My memory sucks.

My memory has been sucky for years. I think it has a lot to do with anxiety, PTSD, post-graduate school, and living in Germany. I know that all sounds like excuses to you, but there is plenty of evidence to support the notion that these things all contribute to memory-decline. The Mayo Clinic lists “emotional disorders” under the reversible memory loss. I am sure that age is part of it, but I think most of my problem can be placed directly under the column of anxiety/depression and a lack of quality sleep. Now that school is done and I am getting better sleep and not being stressed daily about grades, and papers, and seeing clients at 10pm at night, I find that my memory is getting better. When I spend the day gaming or watching TV, though – which I am doing a lot of since I can do it guilt-free now – I find that my brain feels sluggish. I have been telling myself for a few weeks that I need to work my brain again. I need to write, read, get creative, explore, exercise … ‘course, the exercise bit is probably going to be harder than the rest since I have never been a big exerciser.

One of the things that I find myself missing a lot is puzzles. Crosswords, Sudoko, cryptograms, word/number finds, etc. I used to do those a lot in the olden days (geez … I wish I didn’t sound so old – heh). So I went and got me a puzzle book. It’s called Brain Games and it purports to boost memory among other things. I don’t know how true that claim is, but I know I will be enjoying every single page of this. The first one was a maze and that was pretty stimulating. I mean … here I am writing, yes? 🙂

If experience proves correct, I will be finished with this book within a month. I’ll update here then to say whether I’ve spotted any significant  changes in my memory and so on. But mostly, I am just feeling bored of being lazy. 😀 

Onward.

The journey back from locs – Pt 2

Well, the big chop happened.

I got a comb and some ‘hair dressing’. I snagged a pair of scissors too. I’ve always heard that you shouldn’t use scissors to cut hair AND other things like paper or fabric. So I figured a scissors that hasn’t been used for anything else and won’t be used for anything else from now on would be a good idea.

I started by cutting one or two on the left hand side of my head to about 3-4 inches. I had this idea that I’d keep it long for the time being.

So fuzzy … again – heh 🤓

I discovered real quick that that wasn’t going to work very well. I eventually just cut them all to about an inch and started the unravelling.

Yep. My hair has always been that thin.

I washed it and conditioned it and started to unravel in the shower and realised it was going to take a lot longer because some of the locs were quite tight. So I got out and used the new hair dressing hoping it’d soften enough to finish the job.

It’s actually quite nasty. So that won’t work long term. I’ll probably just go back to my olive oil cream …

Anyway, after I got all the locs either loosened or cut, we (Scott and I) discovered that everything was uneven. Thank goodness for those shears. He helped me trim and even the ends up so that it now looks fairly decent. For a minute, we both were thinking I’d have to cover it with a hat until I get to the barber on Wednesday to fix it. As it is, I think it looks fine for the time being.

I looked at the pile of my locs sitting in the bathroom basin and felt a keen sense of grief and loss. I don’t regret this but … it’s not easy to bid goodbye to something that’s been a part of you for so long. I think I’ll be grieving for a bit. But the new light feeling on my head and the ability to wash and style it easier will help bouy me through it.

My bff says this looks like a new software release – Camille 4.0. It kind of feels like that. Upon graduating from USC, I feel like I’ve embarked on a new path. I guess the ‘do is the outward expression of that?

The journey back from locs – Pt 1

After 16 years, I’m ready to bid goodbye to my locs. The decision to loc my hair was not about fashion. It was about reconnecting with my core identity. It was about learning to love me without the trappings of white supremacy. I had been chemically straightening my hair since I was 15. After 15 years, my hair began to rot on my head. I’d run my hands through and come out with clumps. Chemical straightening is just unnatural. And my hair clearly no longer tolerated it well. It was time to really think about who I am and what I need to do to fix this.

Dreadlocks are most well known as a Rastafarian cultural tradition. It’s part of the religious identity to dispossess the self of western implements of beauty and ‘return’ to the natural way our hair is supposed to grow. The not combing part … I never did understand but that wasn’t important to me because mine had to be groomed for corporate Jamaica anyhow.

The process taught me patience because locs take time to form and grow. It taught me humility because hair doesn’t always do what you want it to and the only real way to manage that was to embrace the bad hair days. It taught me history. I spent a good amount of time learning the history of dreadlocks in Jamaica. It taught me pride in myself and my heritage.

Helped that it looked good too but that was simply a bonus.

But now it’s time to move on. For many reasons, it the most important is that after many years, groomed locs begin to thin and break.

So first of all, I need to show you just how much thinner my locs have gotten.

