It’s Mine, Not Yours…

We live in a society where it’s become more important to look cool and APPEAR happy on social media than it is to be a genuine person. That said, let me just start this post off with the main point and get it over with:  I am unbothered by how bothered people (apparently) are that I have deactivated my Facebook profile.

If it’s that important for people to discuss amongst themselves, to speak ill of it, to assume that it has something to do with them (apparently, several people decided that I had just blocked or removed them and that it was something personal to them), or to assume that my disappearance there (again – it’s not like I don’t take random social media breaks – clearly I take long hiatuses here, too, if you look at my post schedule for the last few years) has something very defining to say about the state of my mental health as though I don’t share openly about not only my mental health but my entire life EVERYWHERE: it’s just not that deep. It’s really not.

Neither my very open sharing nor my random complete vanishing acts are that deep. It’s not a plot, a ploy, or a campaign for or against anything. It’s just me being me, just like for the majority of everyone else it’s just them being them. It’s just being real. Authentic. Me. ((internal scream))

This post is for THOSE people – because those people will be people who know about this blog – and anyone else who ever negatively reacted to or spoke about a person they knew who decided to be “weird,” “mental,” “sensitive,” or viewed as otherwise abnormal because the person – GOD FORBID – deacctivated, deleted, hid, or removed a social media profile.

Honestly. Get over yourselves.

I have long had the open opinion that social media is the devil more than the angel in the “devil/angel/shoulder” triad. I’ve always been super verbal about this. I have also, however, always been a person who subjugated myself to the BS that social media tends to inevitably be and bring because I often feel as though I MUST meet the social requirements of family and friends who “won’t see or know what is going on with the boy” or “in my life” if I’m not on (specifically) Facebook (because, you know, THAT is the one EVERYBODY uses).

Admittedly, and especially during the time that my mom was sick or during times when I’ve had a lot going on emotionally during COVID and isolation, I have spent a lot of time on the book of faces sharing my thoughts and baring my soul. It’s easy to do when you keep a limited friends list (mine has been between 50 and 60 people, mostly family for a few years now).

It always starts the same way when I get back on the social medias: I reactivate or rejoin so that I can be in these groups (mostly private ones) for support around certain causes (with mom it was dementia, and I’ve also been heavily active in other groups about everything from specific mental health issues like anxiety and depressions to coping with alcoholism to photography to coping mechanisms and grief to writing prompts to cleaning tips and online, chronological recipe roledexes)…but I ALWAYS end up wanting to educate my f-list about things or share with people that I THINK are close and real friends (and let’s be fair – 80% are) only to end up offending someone because I have an opinion, EVEN if they agree with the opinion but don’t think it is something I should share on the interwebs.

So, now that an entirely too long preface to the fruit of this post (despite the fact that I started this post with my main point) is finished – clearly, my long form writing is out of practice – let me share with you this glorious, foggy Sunday morning (where I am) my list of 5 things that I have considered at length over recent days and feel that every person should remember (or be reminded not to forget if they haven’t already forgotten these things):

1. Social media is preferred by most to be an illusion of a FAKE existence/reality and you can’t be a genuine and 100% authentic person on social media without being punished or judged by SOMEONE at SOME POINT. End of story.

2. Nobody cares. It sounds apathetic, but it’s true. The majority of people on public social media (not your close friends on your private posts, necessarily) DO NOT CARE about anything you post unless it is a picture of something they find aesthetically pleasing or that they think is hilarious (think, for the most part, kittens and other baby animals). They do not want to read words and they do not care to expand their mind or expound on their thoughts (or yours). Personally, I even (and, frequently) get insulted for USING WORDS, big and small, too much on social media. Go figure, right? ((dry laugh))

3. If you already struggle with mental health issues like depression and anxiety or personal issues like lack of self-esteem, self-confidence or self-love, SOCIAL MEDIA WILL MAKE THOSE ISSUES WORSE and contribute to your pain more than it will help you to face your demons and grow (again, in some cases people have used social media to overcome certain fears and issues, and there are some wonderful private groups on social media and many sites and forums online that are incredibly helpful for some people, but for the most part it (public social media) is not a safe or healthy place for the already struggling mind/psyche).

4. Just like in real life (haha), people do not want you to genuinely love them, genuinely try to get to know them, genuinely take interest in them as an individual human being, or genuinely give them the benefit of the doubt when it comes to what shreds of truth and actuality they share on social media. They just want a lot of likes and compliments.

