rebellion pt. I
by Miss What's-Your-Name-Again?
Welcome back to school! I’m sure, by now, you’ve all noticed that there’s something up with Miss What’s-Your-Name-Again’s hair. Namely, as one of you so charmingly phrased it, “It got blue.” Many of you asked me why, why it got blue, why I would do such a thing, why it is now a sort of alluring shade of pee green (your spelling, not mine. Okay, maybe also mine now.) The answer to the last one is in the color wheel, my art class delinquents: in the process of washing out, a little blue plus yellow hair equals pee green. The answer to the rest?
Unknowingly, my blue hair was a very early sign of what was only the beginning of what would be a slow and bittersweet realization that, after 10 years, I had fallen out of love with the acting profession… a profession that, ironically (being a profession “in the arts,”) had actually stunted my creative expression far more than it had allowed. My blue hair was a giant middle finger to years of tailoring my haircuts and color to fit the headshots I loathed, to dreaming of tattoos I would never be able to get without risk of them being a liability in casting, to suffering through advice on WHAT TO WEAR to meetings (no one, ever, in any other circumstance, has ever dared to give me unsolicited advice on WHAT TO WEAR… if you aren’t familiar with my wardrobe, I can tell you right now I am wearing some lulumeon running pants and nikes, a Hello Kitty t-shirt and a giant white fur coat. It’s my dog walking outfit. No one tells me what to wear.) If I was in the process of grieving my lost love for acting, perhaps my hair represented the anger stage.
So tonight, in the very twilight hour of Miss-What’s-Your-Name-Again’s pee green hair, my thoughts are on rebellion. It has been a short series of thoughts, because I have very little experience on the subject. As a matter of fact, I have precisely three thoughts on rebellion, which I will share with you in three parts. Starting now.
My first took place, conveniently, on my own first day of school, in first grade. I was wearing my most winning outfit: white, long-sleeve button down with fringe, half-tucked into acid-wash hammer pants, scrunched socks over my white canvas keds (No one tells me WHAT TO WEAR.) The first day of school is super awesome for someone who has a tendency towards anxiety that often manifests in the form of OCD; everything so stinkin’ new and clean: new supplies, neat and tidy new room, brand new start. My spanking new desk was adorned with a colorful Lakeshore nametag on which was written my name in sharpie, little bubbles in the corners of every letter. And next to my nametag was taped a perfectly-cut white square, on which was printed a perfect, five-pointed star.
My new teacher, a pretty, if stern-looking, woman in front-pleated trousers and shoulder pads, made her introductions and explained the class rules. The star was a key item in her behavioral system; there were class rules to follow and, if you were caught not following one of the rules, you would lose a point in your star. For every point lost, you spent a minute of recess on Friday sitting on the wall. I listened intently to this for I was a model student; I had been told so many, many times in kindergarten. I was, in fact, informing my rather chatty neighbor in the Hypercolor tee that we weren’t supposed to be talking right now when my powerfully-shouldered teacher came up behind me and, with a red pen, slashed through one of the points of my star. For talking.
Now, for someone who has a tendency towards anxiety that often manifests in the form of OCD, having a point permanently and rather haphazardly crossed off of your brand new star on your brand new desk is a considerable blow. I don’t remember the rest of the day. It was the singular event I relayed to my mother when she later asked me how my day went. She thought for a moment, and then, to my absolute confusion and utter horror, said something I would not come to appreciate until many, many years later when I could fully comprehend how fucking boss my mother is, and how completely she understands her children. She suggested, rather matter-of-factly, that perhaps I should attempt to get the rest of the points crossed off, because maybe then she would give me a new star– or, at the absolute least, they’ll all be crossed out so they’ll look the same.
I did not, in the end, go on a week-long, bad-behavior bender to rectify my star problem. But it didn’t matter whether I had one red mark, or five. Did I learn my lesson? No, I was a fucking model student, there was no lesson for me to learn; except that the system in place to keep kids in line was not perfect, and sometimes that system failed you, even if you were a model student. I sat for a minute on the wall on that Friday, and then for the remaining 19 minutes of recess with my sketchbook and crayons, which is also precisely how I would spend every single recess after, that until a rumor began to circulate around school that there was a severed human hand that occasionally floated past the sewage grate on the field, and then I spent every day camped out there in the hopes of catching a glimpse… until administration caught wind and forced us to disperse.
I know that my teacher was just trying to make a point when she singled me out to be punished on the first day of school, sometimes, you have to make an example out of someone to make a point. But when that someone is a model student with a tendency towards anxiety that often manifests in the form of OCD, you should avoid making yours by crossing theirs out.