Your Hair Looks Nice the Way it is

By Melissa Hohl April 16, 2014  |  Community, MFA, Teaching, Uncategorized, Writing  |  no responses

It is the point in the semester when most of us start to crack. The air is finally warm. The wind is nothing but wild. I can tell when I begin to crack by simply waking up and not knowing what day or time it is. Even though (I realize later, after I sip my coffee), that it is Wednesday and my alarm clock went off at the same time it always does: 9:00 AM.

Most of us would rather not think about why we’re cracking (a paper proposal, an annotated bibliography, and two 15-page essays due before the next lunar phase); we’d rather think about, and act on, what we’re going to do in the face of this severe cracking.

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Notes to Self, or, How to Survive the Earthquake in Your Mind:

  • You signed up for this. Remember that, oddly enough, there are thousands of people who would love to be where you are, doing what you’re doing. You are lucky; never forget it.
  • Set your alarm for 8:00 AM instead of your usual 9:00 AM. Wake up an hour early and start writing that paper proposal (after you’ve had your coffee, obviously).
  • Tell yourself, over and over, that you CAN do this. And you WILL do this. A famous train once said, “I think I can, I think I can.” You, though, know you can, know you can.
  • Take some time out of your remarkably busy day to read a favorite story (hint: Samuel Beckett, Murphy), or look at a painting that always soothes the soul (hint: Edvard Munch, “The Scream”), or listen to a favorite song (hint: Eagles, “Take It Easy”).

Before this turns into a lengthy self-help book on weathering the end-of-semester perils, I do want to mention the goodness in simply closing your eyes and taking three (no more, no less) deep breaths. These three breaths help you to reset and to not go ahead with pulling all your hair out. Your hair looks nice the way it is.

* * *

So, before you start your first 15-page paper, think of all the other great stuff that cracks too, like jokes, codes, and Rice Krispies (well, they crackle, which is close enough). Funny, intelligent, and sweet things crack. You are all of these things. It’s time to crack open that book and get ready for the final lap and the semester’s finish line. Summer will be here before you can say, “it never ends.”


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