And, on that same note, those SAME people will be the people who ALWAYS pop up in your comments with some negative or completely abject and contradictory (to their own actual existence – because they’ll basically say that something is OK for them but not for anyone else) stance on posts that (again) really aren’t that deep. “Opinons are like assholes, everybody has one,” and if you don’t want to be shit on? If you’re going through a period where you are feeling less than or a time during which your skin is pretty thin? Stay off of social media.

5. Finally, the last but main point to remember when it comes to being on social media in 2020: at the end of the day, no matter how much you fight and bleed and protest and try to explain to the world through words and pictures what is wrong and how to fix it when it comes to political and social issues? The best way to accomplish that is STILL and always will be grassroots movements and activism, whether through writing or speaking, and otherwise making your voice heard in your own local communities and branching out from there.

You’ve got to remember that social media is just a bunch of noise at this point – a bunch of people with the intellectual advancement of a kindergardener (smart and not so smart kindergardeners) all yelling and raising their voices at once to share opinons, not facts, without first raising their hands and asking questions or hearing the objective opinons and voices of reason from people who know what the hell they are actually talking about.

Sorry, Trump fans, but it’s very much like Trump sitting in a briefing with Dr. Fauci to be briefed about COVID, not paying a lick of attention because he already has his mind made up and believes that he knows everything and doesn’t need one of the top infectious disease doctors in the world to help him (depsite the privilege that that is, in reality), and then getting on the podium in front of the whole nation and rambling on about how he is the most terrific person ever doing all the greatest and most wonderful things, playng down COVID in the few words that he uses to mention it, making a few insults about the intelligence of everyone in the nation for being anxious or afraid concerning COVID, calling leading doctors and professionals unintelligent and telling people to drink clorox (he says it was taken out of context, but…uhhhhh), going back to talking about himself for a bit longer, and then ending on a note of, “you’re stupid, this is not reporting, you’re a moron because you care about facts and not how wonderful I am, sit down, you’re fake news….”

Seriously. That’s what social media has turned into…

And, that’s why I needed a break from it – espeically now, during all of these insane election happenings… I would rather read a 20-minute read time blog post that educates me about something than look at your pointless meme about Trump’s tan or Biden’s age (and information skewing memes about dementia when you’ve never lived with, cared for, or been a caregiver to a person who actually HAS dementia), or waste my time trying to talk to people who are SO comitted to seeing the world in literal black and white and not understanding that there is SO MUCH GREY AREA and so much we can learn from each other’s thoughts and experiences.

Ultimately, for the people who inspired this post? My social media is mine, not yours. And yours is yours and no one else’s, so you should do with yours whatever you well please to do with it but don’t forget the realities shared above and don’t let it stress you out too much…and if it does or it begins to? Write it out elsewhere – in a blog, or even a text to me or a close friend. I mean, really – talk it out, whatever thing is bothering you. You do what you do, but don’t let social media have SO MUCH CONTROL over your life.

Sigh… I hope you’re all doing well. Thank you for listening to (reading) my rant. Please, share your thoughts and experiences in the comments. And? Look for photoblogs and random fun things from me in the coming hours and days. I went so far as to literally run away from my house I was so sick (physically) and stressed out. Minicay = photoblogs for your enjoyment, coming soon…

Buzzed.

Several weeks ago I shared a post about my hair and how I had almost buzzed it. Here is a quote from the post:

For a very long time I have thought about shaving my head. For a time only the slightest bit less than the amount of time I’ve thought about it, I have wanted to shave my head. I’m talking buzz cut, not slick. But either way – bald is the name of the game. I go back and forth about actually doing it, but I WANT to do it. I’ve come to a time where I’ve really begun to think more seriously about it – to the point that I presented the idea to both the man and the child and they have no opinion at all other than that they want to be involved in the process.

Well. Here we are, about three weeks later, and the deed has been done. I actually did this almost RIGHT after I shared that post, but I wasn’t ready to share THIS post right away because I wanted to see how it went. I wanted to see how I really felt about it. I wanted to collect some pros and cons after having done it, and I wanted to feel fully “buzzed,” if you will, before I started spouting words about the experience. I am ready to do that now.

Before I go any further, there is something I want to talk about – perhaps clear up, so to speak. One of the most consistent experiences I have had since the buzzing took place has been this one (or, at least, this one in so many words), over and over again:

“You are so brave! I could never do it – even if I wanted to! It’s very courageous to make such a huge change!”

This bothers me and I want to tell you why it’s not true. It did not take courage for me to buzz my head (or shave it, or whatever term you wish to use). I am not courageous. I was not looking to completely change my life in a matter of moments with a hairstyle (ok, maybe in some ways I was – which I will discuss further in the “Pros” section of this post). I just WANTED to do it. So I did! It really was that easy. For a long time I couldn’t understand why people had to attach more to it than that – sure, a lot of thought went into it before I did it, as shared in my original post. But I feel really awkward when people say, “you’re so brave! I could ever do that! That took a lot of courage.”

