I Used to be So Dreadful.

There comes a time in every boy’s life at which he decides to make change for the better. Sometimes these things are brought on by iconic motivating processes that nip at the ankles of adulthood, harkening ahead to adaptation and forward movement. Sometimes the stagnancy of our general modes of style and self-awareness become too much to bear, and our status quo becomes corrupted with fatigue, wear, and over-familiarity.

And sometimes these things are just ready to happen – whether for personal growth or necessary metamorphosis – and we seize the moment to affect these alterations with fervent abandon – or at least with splintered fingernails intractably digging furrows into the hardwood floors as we see our signifiers of comfort ripped furiously from our bodies. In this most recent case, perhaps I jest a bit when I say it was the latter that motivated me to make such a change in my own life. But then again, the floors here *did* need a good cleaning.

PreDread1

What’s wrong with this picture?

I’ve had long hair for twenty years, and dreadlocks for nearly five. Until now, I’ve chosen to feel a need for such an affectation to help define who I am by how I look. I think this is a more common happenstance than some folks are willing to admit, and regardless of its substance or its lack thereof, I think that one of the most poignant ways we have to express ourselves is by our outward appearance. This can obviously turn into a detriment or barrier when we begin to rely on that appearance to be the backbone of our identity. You can clearly see what’s coming here. As with many major decisions and motivated changes in my life, I slowly began realizing after my return from Scotland that I no longer needed my hairy paradigm to help define me, and instead I started feeling that my dreads were somewhat of a hindrance to my emerging character – itself an ever-changing and quite-hard-to-please bitch of an individual. And besides, they would often try to strangle me in the night whilst I was sleeping.

Some people have no problems with massively changing themselves on the inside or the outside – at a whim, they reach out to the goals of their own advancement and imaginations and make the leap to the desired effect with little or no fuss, drama, or accolade. For me, this particular severing was a big deal, and I had to be damned sure it was the right choice before I cut the lifeline of such a huge part of my physical and familiar being. Please forgive my wordiness here, for I aim to test and explain my reasons to myself as much as anyone else.

PreDread2

I’m a Bull of the staunchest breed, stubborn and indelibly set to follow patterns and comforts, and I’ve found as I grow older that my most fearsome and most difficult challenges all seem to involve change, restructuring, and the realm of the unfamiliar. But sometimes, when I’m not curled up amongst furry pillows with books and cat and warmth and tea, I do like to challenge myself, and I think overcoming these kind of freezing fears make one a more complete, stronger individual in the long run. And if at all possible, I’d like it to be a long run, indeed – with as much variance, experience, and as much living as life will allow.

PreDread3

But I must say that I’m going through a very reactionary time in my life just now – a rebellion against rebellion, if you will. Continuing with my penchant for wildly generalizing notions and variables that should really stay singular and peculiar, I’ve been feeling for the past few months that many people go to extreme lengths to distance themselves from normality on the outside, perhaps in good part for the simple reason that they are unsatisfied with themselves, and insecure about who they are, and just how they fit in to the world around them. Some people take extreme measures to alter themselves physically, either to rebel against the ‘normal’ standard of a given society, or perhaps to wave a hopeful banner of solidarity with others of their ilk – to fit in, and to be accepted when they feel misunderstood or misrepresented. I know this to be true in some part, for I think I’ve lived a bit of each of these.

PostDread2

Lately, I’ve been particularly prone to critically questioning peoples’ rationales for altering themselves and rapidly appropriating an ‘alternative’ style to declare themselves a part of something they never were a part of before. Of course there’s nothing wrong with finding a niche, a tribe, and a family – even in the most unexpected of places. But at 32, I no longer believe in the talismanic properties of my own tattoos. I no longer believe that my piercings were rituals to remind me of the emotional pain that I went through as a young man. As I’ve gotten older, I see that I did these things to fit in, and to be accepted. I wanted to run with the cool kids for the first time in my life. You couldn’t have convinced me of it at the time, but youth by its nature is defensive and dogmatic. It would be shallow and quite unfair to attack the motivations of other people who do similar things for very different reasons. In this world of trepedacious political correctness, we’re no longer allowed to tell anyone that they’re being silly for doing the things that they do. Personally, I think that’s bullshit – we’re critical creatures at our core.

