The One I Love from: All the Way from Michigan Not Mars from factory twenty five on Vimeo.

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There’s this infamous story in my family about my half-Italian cousin who was so anxious and heartbroken after her serious boyfriend left her in the late 80s that all of her hair started falling out. My aunt would find clumps of it everywhere–at first she thought they were hairballs the family’s cat, Baffa, spit up. Then the whole thing became medically diagnosable. She was on her way to Early Female Baldness until the problem resolved when she started dating again a few months later.

The same thing began to happen to my hair shortly after I gave birth. Strands started appearing everywhere, first in my food. It was easy enough to imagine some ruff-and-tumble line cook shaking his dandruffy maine into my Mediterranean salad until I connected the dots and realized that the hair, of course, was mine.

The shedding of my hair, caused by a normal hormonal shift after pregnancy, became a reminder of my ‘isness’ every time I got out of the shower and collected a fresh clump from the drain. It’s made me wonder if my hair loss isn’t just a symptom of post-pregnancy but of a broader curiosity, a weird mental break-up with myself before I became a mother.

Me with lots of hair: in bars, out for dessert, breezing through fitting rooms. Me with less hair: running two miles not three, out to brunch before naptime, whipping avacodos into baby food jars.

The hairshirt, or sackcloth, was used in Biblical times as an exclamation point at the end of a sentence–a visual representation of a pilgrim waiting for atonement.  Truth is, if I gathered up all the hair that’s fallen off my head in the past three months, crocheted it into loops and made a tank top, I wouldn’t know how to wear the thing. I wear my baby in public now, and he’s pretty, messy proof that we can be good, or at least better, again.

I’m about to have a son. Any day now, actually. Posting on Weatherspoon daily has been a good exercise for me, and I’ve been proud to stick with this tiny ritual for more than a year now. But I’m going to take a break for a bit, and then I’m planning to write with less regularity while life re-sets itself.

In a few minutes I’m sitting down to eat wintry things, getting my body ready for what’s ahead. It’s like this whole new color will get invented as soon as he’s born, and I can’t begin to see it now because nobody but God imagines colors. But soon everything will have this tint and it will filter over my clothes, water, the soles of my shoes.

And the way life feels different between summer and winter will be a really old feeling, because now I’ll have this kid, and this hue, and everything everywhere will be like leaves pressed in books and lost for awhile.

is Gala Bent’s art on the cover of this week’s Stranger. I haven’t read the thing for months, sworn it off really. I finally have a reason to pick up a copy:

 

 

Last night I dreamt about a sort-of cabinet of natural curiosities. I was working in a store that had this large wooden case with lots of tiny drawers and shelves, and inside each one was something different. Snail shells, dollar store junk, bitter scrolls that taste like honey. Then I woke up and imagined a grand life’s work of building a cabinet like an ark around your whole living room and filling each drawer with something small and loving.

I found this letter to the editor about five years ago in the Muncie, Indiana Star Press. Now I never liked Bush at all, but this guy? He takes the cake.

Please, please read the last paragraph. I can’t believe it actually made it into print.