No. It really and truly didn’t. For me, what it took was being fed up with my hair for a number of reasons. It took wanting it the hell out of my face and to stop wasting my time. Oh, and it took a quick flip of the on switch and running the clippers over my head. That’s all it took. There’s a difference between being brave and just being done.

Brave is charging into a burning building or jumping out of a helicopter into the ocean to save lives. Brave is working as a beat cop during this day and age. Brave is facing your demons, getting help with addiction or mental health issues or finding a way out of an abusive relationship. Brave is being a woman in a country where women have no rights. Comparatively, I am not brave. I have only done something I wanted to do… Maybe that IS brave to some, and I suppose that I can accept that and allow anyone who feels that way the right to feel that way. But personally? I don’t feel that way about it. I don’t feel it was a “brave” thing to do, and it truly makes me uncomfortable to be called “brave” over something so insignificant as shaving off my hair.

Now that I’ve expressed my thoughts on that, I want to share with you some of the other things I have experienced and learned since flipping the on switch and the best way to do that, I think (for me), is a (hereto incomplete) list of pros and cons.

The Pros (so far):

  • MONEY
    • First of all, it doesn’t cost anything to run the clippers over my head. I don’t have to pay someone else to do it (yet – I’m not into styling at this point, just being uniformly buzzed).
    • I also spend almost zero money on hair products.
    • The only hair product I use is shampoo – although I use it daily now as (con) my head gets oily much more quickly.
    • I also have found myself using the Argon oil I gave to my husband for his beard on my head the last couple of days because the winter is drying my scalp out (not my hair, which still gets oily by morning even without the argon oil – go figure). I haven’t quite found a balance there.
    • But the bottom line for this bullet is that this is CHEAP and I love it.
  • EASE OF EXISTENCE
    • No bed head.
    • Shower time = five minutes.
    • No drying time.
    • No styling time.
    • No fuss. No mess.
    • No, “Oh God, you have to wash your hair? You should start getting ready an hour ahead of me,” from my husband.
    • My life has become so much easier and I love it.
  • MY FACE
    • It exists.
    • I can see it.
    • I am learning to love it (actually, I almost loved my face more instantly after a long time of being very insecure about it).
    • No spider web hairs to tickle it.
    • No random hair everywhere in my eyes when I’m trying to do EVERYTHING I DO.
    • I love it.
  • HATS
    • I get to wear hats of all kinds now and they fit my head.
    • I have a REASON to wear hats now.
    • I like hats, so this a definite pro for me.
    • I love it.
  • LIGHTNESS
    • My head feels so light, even still. After years of the weight of my hair (I literally lost almost two pounds after I had buzzed it – despite it falling out like crazy that sh*t was so thick and coarse and heavy), I now feel so much lighter.
    • It’s not just the weight of the hair itself – it’s the lack of worrying with hair.
    • I love it.
  • IT IS COOLER
    • I live in the south, where the humidity doesn’t end until January (usually). Therefore, for most of the year, having free head air conditioning is a wonderful thing. There are also some cons to this, which I’ll list below, but mostly it’s great.
    • I love it.
  • ME
    • I just feel so much more like me. I can’t explain that. But it’s the truth. Not having my hair to define me (which I’m sure it still does for some, but not for me – like those who think I’ve lost my mind, ha!) has liberated me in all the ways I expected and in some I didn’t expect (like that whole having a face thing)…
    • I used to love playing with makeup looks. I love that again now, and have a lot of fun with it. I’ve only actually done my makeup a handful of times since the buzzing but had a ball doing it and bought myself the Naked 3 palette from Urban Decay for my birthday.
    • I love it.

The Cons (so far):