PostDread3

It’s not that some tattoos aren’t beautiful pieces of art, or that waist-length dreadlocks aren’t appropriate in today’s society of professionals, academics, and all-around good people – I’ve proven this wrong on both accounts, and can understand the aesthetic impulses that cause us to reach out to make artistry a piece of ourselves – or even that stimulate us to turn ourselves into living pieces of imagination and beauty. But there has to be more than this, and too many people that I know near my age are intensely focused on their images and little else. In some cases, the impulsions are ridiculous. Hanging from flesh hooks does not raise your spiritual awareness or aptitude, and does not make you an authority on tribal culture – perhaps if the ritual of which you’re now so pleased to be a part was recreated in its native home, the native natives might rip your white ass to shreds in horror and ignominy. But just maybe it also makes you feel accepted because your own self-esteem is leaving bloody smears across the floor. And a thousand steel barbs through perfect or imperfect skin won’t change that. They only make you bleed more.

PostDread4

As I stated, there’s some great reactiveness in my words, but a great calm in my actions and in my soul. My own reasons for cutting my hair are simple. I don’t want to be reliant on shock value or visceral superficiality to dictate my persona. I’ve become too reliant on outward appearances, and I wish to curtail that negative part of myself by cutting it off at the roots. I never believed that my dreads were a spiritual connection with anything at all. I just always liked how they looked, how they smelled, and how they felt. But my dissatisfaction with my outward appearance – my own, very real insecurities – left me using those matted tendrils of hair as a weapon ostensibly against society but surreptitiously against myself. I’m ready to put that contrivance down now, and ready to be a real, more complete person. At first, the decision left me somewhat naked, swimming alone without my familiar oars to carry me where I need to go. It took great courage and resolve to go through with it – but this promise to myself was tacit and implicit.

PostDread5

And when it was done, I felt more like myself than I ever had before. If I told you here my unabashed fears of what might happen after my hair was gone, you might giggle and try to restrain a laugh out of respect or sympathy. I still have those anxieties, but I’m not so inclined to let them rule my actions anymore. Those dreadful symbols of my independence really turned out to be what I became dependent upon, and now I see that the real spiritual power that they bestowed was triggered only in their removal. The only roots we have are the ones we choose to sow, and not the ones we try desperately to reap. My own roots have recently been cut, but the growth that is left beneath still continues on from the inside.

Oh, you wanted to see the results? I’m terribly sorry – you’ll have to wait just a little longer. I’m a bit tired, and feeling rather selfish with my time just now. Maybe tomorrow…

πŸ™‚

74 Responses to “I Used to be So Dreadful.”

  1. psymbiotic Says:
    August 2nd, 2005 at 3:58 am

    GAH!!!!!!!!!!!!
    You tease!!!!
    well, I'm due to stop by the shop once before I depart for Destinations Unknown. I'll be be able to see it all first hand. πŸ˜€
    Egan >:>

  2. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 2nd, 2005 at 9:37 am

    Yes, I was disappointed not to see you last week, as we had tentatively planned. The good news, if you could call it that, is that I'll be at work for the next two weeks straight should you find the time to stop on by the store.
    And I'd also like to earnestly wish you a very Happy belated Birthday. It sounds like you had a blast, and that your waning days here are being spent in good company.

