Postcard #36: Let Be This Crimson Storm

What’s come over me?  What’s going on with me right now?  It is hard to write and draw at the same time.  I get bored before I start writing because I’ve had the same ideas in my mind for some time about what to write and they grow stale by the time I get to the keyboard.  I discover I write about the same sorrows too often.  My joys are the usual as well.  I think too much.  Then I start to censor myself.  I worry about what people I love think about.  I swing between passions.  At this point I exhausted myself into fury.  I don’t want to care about what anyone thinks.  I want that most precious of freedoms that makes me so happy, you can’t imagine.  I want to write about anything and everything I want and about anyone I love.  But…  I must not go over the top.  I have to be respectful, or is that repressfull?  To reflect this, I did a cosmetically drastic thing.

I dyed the left half of my bangs brilliant crimson, dyed a lower right part the same color, and over all, my hair is aflame, with bands of darkest brown in between like rivers of chocolate next to all this burning red strawberry-gold mess.

This is the brightest I’ve ever highlighted my hair. I accidentally spaced out and left the bleach on too long on my left side. For a few moments I worried I had killed my hair. The darkness I’m so used to had disappeared into this stunning gold white. When I poured the color on, the dye was a thick, bloody red and it made me remember when my head was split open at the age of 14.

It was an accident. My younger brother was one of those kid brothers who liked to tag along and be incredibly annoying. There were plenty of boys his age to hang out with, but, no, he had to follow me and my girlfriends around as if it were his life’s goal to tease us to death. I tried to perfect the art of gracefully ignoring him, yet this only egged him on. One late summer night while my mother and the rest of the adults in the neighborhood were indoors debating Biblical scripture (we lived in an evangelical Christian community where Bible Studies were like social get togethers during the weekends), my best friend and I, like the rest of the kids, were left with nothing to do but hang out at the playground. We were too big for the jungle gym, so we sat on the swings, swaying casually back and forth while we talked about boys. To avoid my tag along brother, we told him we would be somewhere else, but he soon found out the truth and came at us in full antagonizing fury. First he called us names, chanting stupid rhymes, but then he started to throw little stones and things at us. Still, we ignored him.

He never intended to hurt us, he only wanted attention, and he was going to get it, even if it meant he was going to scare us. But my brother was never good at frightening me, just an expert at stepping on my nerves. To ignore him even harder, my friend and I started to swing as high as we could get, singing and laughing as loud as we could. I suppose we were just as annoying to my brother as he was to us. I don’t remember seeing him pick it up, but out of nowhere something big hit me upside my head and, just like in the cartoons, I saw stars…

Then I flew and fell and thudded to the ground. Somehow getting back on my feet, yet unable to steady myself, I couldn’t say anything or feel anything, my ears popped and I laughed. I always laugh whenever I’m uncomfortable, very angry, or whenever I’m in a situation where I don’t know how to react. The first thing I heard was my brother screaming, “I DIDN’T MEAN TO KILL MY SISTER! I’M SO SORRY! GOD PLEASE FORGIVE ME! DON’T LET MY SISTER DIE! SOMEBODY HELP MY SISTER!” Then out of him came the worst, most pitiful cries of animalistic fear and pain. Poor boy! My friend helped me stay on my feet and we were both laughing as my brother ran away back home. I thought his screams were for nothing. I was fine. I felt no pain.

“Are you sure you’re okay?” My friend asked, but I laughed off her concern. We began to walk back to make sure to let everyone know my brother’s panic was over nothing. Yet I did not see what had hit me. A few steps away from home, we stepped into the street light, and my friend gasped in horror. She wouldn’t speak, she just squeaked, covering her mouth, shaking her head, looked away and threw up. Alarmed, I had the sick realization that the back of my head felt very… wet. One side of my head was covered in blood. No. It was streaming blood. I felt for the wound, couldn’t find it, and it was hard to distinguish what part was my hair or scalp or could that sticky, squishy part be a piece of my brain?

I did not want to go home. Even though I felt no pain, I just did not want to be seen that way. How silly a thought was that! But sympathy for my brother drove me to open that screen door and slowly step inside as if I had done something gravely wrong. Everyone panicked except for my friend’s African father. He had experience treating much more horrible wounds in his home country, so in the minutes before anyone could get me to the ER, he managed to stop my bleeding. “She’ll be fine,” he assured everyone. Meanwhile my poor brother would not look at me, he clung to my mother, still quietly apologizing for what he did, but he didn’t have to.

I did end up fine, well, okay. I had a concussion, I still can feel the scar whenever I brush my hair, and my brother got over it, in fact as an adult he now teasingly claims I beat him up (yeah, right) when we were children. When he showed me the wooden board with the big rusty nail that had snagged a valley into my scalp deep enough to cause that blood river, I was thankful more damage had not been done. Whenever my brother and I recall what happened that night, we laugh about it now. We have a history of causing each other accidental bodily harm and saving each other from dangerous, near fatal situations that go as far back as early childhood. I don’t know who saved who first! I can even brag that I saved my baby brother from getting kidnapped by a serial killer, and it’s no lie, we even got to identify the creep, but we were too young to get ourselves on the news. *shivers* That was scary.

Getting back to my crimson hair…

That color… I chose it, picked that left side to color, and colored down that lower right side as part of a grand design to express my what — wildness?  But after I rinsed and dried, I took a good, long, hard look at what I done… I noticed that it seemed symbolic of being struck through the head, yet my head is still held together. Like I’ve had a breakthrough instead of a breakdown. The name of the hair dye is “Crimson Storm” and it could describe what goes on inside me when I’m filled with ideas, passions, inspiration, dreams, just me  overflowing with too much STUFF where I BURST at the seams.

So instead of complaining about how this makes me feel like that and being sad over this and blah, blah, blah, blahck… sheep, I gotta let burst and let myself be and just live. Let this crimson storm loose, get back to writing, let myself fly, and just go where my passions take me instead of holding back and waiting for permission (from who? I dunno!) to be whatever I wanna do.

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