Have you ever looked around you and realized that you were in the perfect place for your interests, your ambitions, your comfort, your enjoyment, your everything?
Let me tell you, it’s pure bliss.
Week Three of graduate school and I feel like I spent two years in exile, working in a job I was not the least bit interested in (they were nice people but … ), and now … I’ve come home.
Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing about this that is easy. I have staggering amounts of reading to do from week to week. A hundred pages for this class, a hundred pages for that class, two hundred pages for this other class over here. Because of all the reading, it feels like I live, eat and dream about anthropology. This is not a bad thing. Continue reading
My birthday was today.
It was a pretty quiet day. I lolled in bed for most of the morning, drove out to Carrborro to look at a totally unsuitable apartment, treated myself to a late lunch at iHOP (it’s been years) up in Durham, and then tooled my way back down to my hotel.
This place is pretty amazing in that it is three cities bumped up against each other but most of it looks like the suburbs or even like rural fastnesses. I have a feeling that my sons will find living here to be not really all that different from living in upstate New York.
Except that there are buses here.
And places to work.
And places to go.
I could go on but I think you catch my drift. It’s got a lot of the things I like about living in rural places, plus many of the conveniences of living in urban places.
As you may have noticed — or you would have noticed if you’d guessed that it was at all relevant — I don’t spend much time talking about race on this blog. It’s not that I have no thoughts on the subject. At one point in my life, I had enough thoughts on the subject to write a 300+ page transcript about it. But it has never been a topic that I have allowed to run my life.
It’s kind of difficult to describe my attitude about it.
I’m neither angry nor bitter. I have never in my life made any decision about anything with the thought in my head that I can’t do something because they won’t let me. I have never let my race interfere with anything that I decided I wanted to do. It is a fact of my appearance of which I am aware, in much the same way that I am aware that my eyes are brown and that I am 5’5″ tall.
But don’t mistake me. None of this means that I am unaware of the deeply embedded racism that is pervasive in the society in which I live. I don’t get angry when that racism rears its head in particularly spectacular ways (Dylan Root comes to mind) because I have developed a profound cynicism about it over the years of my life. I am no longer surprised or terribly disillusioned by anything I hear because I have never believed that mainstream America has made any real strides toward obliterating racism at all in the 45 years or so since I started paying attention.
In spite of that, on a day-to-day basis, I spend zero time pondering my blackness, or considering my blackness, or thinking about it in any way. For me, it’s just there. The only time it attaches itself to me as a viscerally felt part of my identity is when somebody else makes it a thing.
Transitioning ain’t pretty.
And then there’s my hair.
It’s possible that you didn’t notice my hair when I posted those progress pictures. That’s deliberate. Generally speaking, I don’t do anything with my hair except to drag it back and pull it up into a clasp or a barrette of some sort. My hair is sort of designed to not be noticed.
That is because I am in transition — and mighty uncomfortable it it, let me tell you. (That is not a picture of me, by the way.)
For those of you who are unfamiliar with natural hair, being in transition means that I am growing out my natural (and naturally curly) hair after using relaxer on it for about the last 40 years. Eventually, my hair will thank me but right now, it’s a half natural, half relaxed mess.
I’m not ready at this point to go for the Big Chop, because it has only grown out about 2-3 inches so far. I’m going to want to do some healthy hair stuff to beef it up and get it to start growing a bit faster. Besides that, I’m going to want to spend some time training my hair to behave itself once I am able to cut off the last of the relaxed bit. The hair I was born with was basically 3C but decades of mistreating the stuff has left its mark.
Fortunately for me, last night I happened across Rosío and her YouTube channel, Risas Rizos (Spanish for “laughing curls,” I think). Continue reading