  3. psymbiotic Says:
    August 2nd, 2005 at 2:42 pm

    I'll be down there tomorrow afternoon, with a big box of old gaming stuff I'd either like to donnate or sell to you guys if you want. ;>
    See you then sir. :>
    Egan >:>

  4. ex_delve955 Says:
    August 2nd, 2005 at 4:06 am

    Congratulations! It sounded like you grew them to embody something, and they did; but like a swollen appendix, sometimes we have to prune the human experience. Objects like talismans and fetishes historically did not run out of magic, but were filled up with too much. Semio-septisemia!
    That time with the dreadlocks, though, is still beautiful. You've touched on some things here which reminded me that to really embrace change, you've got to accept the time it took to get there. What a collosal, amazing, encouraging, human and powerful gesture.
    Its funny how the reason we set off on a journey is the very reason we stop it some time later. I suppose that's the nature of questing.
    I am getting a tattoo tomorrow morning (my first), and this telling of yours actually made me a little happier about that. Two words on my forearm, 'wolves evolve', in a standard roman font. Its the opposite of a talisman, and I feel increasingly unconfortable without it on me.

  5. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 2nd, 2005 at 9:46 am

    Semio-septisemia!
    Fuck yes! That's an awesome term for exactly what's happened.
    You're right that the time with that part of myself is indelible and perfect. I have not a single regret, and I really appreciate that it was an important part of who I was. But as you've said here, embracing change is paramount, as difficult as it is sometimes.
    I'm really excited about your first tattoo, and I hope you'll keep us in line with what it does for you along the way.

  6. buca Says:
    August 2nd, 2005 at 4:09 am

    so you've taken to wearing that pink wig again have you?

  7. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 2nd, 2005 at 9:39 am

    Oh, you mean the merkin? Yeah, I think it suits me well, and you've always said that it really turns you on.
    Sick bastard.
    πŸ™‚

  8. pisica Says:
    August 2nd, 2005 at 4:33 am

    I can understand about the severing part – I'm toying with getting my hair cut short (after an entire adulthood spent with long hair) and it's been a verrry slow process. Nor have I gotten around to using the henna that I've had since I lived at Tollcross, although that's partly laziness, and partly because <lj user=aitkendrum> might be tempted to post a picture of my head wrapped in Saran Wrap. πŸ™‚
    The nice thing about expressing oneself through one's hair – whether that's growing, cutting, dreadlocking, dyeing, or shaving – is that it's relatively easily changed. Hair, after all, grows! (Metaphor?)

  9. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 2nd, 2005 at 9:48 am

    I have pictures of your head wrapped in *far* worse things than Saran Wrap.
    πŸ˜‰

  10. not_the_messiah Says:
    August 2nd, 2005 at 4:41 am

    Fuck! There will be no hair left soon after Beardy Andy chopped his hair and beard yourself, and i'm chopping the blond locks on my 33rd next year!
    At least it's nice and hot over there. I need the insulation.

  11. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 2nd, 2005 at 9:49 am

    Jesus!
    See, mate – we're growing up! The end of the world *must* be here.
    Anything you can do about that? πŸ™‚

  12. not_the_messiah Says:
    August 3rd, 2005 at 4:49 am

    Armageddon
    Not quite sure if dad's listening to me at the moment. Failing to get him to stop it I think i'll just get drunk and sleep through it!
    I'll be back in another 2000years anyway.

  13. xgreenjudasx Says:
    August 2nd, 2005 at 6:02 am

    Sometimes you are your own speed bump
    All I can say is, "bravo."
    "I no longer believe in the talismanic properties of my own tattoos. I no longer believe that my piercings were rituals to remind me of the emotional pain that I went through as a young man."
    That hit me hard. Will there be a point in my life that I loose, I don't want to call it 'faith' but it really is, yes, faith in the choices I made, the physical reflections of my emtional state? I'm sure there will be, but I hope that you don't regret.
    Move forward, onwards, and upwards.

  14. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 2nd, 2005 at 9:54 am

    Re: Sometimes you are your own speed bump
    Hiya!
    I want to reiterate to you importantly that I have not *lost* anything with this new understanding of my old motivations. I still love the indelible marks that I had emblazoned upon me, and I see a myriad of new reasons to love them that have nothing to do with my old insecurities.
    But you're right that changing perspective on our past choices in life is the one truly constant flux in the world. The end result is to live your life with no regret and mutability to the world around us – and ourselves. I have no regrets at all, thank god(s), but I'm enjoying learning about myself over and over again.

