Update: On Cameras, Crying Jags, and Haircuts

For those who may be wondering about how I've fared since my crying jag last week, I offer this update -- I'm still being very mindful about where I go, who I interact with, and what I put my focus on -- but I'm also feeling rather triumphant about the fact that I managed to get the camera working.

So, of course, here's a picture from said working camera:

You can't really tell from that photo, but one of the other big triumphs of the day was that I FINALLY had a haircut.

I haven't cut my hair since last Spring, just before I started shooting my video project.

I have a funny relationship with my hair -- it's something that I've blogged about rather extensively at my other blog (oh, and you will want to read those archived posts from the bottom one to the top to make much sense out of them -- oh, and if you don't read them, what follows might not make a whole lot of sense -- oh -- or you can skip the other blog and read the rest of this post as a sort of zen-koanish thing).

So I cut my hair today, with help from my Beloved.

I always feel liberated after a haircut, and I've been working my way toward the optimal 'do for myself (referenced in the "Why I have not shaved my head . . . recently" in the above-mentioned archive) for the past two or more years. I still haven't mastered it perfectly, but each time I grab the scissors, I inch a little closer.

I always loved what Lori Anderson said about her "hairdo". I recall an interview in the 80s when she replied, in response to a question about who cuts her hair: "I go into a dark closet with a scissors, and I don't come out until it's done."

I started cutting my own hair in 2002, during a trip to Mexico. I cut it by "feel", and it felt great. I've never gone back.

That approach is very similar to the one I took to get the camera working.

I HATE not having stuff work. I can be incredibly dogged in my pursuit of getting something that doesn't currently work to eventually work. I will research and figure out and tweak and restart my computer a million and a half times to try to resolve a problem with software, or hardware.

So, the camera sat here, staring at me, and I stared back. And I googled, and researched, and prodded, and poked, and figured out that the way to get the incredible Isight camera that is meant to work on a Mac to work on a PC is all about the power --- and isn't that just a perfect synchronicity?

Because hair, too, is a symbol of power.

The problem with the camera was that there wasn't enough power -- so, a $13 part and a few days later and a molex plug and a crawling under my desk because I'm too lazy to pull it out and lay it down where it would be easier -- later and -- voila! The camera works.

I think it was the collapse of this nearly omnipresent perseverance that I mourned on the night of the crying jag.

That perseverance (although occasionally fruitless) was one of the qualities that I possess that I believe saved my life (as a child, and later, as an adult struggling under difficult circumstances).

It's unusual for me to come to the "end of my rope", and when I do, I think that I find it incredibly scary -- because my doggedness has been an important tool in my kit in terms of sheer survival -- and because, if that tool is nowhere to be found then . . . . . what?

Will I die? Probably not -- and I didn't, even when I collapsed into a puddle of goo over a camera that, ultimately, ended up doing what I wanted it to do.

But I think that sometimes, there is an inner voice that whispers: "You will not survive", when my usual stubbornness disappears. So I keep my cantankerousness close at hand -- I treasure it.

It can be really useful -- when there are cameras to be fixed, and blog-rolls to be sorted, and hair to be cut.

Posted byPortlyDyke at 12:12 AM  


Anonymous said... December 18, 2008 at 1:17 AM  

Now that is a pleased look, imo... Congratulations on your steadfastness being rewarded!
I appreciate & applaud your tenacity. May you always have access to it in your toolbox...

Bob said... December 18, 2008 at 8:04 AM  

I agree with "Z" about the picture, and can attest (albeit second-person) to the blog-roll sorting skills of the Great PD. :)

It was fun talking with you last night!

Anonymous said... December 20, 2008 at 6:50 AM  

I don't know, PD. I think we all have a reserve of stubborn perseverance and when that's the only fuel we're running on, it runs out. We stop, cry, pitch fits or whatever works and recharge that well of stubbornness so we can get back to it again.

For some of us giving up is simply not a viable option. Quitting means failure. We'll dump vast amounts of energy into a situation that is in crisis, whether interpersonal or technological, until the situation is fixed or broken beyond all hope of repair and never stop to take stock of the cost/benefit analysis, to borrow a phrase. So I wonder if the voice is saying, "You will not survive" or is it saying, "You will fail" which in middle class thought is a fate worse than death, I think.

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