  • GROWTH
    • My hair apparently grows VERY fast. That’s annoying. I buzz it at least once a week. This has impacted my OCD a tiny bit, but that’s OK. Good grooming is a factor of my depression that I could stand to be a bit more “on top of.”
  • ITCHING AFTER CUTS
    • My husband used to complain like all get out about tiny hairs poking him when I’d cut his hair. I used to say he was overreacting. HE WAS NOT OVERREACTING.
    • The itchiness when you finish a cut is INSANE. I sometimes have to shower twice in one shower to get the hair off of me.
    • Sometimes the little hairs get stuck in my bra and don’t wash out (don’t ask, I don’t know how or why), so I sometimes look like a man scratching his balls except it’s my boobs I’m digging at. Sigh…
  • HATS
    • I mentioned the pros of hats. The only con I have found is that my head is much smaller than it was with hair (MUCH SMALLER) and my baseball caps do not fit properly. I can’t get them tight enough without the bulge in the back…
    • Silver lining? I will eventually get to buy smaller baseball caps!
  • COLD
    • The con to the pro of coolness. Now that it’s really cold here, it’s REALLY COLD here.
    • I have to wear hoodies to bed some nights…which is awkward because I generally don’t like to sleep in very much clothing because I get these weird sweats. Not with my shaved head. Nope. Not right now… But, sleeping in bulky clothing is still not very comfortable for me.
    • Going outside without a hoodie or hat on is unwise. Just plain unwise…
  • HOT
    • By the same token? Getting hot and sweating is not fun without hair, either.
    • Sweat drips in my eyes, and I actually find that I sweat MORE without hair than I did with it when I work out…or maybe it just has nowhere to go and I notice it more.
    • When it’s hot and I wear a cap to keep my head from getting burned, I sweat more…but that’s OK. I’d rather do that than have a charred scalp.

Other Strange Expereinces:

  • STARING
    • People stare. A lot. It doesn’t bother me as much as I thought it would, what with my social anxiety and such. It’s actually made me more confident because I am learning how to ignore people far more efficiently through the experience.
  • BEING HIT ON
    • Women hit on me openly, even here in the south. This NEVER happened until I didn’t have hair. Go figure.
    • Men (surprisingly) flirt at me (I refuse to say with because I do not reciprocate). I thought men would be more put off by a woman with a buzz cut but apparently, I was wrong.
    • Don’t get me wrong – it’s always nice to be noticed in this way, but I realize that in this way my hair still defines me to some extent. I don’t like it being sexualized, this way or the other way (long). I guess that is something we will (ALL) always have to live with in our society…
  • ARE YOU SICK?
    • numerous times people have flat out asked me if I was sick or if I had cancer BEFORE they asked me why I shaved my head (usually strangers, oddly enough). It’s like they feel sorry for me right off the bat. That’s annoying and to some extent upsets me because I know what it’s like to be that person who has little or no hair due to sickness (from the experience of cancer with Dorie) and it’s no fun for people to judge you either way in that aspect.
    • At the same time, I don’t blame people – not many women have this sort of hairstyle. It’s almost an automatic assumption that there must be something wrong if they do have this sort of hairstyle.
  • NO IN BETWEEN
    • people either love it or hate it. There is no in between. So when people dislike it they tend to make it known (much more so than those who love it), for example when they shout ugly things across the parking lot at you (generally racial things, hello – I live in the south, am white and have a shaved head – I must be a racist), it’s a bit saddening. I don’t hate anyone and my hairstyle has nothing to do with anyone but me. I know my heart, so I am learning to let that go by. But it’s a telling sign that racism is still alive and well here in the south. And that’s just really wrong and saddening.
  • TOUCHING ME
    • My final and most annoying con is that people randomly touch me. Sometimes they ask and before I can even say, “no, please,” they’re already rubbing on my head. It’s like when a woman is pregnant (or at least this was my experience): people can’t help themselves – they want to touch your belly. Same thing with my head. It’s like a hand magnet. Sometimes I wonder if I’ll get a bigger bald spot than the small couple I already have (from celiac) or if all my brains will get sucked out from all the rubbing going on up there….
    • I wish people would stay out of my personal space, that’s all. I really wasn’t expecting that. I have, however, invited all of the boy’s little friends and most of my own friends and family to have a feel of the buzz cut – it seems to ease their minds a bit. They aren’t used to a woman with this kind of hairstyle at all and it’s a little unnerving for some of them, I think. Bless their hearts.

So I suppose that’s it for my buzz cut run down after a few weeks of living the buzzed life. Ultimately, I absolutely LOVE it and wouldn’t change a thing. I have NO regrets and I don’t think I will grow my hair out at all for a very long time (which for me could range from a few more weeks to several months, ha!). I haven’t felt this free or in control of myself for a very long time. There is peace for me in having no hair. I have, within myself, taken, “no hair, don’t care, to a whole new level. Suddenly there are a LOT of things I’ve let go of. But that’s another blog.

I suppose now you’ll be wanting to see what it looks like, so here are some photos (some candid, some posed) of the buzz cut. Ultimately, I hope the message taken away from this blog and this experience is that people will find the wherewithal to just be themselves and do what they want to do with their hair, their faces, their bodies, whatever. Just be you, and do what makes you happy. It’s worth any cons that might come your way, as long as you know what you’re doing is where your heart truly is.

Until next time, take care and enjoy this last night of the year…

C.