  15. Anonymous Says:
    August 2nd, 2005 at 6:28 am

    that picture does look a bit w0rng.
    should it look more like this ?
    http://www.thalamus.myby.co.uk/young_d/1.jpg
    πŸ˜›
    in the middle of creating that hamsterpiece, sorry masterpiece, this feller was born.
    http://www.thalamus.myby.co.uk/young_d/2.jpg
    it makes me want to cry.
    anonymouseth
    —————-

  16. Anonymous Says:
    August 2nd, 2005 at 6:54 am

    i just can't help it.
    http://www.thalamus.myby.co.uk/young_d/index.html
    πŸ™‚
    anonymouseth
    —————

  17. occular Says:
    August 2nd, 2005 at 9:25 am

    πŸ™‚ you craze!

  18. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 2nd, 2005 at 9:59 am

    Ah, Seth. You never fail to figure out a way to warp my visage into even more horrible machinations of terror than were already in place. Strangely, that disturbing love child of ours is suitably attractive, and I applaud and deeply appreciate your seeding efforts in the matter.
    I really hope you didn't spend more than a few moments on this project.
    πŸ™‚
    Oh, and we managed to salvage a much greater tuft of hair than you've previewed here to God and everyone, as you'll soon see – and, no doubt, distort terrifyingly.

  19. dichroicynosure Says:
    August 2nd, 2005 at 7:10 am

    self over-coming
    I could say a lot here, but…
    Those dreadful symbols of my independence really turned out to be what I became dependent upon, and now I see that the real spiritual power that they bestowed was triggered only in their removal.
    This says it all. I hear this. There is a point too at which having them or not is no longer meaningful at all.
    Beautiful. Powerful. Vulnerable.

  20. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 2nd, 2005 at 10:03 am

    Re: self over-coming
    Having them in a bag is as meaningful as I need them to be, like pictures of an old girlfriend in the bedside drawer, or the smell of an poignant place on the gusting air.
    Thanks very much for reading, and for your words here.

  21. divineseduction Says:
    August 2nd, 2005 at 7:21 am

    It took me about 3 days, my bf, and some red hair dye to come to terms with my hair. At this point, I think I might even like it. But it's very, very different. And yeah, connecting with you on quite a few of your points.
    (hi. miss you. bye)

  22. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 2nd, 2005 at 10:08 am

    In reality, it's always easier to let go than we think it will be. But gearing up to actually do it is the most difficult part to scout and to implement. Especially for us Taureans.

  23. avalokita Says:
    August 2nd, 2005 at 7:27 am

    It probably sounds horribly ignorant coming from someone my age, but I do understand exactly what you're describing.
    Years ago, I had an undercut, "goth bangs", my extensions were in all the time, I dressed better…and that's all people saw me for. I attracted the wrong types of friends, friends who were using me as a stepping stool for some invisible social heirarchy that I wasn't aware I was apart of. I got sick of people looking at me and defining me by my appearance, assuming so much that wasn't true.
    What they didn't know, was that I am the fastest to throw on a suit and whore myself out to corporate America in the names of "ambition" and "money". So today: no more undercut, etc etc. Slowly turning my hair red instead of black.
    Today's society relies on symbols more than entire pictures. I had to strip away the symbols to feel free. I just don't want to be associated with those types of people anymore. I want to be *me*.

  24. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 2nd, 2005 at 10:11 am

    It probably sounds horribly ignorant coming from someone my age…
    Nonsense. You clearly get it and understand it perfectly.
    What you've described here is precisely why I undertook the change, Amanda, but you've figured it out a decade before I did. Your last sentence is a mantra that I agree with completely, and I'll be referencing this comment in the future to remind me of my own resolve.

  25. nanaminako Says:
    August 2nd, 2005 at 8:25 am

    wow.

  26. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 2nd, 2005 at 10:08 am

    Wow!

