My Journey to Become a Writer 03/08/2024 Post #68

Informative Image

Today I went in my trailer to enjoy some down time and think through some things. I was so happy to sit in there and not be surrounded by projects – until I realized the roof was leaking!!!

It’s always somethin’!

What Did I Accomplish Today to Be a Writer?

I participated in Quiet Fridays, through L.A. Writers’ Lab. My plan was to use that time to write this post; but then today’s writing prompt from Al Watt was: “As your protagonist, write for five minutes, beginning with the following: “When I look in the mirror, I see…”

I about backtracked; but considering the fact that I’ve been listening to BrenÉ Brown’s “The Power of Vulnerability”, maybe I should settle into this and be willing to write publicly about vulnerable things.

Sorry, BrenÉ, I have to leave that last E capitalized, because I don’t know how to do the accent (I had to copy and paste your name from your site and could only fix the middle letters – please forgive my ignorance – and thank you for an opportunity to express my vulnerability 😳 I feel like I should bake you three dozen cookies as a form of apology. Those tasted good, right? 🙂

As far as what I see in the mirror, should I talk about my hair, which people have been commenting more and more on lately?

Saying things like, “Your hair has gotten significantly grayer.” Awkward pause, then, “You’ve had a lot on your shoulders.”

Would I rather them say I need Head and Shoulders – something solvable (though I’d use vinegar if I had that problem), or point out the silver setting in that is beyond my control?

What about that verse about worry? How we can’t turn one hair white or black? Does having a lot on my shoulders have anything to do with my hair getting gray?

A couple of weeks ago, I was supposed to get a “headshot” for my About page and Bio, so I went to get a haircut, since I’ve been looking pretty disheveled. A lady I’d never met commented, “Oh, are you letting your hair grow in gray?” as if I’d dyed it before. She went on to say, “It’s beautiful,” but I was a bit glum about getting that compliment.

As a side note, there was a little boy, too young to talk, sitting on his mom’s lap, while she was laying back in a chair. The poor kid burst into empathetic tears as the beautician ripped eyebrows off of his mother’s face. I had to laugh. We all did. But maybe that kid had more sense than the rest of us.

As the stylist and I spoke, I found out she’d actually done my grandma’s hair. It humored me when she asked, “Was your grandma a tall woman with soft, white hair?” My upcoming book addresses my grandma’s issues with being tall, so it made me smile that her height was how she’d been remembered. And as for those white locks of hers, I remember well her admitting that her “one vice” was going to the beauty parlor every Friday to get her hair done.

Anyhow, I don’t like having to face a mirror for a hair cut with that cape thing around my neck; but was dreading going to the BMV to get my driver’s license even more. I went. Then I went home. Then I went back to the BMV. Then I went home. Then I went back to the BMV.

When I smiled for the license picture, I was instructed not to show my teeth. Then the lady asked, “What are you gonna put for your hair color?” As if it was a question.

I looked down and mostly saw brown; but remembering what the lady had said that morning at the salon, admitted to having some gray.

The girl who works for the government (I’m guessing in her thirties), stated bluntly, “Why don’t you just go ahead and put “gray”, so you don’t have to change your hair color later.” Proper punctuation makes me feel like there ought to have been a question mark; but it was definitely more like a statement when it came out of her mouth.

I wanted to respond, “Why don’t you just shut up?” That’s not something I say; but having boomeranged back and forth to the BMV I was rather miffed by then. She’d wanted me to fill out a survey the first time. The only two choices were mad, or an expression of total enthusiasm about the service. I felt pressure to pick the latter, and quite frankly resented it.

The second trip, when she had admittedly messed things up, no survey was offered. The third time I came back, when given the choice, I decided not to cast a vote – on principle, because the happy face was showing teeth, and if I couldn’t show mine for my photo, why should I show them for a BMV trio-trip that was far from stellar?

I got my new license and the photo is gray anyway – my whole face is gray. It’s really quite a sad sight.

