Magic Mirror

21 05 2011

This is a writing prompt too apropos to my current work to ignore, from a blog I have lurked since my days in Texas.

This is a challenge. For you.

Stare into a mirror for a minute.

One full minute. (Use an egg timer/oven timer/your phone to time it.)

And when the minute is up, write whatever it inspires.

Fiction/non-fiction. A laundry list of things you like or don’t like. A modern re-telling of Cinderella where she’s trying to work her way up from the streets with nothing but her mad dance skillz and pluck.

It can be anything. In any format.

Just write it.

Then post it on your blog/tumblr/bathroom wall.

You can link back here, so others can read the instructions and join in too. You can leave a comment below with a link to your piece.

But you don’t have to.

Just write it.

One minute.

And go!

My hair already misses the moisture of Seattle. So do my lips, but I don’t wish to speak of them now.

I haven’t done a damn thing with my hair for years. It started young-young, like elementary school young, when I realized I would never have to comb my hair again if I just buzzed it inside a quarter inch every four months. I kept that up until someone called my head an egg, and I decided it was vital to my self-image to hide beneath a wreath of hair–but I still wasn’t going to have anything to do with combs or gel or any form of maintenance requiring more than 5 seconds of my morning. Thus began my current ritual: step out of the shower, towel off the drips, shake like a dog, then run my hand through once or twice to make sure it was all uniformly disheveled and I wasn’t left with any horns or crap like that. Whatever that creature atop my head decided to do after that was none of my business.

My hair has always been maddeningly stuck between curly and straight. I develop wings at the ears, pig-tails along the nape of my neck, and everything else just slumps straight(ish) down.

Always, that is, until I moved out to Seattle and left behind the arid climes of Colorado and west Texas, where the wealth of moisture in the air unlocked the full splendor of my curly potential.

And now I’m back in Colorado (for the High School graduation of my littlest sis!!!)  and my hair is slouching again. It wouldn’t bother me if I didn’t know it could be different.

I can’t help but see my hair as an analogy for my whole life. I’ve always had the potential to be this new, bold man. I’ve had moments of curl, glimpses of community, flashes of genuine living–but I’ve hidden the core of me, certain that its exposure would result in rejection. I’ve kept myself straight, toeing the line of “normal,” holding everyone just far enough away to convince myself I was safe–but always feeling besieged, that I would be defeated if I let down my guard for even a moment.

I’m not living safe anymore. I’ve let down my guard and allowed people to see the mess of me–and it turns out the hordes of barbarians outside my gate have always been far more alike than I ever allowed myself to believe. I have allowed them to take up residence within my holy of holies, and they have brought with them offerings of beauty and life and love.

The curl was always there, it was just waiting for the proper conditions to become fully realized.

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One response

31 05 2011
Andrea

Tom, this made me tear up. And you know me…not typically one for waterworks. Thanks for being you.

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