Category Archives: Hair

Happy New Year 2015

Well, here it is, the time of year in which we’re supposed to look back with a regretful or chastising eye and then look forward with a hopeful or change-oriented one. For me, that’s every day, so this socially constructed mindfulness, reflection, personal analysis seems a bit felt up. I’m not being judgmental toward others who find this act refreshing; I’m simply saying that the way most people feel right now, looking back and looking forward, is pretty much how I live my life. I do enjoy the way the new year brings us all together into the same thoughtful consideration of what we’d like to change about ourselves. I love reading the goals that other people post, and I love hearing how people want to make the world better, starting with themselves. And I do love to participate in goal setting or resolution making. It’s an act of hope, like thinking that one day things will be better. So here’s to 2015, which will be better than 2014!

  1. Social Media: As of January 5, I plan to remove myself from social media. No more Facebook, no more Twitter, no more Instagram. For one year. Instead of these venues, I plan to call people, have real email conversations, and engage in face-to-face interactions with those people I love (or those who I will get to know). My interactions on Facebook, with the exception of some, simply serve to make me angry, jealous, bitter, ungracious, or otherwise not kind, compassionate, loving, friendly, or like someone I’d want to be around. If you know me, you can feel free to email, call, or text.
  2. Blogging: In lieu of social media, I am starting a creative project in which I write letters to people from throughout my life. Some letters will be anonymous, some addressed to the intended recipient, but all will be as close to the “truth” as I can get. I’ll house those posts at Grace and Shame, Letters, which is also linked on the right hand side of this blog. I doubt many folks will read the letters, because I won’t have them posting to Facebook or Twitter, but I hope to simply get improve my writing, post some hilarious and heartbreaking stories from my life (people are always telling me I have lots of stories), and maybe connect to some people through things that we have in common. I plan to allow myself an hour a day for writing, starting on January 5 for a total of 360 letters by year-end.
  3. Athletic Pursuits: This year I plan to work out five times a week, doing a variety of running, swimming, biking, and weight lifting. I have mapped out all of January, and I’ve been running and swimming a mile each day, so I think I’m on a good track there. I have two big goals for this calendar year: Muncie 70.3 (finish in 7 hours) and Big Shoulders 5K (finish in 2 hours). That’s it. Other than a couple of fun 5Ks, I have no other goals, except possibly a fall marathon, which entirely depends on my recovery from the 70.3. You can follow my Muncie 70.3 training by clicking above on Ironquest, which is where I will also begin posting my Ironman Wisconsin training after July.
  4. Food for Thought: I am going to eat what I want, when I am hungry. I will focus on eating whole foods and lean toward paleo/primal, but I’m not going to pass up some delicious crusty bread, Chunky Monkey ice cream, or M&Ms, if one of them is offered to me. I’m also checking one macro in my diet, protein, just to make sure I am getting enough to fuel my athletics. I do hope to lose some weight this year, so I’m going to be cautious, but not overly regimented about what I eat.
  5. Drinking: There will be only water, tea, coffee, and fruit juice. Mostly water (a gallon a day if possible, I hear it’s all the rage) and coffee (because I need it to cope). I am abstaining from alcohol, except for the fourth annual Burris Pub Crawl, for the entire year. On a somewhat related note, smoking is out too.
  6. Spirituality: Part of writing, for me, is thinking theologically. The hour of writing will include a bit of time for meditation, scripture reading, and prayer.
  7. Hairy Topics: A seemingly trivial and ridiculous goal is to let my hair grow. My long-term goal is Ironman Wisconsin in 2016, and if I let my hair grow from now until then, I’ll have enough to donate to Locks of Love again. Human hair grows about half an inch a month, so by September of 2016, I should have around ten inches of hair to pull back into a pony tail and shave off. I say this seems like a ridiculous goal, because what kind of a person can’t let her hair grow? Once my hair gets to a certain length, I have a terrible time leaving it on my head. I’ve been mostly bald for the better part of eight years, I’d say, and hair just seems extraneous. However, I do understand how very important hair is to those who have lost it. And, I say this in all humility, I do have pretty awesome hair.

Well, Happy New Year from me to you. I love you all. I do hope you’ll follow my journey.

Several Versions of Freedom and Whole 30 (Later)

I was supposed to spend today grading, but I decided to spend the day doing things I love, instead of the one thing I have to do that I don’t necessarily like to do. I started the day with a bike ride with a good friend and colleague. When we started riding, there was an almost non-existent mist that slowly turned into a full-on ice-cold rain. By the time we parted ways, we were drenched. We had great conversation and so much fun. It’s good to be adventurous, even if that only means two grown women riding bikes in the rain. Freedom.