This photo doesn’t really show it well.

This one shows it better.

Having had thin hair naturally, starting my locs as thin as I did meant that within 10 years or so they would begin to naturally thin out. I’m sure age has a little to do with that as well. Heh. I’ve been agonizing over two locs in particular that feel like they are so thin they’ll break off here in a minute.

School is done and I am recuperating from the last couple of years. It struck me that now was the time to cut them off. I’m not working. I’m not really needing to be anywhere that requires my hair to be in perfect shape. I’ll start working in a few months (hopefully) and that wouldn’t be the time to experiment. Now is perfect.

And so I finally decided it was time to cut them off. I’d been waiting for the perfect time to travel into Stuttgartmitte to find a natural hair salon that I could trust with this step. But I’m impatient and I don’t have the time to spend with a stylist over months to build trust. It hit me that I could cut them off myself here at home. There have to be videos out there of people doing the big cut and advice on how to manage the transition. So while I lay awake until 4am this morning, I googled and YouTubed and found inspiration.

It’s time.

First order of business: make sure I have everything I need to do this – scissors, a wide-toothed comb (pick? dunno maybe), deep conditioner, and a shears on standby. I’ve got the scissors and shears. I just need a comb and the deep conditioner.

Next: how short am I going to cut it? At first I was going to go low but I think I’m going to start with about 4-5 inches. I can trim and shear from there. I have several different textures going on so I’ll have to work with it a bit to learn how each behaves when not loc’d.

(So fuzzy. 🤓)

So tomorrow: I go in search of a comb and conditioner. I might pop in to the barber and see whether there is anyone who can rescue me if I fuck this up badly enough.

I’ll cut tomorrow or Sunday. And I’ll document it as much as I can as I go.

Stay tuned. Big changes coming.

Itchy-itchy ouch.

Both the hubby and I broke out into some kind of rash on Saturday morning. We have no idea what caused this. We just woke up itching. Under his arm was a large swatch of red, angry skin with fine bumps that just looked like he’d brushed up against a toxicodendron (poison oak, poison ivy, etc). Me? Just bumps all over my chest, breasts, face, and neck. For both of us, the rash briefly spread to isolated spots on our arms and hands. We found this wash that is designed for contact with a toxicodendron and we experimented. He used is Saturday night before bed, I didn’t. We both used Benadryl gel on our bumps. The next morning, his itching was less severe, but mine was still in hell mode. I hightailed it into the shower and used the wash as well.

We are marginally better today but we still have no idea what caused it. I stripped the bed and washed the sheets and blanket in case whatever it was that caused this was on them. The itching hasn’t gotten worse so we assume that one of the dogs had it on their fur and transferred it to the blanket. Probably Casper since he was the only one on the bed between when we went to bed on Friday night and Saturday morning when we got up to feed them.

All of this to say that it was an adventure in many ways. But the biggest adventure was searching for the German equivalent to poison oak/ivy. It seems there isn’t one. The worst they have is stinging nettles which do not present in the same way. So the mystery remains unsolved. We still have no idea what caused all this. All I know is I am in itching hell.

 

Games, games, GAMES!

Send help! I’ve found Unreal Tournament again!

It was purely by accident actually. I got an email from epicgames.com suggesting I secure my account. I don’t remember ever signing up for Epic Games or adding an account but I typed in epicgames.com in my browser and looked around. Apparently, at some point after I downloaded Infinity Blade to my phone, an account was created for me at epicgames.com with that email address that everybody and their mother now knows. Well, it’s either that or someone from Russia (the profile said my country of origin was “Russian Federation”) created one for me. If the latter – thanks dudes! now I have yet another game to distract me. Bravo! Anyway, while I am browsing around I notice this:

Unreal Tournament was probably my first foray into intense gaming – UT2K3 to be specific (HEAD SHOT). So seeing this … got me all kinds of excited and download it I did. /sigh

Apparently the ongoing side-effect of building a gaming machine is the return of my gaming “addiction” … and I put addiction in quotes because I am acutely aware of how we throw around words like “addiction” without giving real thought into how that diminishes the very real and very dangerous aspects of addiction. So … basically a gamer with societal and mental health awareness? Hmm … Whatevs … Unreal Baby!!!!

Well … after I finish this paper. heh.

Religion and Politics

I seriously have to ask this question: WHY is politics so intimately intertwined with religion? Serious question for anyone who is still reading my blog posts.

Religion – from what I understand – is supposed to guide our behavior while politics is supposed to shape policy for society. While I understand that the two are related, I don’t understand why they are so tightly intertwined.