i have adventures (sometimes)

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Same Old Penguin

18:14 Posted by Ali , , , 3 comments
Long time no blog! I have some excuses, which largely focus on being tired and busy and boring.

These excuses are also boring.

Fortunately, everything is different now! I'm still pretty tired and fairly busy and often boring, but differently so. And thus generally happier.

Here is Big Change #1.

Remember how I look like this?

Well, I still do. Exactly the same. Nothing new to see here.

Penguinhead. In worse lighting.
Ok fine, with one small difference.

After just over three years, I decided it was time to say goodbye to my dreads. I always said I'd keep them until they just didn't feel like me any more, and I finally reached that point within the last few weeks.

Which is not to say we didn't look fabulous together - here seen trying to convincing Dave to pose like Rocky.

Some of my reasons were things that could really have been addressed, like the fact that I hadn't had maintenance done since leaving England, and I was looking more scruffy than I wanted.*

But more generally, they just didn't fit in with who I feel like I am at the moment. Quite aside from feeling more and more wary about cultural appropriation (#whiteliberalproblems, you guys), they were just becoming impractical for me as I started to be more active. Sportsy, even.

Which brings us to Big Change #2: roller derby. This will get a post of its own, but for now let me just say that it's fun and life changing and terrifying and I'm really bad at it but I love it anyway.

Hello, good life decisions.
More relevantly, putting a helmet on my enormous and cumbersome hair several times a week was really starting to make the enormous and cumbersome part more evident, and sweaty hair has never been my favourite thing.**

So, after giving myself several weeks to think about it, I finally reached a tipping point this weekend where they had to go IMMEDIATELY RIGHT NOW RIGHT AWAY, so I basically thrust scissors into the hands of some nervous housemates and said "GO."

The great detentacling.
Cutting the dreads off was remarkably straightforward, and a much less emotional experience than I'd expected, given that they've been my most distinctive feature for the past three years of my life, and we've had a lot of good adventures together. (It probably helped that they look super creepy on their own.)

The time consuming part was untangling the remaining dreadlets, which took seven-odd hours of pulling them apart with fingers and combs and the occasional fork, and left me with the mad scientist look you see above. Luckily for me, friends Chris and Maya joined me in untangling them while we watched early X Files, which made the whole process a lot more fun and kept me from giving up in despair.

Not really feeling like the mad scientist look was one I wanted to rock, I took myself off to a hairdresser the next morning for my first actual haircut in many years.

So now I look like this.

I also own snoods now. I like snood both as a word and as a thing.
I spent about half a minute being weirded out by how different it was, then decided that I loved it and that my new hair and I were going to have the best new adventures together forever.

On the downside, now that I don't look so distinctive, I probably have to start being stylish. Or relying on my sparkling personality or something.

(Yeah, I'm working on a backup plan.)

It's also been funny to realise how many of my good friends I've met in the past three years, and who have thus have never seen me without dreads. So much has happened in those years, and I've met a lot of really wonderful people in that time who are so important to me.

Like these Christmassy people.
And these emoji-faced ladies. :P :/ :D
And this spooky family.
As a few people have pointed out, there's also something delightfully incongruous about cutting off my dreads just as I leave the corporate world (Big Change #3!). Maybe I just don't feel like I need them so much now that I'm in an NGO again and don't have to keep using my hair as shorthand for being out of place.

"Do I look like I should be here?" (Source)
So while I can't hide behind my hair any more, and I keep hitting my head on things because it's no longer cushioned, and I'm going to need to buy a smaller helmet, and I forgot to commit any crimes right before radically altering my appearance, I'm happy.

New job, new hair, same old penguin on my head.

*I do understand that anyone who has seen my shoes might have a hard time grasping that my scruffiness tolerance has an upper threshold at all.
**Rule 34 means it's probably someone's, though.


  1. Love the new look dude! Can't wait to see it in person :) and yay for nice new jobs and same old penguins!

  2. I was trying to think of a more constructive comment, but basically I LOVE YOU is what I'm trying to get at <3

  3. I loved the dreads but I think I love the new look even more :) And you'll def be able to win people over with your sparkling personality :)