Category Archives: Hair


Malice - Snake

Ignoring the obvious veiled reference to sex, his words landed softly. Ignoring the lustful look, his eyes comforted her. Ignoring the bittersweet memories in her loins, his advances titillated her. Ignoring the knot that immediately rose up in her gut; a tugging she knew all too well, she smiled wantonly. What she couldn’t ignore were the tears streaming down her beautiful face; tears willing to comfort and caress a man who had certainly been through the kind of ordeal that comes not from malice, but from ignorance and a circle of pain that could only be broken by the kind of love that she was willing to give.

This entry is in response to Lillie McFerrin’s weekly challenge to take one word and caress five and only five sentences out of it. This week’s word: malice

Lillie McFerrin Writes


“Stand up straight!” “Straighten up!” “Stay in line!” “You’re out of line!” “Toe the line!” “Make a straight line.” “Line up single file.” “Don’t cross the line!” Criminy, these poor little dominoes, trying their best to act right…to be right, all based on what we tell them: What we think they should think. What we think they should do. What we think is important. What we think about God, gods, religions, churches, other people, the food they eat, the clothes they wear. How we think they should keep their rooms, how lucky we think they are, how grateful we think they should be, how much and what kinds of foods we think they should eat. As if that’s not enough we tell them how to bathe, how and when and where they can and can touch various parts of their bodies (noses, lips, their nether regions). And because there is always more: how to sneeze into the crooks of their little elbows, how to wipe, and how not to get hurt.  These viewpoints we impart are natural, unavoidable, even.  And even when we get it wrong, it is with pretty good intentions:  we want our kids to go out into the world prepared, not pampered.  We are meant to be their guidance counselors, not their buddies (that can come later).  But what about when we impart opinions to them as fact…like teaching a child that homosexuality is sinful, unacceptable, shameful?  And what about when these viewpoints lead to a death, a suicide?  That’s when toeing the line and being “straight” is not in the best interest of a child.  That’s when the near-perfectly aligned dominoes need to fall, each one hitting the next and the next and the next until the hatred and judgement is eradicated.  I pray my little dominoes will live to see and be a part of this long overdue revolution!

What We Keep

I like the practical. Knickknacks are not my thing. I suppose, if I am to be perfectly honest with myself, I have some, and they are precious to me. My knickknacks are not part of a collection in which similar items are gathered together. They are more of a gathering of items that feed my soul in some way. To give you an idea, there are the giraffe bookends that belonged to my mother, a life-like dragonfly which reminds me of my sister, a stately yet delicate blue crystal candy jar, a thick green bowl that reminds me of fake fruit and my childhood, and this heart-shaped bowl (pictured, and a gift from my sister) that contains two sock darners that belonged to my mother’s mother, a round rock just because I think it’s cool, and a camellia seed from my mother’s tree that I meant to plant but didn’t.

Who’s to say what’s important to us? What we should keep? What we should toss? What we should display, or hang, or leave lying around? Who makes these decisions for you? Is it whether or not the things you display are decoratively fashionable? Is it whether or not you feel you have to keep them because somebody important (and touchy) gave it to you and expects to see it when they visit? Or is it (and I hope it is) because you like what you display and you don’t care what anyone thinks?

Which leads me to my final thought about what we keep and what we toss, knick-knacks aside. Sometimes we keep ideas around because somebody else (a parental figure, an influential adult from our childhood, a religious figure) told us the thought was important, that we should keep it close, nurture it, take action on it. Many times, these ideas, especially if we have not followed through with them, are sources of great guilt and regret. Perhaps we have held onto a belief that we simply must attend church every week, or that we should plant a garden, write a novel, cut our hair short, or write handwritten thank-you notes. Not one of these things is bad…but left to fester inside of a person who does not define their spirituality by how often or even whether or not they attend church; has no green thumb whatsoever; does not have any desire to sit and write for hours on end; enjoys long hair; or does not think that a thank-you note is invalid if it is spoken or e-mailed, any one of these things can waste a tremendous amount of energy and goodwill (towards ourselves).

If you can think of at least one thing that you think you should do because somebody else thinks you should do it (phew…that’s a mouthful!), then I challenge you to let it go. Have a ceremony where you break plates in the street, die your teeth chartreuse, get a mohawk, or some other thing that makes the moment really memorable. And then, tomorrow, do the same thing. The following day, and the next and the next and the next…do the same kind of “un-shoulding” until you can stare at yourself in the mirror and realize that you are you, not someone else’s version of you. Keep what you want. Toss what no longer serves you. Then take a deep breath and catch the fresh scent of authenticity.