  27. agntprovocateur Says:
    August 2nd, 2005 at 8:53 am

    yey for the new, more streamlined you! we must do dinner again soon, of course, when your're ready to show.
    πŸ™‚

  28. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 2nd, 2005 at 10:12 am

    Looking forward to it, and the wind resistance should be effectively less this time around.
    πŸ™‚

  29. agntprovocateur Says:
    August 3rd, 2005 at 10:22 am

    welcome to the era of the stealth head! lol!
    i was chatting with a certain ms darkcyde and we are planning to set up something with more people and liveliness in the next few weeks. you better be avaibalee or we shall have to resort to boynapping.

  30. gingiber Says:
    August 2nd, 2005 at 9:00 am

    You tease. I hope am glad you are happy with the outcome. I remeber getting my hair cut off years ago and grinning through the whole experience, I was so pleased to be rid of it.

  31. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 2nd, 2005 at 10:15 am

    Exactly. You seem to be very adept at changing yourself on a whim, but I imagine that it had to be learned. I think that there's great calm in being able to do that because of desire rather than need, and I strive for it.

  32. kid_lit_fan Says:
    August 2nd, 2005 at 9:07 am

    Wow. This is very powerful. I felt rather the same when, one earlyearly morning at Faire, I realized that my friends liked me just fine with uncoiffed hair, no makeup and in my glasses. But I've never written so beautifully about it.

  33. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 2nd, 2005 at 10:17 am

    Thank you for reading along. I think that had you chosen to elucidate the same feeling that you'd experienced then, it would have been with the usual elegance and beauty with which you normally pen your thoughts and feelings.

  34. thistlelurid Says:
    August 2nd, 2005 at 9:10 am

    ..and your journey continues…with fewer carry-ons…..
    waning is the beautiful vanilla-perfumed-weeping
    willow-head…aaahhhh but waxing is your lovely
    smile and mug, now without hindered view…and I
    imagine your noggin is no less vanilla-ie! :*)
    ::arm pinches:: for hiding the results…tease!!!!
    ::hugs:: for ….well, just for.

  35. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 2nd, 2005 at 10:20 am

    Heheh. Well said, Kat.
    You're right that my head still smells like dessert – you know that I just can't get rid of product! Thank you very much for your support and kind words along the way. It means quite a bit to me.

  36. occular Says:
    August 2nd, 2005 at 9:21 am

    whee
    thanks for that thoughtfull (and honest) entry Darren.
    I used to have really long hair until a few years ago, then it all came off, when I lost a bit of weight.
    I know what you mean about hair being a security thing, of sorts.

  37. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 2nd, 2005 at 10:23 am

    Re: whee
    Oh, absolutely. You had your ginger tangles when I first met you. Funny thing is, I had always viewed folks who had cut their hair as closer to their journey's goal. I always figured that they knew something that I didn't, or couldn't, and it confounded me greatly.
    But now I think I get it. And it's a good thing, 'cause Seth was about to destroy it anyway. πŸ˜‰

  38. lady_in_satin Says:
    August 2nd, 2005 at 9:58 am

    Now that you're a ninja, you'll learn the powers of invisibility. It's so awesome, I'm telling you!
    BTW, what funny timing, someone just sent me this: <a href="http://www.dreadheadhq.com/make_dreadlocks_tipstricks_bugs.php” target=”_blank”>http://www.dreadheadhq.com/make_dreadlocks_tipstricks_bugs.php
    Mazel tov on completing your passage rights!

  39. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 2nd, 2005 at 10:25 am

    Ha! I swear I've never been infested! πŸ™‚
    Thanks for your support, as ever. Watch me slip into stealth mode!

  40. lady_in_satin Says:
    August 2nd, 2005 at 10:43 am

    No, I'm positive you haven't ever been infested. Otherwise, you'd have shaved those babies off a long time ago! Bag on the head? I think not!
    LOL
    You are so great. We should grab lunch soon. I miss your face.

  41. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 3rd, 2005 at 12:10 am

    I was recently thinking that, myself. Lunch beckons! This next week looks good if you've got some time free after 1:00 or so. I can steal some moments from work and we can catch up.

