What the Shelves Say

It's hard to be self-sufficient with all these options. The thing is, I'm not sure what I'm supposed to be or do, so I'm staying away from shampoo for starters.  This morning, I soaped up, dried off, and pulled my long locks into a greasy bun.  I'll wash them tomorrow.  Or the day after tomorrow.  Maybe.

Curly, wavy, thin, thick, colored, damaged, straight, dry, normal, brittle: these are all the things my hair could be.  I live in chlorine.  From roots to tips, my hairs are chemically-treated chameleons, to which any shampoo type could cater.

I use Suave because it costs a dollar and the cosmetics aisles overwhelm me and I use it twice a week.  Looking "natural" now means pumping as many synthetic products into our pores as possible.  First of all, I don't have the money.  Second of all, I don't think I look any better when I use expensive things.  The few times someone fancy has done my hair, I look like I just stepped out of Growing Pains, and if you threw a ball at my curls, it would bounce off them like it just hit a hairspray wall.  Third of all, shampoo is not good for you.  Ammonium laurel sulfate acts like acid rain to your hairbrain.  I wonder what else I might be doing that's making my cells die more quickly.

Last week, a woman with painted-on eyebrows and blue eyeshadow looked me up and down and said,

"When my daughter worked in my store, we had the highest sales we've ever had."

She was making eye contact with a strand of hair straying from the side of my head.

"Wow," I said.

"She's 5'8.  Won't leave the house without heels and straightened hair."

We do wierd things to ourselves.  I don't know if I should use Advil for a headache or wait it out.  If I should stay away from food after 9 because the body doesn't digest as well when it's laying down.  If all these allergies are from staying too far away from the good stuff and trying to inch our way back in.  If I only need lotion because I've always used lotion whereas if I'd never used lotion, I might have perfectly milky soft skin.

I wonder if we self-anything anymore, physically.  What are our "necessities?"  If  I go out tonight after being outside all day and my hair is a mess, will you think I'm pretty or dirty?  Yesterday, I walked around the park behind a woman with fake boobs and orange skin and arm muscles I never knew existed when she flexed and switched cell phone sides.  Who likes fake boobs, anyways?  I've always wondered who they're for.

The worst part is, the lady's 6-year-old daughter was also making circles around the park on her little rollerblades.  She kept turning around and smiling at me since her mom was on the phone, and I smiled back and pictured what was kinds of things were on the bathroom shelves at their house.

I felt sad for her and worried about what she eats and what she thinks when she looks in the mirror and what she thinks when she looks at her mom in the mirror.  I wondered if she's already lost the sense that beautiful and natural are the same thing.