I am Normal


Yes, I am normal. Sadly. Even though I’m good at a lot of things, I’m not a standout. My writing is okay, but lots of people write better, even peers. Same goes for my drawing, my singing, my songwriting.

The way I dress is pretty normal, too, jeans and a tee-shirt on most days. I have my ears pierced, but that’s as far as it goes for bodily expression. No hair dye, no tattoos, some days no makeup either. I am not beautiful, but I’m not ugly either. My face is probably utterly forgettable. (Not that I would know; I can’t just forget my own face.) There are a ton of people just like me and they’re everywhere, and tons of them have blogs too.

My friends are all more interesting than me. One of them has bright purple hair and a nose ring and always wears band shirts. Another knows what it’s like to have a boyfriend. A third is Buddhist.

I’m surrounded by thriving individuals in a society where “being yourself” is stressed, and I’m a person for which “being yourself” means being nothing special. I’m normal and I don’t think I’m okay with it.

Ciao for now,

Mikki

Why the Lady at the Hair Salon is Probably an Evil Sorceceress on a Mission to Destroy Mankind


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It’s been a pretty long time since my last haircut, and for this reason I had split ends galore . I needed about three inches cut off, and finally I had the time yesterday afternoon to get it done, so off I went to, unbeknownst to me then, was my certain doom.

Within moments of signing in I was beckoned to my horrible fate. The first thing the lady starts doing is shunting through my thick, curly hair with a teeny tiny little comb. I could hear each strand as it screamed in agony. Come on, lady, I thought. If you’re going to take a weed whacker to my hair, at least spray a little water on it first so I don’t have to listen to it. But mercilessly, she kept tugging in the same little pattern. It was like Chinese water torture.

Then I felt the scissors. The cold, merciless scissors. They were so close to the base of my neck. So frighteningly close. That has to be more than three inches, I thought, listening to the sounds of a year’s worth of growth collapsing to the ground in a hazy mess. And with it went my pride, my happiness, and my will to live. (Maybe I’m exaggerating.)

All in all, that lady took a lot more hair than I had anticipated. When it dried and curled up, it came up nearly to my shoulders, which is a big change. And the worst, most wicked part in the lady’s wicked scheme is that no one else noticed. Only I am vulnerable to the torture she inflicted. Now, only I notice when I run my hands through my hair and the hair stops short. Only I miss the long, luscious strands when I look in a mirror.

She is a sick, twisted woman.

Ciao for now,

Mikki

Shoveling: A Poem


snow-shoveling

I felt like a model today

while I was shoveling.

I had on my perfect shade of

olive green winter coat,

the one that matches

everything.

I had on a baby blue scarf, tied, just so,

so it puffed out a little

from under the coat.

A fleece hat

romanticized

the look.

Snowflakes kept sticking onto my

Pinkermint™ lip gloss

(which I got for Christmas),

and then melted on the spot.

Dark, dark jeans

were balanced by highlighter-yellow boots.

I shoveled my neighbors’ drive,

and pictured

myself

as Time Magazine’s Person of the Year,

with a caption:

“Beautiful and Helpful: A Fashionable Shoveller

Does Good in Her Community.”

That’s what

goes through my head

when I shovel.

An Open Letter to My Hair


Dear Hair,

I love you. I hate you. I love you. I hate you.

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You look like her hair, but you look natural.

You are a lovely shade of dark chestnut and have hints of orangey tangerine in the sunlight. You frame my face like one of those painting frames that’s prettier than the actual painting. You curl and swirl on my shoulders and down my back, you are fun to run my fingers through. When you are clean, you are shiny like in a shampoo commercial. You are the curls all the stars want but look fake in. You are luscious and beautiful.

But.

You have all these split ends and some days, like today, I can use as much conditioner as it would take to fill the Mississippi River, and31K88bmtSgL._SY300_ you will have more knots and tangles than the love stories in Friends. On these days, you are coarse and horrid and dry. You have split ends that have split ends that have split ends, and no matter how many split ends I snip there are always more to be snipped. You fall into my food, and you drop yourself all over my house. Things get stuck in you and I don’t even notice. You are mousey and filthy.

But.

