There I stood in a stale motel room with dripping wet hair and no blow dryer. I hadn’t come across lodging that did not provide this amenity since the 90s. I called the lobby and was told I could pick up a dryer at their front desk, so I threw on something and trudged across the courtyard to do just that. Upon getting back to my room I continued getting ready but more hurriedly than before since the ideal schedule I had mentally prepared for myself was shot and I didn’t want to be late. My hair was almost dry when I began to smell the intoxicating aroma of burning hair. A generous chunk of my brown locks had been sucked into the rear of the stubby dryer and transformed into a huge matted knot. Ugh! I desperately tried to untangle the knot but it wasn’t budging. It looked like I was going to have to rip out a fistful of my hair or resort to attending class with a blow-dryer hanging from me. I have a “healthy” dose of vanity and I am extraordinarily tender headed so clearly neither of those options would do.
I inspected the dryer. Mind you this required a bit of contortion as it was still attached to my head. Something would have to give; that something being either my hair or the cheap flimsy dryer. The choice was obvious. I examined the room to determine how I would go about cracking the vent off of the back of the dryer. I decided the floor would be a good start, but as the dryer was tangled in my hair, this required kneeling and putting my head to the ground so I could get at just the right angle. I realized there was too much tension between my hair and the dryer to allow me to smash the dryer to the ground with the necessary force. I was essentially tapping it against the floor, and since the desired outcome was not to communicate via Morse Code this just wouldn’t do.
It was at this point – sprawled out on the floor with a dryer stuck in my hair – that it dawned on me how ridiculous I must look. I couldn’t help but laugh. I felt a surprising wave of disappointment that there was no one in the room with me to get a laugh at my expense. It seemed like such a waste. I would have responded to this debacle in a completely different way had it happened a few years ago. Perhaps it would have seemed funny to me down the road but in the moment I would have felt like such a failure. Thoughts like “How do you get yourself into these situations?” and “You are such a screw up!” would have tormented me. Just more proof of my inadequacy; that’s how I would have viewed my misfortune. My tendency to beat myself up was something I’d long been made aware of but relying on my own strength to reverse that well-worn pattern had gotten me nowhere. In that moment I felt so relieved that God had brought about so much healing in my heart. I was immensely grateful to see that my thinking had been transformed from the old pattern. During the healing process healthy thinking took so much intentionality but FINALLY it was becoming natural. It was so freeing to no longer be my own worst enemy. There in the motel room with a blow-dryer attached to my head I somehow felt victorious.
I peeled my long lanky body off the ground and refocused on the task at hand. In all that this room lacked, the one expense that hadn’t been spared was in the choice of material used for the bathroom counter. I hovered my head over the granite counter to allow some slack between my hair and the dryer. Slamming the dryer against the counter a few times with no results brought me to a new level of frustration and I became ready to endure more pain for the cause. I pulled the dryer as far back as I could bare and slammed the dryer down with gusto. The vent cracked and I was able to break it off of the dryer. The dryer vent and the accompanying knot were now the only evidence of this morning’s fiasco. I rolled the vent towards my scalp, wrapped some hair around it, and secured it with a clip. I admired my handiwork in the mirror and assured myself that it could pass as an ornamental touch if viewed from a distance while squinting. It would have to do. As Marzan drove us to class I used his pocketknife to pry the vent apart and free the rest of my hair. In the end I only had to resort to ripping a few stubborn strands so I was quite pleased with the outcome.
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me — put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:8-9 (NIV)
* Photo By: http://humanhairstyler.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/hair-stuck-in-hairdryer.jpg