After the bike ride, I took a nice, long, hot shower to warm up. I savored the warmth and the smell of my coconut body wash. Sometimes the smallest things make me smile. Mint shampoo and coconut body wash. Smiles. I won’t be needing the mint shampoo again any time soon, because I cut my hair.I just couldn’t take the fluff and stuff anymore, even though one of my high school students just told me on Friday that my hair was bad ass. I could be the queen of bad-assery, but it was also annoying, so the hair had to go. And, as another friend just commented on my Facebook page, maybe my this will “shave” a little time off my swimming laps! Freedom.

March 5: Mohawk

April 14: No Hair

After my hot shower, I put on some sweatpants and a sweatshirt and went out on the porch. I sat there watching the rain fall. I prayed the morning prayer for April 14 from Common Prayer. I read from Exodus where the Israelites are beginning to make the tabernacle in the desert and from Thessalonians: “We had courage in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in spite of great opposition. For our appeal does not spring from deceit or impure motives or trickery, but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the message of the gospel, even so we speak, not to please mortals, but to please God who tests our hearts. As you know and as God is our witness, we never came with words of flattery or with a pretext for greed; nor did we seek praise from mortals, whether from you or from others […]. But we were gentle among you, like a nurse tenderly caring for her own children. So deeply do we care for you that we are determined to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you have become very dear to us.” (2:3-8) I love the last little bit there: sharing the gospel and our own selves.Is it freedom to share yourself?

Right there, early this morning, I was challenged to think about the ways in which I may share the gospel, but not necessarily share my own self.

I was forced to ask myself: how can you share the gospel and yourself?

I also spent a little time reading from Reluctant Pilgrim, and I ran across this passage, which so eloquently explains how I feel about communion, or the Eucharist: “I wish I could string together random beads of words to illustrate what it means to me to take Communion. Each time I walk upĀ  the aisle to the communion servers, I always feel like I am walking up to meet Christ. And there’s a weird mixture of awkward embarrassment, longing, joy, relief, and anxious impatience swirling around my insides. I feel terribly unworthy, greedily hungry, and deeply grateful all at once.” Yes, that’s exactly how it is. Such a humbling experience. Tangible grace. Palpable peace. Freedom.

Throughout the day, I made guacamole and lemon-coconut chicken soup with kale, spent time with Bec grocery shopping, took a nap, and then cooked dinner. We had minimally-processed grass-fed sirloin steaks, broccoli and cauliflower, and salad. I had an Angry Orchard Ginger Hard Cider to drink, which wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t delicious. I give it a C. I love cooking the steaks on the grill, and we’ve been using nice hardwood charcoal in combination with some hickory wood, so the steaks taste like they’ve been cooked over a campfire. These steaks were particularly tender and juicy. Delicious.

Angry Orchard Ginger Cider

Yummy Din-Dins

Finally, I have decided to wait until school is out to try the Whole 30. I just can’t have the stress of no sugar and no alcohol on my body while I am in the most busy part of the school year. I know the end result will be much less stress on my body, but I’ve cut things out before and known the way it can fuck with your normal, every day bodily functions, and I don’t want to try to deal with all of that while grading, planning, and trying to discipline for the next to last month of school. I know it will be good for me, and I know my body will thank me once it’s cleansed, so I plan to spend the month of June detoxifying my body. I am hoping to lose another 40 pounds over the summer by eating amazingly well, organic, fresh, local, and all that. But I also hope to do two-a-days, running and swimming in the morning and in the evening. Not as punishment or even as “training,” but just for fun. I love using my body for the purposes it was intended for, and summer always seems to make me feel so much more alive. Freedom.

Palm Sunday and Mounds State Park

Today is Palm Sunday. I love Palm Sunday because it means that Lent is almost over. While I love the season of Lent, I love its end as much as, if not more than, its duration. I enjoy thinking about serious things, but I also enjoy the excitement that comes with Easter and realizing that all the suffering and sadness comes to an end with the risen Christ. Though I am not silly enough to think that all of our earthly suffering comes to an end. I know that very real pain exists in this world, and I know that even remembering the resurrection of the Messiah is not enough to assuage some pain.

Palm Sunday is also one of my favorite Sundays because, for many churches, it is one of very few high holy days where children are encouraged to play a part in the service. Too often, I think, churches don’t have children participate in the service (they might totally mess things up, right?) unless it’s a special service, like a Christmas play or something. Children and youth seem to always be an afterthought in the Church, but we’d be well off to listen to their voices and learn from them, like a reciprocal relationship, instead of always putting them off to the side, in Children’s Church or the Nursery or the Alternative Youth Service. I love Palm Sunday, because it almost always involves small children, and any willing youth, waving palm branches and shouting, “Hosanna! Hosanna in the highest!”

