adding ginger to your sass

GingerSass - adding ginger to your sass


I have a draft of a post that’s been sitting in my “Drafts” folder all summer long. I stopped writing it mid-sentence, something I rarely do. It partially reads:

I’m not going to start this post pretending I’m going to get back into blogging, or apologizing for infrequent updates.

The truth is… I don’t know why it was so hard to write this past year.

At first I attributed my lack of voice/ desire to have one to wedding planning. Well, we’ve been married for just over (10) months now, and I’m still finding it hard to write.

This past year or so was a weird one. I found myself doubting so many aspects of my life, both personally and professionally. I tried to force myself to socialize with others as I felt myself slipping more and more into self doubt, and, when I actually spent time with others, I was especially cognizant of moments where I no longer seemed to fit into social circles I once felt at home in.

There is no reason at all for the anxiety and weirdness I felt this past school year. I was stressed, surrounded by people who were stressed. Yet, I hid in a cave while simultaneously trying to light a match. It was weird.

At the conclusion of this past school year, I became unexpectedly unemployed during the summer. Sometimes the best laid plans don’t work out. Our school year ended too late for me to find a job that didn’t take away weekends with my wife, and I ended up having my first summer off in years. I used a lot of that time to take care of myself, reading books, actually going to the gym, learning new recipes… I did a lot. But, I did it on my own. I consciously made an effort not to socialize outside of my family this summer, which was the opposite of what I forced myself to do during the school year.

Oddly enough, the exact opposite of what I craved during the school year was exactly what I needed to find inner peace within myself again.

Daytona 2016The ridiculous amount of anxiety that had been growing since January seemed to have melted away. I suddenly grew excited at so many new and exciting prospects for the upcoming year, some of which I can’t even discuss yet. As I sat on the beach in Daytona, soaking in the last few moments of summer during that last week before returning to school, along with the waves of salt water came small, almost minuscule waves of unreasonable fears and anxiety.

Then, it was September.


With the hustle and bustle of the start of the school year also came the reminder of what the first week of September is: National Suicide Prevention Week.

As the facts about suicide are woven into morning announcements, and I’m distracted by hall passes and returned signed policies and procedures, I can almost always count on fleeting moments of thinking about how intertwined suicide was with what I call “my vital years” at Rutgers.

Thoughts of Tyler Clementi remind me to check on my new students, or those who seem to be struggling to catch their groove in the sea of students.

Thoughts of how anxious I got every time I saw a news van on campus after Tyler’s death, and how much anger I felt in the years following his death about how the media treated LGBT+ students on campus light a fire in me to protect those that need protecting.

Thoughts of the interactions I’ve had with Jane Clementi, Tyler’s mom, and how much of a difference the Tyler Clementi Center is making remind me that something good comes out of everything bad.

Then, I think of Lauren.

I think of how she was the epitome of what I wanted to be when I first met her as an underclassman at Rutgers– fierce, brave, proud, and fearless.

I think of how she did everything I did– or vice versa– as I grew older and more sure of myself at Rutgers. We joked once that I was her shadow– she was in the GSE pursuing English Education and navigating what it meant to be a queer educator, and I was as well, only a year behind her.

I think of the fact that I am now forever older and a more experienced teacher than Lauren will ever be.

And, when my students crack jokes at the facts and figures being cited, or when they joke about how tough their year is and how they want to end it, I don’t even stop to think before I call them out on it.

“I had a friend who committed suicide. That’s not something to joke about.”

The words echo, loud and clear. Mumbled apologies are given, sometimes mixed with quiet whispers of gratitude, and we move on.

That’s what September is about– stopping, pausing, and continuing forward into the unknown, even stronger among a mixture of thoughts, memories, and hopes for the future.

“…tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther… And one fine morning— So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” (F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby)

Welcome to September.

She left me.

We’ve been together since I was a freshman in high school. She’s seen me grow from an awkward teenage girl to an awkward, yet somewhat together, woman. We’ve shared some intimate moments, and she was the one consistent factor over  the past 12 years, seeing my through high school, college, grad school, and the real world.

She was my hairdresser, and she left me.

Now, I understand why she left. Let’s call her Eva. For personal reasons, Eva went on leave, and then sent a letter saying she was moving to Florida. I never updated my contact address at the salon after moving, so I found out through my mom.


I’ve spent the past few weeks avoiding the situation, despite my ever-growing hair and bangs.

Then, yesterday morning, I took a deep breath and scheduled a haircut. I told the receptionist, who I’m going to call Rue, I’d go with anyone since I was one of Eva’s clients and needed a haircut.

“Oh, thank you so much for staying with us!!!” Rue gushed.

My haircut was scheduled for the afternoon. I had just under 4 hours to decide how to cut my hair.

I flipped through an old hair magazine, and started reminiscing about happier times, when Eva gave me a bob in college. I rocked that cut, and my hair ALWAYS looked amazing.

October 2009: The First Bob. LOOK AT MY BABYFACE.

October 2009: The First Bob. LOOK AT MY BABYFACE.

Maybe it was nostalgia, but I REALLY wanted to go back to a simpler time of less hair maintenance. My hair had gotten LONG, and, as a result, my hair routine had turned into pin-the-stupid-long-bangs-back-and-wear-a-ponytail.

So, I made myself look pretty, as one does when she is about to get a haircut, and made my way to the salon.

This a pre-haircut selfie FILLED WITH ANXIETY.

This a pre-haircut selfie FILLED WITH ANXIETY.

I was a bit early, so, as I waited, I tweeted my anxiety into the Tweetosphere.


In all reality, it felt like a bad breakup. It came out of nowhere.