  42. dirtbaby Says:
    August 2nd, 2005 at 10:01 am

    From someone who's outside and inside have never really been in alignment, well done for seeing what your next evolutionary phase is. A slightly older breed of philosopher thought life to be a balance of physical, spiritual and intellectual. We may need to add appearance in this day and age.
    Cheers to Darren v.32
    Even though Sampson lost his strength when he lost his hair, you seem to be on a path to finding an even greater source of strength, your soul.

  43. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 2nd, 2005 at 10:28 am

    We may need to add appearance in this day and age.
    This is totally brilliant, and proof that even old maxims need adaptation to the times.
    Thanks for your kind words here. I wonder if this new version is any less glitchy than the previous?
    πŸ™‚

  44. dirtbaby Says:
    August 2nd, 2005 at 12:03 pm

    Judging from the picture above, I think you may have taken a little too much off. And what is with the flip top head? Peircings and tattoos I can understand, but no skin and a flip top head? Your teeth sure are white though.
    The glitches are the core of our being I think… The glitches are what makes people love or hate you.

  45. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 3rd, 2005 at 12:40 am

    Ha! You're a clever one!
    And as for the teeth, I've been using baking soda. Are you jealous? Gimme a kiss, baby.
    πŸ™‚

  46. scotis_man Says:
    August 2nd, 2005 at 11:10 am

    Having seen you since the big day … you look good. Simply that. I have always admired your general self ease, at it was showing on Saturday.

  47. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 3rd, 2005 at 12:43 am

    Thanks for this, Karsten. You do me great honor with your words.

  48. scotis_man Says:
    August 3rd, 2005 at 9:38 am

    …and it might have been even better had I not made a typographical error … "AND it was showing"
    I have also always admired your dedication to staying true to yourself, something I have worked to learn to do.

  49. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 4th, 2005 at 12:55 am

    Again, thanks for your extremely high praise. We've both worked on it, and I know inherently that I'm still always working on it. It doesn't just happen; it's a learned behavior that doesn't always lay clearly before us.

  50. alison_ella Says:
    August 2nd, 2005 at 11:30 am

    Wow
    I'm sure you still look beautiful.
    XXX

  51. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 3rd, 2005 at 12:45 am

    Beauty is in the eye of the befuddler, my dear.
    Why did I just say that?

  52. inkbot Says:
    August 2nd, 2005 at 11:50 am

    CONDREADULATIONS!
    i went through a similar experience when i decided to cut my long locks and return to a normalish hair color. it is…complicated. i no longer felt i had to outwardly express that i'm cool–I AM COOL!–but i have felt the burn of people assuming that i must be shallow or rich or both. i was recently accused at zeitgeist, of all places, of living in the marina. i'm sure plenty of cool people live in the marina, so that *shouldn't* really bother me, but the person harnessed the statement like a dart, trying to categorize, pigeonhole, judge. it was hard not to let out the knee-jerk retort, "I do NOT live in the Marina!!!" because i knew by Marina he really meant: privileged/selfish/conservative, etc., but his statement really didn't have anything to do with me but was a vehicle for revealing his own narrow-mindedness. fuckin' saab drivers… πŸ˜‰

  53. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 3rd, 2005 at 12:51 am

    Re: CONDREADULATIONS!
    You know, people who are concerned with where one lives as a qualifier for the character of their personality can just get fucked. If you did live in the Marina, it would signify nothing more than you had more liquid capital at your disposal than the lowlife fuckwads that recently took over Zeitgeist. And then you probably wouldn't be wasting your money on watered-down piss of the variety still served in such a ramshackle neighborhood, anyway.
    πŸ™‚

  54. inkbot Says:
    August 3rd, 2005 at 8:50 am

    Re: CONDREADULATIONS!
    yeah, i think he was just pissed off that he'd *wasted* (in his mind) all that time talking to me only to find out that i had a boyfriend. you know, why can't girls just go around with a friggin sign on their forehead? then these poor lads wouldn't have to waste their time and money pretending to be nice and interested in actual conversation rather than small talk as foreplay. can we get the magistrate on that motion, huh, huh, can we?! πŸ˜‰
    in any event, all hail the chosen change. chosen change is good. here's to well-fitting hats!

