weeknotes #11: actual hermits, finally getting a haircut, and donating my hair

I’m sitting in bed typing this post because I had a weird pang of motivation to give some kind of life update. Since my last weeknote, I was in the Blue Mountains, and just wrapping up stuff for work for the year, and we had early Christmas lunch with some of Nick’s family last weekend. A couple of posts are pending about the Blue Mountains trip, but there is one about the Mermaids Cave trail we did, that you can read now.

A view in the bush during the day, with trees in the foreground and light reddish rock formations in the background. There is a reddish rock ceiling towards the top of frame, and some big rocks to the bottom left.
A spot we passed on one of our hikes in the Blue Mountains

I spent… also known as “wasted”… time reading shit on the internet tonight, about hermits and people who left society to live in the woods and stuff like that. How did I go down this rabbit hole? I only learned that Into the Wild was based on a true story tonight, because Nick and I were watching videos from survivalists reviewing scenes from films. I kind of like those videos because they are a little educational and definitely interesting. I read into Christopher McCandless, the man that Into the Wild is about, and it just seemed like a tragic tale of a man who wanted to have little to do with society, and be adventurous, but went into nature unprepared for the climate and conditions that the Stampede Trail in Alaska had to offer.

As Nick might have you know, he would probably say that my tendency to do spontaneous hikes could get us in far more strife than I already have. But I wouldn’t go without a map into an unknown area… look, I just wouldn’t go to extremes. Ninety minute hikes with no map but that look well trodden? Yeah, I’m OK with that. Unprepared without food and water? It may not be the end of the world, and I could do better in being less spontaneous about that, but I just marvel at the fact that McCandless is the hero that he is today. I get the philosophical part, believe me. Nature is healing. And my alone time back in Portland had me shed a few tears for the beauty of what I saw and because solitude can get you right in the heartfeels (that’s not a word; I know). But the “I‘m stronger than I think” mentality and the challenges that humans crave is also, precisely, the thing that can draw us closer to our own demise.

I found myself reading about Christopher Thomas Knight again, the hermit who had lived for 27 years in the woods in Maine since 1986 before being arrested for theft, having lived off robbing nearby homes, was cautious about any behaviour that could reveal his campsite, and only encountering a hiker just once in 1990 where he incidentally said, “hi”. Didn’t utter a single word after that, not to himself, nor to any other human. I feel a weird sense of empathy for the guy, who went to jail and assumedly lived an ordinary life with a job he got with the help of family, being a nobody in society, as he sort of wished. He missed the woods.

I had an ex who often talked about his desires of living in a cave. It was the kind of thing that could break your heart a bit at 20 – the kind of thing where you’re not in someone’s future, and you wonder if you should be thinking about them in your future. But at the same time you’re barely past teenage years, so what do you know about love? What do you know about anything, really? But I digress, because 18-year-old Olivia Rodrigo has written beautiful songs about painful love that are well beyond her years.

Humans have shared feelings, I guess. As much as we sometimes want to fuck off with society, and go into the woods and be somewhat primitive, going back to the very environment we grew from is a struggle, there is so much we experience in the civil world – as people, amongst people – that connects us, and connects us deeper. It might not seem like it from the outset, but without other people – even if we don’t communicate with them endlessly – we are really nobody.

I don’t know why but I’ve been so exhausted lately. I went back to eating salads more frequently to reduce my calories a bit; I gained a bit of weight and have had indigestion presumably from eating too much fried food. I wonder if it’s just that I’ve been eating less, or if it’s the heat that we’re experiencing due to it being summer.

I often go for walks and I feel so lethargic after them. The heat does make me tired. I’ve occasionally gone for a walk on the treadmill at the gym, which I prefer sometimes. Because sometimes I want to go for a walk and move my body even though my eyes want to shut. I want to go for a walk but not have to bother with crossing roads or watching where I’m going. Just the monotony of walking can be therapeutic.

I have noticed some people on social media “signing off” and presumably having a break, whether they are going on holidays or seeing family or just disconnecting. When I put in my leave for next week, I wrote a snarky comment in the system comments that was something along the lines of:

because I’ve never taken time off between xmas and new year since I got my first full-time job

(Chris was always going to approve my leave anyways.)

Historically, I just rarely took holidays around that time. I was reluctant to even have a break because I treated my annual leave like some kind of currency (nah fuck off Bitcoin). The pandemic has taught me something else. It has taught me, fucking take a break. It has taken years of healing trauma to reduce the guilt I feel in taking time off work. So yeah, it’s funny that while people are signing off, I am looking forward to the break to actually catch up on a few digital things like missing podcast transcripts for my Toast & Roast podcast with Geoff, and a few blog posts here. 😊 It looks like rain is forecast all of next week, but Nick and I are still planning to go outdoors a little bit.

Honestly just wanted to end this post by sharing that I finally got my hair cut. My long hair was giving me face dysphoria because I was always tying it up in a bun or ponytail. I have, for a long time, really disliked the shape of my face and head when there isn’t hair around it. I longed to wear my hair loose again but I couldn’t get an appointment for months.

The reality is that, back in 2018, after I cut off the last blonde bits from my bleached hair after my purple hair faded, I said I would grow my hair and keep it long until I was sick of it. It was like the flip of a switch. Six months ago, I was fine. Three months later, I made an appointment. While waiting many weeks for my appointment, I didn’t care to count down the days, but suddenly, I fucking hated my hair, and so I started to count it down.

My hairdresser asked if I had thought about my decision and I well and truly had. I needed a change. Since I had grown my hair so long, it got braided and donated. 😍

Five braids of human hair, laid out on a stone bench. They are tied and clipped at some ends to hold the braids together. There is a mirror in the background
My donated hair, which has to be at least 20 centimetres in length to donate

It’s the first time I’ve cut so much hair off at once, and my natural hair colour, too. Having dyed it for ten years, all that dyed hair wouldn’t have been accepted. Needless to say, although donating my hair felt like a good deed, I also feel just as good about myself. I’ve had long, long, long hair for over half my life, and having the hairstyle I have now, really makes me feel myself. 🥲 I feel like it actually suits me, reflects my personality, and embodies the sassy piece of shit I am sometimes. 😂

A selfie of an Asian woman with light skin and short dark hair. Her hair is freshly waved. She is wearing a black square neck studded crop top, and in the background is a television with the display off.
I love how versatile my hair is

I have a couple of Stylesheet posts that I want to write up. Nick took the photos of me a few weeks ago, though, so my hair is in a damn bun in them, and hasn’t been cut yet. 🙊 I am really loving how versatile my new haircut is, though. My parting on my right essentially disappeared because I kept tying my hair up, so the hair settled in no particular direction. My hairdresser cut it in the middle and now I feel like I can wear it parted on any side. I love how it takes five minutes to blow dry, and not fuckin’ 30. 💕 I’m just really enjoying styling it in different ways, which was my intention before I got my hair cut. I wanted something I could change up and have fun with and actually style.

And that’s me for tonight. Big love to y’all.

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