question those asking, wondering if the goal is to make me feel small and insignificant, but I think you are right: for the most part, people are genuinely interested and curious and just want to know what it’s like. And if they’re not, how sad that they must hurt people to feel good about themselves.

      “Not yet, but I will be.” <3

  13. Ok, I dont know about the “shaving of your hair” part …. but I truly believe in drastic changes…. (Maybe blue hair?!) Drastic changes are a nice shock to the body (in my humble opinion) and will help you reset your mind/body to zero and start fresh…. (neon pink highlights?)

    From what I’ve read, you are a great writer, and you are able to capture and engage your readers, and compel us to comment….. in my books, that’s huge! And if you really want to make a change – AND leave your beautiful hair alone – try wearing funky clothes, start running….wear funky clothes while running!, start a raw food challenge (I have done it twice, and it’s invigorating!), and if all fails, green highlights?!

    • You’re much like a travel brochure, aren’t you? :) With you, I have options!

      I agree with you . . . drastic changes — in the moment and the few subsequent — can have a positive affect; however, if the underlying root issue is not addressed and attended to eventually, or if the reason behind the change is purely to escape, you will end up with blue hair, neon pink and green highlights, and running through a park in funky clothes. ;-)

      I have an extreme personality, but after being married to Logic himself for past 8 years, I have begun to see the prudence in the middle. It’s tough. I all for whims and impulses and he’s all about taking a moment to process. “Process?” I say, making the word sound like rutabaga. “Who wants to do that?!” LOL.

      I appreciate you coming by and sharing your thoughts and humor with me. You made me smile this morning. Thank you. I wish you a wonderful weekend!

      ~ C ~

  14. I love your discourse on decisions, tricky things :) It’s an interesting discussion and when I googled “urge to cut hair”, topical – the are pages & pages of results. Whenever I’ve had the urge to do something drastic to my hair, and a few times I have done it, it’s been the precursor to a process: the itchy feeling like your skin doesn’t fit, to “I know, I’ll change my hair”. And you do, and it feels good so then you think about the real change you needed to make even if you didn’t realise it and because you were brave & adventurous and made the hair change & coped you can now deal with the real stuff. I read an interesting quote the other day “you can jump, you’ll land somewhere” – applies to hair, all sorts of change but my first thought was “yes, I’ve jumped & landed in the …” but sometimes you just have to hop to avoid the… and then jump.

    • Welcome home, Michael! Your travels were much fun to peek at via Fb. The wine, the food, the sights . . . wow. I hope you and your wife had a wonderful, wonderful time together.

      Thank you. ;-) A little madness lives in us all, I suppose; it’s taming it time and time again that can be rather challenging.

      Hoping you acclimate to the daily rigamarole’s of life with ease,
      Cara

  15. Oh Cara, I am so sorry that on this particular day you were feeling so down. I’m hoping that almost a week later, you are feeling some better. I can’t imagine the pressure that must come from being a writer. I, myself, didn’t even want my family and friends to read my blog because it felt so personal and pressured. So, my friend, I commend you on following your dreams, passion, and talent and being a writer. Also, one thing I know for certain, is that feelings never last forever. You may be feeling sad, disappointed, uninspired one hour, and the next, God can give you a beautiful blessing that can change your entire out look.

    I’m happy you are keeping your hair (but you would look beautiful even without it) and just keep breathing :)

    Happy Sunday dear lady! -Amber

    • Thank you, Amber, and yes, it is as you say; after making the conscious decision not to oblige myself with a pity-party, my day quite rapidly turned right on around for the positive.

      Yes . . . I do love that things don’t ever remain the same for very long. Of course this can be to one’s detriment if that person prefers stability, but I think God works best in the unknown. I like His surprises.

      I understand what you mean about your blog feeling personal. I could be wrong, but I don’t believe any of my family members read my blog, either. If they wanted to, I would be okay with that, but there is an element of security in remaining somewhat anonymous.

      Breathing . . . :-)

      Hoping you’re having a fabulous weekend!

  16. So glad you decided to start your day… and your hair is still in-tact, right?
    I tend to keep quiet about being a writer too for the most part. Especially at work, where it would be frowned on.

    My friends know, because they have been reading my stuff for 20 years. New poepl, though, I keep it quiet with. I’m not sure why.

    Hope you had a great shower!

    • LOL. Yes, hair is intact, one piece, attached, all good! I started a new program recently, so I am hoping my hair issues disappear; now the writer issues, those will always be there, as they should be.

      Curious . . . where is it that you work that your writing would be frowned upon? If you rather not say, I completely understand.

      Shower was wonderful, weekend was blissful, and looking forward to a movie and popcorn, and snuggles with the pup and hubs before starting another week.

      Hoping you are enjoying yours as well, Jennifer!

  17. Thanks Cara! Shaving off? That got my heart skipping three simultaneous beats at first!!!Shocked me i wasn’t able to “decide” against it…lol!!! What a joy it always is to read your insightful mind provoking posts.Stay at it!

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