  55. catness Says:
    August 2nd, 2005 at 12:01 pm

    Well, durnit. I was sort of hoping to meet you while you still had those. (They looked sexy.) However, the person is not the hairstyle, so whatever you were when you had dreads, you still are. Congrats, and welcome to the next stage. πŸ™‚

  56. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 3rd, 2005 at 12:48 am

    Heheh. I'm glad you liked them, but now you'll just have to suffer terribly with a less nappy version of who I used to be. You might appreciate that fact when they no longer are able to try to strangle people whom I just meet.

  57. rachel_eurydice Says:
    August 2nd, 2005 at 12:12 pm

    *gasp*
    But, but, but….they were so PRETTY!!!! I just realized how attached I was to seeing the occasional pictures of you with those wonderful dreads.
    However, I'm sure you'll look dashing without them as well.
    ***
    You know, I'm almost 26….already, I can't see the sense in wearing vinyl to the grocery store or spending 45 minutes on my hair in the morning, only to have to spend who knows how much time during the day EXPLAINING said hair to people. After awhile, our priorities DO change…It's not as necessary to throw our beliefs at people and say, "Look at me, I'm an INDIVIDUAL!!!!!"
    I still love to play dress up…I find my "counter-culture accoutrements" beautiful..or I would have sold the lot off long ago for beer money. I still get tattooed as a way of marking milestones (they're pretty AND portable). But I don't need all of it.
    When I'm at a wedding, dressed in my conservative little suit, people still know that I'm unusual…IF they take the time to talk to me. The rest…they don't matter.
    So congratulations…sometimes you have to cut something off in order to grow something more important.
    Now, show us your new 'do, damn it! πŸ˜‰

  58. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 3rd, 2005 at 12:57 am

    πŸ™‚
    I'll still post the user pics from time to time – I mean, they *are* still who I am, and was.
    But I don't need all of it.
    You're absolutely right. And I hope you understand that I'm not condemning the wearing of funky clothes, tattoos, piercings, or weird hairstyles in any way, shape, or form. I'm commenting and rebelling against the way people *wear* these things as their carefully crafted persona – often nothing more than a veil to shield the much more genuine person that lays beyond.

  59. rachel_eurydice Says:
    August 4th, 2005 at 7:45 am

    Okay, I guess I can live with that. πŸ˜‰
    I know you weren't dogging odd appearances. I get exactly where you're coming from on this and have felt the same kind of thing myself. It's the difference between feeling "this is who I am" and metaphorically screaming at people, "Look! This is WHO I AM! Really! Please, believe me…pretty please."
    …and we've all run into the balding 40 year old wearing gobs of eyeliner and still trying to look "spooky". It's a sad, sad thing.

  60. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 6th, 2005 at 1:08 am

    Oh my gosh, yes.
    πŸ™‚

  61. kimmaline Says:
    August 2nd, 2005 at 12:14 pm

    A resounding "afuckingmen" to all that you said.
    I used to feel such a PRESSURE to express how different I was with my appearance. Part of it, for me, was that at the time I didn't feel like anyone could understand the pain that I had been through. I was different, branded by my experiences…and since no one had ever acknowledged how hard life must have been for me, I had to show them that I was set apart from them. A physical manifestation of an emotional rift, if you will.
    Another part of it came from just never feeling special enough, I suppose.
    So many people allow our definition of "normal" to own them. I remember people in high school who were so terrified of being different that they were practically paralyzed into sheepdom. It hit me, a few years ago, that having to do everything exactly as society would NOT expect it is allowing that ineffable homogenizing factor to own you just as much, just in a slightly different way.
    Good for you, congratulations.

  62. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 3rd, 2005 at 1:01 am

    A physical manifestation of an emotional rift, if you will.
    Or of a lack of emotional maturity or fulfillment.
    It's clear by your comment that you very much understand and connect with how I've been feeling and what I've done here. We're certainly on the same page.

  63. avulsionist Says:
    August 2nd, 2005 at 2:55 pm

    That was a very nice entry.
    Good job to you for being an amazing human!

