The state of my hair is often-times the key to dissecting the true state of my mental health. For those of you who have never seen me, I have what can only be (lovingly) described as a massive birds nest situated on the top of my head. My hair grows in all directions and I’ve yet to discover a method of properly taming it. Needless to say, daily care of it is a mission and on those black hole days when the mere thought of forcing myself out of bed and into jeans (OK, leggings) is daunting, my hair gets thrown into whatever ‘do’ I can manage to create out of the tangled, knotted mess of chaos.
Once upon a time, when my hair would become too much for me to handle, I would put it in two braids and with one swift CHOP – cut it off.
You see, when you leave curly hair unwashed and un-brushed over an extended period of time it becomes a clusterfuck. Knotted, smelly, chaotic and impossible to deal with without a little bit of patience and a
fuck-ton of quality conditioner. Let’s not forget the all-important loving touch. There was a TV character I used to envy – Effy from Skins. There’s this one episode where after having a psychotic break, Effy comes home to find her mother waiting for her. Gently and lovingly she’s helped into a bathtub and her mum gently washes and brushes her hair. Soothes her battered nerves. How desperately I wanted that – someone to help untangle the train-wreck of a knot that my hair (and OK, my life) had become. But asking for help would mean admitting to a loved one that there was a problem to start with and I most certainly was not ever to do that.
So, for lack of patience, assistance, energy, or any true sense of self-pride, when my hair would reach the point of no return, I’d simply rid myself of it.
These days I opt out of cutting it. Often times I feel as though it’s the only physical attribute I have going for me (self-image is still a work in progress) and I would be an absolute fool to rid myself of THAT. Instead I try to nip this process in the bud and simply take better care of my hair (and myself).
It’s easier said than done.
Washing my hair takes an incredible amount of effort. Just getting it completely and thoroughly WET takes an approximate 3 minutes standing under high water pressure. Here in the hostel with the drizzliest stream of lukewarm water I’ve ever showered in (imagine a small child spitting a steady stream of pool water from the kiddie pool on to your head and you’ve got a pretty solid idea of what I’m working with/against here), it’s even longer. Then comes the tedious task of shampooing and rinsing and conditioning and rinsing because with hair like mine if you skip a step you might as well never have washed it at all. And I can’t just dry it with a quick blow-dry (hello ozone layer of frizz) or leave it to simply dry on its own (because it will be at least 47 minutes until it stops dripping ice-cold droplets of misery down my back) – no, no, NO! I have to PLOP! Or at the very least run a bit of product through it. Curly hair takes a lot of effort and when all my effort is going into maintaining a good face throughout the day there is no energy leftover to direct towards my physical appearance. There’s nothing left.
It requires a
shit whole ton of energy that, when depression takes over, I have absolutely no desire to exert.
So the state of my hair is a clue. A window to my soul if you will (the cliches are rolling right off the tongue). The frizzier and messier and duller the locks, the louder the wee
cunts assholes bastards in the back of my head.
This weekend was long and exhausting and disappointing.
The hostel was full of noise and people who kept trying to TALK to me and kept encouraging me to just STOP THINKING ABOUT IT and my mind was full of white noise. The plans I had made for myself for my birthday week (yes yes, I’ll be 26 this coming Thursday) were all thrown out the window and I was left feeling a bit homesick and melancholy. In an effort to put an end to the multiple attempts at conversation I ended up constructing a towel-fort surrounding my bottom bunk bed (like a child) taking an extra-strength Melatonin (because god forbid sleep come easy) and allowing myself to block it all out. I swear I felt as though I were on the verge of tears all bloody weekend(I really need to pick up some extra work so I can get my hands on a Space Mask). The final lingering remnant of this melancholic weekend is my hair, matted and oily and just gross. It needs to be dealt with before I end up losing ALL patience and pulling a Britney circa 2007.
So tomorrow will be a deep conditioning day. Due to marathon fee’s (dear god I wasn’t financially prepared for this) I’ve had to get a bit creative and currently have 3 different DIY skin and hair mixtures waiting to be tried (and tested) tomorrow morning. Because tomorrow is a new day and I HAVE TO believe that this cloud of gloom that has been positively hovering all weekend will be gone by then. My hair is calling out to me – ‘Wash me Maysen!’ ‘At least rotate sides from time to time Maysen!’ ‘For the love of GOD get me out of this godforsaken TOPKNOT MAYSEN!’
So it’s time. Time to summon the energy (and courage) and confront my problems and re-join the outside world.
Starting with the birds nest.
(I’m about 43% sure there may be a real live family of birds residing in this mess at this point)