I suppose that much is my fault. I swirl you around with my finger and damage you, I roughly run combs through your strands, I ruin you with chlorine every time I go to swim. When I style you with elastics, I can hear you tear as I put them in and pull them out.

I’m so sorry, Hair. You are the best thing a girl could ever have, and yet I abuse you. Even after you make me look bad in public and make a mess in the shower drain, you are a dear friend. I hope you can forgive me.

You are beautiful, you are stylish, you are curly and bouncy. I love you, Hair.

Ciao for now,

Mikki

The Shoe Store: A Short Story


I used to work as an assistant manager at the local shoe store. The place was called Burt’s Foot Supply, and they had just opened their second location when I was hired there. I have a really keen eye for shoes, and I quickly rose through the ranks. Usually I sold shoes for girls between the ages of 10 and 19, and usually I knew what kind of shoe they needed by their toenail polish or their lack thereof. Telling for boys was a little more difficult, because they didn’t have such obvious displays of how they wanted to look. Usually it was in their pants and how they wore them.

Having one pair of shoes that are you is a necessity. If you can’t own your feet, then you’re going to have a hard time walking.

One day, I think it was a Monday, or maybe Thursday, this girl and her seventeen-ish older brother walk in. Most of the time I didn’t assume two people were siblings , but these people were practically identical. If you forgot they were about ten years apart and different genders, you could see that they had the same thin, elvish faces, round, dark eyes, and deeply defined cheekbones.

“Hi, can I help you?”I chirped.

“No thanks,” the brother huffed.

With a shrug, I pushed backwards. It was a slow day for a Monday or a Thursday in July, so there was pretty much nothing for me to do.

“Slow day,” I said to Greg, the cashier, once I had managed my way over there.

“Yep.” Greg didn’t talk much.

“Did we even sell anything yet today?”

“Yep.”

“What did we sell?”

“One of the lip balms,” he answered simply, giving the plastic jar a half-hearted nudge. All the tubes rattled around.

I either gave a nod or an acknowledging grunt then. It doesn’t really matter.

Suddenly, the girl came running from behind a shelf. Without asking questions or permission, she pushed me, all the way into the aisle she and her brother were looking at something in. Before, with the light from outside the automatic doors, her brother’s hair had looked more like it belonged on the Chocolate Lover’s Delight side of the crayon box. In here, it looked a little more Deep Prairie Sunset mixed with Creamy Rich Auburn.

“Hey,” the brother began, “I’m really sorry about my little sister forcing you over here and all.”

“That’s alright,” I replied, shaking my head and smiling like people do in awkward situations.

“No it’s really not.” He looked sternly down at the girl. “Holly, can you please apologize?”

Instead of apologizing Holly started talking as though her intentions hadn’t been interrupted. “I’m getting shoes for my cousin and I want to get her these, but he wants to get her these.” In her left hand was a right shoe, pink and sparkly and embedded with a plush Hello Kitty bow. In her right was a sensible blue canvas high-top, plus elastic that left its mate dangling. It wasn’t hard to guess who wanted to get which shoe.

“Holly.” The brother was clearly disgruntled, like he had spent way too much time with her already.

“It’s really okay,” I reminded him, then turned to Holly. “Now how old is your cousin?”

“She’s going to be twelve on Saturday.” It went through my mind then that buying two days ahead for a birthday was a little late, so it must have been Thursday.

“Well,” I said as gently as I could, “I don’t know much about your cousin, but I don’t think the pink one is quite…right.”

“What do you know about shoes anyway?” she growled immediately. “You don’t even have feet.”

Holly!” her brother shouted.

The sound was so angry, disgusted and loud, that as a result Greg flipped in his chair and the jar of lip balm toppled to the floor.

“Holly!” he repeated, a little more subdued. “Apologize. Now.”

“Well she doesn’t!” she squeaked back. “See? Her legs stop at her knees.”

“Holly!”

She looked straight at him like a dare.

He looked down to me. “I’m really sorry about my little sister, I don’t know what’s into her today.”

“It’s okay, I get that a lot,” I shrugged.

“No––HOLLY!”

The next thing I knew, my wheelchair was speeding down the aisle. Instead of letting myself crash with the chair, I jumped out and rolled to the side. A shelf shook on impact and five boxes spilled onto the carpet.

