I am still in the process of cleaning out my room. Obviously I'm not being too intense about it, I just pack up some things or rearrange a bit on my days off from work, and hopefully I'll eventually reach the day where there's no stuff lying on the floor. Hopefully.
One thing I've realized from my last bought of cleaning is that, for a person that doesn't really wear hats that often, I have a hell of a lot of hats. So of course, rather than finish up what I should have been doing, I decided to take pictures of myself wearing them, and use them as another excuse to ramble about my life. If you're wondering why there is a shower head in the upper right corner of each picture, it's because my bathroom had better lighting than my bedroom. And what matters most when you're taking dorky Myspace-style pictures of yourself is lighting.
My uncle died when I was very young, but I didn't really know him very well and I only cried because that's what people do at funerals. When my grandfather died, I was, for potentially the first time, truly affected by loss. It was not a slow death. It was years of gradual cancer growth and decay, a loss of mind and body, the latter years of which are burned into me at the deepest levels. I wanted something tangible to remember him by, that didn't hold any painful connotations. So I stole one of his hats. It doesn't make me think of weight loss or hospital sheets, but of trips to the bakery and the post office, and how he used to tell me that horsepower meant the car was being powered by hundreds of tiny horses that disappeared when you opened the hood.
Through high school I kept the hat in my car and wore it while I was driving, but I didn't take my car to college with me, and I haven't actually worn the hat for years until now. I really wish it fit.
My parents are, in a way, the antithesis of everything the outside world has taught me about relationships. They met on Christmas Eve (my father was already drafted), got engaged in February, at which point my father went off to training, and they only communicated through letters for the next six months. As soon as he came back they got married, and my mother honestly had no idea if she'd ever see him again. Then they randomly went to Hawaii. Every outside resource I had access to growing up told me that you can't rush into relationships. You have to make sure you have the "right one" and all that. Almost every couple I've ever seen get together ends up separated or divorced, no matter how long they've known each other beforehand. But the two people who raised me threw their lives together on a total crap shoot of a bet, and they're still making it after over forty years. How does that even happen?
In spite of the overwhelming evidence I've found that most relationships are doomed for failure, I have this ever-present proof that there are at least a few that aren't.
Samantha. She was my favorite because, of all the American Girl characters, she looked the most like me. I had the doll and everything. This hat came with a computer game my aunt bought me where you could make your own plays with all the franchise girls, set up the staging and move the people around, record their lines, and end up with essentially a short film of your own making. It was really cool, but I could never get the timing quite right. People would end up moving while they were still talking and things like that.
When I got to be around Jr. High, I think, is when American Girl really took off as this whole multifaceted beast worming its way into all aspects of young female culture, but by then I was real heavy into anime and had pretty much moved on. But this was the first stuff that I was really into, that held my imagination and got me thinking and writing.
Rob Dyrdek and all the stupid crap he puts on TV, the Fantasy Factory in particular, as it involves some fellow Akronites, The Pfaff brothers. However, that show didn't exist when I got this hat, which is from Rob & Big. This hat has been worn a grand total of twice, including the time you're looking at right now. It was something that made me laugh, so I got it during winter break of my freshman year of college, and the only other time I wore it was the day I was moving back into my dorm for the next term.
My freshman year of college was stupid. I was worried, not so much of being alone, but of people feeling bad for me because they knew I was alone. Everyone else seemed to be so much more socially active than I was and I didn't want anyone to think there was something wrong with me. By the middle of the year I was on anti-depressant/anxiety medication. I depended on stupid, funny things to distract me from my awkward, malfunctioning life. I still do.
Anyway, I ended up with the hat instead of the scarf. It is not comfortable.
There was a time, I guess, where I was very concerned with whether or not people thought I was "okay." I've always been a bit of a sociophobe (which Firefox has seen fit to try and correct to "sociopaths"), but when I got to college I really noticed how much time I spent alone and how everyone else seemed to be with other people constantly. There were probably lots of other people out by themselves all the time, but I never noticed them. Instead I felt like everyone was looking at me, feeling bad for me, assuming I was freak without any friends. I did a lot of unnecessary damage to myself during this period of time.
I've managed to get more used to myself since then. Making friends is a long, slow process for me, and that's just fine, since those few people end up being extremely important. Also, so long as you aren't out on the streets shouting about how much better your god is than everyone else's, no one really cares what you're up to or gives you a passing thought. So this bizarre little fear has largely fallen to the wayside.
Don't worry, it's been replaced with a number of other, equally foolish worries. Work in progress.