Thursday, 6 September 2012

the problem with haircuts... that they're not permanent.

OK, no. that's not exactly true, but they can be difficult in ways that are hard to explain in the "real" world. so, as part of my (apparently never ending) quest to find words to explain and organise all the mess inside my head, and inspired by several other blog posts I've read recently, I'm going to tackle haircuts.

well, what's so hard about getting a haircut?

I'll take this backwards, the process of booking is probably the hardest to explain.

lastly, we have the physical process of the haircut itself.most of my major sensory issues are hair related; I hate the sensation of other people touching my hair in any way, I never use any hairstyling products, I won't open the car window while its moving. basically, the only things I do to my hair are wash it, brush it and take it for the occasional cut. I also wear glasses, which have to be removed meaning I can't see what's going on which, with the sensory stuff means I need to really trust the hairdresser (as this is the only time I can make a conscious choice about the way it looks).

previously, there's the communication issue. this can be split into 2 parts; the brief and the chat. loyalty to a single hairdresser generally makes it easier to explain what you want to look like afterwards (it's amazing how many ways there are to make hair look "a bit like it is, but shorter"), but  there is a downside when it comes to the chat. the chat always begins in the same way, with generic "so, what do you do?" type questions. I know that these chats are annoying for people of all neurotypes, I'm fairly sure they're for the hairdressers benefit, not mine. I'm willing to play along most of the time, and even try to do it back ("so, what made you choose to be a hairdresser?"). my real problem with the chat isn't that I'm annoyed at the small talk, it's that I'm failing spectacularly at becoming a functioning adult. the fact that I have a regular hairdresser means that, as I'm fairly distinctive, I get remembered. this means I don't get asked "so, what do you do?" but "so, hows the job hunt going/did you get a place on that course?", which changes the generic, mildly annoying hairdresser chatter into a stark reminder of all my major failures.

and firstly, there's the big one. the booking.the problem with the booking is the hardest to explain because it's linked to all the reasons I'm failing to become a productive member of society, and also because I'm not sure I understand why its so hard.

I have an...issue? a phobia? something with making phone calls, filling out forms or writing emails. I know it sounds like a really pathetic excuse for not doing things (it sounds even more pathetic from the inside), but every time I have to do one of these things I start to get anxious. I worry about what I'm going to say or write, then I tell myself "I'll do it later", then it's too late to call or I need some more information so I say "I'll do it tomorrow". eventually, I start feeling guilty for letting other people down. the guilt makes me feel even more anxious about getting it right (especially if there's a deadline). I need to get a job. any minimum wage, dead end, doesn't-even-need-to-be-full-time job would do, but I don't fill out the forms. I've given up even trying. I want to be an occupational therapist, but I didn't get a place on a course this year because of lack of experience. I need to get some voluntary work and arrange to shaddow some more OT sessions. I don't know why I haven't done that yet. as I'm writing this, there are 2 emails I should be answering; one from a university friend I haven't talked to since I graduated and one from someone impossibly awesome I met at bicon.

I don't know how common this issue is, but I have one friend at least who gets it completely. we don't have any contact for weeks or months, then one of us will get over our guilt at not making contact before, work out what to say and send the email.

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