Hairbrushing/Election Day 3

Good afternoon, everyone! My mother-in-law is up for the day and we went for a walk this morning with Oriana. It’s a beautiful day today, and the weather is expected to maintain throughout the weekend. Hope you’re able to get outside.

As I packed the girls into the car this morning, Helena pointed out that I hadn’t brushed her hair yet. She whispered to me:

“dad, what if somebody is sitting behind me and they notice my hair is messy?”

These are some of her first concerns regarding what others may think of her; her initial foray into being socialized.

I remember being a kid, eating my peanut butter and jelly sandwich in the cafeteria at school, and being obsessed with whether or not I had peanut butter on my face. I would ask my friends at the table every single day. Anyone who looked at me must have been discovering the peanut butter. They would surely laugh. They would call me “peanut butter face”. It would be awful.

I never once had peanut butter on my face. I ate my sandwiches very carefully.

I wonder why, even then, I was so anxious about what other people thought; why I believed their opinion of me would suddenly be fixed: that’s a guy who doesn’t know how to eat.

I tell Helena, whose hair isn’t very messy today: “Nobody is going to notice your hair, they have other things to think about. But I can go grab the brush really quick if you want me to do it.” She says she’s fine, she’ll be ok. We leave it at that.

I think, when I was young, I probably noticed some kids picking on somebody for having peanut butter on their face and made the assumption that this was high treason for an elementary student. I was too highly attuned, and kids are cruel for no reason.

And so, short of making kids less cruel, I offer assurances that certain things just aren’t worth worrying over. Still, the social worker in me wishes people were less cruel, and believes that this is worth working toward.

We work on what we think we can change, whether it’s ourselves or some corner of the world we decide to invest in. Sometimes we confuse the two and don’t really know: is this a me problem, or is this something that really needs to change? Often, it’s too complicated to figure out; both are right. People should be less cruel about peanut butter, and you shouldn’t give a shit if you have peanut butter on your face, or if your hair is a little messy. I write this as a person who often stares down injustice and wonders: where do my feelings end and the reality of the situation begin?

There are a lot of votes still coming in. I’ve read projections that PA will not really be that close, and that Biden will take it. I’ve also read that Georgia may tilt blue, Arizona may hold, and Nevada is looking good for Biden. We’ll see, but it will take time.

I hope you’re able to get outside today. Maybe make it a point to.

M

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