Today, I cut my hair. After the final autism workshop, about autism and ADHD, I decided I would focus on self care today.
I thought about three mundane things that would make my day better – three things that have been on my to-do list for a while. Cut my hair. Cut my toenails. File my fingernails.
Burnout has come with some struggles that I used to do with ease. Things like getting ready for the day. Keeping on top of the day to day life admin and care tasks. But today, I cut my hair and I feel lighter.
Cutting my own hair is a risk, of course. I had to do it out of necessity in 2020, so I found a tutorial on YouTube with the ‘unicorn’ method of cutting long hair into layers and trimming it. The woman in the tutorial has thinner hair than mine.
I’ve always had thick hair, and I didn’t even realise how thick until I starting cutting it myself. It felt thinner lately so it was interesting to realise it’s actually still pretty thick.
What looks easy in the video is like sawing through timber when I do it myself.
The scissors I use are sharp and for cutting hair. But my poker straight thick hair is slippery and I have to have a lot of patience, sitting on a stool over a dustbin methodically trimming it, rinsing the scissors, and trimming off more.
When I finally dried it, I realised it was still too long so I improvised and cut off more, creating a really odd shape which needed even more finessing until it looked somewhat neat and like it hadn’t been hacked off.
As I result I’ve probably cut off more than I was expecting but at least my heavy hair isn’t pulling on my temples any longer when I tie it up. I’ve mostly been wearing my hair up over the last few months, putting off cutting it.
I did some damage to my hair doing that because it pulled at my temples and created some broken strands. But tonight I have it down and it feels so much better.
I’m hyper-conscious of damaging my hair because I have PCOS and have experienced periods of alopecia where I had small patches on my head with hair loss. It was usually after periods of stress or when I hadn’t been looking after myself very well.
Stress is not good for PCOS, characterised by inflammation, so it’s a bit cyclical sometimes. So I realise I should probably take care of my hair and scalp better. Avoiding stress is another thing entirely, especially with anxiety!
For dinner tonight I made vegan Mediterranean Cassoulet from 15 Minute Vegan by Katie Beskow. It’s one of those recipes I’ve made so many times now that I can just do it without reading the instructions. Food is definitely one of my special interests. I love to watch food programs, read and buy recipe books, learn some new recipes, and try different things.
That doesn’t mean it’s always easy for me to cook – when I have the spoons I manage, but I tend to reach for recipes that I know well and that don’t take long. I’m no stranger to a quick pasta or microwave dinner when I need something fast.
Some of my favourite programs to watch are anything with Nigella Lawson, Somebody Feed Phil (now on Netflix – I love his enthusiasm!), Chef’s Table, anything with Anthony Bourdain (I know he was somewhat problematic, especially about vegan and vegetarian cuisine and kind of body shaming at times), The Chef Show, and Ugly Delicious (the first series).
I also like food memoirs or books where food is featured. Joanne Harris’s Chocolat is one of my most beloved books, and I’d recommend Ruth Reichl’s books especially Garlic and Sapphires – such wonderful descriptions of food.
Honestly, I’m prone to these digressions. I started with hair and it led to food writing! Bill Friday was right when he said the more you write for Nano Poblano, the more you write as you are. I have no plan for this month, and so every post feels like anything goes. I didn’t have an argument with my cat during breakfast because she was too busy soaking in a patch of sunshine, but I definitely went to bed around 2am.
I tried to make a plan but all I succeeded in doing was making a list of the post topics I had done so far, and it seems like that is the way it’s going to go. Writing like this is tiring and a little frustrating. It’s also interesting because I haven’t written this much for some time. It feels a little exhilarating.
‘There is a kind of alchemy in the transformation of base chocolate into this wise fool’s-gold, a layman’s magic that even my mother might have relished. As I work, I clear my mind, breathing deeply. The windows are open, and the through-draft would be cold if it were not for the heat of the stoves, the copper pans, the rising vapor from the melting couverture. The mingled scents of chocolate, vanilla, heated copper, and cinnamon are intoxicating, powerfully suggestive; the raw and earthy tang of the Americas, the hot and resinous perfume of the rain forest. This is how I travel now, as the Aztecs did in their sacred rituals: Mexico, Venezuela, Columbia. The court of Montezuma. Cortez and Columbus. The Food of the Gods, bubbling and frothing in ceremonial goblets. The bitter elixir of life.’– Joanne Harris, Chocolat.
This post is part of NanoPoblano, a Cheer Peppers production! If you’d like to see what other people are writing and sharing, please click the image below.