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Monday, January 6, 2014

Self Destruction is Self Improvement

There are times in life, and I'm sure many people have had them, where I will get an urge for something. It's not a specific something, just a change, just a push in some direction to break up the monotony. The most common and easiest to appease is the destruction of my hair, be it by chemical warfare or a simple hack and slash. I very rarely visit a salon for this battle. No, I'm one of those types who does it all herself- I cut my own hair (with a surprisingly high success rate), I color at home. I bleach it, make it neon, dye it black, chop it off, gel it, flat iron it, hack it again, bleach it, neon, black and neon, hack and slash. I would not be surprised if one day I were to go bald out of sheer protest from my hair. It has come to the point where my friends and family do not immediately notice when my hair has shifted from orange to pink, or when I come to Christmas with a mohawk, because bright colors and bold styles are the norm for me.

I can't say for certain whether or not there is correlation between a drastic change in my hair and a stagnation in my life, but I'm sure that there is. When you feel stuck, listless, trapped within yourself, you look in the mirror to try and figure out what's wrong, to ask the reflection why you're not happy. This makes a physical change the most obvious. The person in the mirror doesn't hold the answers you want, so if you change the person you're talking to, maybe the answer will change. Sometimes it's the only factor you can control. You can't afford to go to school (and you might not even want to), your job has no upward mobility, you're stuck in the shitty apartment until the end of the lease (or longer if you can't afford to go anywhere else). You're broke. You're stuck. Your creative capacity has dried up. You can't even afford a new tattoo or piercing, some of the more satisfying self destruction. You don't hate yourself enough to drink or cut, so what else is there? The hair. You change your hair, and if you're really tight on cash, you do it yourself.

When I get the urge to change something, when I come home with a new bottle of dye, or I hang the mirror on the bathroom door so I can see the back of my head while I chop off my locks, when I complain that I wish my hair were longer but also that I want to get rid of all of it, my husband rolls his eyes. Of course he does. People without impulse control problems can't understand the impulsive. How am I supposed to wait for change when every minute of my day reeks of dissatisfaction, and in my head the only way to cure that boredom is to take scissors to the tresses? The patient people don't have irritated voices in their heads making demands, taking over their thoughts. When you bore yourself, but you don't know how to change, you don't know what it is inside you exactly that can't sit still, what else is there to do? It is the only way I can fight my own mediocrity.

When you don't know what you want, I mean really don't know, how are you supposed to change it? How are you supposed to fix the invisible nothingness? You can't fill in nothing, you can't make nothing prettier, you can't send nothing in a proper direction. It just is, just a vacant black hole that does, wants, and is nothing. All I can do it make the room where the nothing exists more appealing, make it less depressing. Self destructive tendencies- piercings, tattoos, new hair, weight loss, weight gain- it's all in the name of self improvement. 'Improvement' is a loose term. It means to make something better. Maybe by hack-and-slashing my hair I'm not upgrading it, but I am staving off internal boredom for a while, and that's better, isn't it?

When there's nothing to focus on, people get bored, and we create our own entertainment. We find something to hone in on to keep our attention.  But when you're like me, when you don't have any idea what you want in your life, all you have to look at is yourself. So your self is what you change. You self destruct for improvement.

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