My husband borrowed a friend’s hair clipper last week so I could freshen up his ‘do. I couldn’t replicate the neat look his barber creates, but I managed to follow his hairline without doing any damage. Being more neatly groomed felt good to him and I was glad to be able to help him out.
But what about me? After 8+ weeks since my last haircut, things are getting a little desperate!
I’m not really desperate. I have enough food. We have a home. We have food. We can get outdoors to walk and ride our bikes. We have work. We even have toilet paper! So far we’re healthy, and unlike too many, we’re fortunate to be safe. The truth is, we’re privileged and that privilege brings responsibility – a topic for another post.
Though my pride is taking something of a hit, I recognize I’m lucky to even have the bandwidth to even care about my hair. I’ve chosen to be happy about the way it’s slowly growing out of control. I can indeed be happy, because after all, I do have hair!
I have mostly had hair since the age of two. That was when my infant baldness gave way to what my bemused, straight-haired mother labelled my “Shirley Temple curls.” But I was once again entirely bald during most of my 10 months of cancer treatment in 2016-2017. That baldness was an unwelcome constant reminder of the health crisis I was in the midst of. It dragged some dark emotions into awareness where, like it or not, I had to address them. As you might guess, that was ultimately a good thing, but it was deeply unpleasant to go through.
A compassionate, skillful social worker guided met through that time and helped me move beyond it. I’ll never forget her and will be forever grateful to her for her healing work.
So today I can laugh about my hair, which is now busy creating it’s own free-form look. It’s as out of control and unpredictable as everything else is these days, but much less threatening than most of what’s going on!
How Can We Laugh at a Time Like This?
Humor is healing.
~Steven Stack, Kentucky Public Health Commissioner
It’s normal — and unavoidable — that at times we respond to what’s happening now with intense, dark emotion. At other times, darker feelings might accompany us, even when we’re at the same time feeling more neutral or positive. It’s important to find ways to accept and soothe those difficult feelings. Be kind to yourself; it can take some time to sit with, listen to and soothe those emotions. Once we’ve done that, we can help ourselves to shift away from them.
Laughter’s one of the best ways I know to shift from sadness, fear, or anger to joy, openness and love.
We shouldn’t pretend nothing’s wrong, or force ourselves to be happy. Nor should we think that laughter by itself is enough.But when you’re ready to disentangle yourself from dark feelings, humor and laughter are a powerful way to help manage the unmanageable and shift toward our capacity for hope, resilience, and action.
What’s made you laugh recently?
Childhood photo: E. Laulicht, circa 1960
Pandemic hair photo: NL Seibel, 2020