Hair Washing. Or Not.

Example of a girl who needs a “mom.”

Reina has beautiful dark brown hair. Long and silky. And then, for some reason I never figured out, she stopped washing it. I wanted to ask her if she needed something. Shampoo? And I don’t mean this is a mean way, but before I got the chance, the counselor told me there was something going on at home that she couldn’t share with me. Okay, I’m just glad I’m not the counselor. I wouldn’t be able to stay out of problems.

Ah, well. Leave it to one of the boys to say something blunt:

“Hey, Reina. Why doncha wash that stinky hair? Damn.”


Reina turned pink. Got out of her seat and steadily walked over to the sink and rinsed her hair in cold water, pumped out some hand soap, and washed her hair.

The class was in stitches. The art teacher kept saying, “Oh my god oh my god,” as Reina dried her long hair with school scratchy paper towels.

The art room sink, with bowls full of colored water and half-washed brushes, and globs of blue and red paint streaking the sink.

Reina’s hair was clean. Somewhat.

Not Normal

I am not normal and never have I been.

I tried throughout high school and just managed to play on the cusp of the social “elites,” but I had better friends on my own. At least until 1971. I don’t know that these people will ever know what an impact they made on my life, but I name them with love: Joyce Myer, David Dietz, Jane Chandler, Brad Lauderman, Marie Mease, Deb Sonnen, Mike Kreider, and Donna Schmeck.

When my family transferred to Indiana just before my junior year, I was devastated and terribly homesick. You would think I would have had a time of adjustment, but I never adjusted. I came from a small high school class of under three hundred and became part of a class of 750. I did try so hard to make friends, but something else was working against me, a hidden darkness that I would battle for the rest of my life: depression. The serious kind.

I would not know the name of my mental enemy until 1990, when I was in my thirties and finally received treatment. I was lucky because my depression went into remission for about ten years. It came back ferociously, and I fight it every day.

I am so filled with sorrow to read about the rise in teen suicides, which in part, have been elevated by social media. People “say” things via text, email, Facebook. and all the other platforms that I believe THEY WOULD NEVER DARE SAY IN PERSON!

My heart goes out to all the young people who are being bullied and taken down by comments on social media. I, too, was bullied. I was in seventh grade, and a girl named Debbie pushed me into my locker and stalked me to and from school. A teacher watched me being thrown against a classroom door and said nothing. My mother told me to ignore Debbie, and she would go away. She didn’t, but she got tired of me and moved on to someone else. Even though I wasn’t hurt by social media (because it didn’t exist), I will always REMEMBER HOW IT FELT TO BE BULLIED.

I am now a grandmother, but if you need a place to vent or talk, please comment on my blog. I promise I check it daily, and I will help you. Please don’t kill yourself. Please don’t let anyone talk you into killing yourself. You have control of your life. You are the boss of you. Talk to me if you like. We will find help. Sending out a virtual hug to anyone who needs it,


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