Seasonal Misery

Phew! Now I love this time of year and season. I enjoy the cold. There’s something refreshing about a tear-making icy stiff breeze of wind. I even love to shovel the driveway when it’s knee high deep with wet snow. (Wet snow is so much heavier than dry.) It’s interesting to wait for Spring to come around and see how many people gave themselves heart attacks and strokes from shoveling snow.

Ah winter.

This season also brings the usual maladies: overeating, over drinking, depression, loneliness, arthritic maladies, and the flu. There are plenty more.

It’s easy to have an emotional hangover around this time of year. I think it starts around Labor Day, gathers momentum around Thanksgiving before hitting the wall on New Year’s Eve.

See, for a number of people, Thanksgiving can be one of the loneliest holiday of all. Why? It’s about family and friends coming together. Well, imagine if you are part of the growing number of Americans without friends, family, spouse or even a supportive network.

The following I borrowed from USA TODAY:

25% of Americans have no one to confide in.

The Review General Social Survey by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago surveyed 1,531 people in 1985 and 1,467 in 2004.

In 1985, the average American had three people in whom to confide matters that were important to them. In 2004, that number dropped to two, and one in four had no close confidants at all.

The percentage of people who confide only in family increased from 57% to 80%, and the number who depend totally on a spouse is up from 5% to 9%, the study found.

The chief suspects: More people live in the suburbs and spend more time at work, Putnam says, leaving less time to socialize or join groups.

I think it is more than that. Socializing is an art. Getting along with others is an acquired skill. Being a host/hostess is something that people no longer bother doing. Relationships – of all kinds – takes work.

The media, which serves as public educator, has the unfortunate habit of only describing how to network. You learn how to network to use people, but not how to maintain good relationships with people. We are a user-centric society, no longer a good-friend society.

When I was growing up, there was no lack of parties, weddings, social events that I was invited to and went to (chaperoned of course). I have a very large family.

Now, I’m not someone whose phone rings off the hook, but I take it for granted that I always can find someone to connect with and talk to – if I wanted. I’m not the extroverted type, I suppose if I was my phone would be ringing off the hook.

Well, it does, but I don’t answer it.

I write this, because I received a call from a friend and I realized that this time of year, in this country, can be hard on an immigrant (or American) who doesn’t have a well-connected, satisfying and emotionally balanced life. I don’t have any remedies, but I am thinking of those people – of you – who feel a bit down.

But like my Mom once said, “Some people are miserable all year, but at this time of year they are even more miserable.”


Hair Again – High Maintenance?

I’ve never liked my hair worn straight. I have never liked the methods used to make it straight either – be it hot comb, flat iron, or relaxers. Although I was combing my hair since I was about 8 to 10 years old – I certainly didn’t know what I was doing – I never craved straight hair. All I wanted was for it to be long.

As a child, my natural hair never reached past my ear lobes. When my Mother pressed my hair for “special occasions” – it was only long enough for an itty bitty ponytail. Sad.

I may have been the only girl in high school with an afro. Almost every girl had relaxed / pressed hair that was shoulder length or longer. I was a hold-out until junior year, then I finally broke down due to peer pressure.

I got a relaxer a few times, but I hated being forced to be one of the crowd. It made me so cranky, I got the nickname “crabby”. Damn right I was. I enjoyed being quirky and different. I can’t stand conformity. I despise anything that requires group think or everyone must do the same thing because some idjit is doing it.

My hair strands are rather fine. I could never get a decent thick afro. I always needed to pat it down. I didn’t like relaxing my hair, because the thinness was accentuated. It made me self-conscious. And who wants to feel the wind tickling the scalp? That sensation alone put a chill down my back. Yuck.

I wore an afro for a number of years, before my aunt and uncle from the UK introduced me to the jheri curl. It was nice for a couple of years, before the product starting disappearing off store shelves. To make a long story short: that product also thinned my hair out. It made it long, but it also fell out in clumps periodically. Wasn’t that a blast?

I read a lot of comments where black women are going through something called a transition to grow out their hair from a relaxer. I suppose some of us are so self-conscious about our texture that we feel the need to transition. I understand. Well, not really, but I can pretend to.

Um, I just cut my hair to a few inches and rolled with it. I remember the next day I showed up to work; the director of our department marched down the hall and came to my office door.

He looks, seems satisfied, nods, and says: “Your hair looks nice.”

I smiled, somewhat cheekily, and said, “Thanks.”

And that was that.

My hair has been a pain in the ass. I used to wish I knew how to take care of it and comb it. I wasn’t educated about it until I started reading natural hair care books. The biggest breakthrough came with the advent of the internet.

Now, I sympathize with black women who say that they prefer to relax their hair. They believe it is for low maintenance reasons. Hey, whatever floats your rationalization boat.

I don’t care how knotty and uncooperative my hair has been. It will never compare to the misery of going through: the chemical process, the hair salon wait (all day!), the scissor happy / unsympathetic (rough handling) hairstylists, the expense, hair breakage, bald spots and receding hairlines (alopecia areata), and the terror of worrying about permanent scalp damage!

I’m grateful for the forums that educate me on how to manage my hair. That is what I have always wanted. Best of all my hair is very low maintenance, cheap and easy to comb. Okay, most times easy to comb.


Business, Politics and the Personal – Part i

I don’t lack for topics to write about, I actually have too many. Yet I feel one needs to write and keep a thematic flow. Today, I’ll break that rule. I wasn’t even aware that I had built a box and joyfully stepped into it.

I’m going to briefly (I hope) write on some topics in this and following posts:

&#149 Politics: in consideration of campaign finance, should the New York Times’s relentless pro-Hillary Clinton slant be viewed as a campaign contribution? I’ll include Time Magazine and the Washington Post in this collective.

I am always amused by how people in the media are always so certain they know what is best for the American people. They suffer from chronic smartest people in the room syndrome.

If these people say that the years Hillary Clinton spent as First Lady qualify her as co-President and is her political experience, then she’s to blame for all the misdeeds and scandals of the Clinton Administration as well. Shouldn’t she have been impeached too?

By the way, what are her legislative achievements as Senator of New York? Oh that’s right, she thinks that illegal aliens should get driver’s licenses. It’s not like people use a driver’s license as a form of ID to ah, let’s see, ah, vote – right? US Citizenship isn’t earned or a privilege anymore. Is this an Open Borders Society?

Todays politicians are not just treasonous and they are not just unpatriotic. Their contempt for the American people is so deep that they think nothing of disenfranchising people who have died for the right to vote. Why is the situation in this country such that US Citizens are put over a rack of laws to abide by, but it is a free-for-all for others?

Clean house, I say, clean house. Let us stop voting for those that have such contempt for us. Try a new method of voting: just vote for the new guy. Rarely, if ever, re-elect anyone.

If people want to vote in someone as president who is famous for being famous or “smart”, why not at least pick an attractive and likable individual? That would make Senators Obama and former Senator Edwards a more attractive pair to vote for.

Last, but not least, the writers of the New York Times do not understand the people they write about. This is true of articles (the few that exist), which cover black American women. I often feel as though they are writing about an alien species, which I feel is done on purpose.

I don’t care if they claim that 99.9% of black American women love dem Clintons.

I am one of a handful that ain’t voting for her.