VIRTUAL VACATIONS

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VIRTUAL VACATIONS

I should be heading for Texas this week to attend a writers’ conference.  When I read the description of the event on-line, I decided I needed a getaway and would enjoy the company of other scribes.  Dallas would be an easy flight and the host hotel sounded lovely.  So, I made the necessary arrangements.

I sent in my fee for the workshops, made my flight reservations on Southwest, and booked a room at The Sheraton.  I was looking forward to flying(which I love since I overcame my fear of it,) being in different surroundings, and maybe even talking to a few new acquaintances.

I marked the date-May 5-on my calendar and made a note to call the Airport Shuttle a few days before my scheduled departure.  I even told family and friends about my upcoming adventure.  I gathered my published writings together, and fantasized about the possibility of getting an agent or publisher interested in a book I would write.

But, I live a small, manageable life.  And one day I realized I didn’t want to sacrifice my predictable days for the sake of a weekend spent with strangers.  Who am I kidding?  I doubt I will ever write a book, and why would anyone want to read it anyway?  The shelves at Barnes & Noble are already crowded with literary and popular works of fiction and biographies and non-fiction books telling us how to improve our lives.  I sure don’t have the answer to that question, and what new could I offer the reader?

So, I set about undoing the plans I had made.  The conference offered me a partial refund, and I am grateful for getting any money back.  Southwest was not so forgiving, but that was partly my fault.  I had chosen the cheapest fare available, and neglected to read the no refund string attached to the deal.  I did get a credit for a future SW flight in the next year.  The hotel was easy to cancel.  So, I am safe again. Phew!

Why haven’t I learned by now that I like the idea of going on trips more than the actual experience?  I enjoy making airline reservations to far away destinations, and get a bit of a high from imagining the adventures I may have.

But, alas, I am a homebody at heart.  While I did travel a lot alone when I was younger, I am not so brave anymore.  So, I can look forward to the week ahead without dread and be glad I took another virtual vacation

COMING OUT OF THE CURLY CLOSET

For too many years, I have had my hair straightened.  This behavior started in the early 1960’s, when everyone was admiring hair without kinks and curls.  I am certain I even ironed my loose locks to appear fashionable.  I remember my sister and I driving one-half hour each way to have an appointment with the desired stylist.  I couldn’t accept what nature gave me.

One weekend when I was in college, I visited a man at another school and looked great when I arrived in Philly from New York-my hair appearing long and shiny and straight. By the end of the weekend, my hair had shrunk to a shorter length as it returned to its natural state.  I don’t recall if I ever heard from him again.

Several years ago, a new technique surfaced-keratin-a less-harsh way of destroying the curls.  Every few months, Jenny, my stylist put this goop on my hair and flat-ironed it till all the life drained out of my curly locks.  I was sort of thrilled with my new look, but my hair looked  burnt and unhealthy.

Winter is an easier season for curly haired females, as the lack of humidity is not there to encourage the frizz.  But now spring is edging towards summer, and my hair was becoming curly again.  For now I decided to no longer get the treatments.  I also grew tired of beating my hair into submission with blow dryers and hot irons.

So, one Monday morning, when I was headed to a discussion group, I just let it dry naturally.  I can’t say my hair looked great-more frizz than curl, but I liked myself better.

Being self-centered, I assumed my friends at the meeting would comment on my unruly locks.  But nobody said anything.  I have to accept the truth that I am not the center of attention in other people’s lives.  How had I become so narcissistic?

I know now that I am just like everyone else, and have to become authentic rather than trying to look a certain way.  Still recovering from depression, being real, looking like my real self and speaking my mind have all taken center stage.  I no longer have to hide for fear I am not good enough.

10 THINGS I USED TO LIKE, BUT NOW HATE

I was a much nicer person before my recovery from depression.  I was a Miss Congeniality type, with kind words and greetings to friends and strangers.  I even enjoyed eating out.  But something happened to me, and I don’t know how to explain or understand my new persona.

I am in a bad mood most of the time-irritated by small annoyances and intolerant to just about everything except my family.  I feel angry for no reason.  I hope I can overcome my over-sensitivity to everything outside of my home.  I still like putting on sweats, reading in bed, eating what, where and when I want, and other perks of living alone.  I love talking to my daughter.

But, here are ten things I now dislike:

12-step meetings
Watching the Today show
Bleaching my hair lighter
Reading O magazine
Eating alone at Barnes & Noble
Self-help books
The treadmill
Roasted chicken
My unreliable printer/copier
Most of my CD’s