Now that, I thought, that was not okay. And I had a feeling that the girl’s brother would have agreed with me, had I said anything. But that would have violated virtually everything that makes an everyday employee into an assistant manager.

“Pretty impressive jump,” the brother said to me, “But Holly––”

“Why don’t you have legs?” Holly asked, interrupting her brother.

Everything was suddenly silent. Holly’s brother didn’t try to interrupt back, and instead focused all of his attention on me.

Everything was very silent.

“Car accident.”

The brother looked down at the carpet, and, while making his fixations on the thread, looked like he would cry for a minute.

“Our Uncle Terry died that way,” Holly said. “He’s my cousin Samantha’s dad. Her birthday is on Saturday.”

Silence.

“Holly.”

“Let’s get the shoes, Mike. The blue ones.”

“Alright, Holly. Let’s get the blue shoes.”

I clambered back into the wheel chair, but left the boxes for later, or for Greg, or a combination of the two.

“We’re going to get ice cream later,” Mike said sheepishly.

“Yeah!” squealed Holly. “You want to come? We’re going to Ben and Jerry’s! Do you like chocolate or vanilla?”

“I like vanilla,” I said to Holly. “And yes, I would like to go,” I said to Mike.

“Cool,” Mike replied, nodding. “When does your shift end? We were thinking of going––”

“To Ben and Jerry’s!” Holly reiterated.

“––To Ben and Jerry’s,” Mike continued, “At around six.”

“My shift ends at seven.”

“Did I say six? I meant seven.” He had a nice smile.

“You’re asking her out, Mike!” Holly complained.

Mike shrugged. “See you at seven.”

Holly and Mike bought the blue shoes.

It was a slow Thursday for July at Burt’s Foot Supply.

Oh, You Know: A Short Story


I’m sitting up against the wall, with my gluteus maximus pressed right up against it and my legs don’t touch the wall at all except for several feet above my rear end where my ankles are against it, which I guess aren’t really a part of my legs but I count the feet as an extension of the legs.

I just got this wonderful shade of Iridescent-Pomegranate-Maroon which I now spread all over my toenails with this dinky little black brush that’s absolutely coated in the stuff and is mostly useless anyway.

The guy who checked me out at the store was at least six feet, with this hair that sort of flipped around on his head like a black ocean and one of those faces you don’t want to stop looking at. Seventeen, at the oldest, probably sixteen. The only problem was he didn’t really bother to look at me very much the entire time he was checking me out, and I assume that he did it because I was buying some cheap nail polish just because it was such a pretty color. I’ve noticed that those kinds of girlish habits tend to turn a guy away pretty quickly.

At that point I really wished that I hadn’t snuck that little jar of nail polish into the groceries mom sent me out to get. All that was on the grocery list was a loaf of bread, a gallon of milk, and a box of Marlboro cigarettes, which come in the very fancy red box, and the trés hot guy who checked me out willingly passed them over to me from behind the counter, without even questioning. They’re not for me, but who doesn’t smoke (other than me)?

When he scanned the nail polish, that’s when his eyebrow raised a little, and then he ever-so-gently laid it into the plastic grocery bag like something so dainty.

He ripped off the receipt with precision and handed it to me, with a pen, and his head looking directly down like the counter was the most interesting thing in the whole world.

He had freckles and rosy cheeks.

I signed the receipt with the best forgery of my mother’s signature I could muster and he gave me back the credit card, which was all red and shiny like the nail polish. I tucked it away and took my part of the carbonless paper, which was yellow like fluid elimination.

That bag that said Enrique’s neighborhood Grocery, filled with vegetables and things that needed to be refrigerated, was humiliating to carry. The moment I got home I dashed the groceries across the counter and ran into my room, where I put on my birthday suit. I double-checked to see if the door was locked, but it didn’t matter anyway, because mom snuck the nail polish right under the door like it was something I wanted. Half of my mind wanted to force her to take it back, but another part of the Pomegranate was so seductive that I took it and, with my heels propped up against the wall, began painting.

I’m finished with them now. They look really pretty in a way that only nail polish can make toenails, those ugly things on the most horrendous part of a body, look.