As for the photo shoot for my About Bio. I’ll just go ahead and say I pretty much hated the pictures. I was laughing, trying not to have childhood trauma from neighborhood led photo shoots, when we were desperately trying to be fashionistas.

Anyway, from my perspective, my teeth looked like they were trying to escape from my face, and anybody looking at the photo seems like they would flinch, afraid of being eaten. And of course, there’s that one funny tooth, which my mom said only a mother would notice, and then suggested that I get it fixed again…

I really wish I had been paying attention while playing catch as a kid. I’m pretty insecure about that dark incisor. Oh well.

Where was I going with all of this? Oh yes, writing on a prompt about looking in the mirror. Maybe it’s the Lord’s kindness when our eyesight starts to go. I remember my Aunt Marianne talking about chin exercises and wondering why anyone would need more chin strength. Here I sit, typing away in a Zoom meeting, hidden behind a high-necked zip sweater, not wanting to expose my neck, which looks to me like it could be strung from the walls like crepe paper at a birthday party. Don’t even get me started on all those excess chins (which could be blamed on a bad camera angle, but I probably ought to claim responsibility for).

But what was that “Power of Vulnerability” stuff I was listening to? Did it escape through my ears, from one side of my graying head through my gray matter, and go on out through the other – like a silver streak of lightning?

I’m asking myself, “Do I look at any other person in the Brady Bunch Boxes of this Zoom meeting and cast such a critical eye as I do to my own mirror image?”

What causes this kind of scornful introspection? I’m not sure; but the mantra “Practice Makes Perfect” comes to mind, and I have had many years of practicing rehearsing my imperfections. So that’s what I see when I look in the mirror; but even more so when I see myself reflected back on a camera screen.

My toes curl; but does this kind of reaction honor my Creator in any way? I don’t think so. So it’s something I’m contending with. I know I’m not the only one.

If anything, the issue is growing worse. In a world of photoshopped friends, family, and people we’ve never met before; but maybe choose to “friend” and “follow” – or just happen to have flit glamorously across our screens from time to time, it’s hard to not have some form of self-loathing.

We’ve all got our imperfections; but maybe covering them up isn’t the cure at all. Well, I do think the internet could do with a good dose of modesty; but as far as trying to appear perfect by hiding our flaws, I believe there is a sense of beauty in being able to expose our humanity and have a good laugh about it. So often, that’s what brings people together.

As a second side note, Brene’ Brown (in The Power of Vulnerability) was saying that people in our society are having more trouble than before expressing empathy, because of Botox blocking their ability to mirror emotions when listening to someone else’s story.

I’m guessing also that SWAT Teams shouting the word, “FREEZE!” isn’t as effective either, since a growing segment of our society already bears that expression on a daily basis.

Besides not doing Botox; but writing about my aging face, I did Day 68 of the 100 Words a Day Writing Challenge 2024 through LA Writer’s Lab.

And maybe this was a waste of time; but I do like to jump into the comments section on @reallyverycrunchy. Hopefully folks know I’m being sarcastic most of the time. Jason and Emily are “naturally” very funny, and their form of humor definitely hits my funny bone:

I have a lot more fun in the comments section of someone’s page who has a good grip on sarcasm than I do posting my own stuff. Is that socially acceptable in social media, or is it just me being stuck in a middle school mindset, clinging to the outer ring of social acceptance and orbiting from a distance? I didn’t know then, and I don’t know now…

Anywho –

Thanks for reading what I’m writing,

Jody Susan

I’m doing my best to be still this week; but could have sat a bit more if I’d been able to stick some gum in the hole up on my trailer’s leaking roof:


I'm not sure what to say here: I once got second place in a dog-look-alike-contest? I know how to fold a fitted sheet? I'm pretty much a poster child for social backwardness - at least as far as social media is concerned; but I have some stories I think I'm supposed to share and am attempting to do that here, in this space.

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