  64. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 3rd, 2005 at 1:03 am

    Heheh. Amazing human – I don't know. I think it's more about wanting to be free of feeling like less than a human.
    And you've just done the same, so you surely understand this implicitly.

  65. dougygyro Says:
    August 2nd, 2005 at 3:56 pm

    I have no doubt that you will find another way to distinguish yourself and be a striking individual without the Samsonite locks.
    Shall we sup on thursday? Angela and I chatted, and that day seems reasonable.

  66. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 3rd, 2005 at 1:06 am

    Samsonite locks? Don't those go on luggage, Dougy?
    Thursday possibly for late drinkies. I've got a dinner planned with some relatives, but I can be back in the City by 10:30 or so. If you're game, give me a call and we'll plan it a bit more accurately.

  67. solarnarf Says:
    August 2nd, 2005 at 10:09 pm

    Good for you! I went through much of the same thing a few years ago. I realized everything about my look was done for all the wrong reasons. For a long time I didn't admit that I liked watching football (both the American and European versions), that I really do like working with investment bankers and that I can sing an entire Tim McGraw album (ok, that last one is still a bit embarrassing). How un-spooky!
    In the long run, I discovered that it was easier to be "me" without all the trappings, makeup, or clothes that I was using (perhaps subconsciously) to define myself. "I wear black on the outside because black is how I feel on the inside." Bullshit. I wore black because everyone else did… and because it's a slimming color. Now, I can be my usual social chameleon self, without feeling like I have to be grounded in one look, scene or culture. Of course, I will always have a pair of pvc pants lying around somewhere because they make me feel hot πŸ˜‰

  68. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 3rd, 2005 at 1:09 am

    Awesome, awesome. You've hit it right on the head. Being one's self means being naked, without affection. And as I get older, I look for more of that in the people whom I hold dear and close. The least I could do is strive for the same thing for myself.
    But really, Em – Tim McGraw? You're SO uncool!
    πŸ™‚

  69. solarnarf Says:
    August 4th, 2005 at 11:13 pm

    Well, the Tim McGraw thing was a little more cool than admitting that I went to see Cher's farewell tour and had a blast… Then again, maybe it was tie between those two things πŸ™‚

  70. kittynitro Says:
    August 3rd, 2005 at 1:15 pm

    Ack! Shearus interuptus!
    A drunk rad girl I was hanging out with on the bachelors-night-out Mexican party bus this weekend was calling it the "nohemian" thing: when hipsters get old and decide it's cooler to not try so hard–to be cool on the inside, as the infinitely cool Miss Char said above– than it is to live life dressing like the clique or confusing hairstyle and clothing with interests and identity.
    I don't know. In my case it may just be laziness. Either way, it's always funny to talk to younger people I know, at school or where ever, and see the look of shock on their faces when I know who a cool band or filmmaker is.

  71. kittynitro Says:
    August 3rd, 2005 at 1:25 pm

    . . .Anyway, I prefer warm people to cool people.

  72. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 4th, 2005 at 1:03 am

    Heheh – 'Nohemian'. I love it.
    …it's cooler to not try so hard–to be cool on the inside…than it is to live life dressing like the clique or confusing hairstyle and clothing with interests and identity.
    The difficulty with this is that often times, hairstyle and clothing very much reflects interests and identity. It's always been a striking way to broadcast exactly these things. Young people and insecure people need to wear it loudly and prominently, while more secure, more mature folk can often be content with silently enjoying their own parcels of culture and identity. The two are so easy to confuse because they're inextricably linked. It's all about validation, and I understand that well, because I feel like I just gave some of that up – and the need for it, as well.

  73. jacesan Says:
    August 12th, 2005 at 2:00 am

    Ah ha..
    So that's what you looked like before I met you.

  74. FunkyPlaid Says:
    August 12th, 2005 at 9:41 am

    Re: Ah ha..
    You've found your calling right here and now – a fine sleuth, indeed!
    πŸ™‚
    Was a pleasure spelunking the Rock with you yesterday.

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