We’d had our last “date” right before my birthday, and Eva oogled over my wedding pics and life was good. She told me a little bit of the stuff going on in her life, and she worked her magic. No matter what, she always made me feel like a million bucks. My hair always seemed to behave for her, something it rarely does for me.

When I gave her her tip and bid her farewell, she gave me a hug saying congratulations again on my wedding, and then goodbye. I didn’t think much of it, but, in retrospect, maybe she knew this would be the last time we’d see each other.

As I mentally prepped for my haircut, I felt oddly similar to how I had the first time I went on a first date after a bad break up in college. I felt like I was betraying Eva, but it had to be done in order for me to move forward.

So, I went for it and let “Brittany” cut my hair.

I smiled, awkwardly shook Brittany’s hand as we made our introductions, and immediately was taken aback when she led me to EVA’S CHAIR. I shook it off, and then jumped into telling Brittany what I wanted.

“An angled bob, short in the back, long in the front, with side bangs.”

I pulled up a picture on my phone and said I wanted it similar, but slightly longer, coming to about an inch below my chin, and with side bangs, not straight up bangs. When it comes to hair, I know how to place an order.

Hey, Google Girl. I want your hair.

I immediately sensed Brittany being nervous, but I shook it off. I mean, she was cutting my hair for the first time, and I was a client of one of the best stylists they’d had at the salon. As Rue had told me as I waited, they were reeling a bit with the loss of Eva. It didn’t sound like a lot of her clients were staying. Brittany had a lot of pressure on her.

Now, there are a few things I want to point out before I continue this story:

  1. I could have gone to Eva’s close friend at the salon who had trimmed my hair before the wedding, but she didn’t have any open appointments until 6pm. I wanted a day time appointment.
  2. Rue had told me on the phone that Brittany was a second tier stylist, which meant a) she had slightly less experience than Eva had (Eva had owned her own salon prior to this salon; she was a stylist OG. Nobody could compare to her experience!), b) she would take 45 minutes (which is the average amount of time my thick hair takes anyways), and c) she was cheaper by $5.
  3. I kind of wanted a PYT to do my hair so I wouldn’t have to go through the upheaval of a hair stylist breakup for like another 30 years.

So, an hour and twenty minutes later, my hair was done. I’d started to feel a little anxious, as Eva usually did my hair in 30 minutes or less, but, damn it, the first rule of dating is you shouldn’t compare your new girl to your ex. It’s bad for everyone. BUT IT TOOK SO LONG. I was feeling anxiety growing, especially when she was taking ten minutes to trim my side bangs, and it didn’t help when she asked me if I wanted her to blow dry my hair straight (the answer to this is ALWAYS yes) and if I wanted hairspray after we had just made small talk about how windy it was and how everyone needed hairspray in this kind of weather.

So, I kept my eyes closed as she finished my hair.

Then, she said, “Okay, all done!”

I didn’t know what to say except, “Okay, great!”

My heart wasn’t in it.

The end results

The end results

I looked cute, but, just to state the obvious, it’s not what I asked for.

circle the differences in these two photos.

I could have complained, I could have argued, but I don’t like confrontation. I didn’t look bad. I looked cute. It just wasn’t what I asked for.

It was a disappointing first date after an unexpected break up.

In about a month or so, I’ll call Eva’s friend. I’ll schedule a hair cut with her before my cousin’s Bat Mitzvah. I usually wait 2-3 months in between haircuts, but this is a different situation. Eva’s friend may not be Eva, but she’ll give me me what I want, at least for a few more years.

Then I’ll go through a hair stylist break up all over again.

She left me.


I can see the leaves.

So. There’s this scene in waaaaaay early Grey’s Anatomy where Callie is first dipping her feet in the rainbow water and she sleeps with Erica Hahn, a tough ass, hard core cardiothoracic surgeon. SURPRISE! They do the deed and OMG Erica realizes she’s gay.

Like, super gay.

Erica Hahn: My whole life… My whole adult life, I have been with men. And it always felt, you know, fine, good, but… I never… I mean — I mean, I did, but not… Not like this. This is like needing glasses.
Callie Torres: Ummm, I’ve blinded you?
Erica Hahn: No. When I was a kid, I would get these headaches, and I went to the doctor, and they said that I needed glasses. I didn’t understand that. It didn’t make sense to me because I could see fine. And then I get the glasses, and I put them on, and I’m in the car on the way home, and suddenly I yell… Because the big green blobs that I had been staring at my whole life, they weren’t big green blobs. They were leaves on trees. I could see the leaves. And I didn’t even know I was missing the leaves. I didn’t even know that leaves existed, and then… Leaves! You… are glasses. I am so gay. I am so, so, so gay! I am extremely gay!

Well, I had a similar moment today. Just swap the gay (been there, had that realization ages ago!) with the OMG I CAN SEE CLEARLY moment.

Somehow, I managed to go 26 years without seeing the leaves. I started to get headaches after reading for hours at a time in college, but I figured it was because of, well, college. Then I started getting headaches at night when I started teaching and I figured it was because I would oftentimes sit with mountains of papers to grade and be on my work laptop at night, writing lesson plans and handouts.

Then, I got married and my wife pointed out I was squinting a lot when reading. So, I went to the eye doctor to a) prove my wife wrong (she was right.) and b) if anything, get reading glasses. (I was wrong.) SURPRISE. I needed straight up glasses all the time.

I begrudgingly put them on and OMG.

The world exploded.

Things I thought were clear were suddenly blowing my damn mind with crispness. Like, words on signs and the outline of my purse were crisper than potato chips. Or pieces of copy paper. Or something else crispy.

So. I guess I agree with V and the eye doctor.

Hello from the glasses side.

SNAPPED. @thegingersass

SNAPPED…with a little John Bender for flair. @thegingersass