I remember how special I felt when I was a child and I got to be one of the Christians who proclaimed the coming of the Messiah. I (probably over-zealously) shouted my Hosannahs and waved my palm branch before (possibly not so) delicately laying it on the pile of branches on the altar of the church. I had a little extra spunk when I was younger. After Sunday School we got to go collect a branch apiece to take home with us, and I would always take it home and press some of the individual leaflets in my little white leather-bound KJV bible with Jesus’ words in red letters. That bible was so cool because it was a children’s bible, but it was a real translation (if you can call the KJV a real translation), and it had these strange watercolor type pictures in every book. I remember the one for Genesis was Joseph in his amazing rainbow coat. The Preface to the Christian Scriptures had this picture:

I remember getting in so much trouble in Sunday School over this exact picture. One of the adults was explaining to us, “See there is no door knob on the door, which means that you have to open the door to let Jesus inside. He can’t just open it himself. You have to let him in.” Then I said, “Um, the side of the door you can see has the hinges. The hinges are never on the same side of the door as the knob. Jesus is standing in front of the knob, so we can’t see it.” Let me just say, it doesn’t pay to be an observant little kid in a conservative evangelical denomination (Nazarene). I am sure my punishment by my Sunday School teacher for this event is one of reasons we ended up becoming Methodist. For all their faults, at least Methodists use their brains! But back to Palm Sunday.

I am not sure that I’ve ever missed a Palm Sunday service before in my life, but today we chose to sleep in and then go for a walk at Mounds State Park. Going to Mounds was a great choice since all the wild flowers were bloomed out and the weather was a little drizzly but perfect for hiking. We walked the opposite direction that we usually do, and it’s the way I like better, because I notice more beauty coming around that way. I’m not sure why I notice more, but I do. And today was no exception. The park was absolutely beautiful. Breathtakingly so. I didn’t wave any palm fronds, and I didn’t shout Hosannah, but I was able to worship in a way I don’t usually worship in a building called Church.

So this week, as I look forward to Easter, I plan to do several things to remind me of what is coming.I am going to play more, run more, and swim more. I am going to fast, eating only one meal (dinner) each day. And, I am going to pray more and be more mindful of the beauty all around me.



I have found that writing here (nearly) every day during Lent has done wonders for my mental health. Paying attention to the things around me and reflecting in a spiritual way always makes me feel better, more connected to my surroundings. I don’t know why I don’t keep this up. One entry a day isn’t too much to ask, right? Also, I just cut my hair; it’s pretty crazy, but so am I.

Crazy Hair. Woot. Woot.

Lent Day 24: Nights Out and Silly Joy

This weekend is ripe with friend connections. Last night I went out with work friends, the colleagues who make teaching bearable. I love my students, so having some colleagues who aren’t dicks is just a bonus.

Getting Ready to Go Out

We did a pre-St. Patrick’s Day pub crawl in good old Muncie, Indiana. We started at the ever trendy, hipster Savage’s Ale House, which is one of my favorite bars, because they have $1 PBRs, of which I had two. I also had the Epic Muncie Burger. Amazing.

$1 Pabst Blue Ribbon

Celebrating the Graduate

From Savage’s we headed to Doc’s Music Hall for all the mixed-drink drinkers. We sat outside at a really long table. There were a whole slew of us! Here’s where I mixed my metaphors and went from Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Loretto, Kentucky and stopped south of the border for a few sips of my friend’s, the birthday girl, Muncie-rita, that’s served complete with an upside down bottle of Corona in it. All the traveling must be why I have such a headache this morning!

Maker's with a Splash of Coke

From Doc’s we dropped in next door at the Heorot. I kept on traveling: I had a Strongbow from Ireland and a New Albanian Porter from New Albany, Indiana.

Half-Lit Chandelier at Silo

Then we headed to the Silo (Maker’s and a Fat Tire (Fort Collins, Colorado)), and then to the very haunted Fickle Peach (Bell’s Porter from Kalamazoo, Michigan) where I spilled my beer so hard the marble bar broke the glass. No worries, a friend split her beer with me and then somehow I ended up with another Bell’s Porter. I also played pool for the first time in several years and didn’t do too shabbily, but I didn’t do really well either.

Bell's Porter, not the one I spilled

Outside the Peach: Are those orbs I see?

We ended the night back in Milwaukee with a Miller Lite at the Mark III Tap Room, “the longest gay bar in the world,” but by that time I didn’t trust myself to take my phone out of my pocket for fear that it would go the way of the beer at the Peach and shatter all over the dance floor.

