Wednesday, May 22, 2013

"Natural Coloring" Discussion

It's fine to talk about what you think of the piece, but we'd like to focus on what the piece makes you think about. Some questions to start:
Breaking social expectations has some costs. What power might violating a norm have?

What do you do to cope when your responsibilities feel overwhelming?

What would happen if you ate too many blue Jolly Ranchers?


  1. If you eat too many blue Jolly Ranchers, your tongue will look like a giant bruise and be very, VERY sore. Trust me.

    I'm something of an introvert, though not actually shy. The way I deal with feeling overwhelmed or stressed is to draw less attention to myself rather than more--I sort of curl up and go into hiding.

    But I have a friend who I admire very much partly because of her flamboyant sense of style. She carries it off so well. She is not in-your-face or trying to make a statement — she just is who she is and gains great social influence because of it.

  2. I think she sounds really sweet and young. I feel nostalgic reading this piece.

    Now that I really have broken a norm (not sure it's really a norm, but we think of it as one) by getting divorced, and trying to raise my four children on my own, I'm dealing with a different set of social expectations to break, that are harder to signal against.

  3. As a teenager I used to tease my mom that I was going to dye my hair blue. She'd always shrug and say, "it's your hair." Kind of took the wind out of my sails a bit... I was thinking, reading this, of my adopted daughters. They can't help but have "blue hair." Sometimes teenage girls want to blend in more than anything else. Sometimes we're not destined to blend in.

  4. I would color my hair blue but I would lose my silver then and that might feel like a bit of a blow. I would also have to strip it so hard that it would probably just dissolve; so I masquerade as what many people think is "normal" in the world....well, except that I leave my gray and that is apparently not "normal" for 42.

    My mother once got a flat on the freeway. She could probably change the tire herself...she has done it with me and we did just fine..but a long haired, tattooed man stopped to help her. At the end he thanked her for allowing him to serve because many people couldn't get past the outside of him. I think about that often. As a young person with patchy hair and extreme clothing I was the scripture-reading-est straight arrow rebel you ever did see....and see I did. Many people couldn't see past it. And like I said before, now as a mom, probably wearing the modern equivalent of "Mom Jeans", many people can't see past it now either.... k.

  5. Emily Harris AdamsMay 22, 2013 at 1:39 PM

    This makes me think of my own days with clip-in blue highlights. I remember putting them in because a. blue is a lovely color. b. They matched my eyes. c. I wanted to be somewhat unconventional-- not rebellious but unconventional. Different. I wanted a visual representation that I made my own choices, and even if I was orthodox in my faith in so many ways, I wanted people to know that I had chosen that orthodoxy too. If I could and did make unorthodox decisions, I felt like people might somehow understand that ALL of my decisions were deliberate.

    Of course, being 14 or 15 at the time, I don't think I could have articulated that very well.

    I think this poem captures what I felt but couldn't communicate back then. The character in the poem (Marianne, is this autobiographical?) chooses something unconventional partially as a means to prove that being orthodox does not mean being less than deliberate.

  6. I don't dye my hair blue, but I do carry a massive backpack around to work and church. People tell me it makes me look strong and well-read. Both impressions are accurate.

  7. Marianne Hales HardingMay 22, 2013 at 8:56 PM

    This piece is entirely autobiographical, Emily. :) I can't tell you how tickled I am to read about other Blue Hairs.

  8. Paean for the punkster Mos. I like the tone and set of the piece. I'll reserve comment on the hair until we've met. :)

  9. .

    I sometimes wore my hair blue in high school, using a spray meant for old ladies. The thing I like about blue hair is I can't see it. I forget I've set myself apart and so I feel no different and if people treat me differently I fair to grasp the reason.



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