Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Frayed

Some online dictionaries have separate definitions for the words "fray" and "frey", but the Pocket Oxford English Dictionary has many meanings for "fray," and there is no "frey."

According to the OED, "Fray" comes from Old French afrayer 'disturb.' It can mean: 1 (of a fabric, rope, or cord) unravel or become worn at the edge. 2 (of a persons nerves or temper) show the effects of strain. - Then there are other disruptions, collisions, and entanglements (as in deers' antlers), and, archaically, to make afraid, or scare off.

Last night, to scare off past years, I found the sharpest scissors I have and I went in the bathroom to look in the mirror for some reason (I couldn't see as I tried to cut my braid off). For some gris-gris reason I had to cut the braid off, since that is the way I always wear it. I couldn't unbind it first and then cut strand by strand with dull scissors, looking in the mirror a way I don't look to myself in the process. I had to have the whole braid in my hand.

I gnawed and gnawed as hard as I could with those scissors and now one third of my hair is frayed. I thought of the loss I feel now, of when last year, when I was psychotic [I will find at least one post reference for this (I am also working, with difficulty, at creating a filing or category system for all that I have written so post reference interjections won't be necessary)], I had to throw away my papers and diaries and keepsakes and give my grandparents' bed back to my mother, as part of some kind of exorcism. I at least had the wherewithal last night, the whenwithal, to know that I don't want to feel later about this, the ways I feel now about most of that. So I quit trying.

I've been hoping today, that in observance of the first day of the new year, I would unbind the braid and wash the strands, and re-braid, but I don't think that is going to happen, either. I have an appointment with my psychiatrist tomorrow, so I will have to move in a way that will create momentum to get things like that done afterwards.

The milk hasn't soured yet so I haven't had to go out for my cafe au lait, and I found enough quarters here to do laundry without having to go out to a store to ask for some. I'm allowed here to use the laundry room in the basement until 10:30, so maybe I will go down there sometime in the hours left.

10 comments:

austin said...

The times I cut my hair were times when I felt very powerless and afraid. I cut it to shock myself back to a more powerful state. I cut it to look like a boy and make myself look like less of a target to those who might be looking for a female target. Usually when I did it it was impulsive, out of anger and fear.

I've seen a lot of cause for anxiety and fear in your last few posts, especially the one where you sold an article about yourself. Good may come from it but there's still anxiety surrounding it.

I think you considering your future feelings is a good sign of being grounded enough. Not grounded but grounded enough to listen to reason and your red flags. Thinking to yourself, " I don't want to feel like I did when..." is a good thing. It means you were not so lost in the moment and in emotion that you were totally beyond reason. Even the slightest bit of reality, grounded-ness and foresight is to be accepted as victory.

Austin

+PHc said...

Austin,
"Foresight" is the word I couldn't find/remember when I said"whenwithal!" I kept trying to find that word. Yes I don't usually have that in those states - definitely anxiety and fear. The magazine itself won't come out till Spring, but some anxiety will be relieved when the work deadlines on it will be past. Then it's out of my hands. Then just powerlessness, and hope about what they'll do with it, but I really want what I had to say in it to be heard.

Kind of like my "friend" being HIV tested. It's totally out of my hands what will happen and how. And then I will be told.

Cutting hair like that is about guilt too. Cutting myself is about wanting to see something heal, but cutting off hair is about cutting off something about me or something I've done.

This is more about cutting off something about me, the mental and physical problems that I feel like keep me from living a life that I feel like I should be able to live.

And when I feel what it is that I'm left out of, those things hurt too much.

Thank you for really reading into what I try to say.

Have a good night.

+PHc

Krishna said...

I hope your hair has survived and your sense of whenwithal, which is a great word, surfaced in time. I hope George will be able to help you get calmer when you see him.
Love

Polar Bear said...

I just wanted to wish you a happy new year.

whimsicalnbrainpan said...

Cutting hair is a good symbolic way of letting things go.

Merelyme said...

just wanted to let you know that i am thinking of you. i can understand how the cutting was a release and for wanting something tangible to hold. you are going to survive this.

Sarah said...

I'm glad you had the whenwithal to quit trying, and the grace to look ahead to what the feelings would be. In AA they tell a person verging on relapse to "think beyond the drink." I think you did that, when you were able to stop attempting to cut your braid. I am thinking of you.

zach said...

Happy new year.

I don't know what to say but, I sincerely wish the best for you.

+PHc said...

Thank you.

only4now said...

I have just begun reading your blog over the past couple days and wanted to send you a hug and heartfelt wishes for a stronger '08.