My point in writing about this is that I am a serious person most of the time, but my goal this year was to get my joy back by doing those things I hadn’t been doing, which bring me joy. Surrounding myself with friends brings me joy. Drinking excellent beer and bourbon brings me joy. Walking around town and acting silly and dancing poorly all bring me joy: great joy and a great headache the next morning. I think Jesus wants us to experience joy (maybe not so much the headaches, though he did like his wine); in fact, I think we were designed to be filled with joy. Look at Adam and Eve, they were perfectly content before they ate that dastardly fruit. How could they not have been joyful living in the most perfect place ever? David was so joyful he danced with no clothes. John the Baptist was so joyful in utero that he “leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.” Peter was so joyful he couldn’t resist calling Jesus out for who he is, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” In the end, we’ll all be so filled with joy, we won’t be able to stop singing.

I just want a little bit of that joy here on earth, and one way for me to experience it is by giving myself over to those silly sides of myself that don’t always show, but which always hide there, just beneath the surface aching to get out. And, yeah, in many ways, I am equating fleshly drunkenness with spiritual drunkenness. The spirit and the flesh, they feel really similar to me, which I suppose is because I don’t really buy that mind, spirit, body split nonsense, chalking it up as a patriarchal paradigm foisted upon us by the Enlightenment. So tonight I plan to do it all over again with different friends, in a different place, but with the same goal in mind: gathering the joy that’s swirling around out there waiting for us to take it!

Lent Day 14: Stained Glass Jesus

Come to me all who are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

I went to my seminary, Anderson University School of Theology, for chapel today, and I was pleasantly surprised to find out that one of my good friends, Pastor Joy May Sherman, was preaching (speaking, whatever). Her message was about denial and how we don’t understand denial in the same ways that Jesus meant denial. Essentially her message was about the fact that we consider giving something up for Lent an expression of denial, but that Jesus wants us to give ourselves up, constantly, all day every day.

Her words took me back to the time when I was in seminary and I fasted, eating and drinking only fruit juice and water for the whole six-ish weeks from Ash Wednesday to Easter. Those weeks were long and grueling, and I felt as if I had really practiced the discipline of denial. I had given up ________, but Jesus asks for us to give up ourselves, our own “selfish ambitions.” Do I do that? I try, but do I really want, as Joy put it in her sermon, a discipleship in which still allows me to hold on to my own goals? I am not sure. I think I try to put aside those things which are of myself, while focusing on God’s will for my life, while trying to take up the life God has for me, while attempting to carry my cross. But if I look deep inside myself, I think I still sling to a lot of things that are of my own ambitions and not necessarily of God. Something to work on, I guess. One more thing.

Me, Kimberly Majeski, Joy Sherman

I hadn’t anticipated all the feelings that being back in the seminary building, and more specifically the chapel, would bring out of me. I had forgotten how being with women who love God so deeply can feel. I was a bit nervous, I’ll confess, because I have been so vocal about my sexuality as of late. I thought I might go, see my friends, and it would be awkward. Usually, this is more my own paranoia than anything else. Nonetheless, I felt a great sense of relief and welcome when Kimberly and Joy embraced me as they had in those years past, when I was back there hiding (not so effectively) behind the vestments in the church closet.

I don’t know how I have functioned for the past few years, being so angry at God, being so angry for so many things. I won’t say that anything supernatural like a tsunami of love and grace splashed over me when I entered Miller Chapel, but a small sprinkling of where I was in my relationship with God when I was in seminary came back to me. I was, in those 60 minutes, so thankful for the healing that God provides. So thankful. I felt at peace.

Seminary was one of the happiest, but most complicated periods of my spiritual development. I was deeply in love with God. Deeply enamored with Jesus. And deeply guided by the Holy Spirit. I was deeply hidden in the closet, but I knew who I was in Christ. I could speak tangibly of my call. I was so caught up in all of the world of seminary, that I can’t remember much of the day to day experiences of those three years. I went to school and chapel (as we all did), and then I went to work at Pizza King. I was exhausted, but I was exhilarated. It was a beautiful three years.

On my way home, I listened to Jennifer Knapp, my go-to girl for moments when I have experienced God in a new or meaningful way. The first song that came on in the shuffle was “Refine Me.” Knapp writes: “I come into this place, burning to receive your peace. I come with my own chains for wars I fought for my own selfish gains. You’re my God and my father. I’ve accepted your son, but my soul feels so empty now. What have I become? Lord, come with your fire, burn my desires, refine me. Lord, my will has deceived me, please come and free me, refine me.” What a beautiful way to end a blessed day.

Jennifer Knapp in Lafayette Square, Indianapolis

Me With No Hair and a Tan Watching Jennifer Knapp