June 13, 2012

People In Glass Houses...Oh, Nevermind...

I sometimes open my mouth and words jump out unexpectedly.  My brain is screaming, "NO! SHUT DOWN THE WORMHOLE!" but it is often too late.  They escape into the Universe usually committing me to yet another thing...because I need one more thing.

The last verbal explosion got me on a committee to discuss/act upon diversity issues with our school system.  Really, I don't know why this is such a biggie for me, but it is. I'd spent my life thinking race didn't matter, but I've since learned race does matter.  I just didn't realize it because I hadn't spent any time being any other race...which I can't do because, well, think about it. Duh. As Lady Gaga says, "I was born this way."  

Anywho, I digress.  It's been a thrilling and sometimes disheartening process.  It's opened my eyes to how we view other human beings...the daily thoughts we are not even aware we are having.  I got my own little experience with this over the last couple of weeks.

Because it's summer and because my parents don't pay my bills anymore, I went a little crazy with the hair color.  It started out an acceptable dark brown with some red/violet highlights.  Somehow, though, it just wasn't enough.  I needed something else that screamed "SCHOOL'S OUT!" like Alice Cooper's theme song.  And that is how I ended up with fuchsia hair.
Let me tell you, nothing gets people's attention in a small, Southern town like some pink hair!  What has been more interesting to me is seeing how differently people act toward me now that my hair is more of a beacon for alien aircraft.

I have gotten a lot of, "Oh, I love your hair!"  There has been some, "Oh, your hair is pink!" with less pea-green envy and more holy shit! in their voices.  Then there are the ignorers, those who just act like of course I would have pink hair.  I'm not sure if that says they expect it from me or they totally disapprove and are ignoring it so it will go away.  Hmmm.....

In some weird, parallel Universe, I have somehow altered the soul of who I am by doing this.  I am no longer a responsible mother of three, a wife deeply in love and dedicated to her husband, a pretty good daughter, a school junkie with as many college degrees as I have children, and a never-late-bill-payer.  I am my hair...and some interpret that as flaky, irresponsible, less educated, unemployed, and irrational.  I think being irrational might be interesting.

In a couple of weeks, my hair will be a more responsible shade of espresso. (Like how I make that all cool sounding?  It's dark brown...don't get excited.)  My career isn't dancing on a stage while millions of people buy my crappy attempt at vocals and my parents didn't inherit millions of billions of dollars, so I have to put the pink hair away for a couple of months. I totally love my job/career, so I'm okay with that.  It's all good.

What about those things people can't put away or take off or dye or alter? What eyes do we see those people through?  As I've stated before, my sweet boy will never have the Forrest Gump moment of running free from bulky metal braces to find solid legs to carry him.  What do others see when they notice his braces?   No, what do they see?  They see can't do, pitiful, so sad, less than....they don't see my oh-so-intelligent son who can kick the world's ass.

When you see the worker on the side of the road...do you see illegal immigrant?  When you see the black woman in the grocery store, do you assume food stamps?  When you see the Indian student on campus, do you assume doctor or engineer?  When someone is not like you, what do you see? We are all more than what the eyes see.  What do you see?

Because I am more, soooo much more, than pink hair...and if you don't see past it, then you can't see me.


  1. Sounds like you're the perfect person to be on that committee, and your hair looks fabulous.

  2. Tallye,

    Thanks for the post. The issue of race and racial reconciliation is huge for my wife and me here in St. Louis. We live in the city and most of our neighborhood is a different color, ethnicity and/or economic level than us. Also, the church we attend is located on a dividing line where our neighbors on the south side of the street are some of the richest in the city if not the state and our neighbors on the north side of the street are some of the poorest in the city if not the country.

    To help our congregation wrestle with this issue we viewed a live streaming conversation titled "Race and the Christian." The moderator is my friend Anthony Bradley, whom I went to seminary with and is black. He ends up speaking a lot about his life experience and I think you might enjoy hearing it and his challenges to the "White Man." :) The whole conference was very helpful but I felt his part was the best because he gets more into the relational side of things.

    Here is a link to the audio version of the conference. http://www.redeemer.com/connect/congregational_life/grace_and_race/resources.html

    It is titled "Race and the Christian: An Evening with John Piper and Tim Keller, Part 1" and "Race and the Christian: An Evening with John Piper and Tim Keller, Part 2." Anthony does opening remarks in Part 1 and then his main comments are the last third of Part 1. Part 2 is a question and answer session which we found helpful as well.

    I hope you find this helpful and I do love the pink!