Recently, my friend and I decided to embark on a 7-day cleanse. Actually she decided, and then I decided to join her. The plan includes a ton of fresh vegetables (which we both love), eaten steamed or stir-fried in olive oil and also gently boiled into a vitamin and mineral packed broth to eat throughout the day. Additionally, several shakes made from fresh veggies, protein powder and flax seeds and oil can be happily drunk. Even hummus and certain nuts are allowed. Suffice to say that this “cleanse” seemed like nirvana to me since I really do enjoy eating healthfully (did someone mention lemon bars?). The biggest challenge for me was going to be starting the day with hot fresh lemon juice and green tea instead of my usual gigantic serving of blazing hot chai and oat bran crunchies (my morning ritual with a favorite book).

Day one found us washing, chopping and cooking the broth, which turned out to be yummy! The lemon juice was great too, as it reminded me, of course, of my favorite lemon bars (sans delectable crust and sugar of course). And I like green tea, so all was well…until day two when I began to feel deprived.

Day Two:  It started as a loneliness for my morning ritual, which was not quite the same with substitutes, and grew into an insidious coveting of any and everything anyone else was eating. I found this strange, as I typically eat whatever I want and don’t concern myself with this at all. In a moment of clarity (ok, and hunger) I realized that the cleanse was over.  Though it contained a myriad of healthy foods I adore, the strict plan also reminded me that I needed to honor my recovery by choosing not to participate in an endeavor that unexpectedly harkened back to pre-recovery days.  Deprivation was taking me backwards twenty plus years, not forward.  I was not experiencing cleansing, I was becoming darkly irritable.

Part of healing from bulimia when I was 23 had to do with exploring deep psychological issues.  An equally large part had to do with food itself, which had unwittingly become a coping tool, albeit an unsatisfactory one.  Since eliminating food from life is a bit tricky, one can only renegotiate the boundaries, establish a new relationship.  Little by little, that’s what I did.  And ironically, I found that allowing food free reign, and me free choices, was the unexpected path to wholeness.

This beautiful piece of rainbow chard, resplendent in green and yellow and absolutely delicious steamed with a tad of butter, reminded me that recovery is also beautifully resplendent, and a sacred, holy gift to be honored.  As for the cleansing, that’s been happening for the last 23 years.


There is something about a ladder that inspires me to climb to new heights, but the most persistent urge is to defy my strong sense of reality, of the practical, and climb so high that the ladder disappears below. As the wooden rungs disintegrate, they are replaced by thick, dark, winding green tendrils of beanstalk. I climb and climb, higher and higher, until the most beautiful skyline appears. A sharp intake of breath, then another calmer one and I am fully enjoying the view, the feeling of being “up above it all.” I take a step towards the lushest, greenest grass I have ever seen and begin to wonder about The City Park Jungle, the place I used to visit as I kid when I would lay so flat on the earth that the very tall grass would obscure any view of me. I loved imagining that I was invisible yet safe, and this is how I wind up feeling so far above the civilization below.

I loved all the tiny creatures who were in the jungle with me. But alas, remembering the tiny creatures in the grass, leads me to ponder the fact that I have escaped into my childhood fantasy while standing on top of a very high beanstalk, only to be reminded of the giant in Jack’s adventure. I wonder if he is here now but quickly recover as I remind myself that not only is this my fantasy, but also that I am in control of what happens to me up here.

I may not be in complete control of what happens to me today, but I am in control of how I feel and how I react to the circumstances of each unfolding moment. Today I will climb like this, choosing to be happy and light…suspending any thought that threatens to alter this view-from-the-top perspective, despite the ever-present hunger of the giant.


Tobi's Toes

One of my first cats, a giant gray tabby, was named Toes. Many years later my kids and I painted our toes (not our nails, our toes). I envisioned having a big party with all kinds of paints and everyone creating masterpieces or whimsical design on their toes. Crazy? Perhaps. Certainly. Of course. That’s just me. And for some reason, I like toes.

Today I found this photo of my son’s foot. I eventually noticed the way the water pressed itself around each toe…an “impression”…which led me to question myself, “What kind of impression are you making?” When I press myself into this life I am blessed with, what squeezes out around the edges? On days I am tired, do my children see my grumpy, impatient edges, or do they see me trying to be kind despite how I feel? When I am engrossed in conversation with another friend, do I squeeze out “it’s all about me” as I talk their ear off instead of listening, asking about them? When my husband comes home from work and I am thinking about how great it is that he can take over some of the parenting, do I still welcome him home with love and warmth, concerned about him and HIS day?

I know what I want these answers to be. And I know what they really are. I realize that I need to work on my “impressions”…not the kind that help me appear to be something I am not, but the kind that make me stronger, and encourage, nurture and inspire those around me.

So if you happen to see me staring at your toes, you will have to wonder whether I am just admiring them, or if I am working on making a better “impression.”