Tuesday, August 31, 2010

"Inspirations from Charles"

Dear friends,

I often forget that I have an eyebrow ring until someone reminds me. Like Charles, the liver-spotted, elderly man in my church this summer who, while grasping me in a prolonged side hug, said: "You're an ugly, ugly girl. You're so ugly. You'd be a beautiful girl if you took that out," he said, pointing to my piercing, "but until then you're an ugly girl."

Or others, after knowing me for 3 or 4 weeks, point their finger toward my forehead and ask: "does that hurt?"

"Yes, I have been in constant pain for 5 years," I tell them. "No, you dumbass, it doesn't hurt." They always ask this question, and I always fail to understand why they are asking it.

In my church this summer, however, I tended to avoid calling the parishioners dumbasses. I would say something sweet or expected and then go home on Sunday evenings with a headache and angst I could sometimes taste in my throat about how I was not being myself. This angst mushroomed into private, melodramatic writhings as I tossed and turned in bed, just so incredibly perturbed that not everyone in the world thinks the exact same things as I do.

I err on the side of melodrama. I do not think this has to do with my eyebrow ring, though. Really, I just got the eyebrow ring because that girl in Model UN my freshman and sophomore years had one, and I thought it neat. An eyebrow ring and a plaid skirt, debating the policies of the world, now that sounds like an identity. I would like to have a defined identity. I'm sure that when someone tries to describe me to someone else, there are familiar words that usually arise. But I do not know what they are or if I would like them. Sometimes I do learn from a stranger-turned-friend that he or she formerly knew me as the girl with the eyebrow ring. Behind the counter of the coffee shop or in the front row of the pre-calculus classroom, that is who I am. But I hope that I am more, and I hope that that "more" is not an ugly, ugly girl.


  1. I always wondered why you got the eyebrow ring...

  2. When I think of you, I do not think of "eye brow ring". In fact, until this post, I would not have remembered you had one. Even looking at pictures of you.
    Maybe I'm just dumb.

  3. i think you're beautiful. I usually mention your pithy wit and your genius. and the fact that you smashed my pumpkins.

  4. I would just like to point out that I was with you when you bought your identity.

  5. Sara, I think I would have slapped the old man. Or at least said something to put him in his place. And for the record, I have two tattoos, and am contemplating a third. I think that makes me uglier than you.
    Jill (Bethy's seminary roommate)

  6. I forgot that you had an eyebrow ring. Huh.

    Also, if some old dude called me an "ugly, ugly girl" I probably would have punched him. I don't care how old you are, you can't go around telling girls they're ugly. I mean, seriously, who does that??!?!

  7. From a partial person I resent his comment.

  8. Oh, to be old and unaccountable. I relish becoming "old"... when the filter between thought and word is acceptably absent.