Stress Part 1


I’m a great believer in self-determination. We make our own choices and decide how best to live our lives. The thing is, there’s a part of us that drives us to act based on choices and decisions that are deeply rooted in beliefs, values, and behaviors established in our past. Sometimes, they are so deeply rooted that we don’t even recognize their existence.

Just go back and look at some photo of you from whatever was your bad hair period. If you didn’t have one of those, try your glasses or braces or sunburn or whatever you like period – your “less than perfect looking back” period. Can you remember the circumstances around that photo? I do. I have a doozy, actually a double-doozy because it was a haircut followed by a growing out.

In the 80s I spent time in London. I needed a haircut and was told about the stylist responsible for the very exotic look of Boy George, lead singer of the band Culture Club, which was quite popular at the time – as was Boy George, who had become famous for showing up at clubs and looking fabulous. Becoming famous for showing up? How cool was that? So, I had my hair cut by the same worker of wonders, who craftily cut hair with only a razor. And cut my hair she did. It wasn’t quite shaved all off, but was, let’s just call it, the shortest hair in the world that wasn’t actually shaved all off.

Luckily, I was heading to film school after that so all my European film student friends and avant-garde fellow filmmakers-in-training hardly noticed. As long as I wore black and only black, I fit right in. No bother that as my hair grew out, it did so in every direction. I kind of looked like a hedgehog, only much softer. Looking back on that time now, I feel that surge of independence, of doing something nobody I knew had done, of being one of those who had my hair done by a stylist to the stars. And then, the long road back to myself. It was a fun time and I don’t regret it. I just don’t have any photos to share either. I learned a bit about myself through that time. I learned that while I am wild and crazy on the inside, and outside, I’m kinda boring and neutral. Call me beige, if you like. I’m okay with that. I know that I went through a phase where I wore only medical scrubs to my college classes. Don’t ask me why. I had a little red bandana too. No photos of that time either. Now I’m big on T-shirts and jeans or travel pants with useful pockets. But inside, I’m a raging ball of unconventional wisdom or, at least, unconventional.

The point is that we can change our surroundings and our circumstances, even the way we look. But inside, we are still the same. Ask any person in their 80s and most of them will tell you they don’t feel any different – on the inside – than they did when they were younger. As the quote from cinematic sage Buckaroo Banzai goes, “Wherever you go, there you are.”

What does all of this have to do with stress? Well, we’ll be exploring that in Part 2 of this story. So please check it out!