Bug-Induced Pride-Swallowing Gorgeousnessposted on September 21st, 2012 / by Billie VanderMolen / 6 Comments
First of all, please allow me to begin this tale with a little education about head lice. It is a common misconception that head lice prefer people with questionable hygiene habits. I, too, believed that head lice favored people who need to improve their bathing skills but in fact, head lice actually prefer to grow their happy little nests on scalps with clean hair. It’s because they literally glue their nits (eggs) to the shaft of the hair. Imagine trying to glue two pieces of wax paper together or trying to apply paint to a dirty wall. If the hair is dirty or oily, the lice “glue” won’t hold. If the hair is clean and dry, you have a lovely environment to host a family of head lice. Did you know that? Neither did I—not until it happened to my daughter.
It was the second week of school, and I picked my daughter up when I got out of work. She had an appointment at the salon to get her hair trimmed. She has thick, long hair, and going to the salon is a treat for her because she doesn’t get it cut very often. She was sitting in the stylist’s chair, happily chatting about life as a third-grader, when the stylist stopped cutting, stopped talking, and inspected my daughter’s scalp closely. She went into a different room and quickly returned with the salon owner.
Together, they separated different sections of her hair and then looked at me. “I’m so sorry to tell you this, but she has head lice.” They coached me on how to treat it, sold me some hair products that are supposed to help prevent future infestations, and sent me home to start the beginning of one of the most humiliating events of my life.
A natural remedy for head lice is to saturate your hair with petroleum jelly and then wrap it in plastic for twenty-four hours. It suffocates the lice and causes the nits to lose their grip on the hair shaft. So we got the supplies we needed and saturated our hair—hers and mine—just to be on the safe side. We began this process on a Monday evening. We put on our pajamas and saturated our heads in slime and plastic knowing we would remain that way until Tuesday evening.
As unfortunate timing would have it, this event coincided with my husband and I having an addition built on our house. My husband mentioned, “The excavator will be here on Tuesday, but you won’t need to talk to him. If the garage door is closed, he won’t even know you’re here.” Thank goodness! I thought, because hello, I’m hideous right now!
The plan for Tuesday was for my daughter and I to remain in pajamas all day since we couldn’t shower until that evening. I woke up, drank my stimulus program (a.k.a. coffee) and started in on my necessary chores. All beds had to be stripped and bedding washed in hot water. All carpeting and furniture had to be vigorously vacuumed. All this activity made an un-showered, slimy-haired, pajama-clad woman very sweaty and stinkier than a grown woman should ever allow herself to be. But nobody was going to see me like that, right?
About ten minutes after the excavator arrived, he rang my doorbell. Ohhh, this is not happening. I thought to myself. Is this actually happening? It was actually happening. I had to open the door. With every ounce of my dignity, I DID NOT want to open the door but… I opened the door.
Standing before me was Ryan, an acquaintance. Really? Is this the way it has to be at this moment? It isn’t bad enough that I am working my tail off here to get rid of an unacceptable larvae infestation and I have never been more physically disgusting in my entire life, but now I have to open the door and see a man I sort of know? Seriously?!
Yes, well, that was exactly what happened. “I’m sorry, but I accidentally cut through your internet cable.” Ryan announced. Of course he did, because if he hadn’t done that, I might have made it through the day not being seen by another human. I so desperately wished I had one of those devices Will Smith’s character uses in the movie Men in Black which erases people’s memory of a specific event. I would have paid a lot of money to have one of those at that moment!
In any case, I turned on the computer and sure enough, there was no internet connection so I called our internet service provider and requested a service call. I was told that a repair technician would be at my house the next day to repair the severed cable. I was happy with that plan. By the next day, my house would be spotless and more importantly, I would be showered and have the best hair and makeup day of my life! I could gladly go without internet for that long. No problem.
I continued with my chores. Beds were being remade. Towels were being folded and put away. The sweating continued. I was a flurry of activity until—the doorbell rang again. You have got to be kidding me. Why does this keep happening?! Why can’t I just be the human equivalent of a ball of goo with B.O. in seclusion? Must there be witnesses? Is this really necessary?
Alas, it was my fate. My humiliation in the privacy of my own home was on display for witnesses from the outside world. I opened the door again, and this time it was a handsome young man who works for my internet service provider. He smiled when I opened the door (probably much like how infants smile when they pass gas) and said, “I’m here to repair your internet cable. Can you come outside and show me where it is?”
I sighed. “Okay…” I said. “Yeah, I am a little devastated over the fact that you’re seeing me like this right now and the fact that you’re supposed to be here tomorrow—not today—but yes, I will show you where the internet cable is.” Remember, my hair was saturated in petroleum jelly, wrapped in plastic, I was wearing pajamas in the middle of the day, no makeup, I was sweaty and. I. stank. And is it just me, or is this the first time in the history of repair service that the person has ever shown up a day early? I mean, that is unheard of! Together, we walked through the yard around to the back of the house. I pointed at the sliced wires sticking out of the ground and then I ran for cover. I also considered bursting into tears but decided to burst into laughter instead because I felt so totally ridiculous.
My stench and disheveled appearance were not witnessed by anyone else that day, thankfully, and although it was completely embarrassing, I have thought about what I could learn from this experience. The first thing that comes to mind is that we can put on a good façade and present ourselves as having it all together most of the time, but eventually we’re going to have an off day when our “ugly” comes right up to the surface for all to see. In those moments, we ought to be merciful.
In John 8, we see Jesus defend a woman who was caught in adultery. The Pharisees wanted to stone her for her sins until Jesus pointed out that nobody is without sin. We all have dirt, and yet He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” (NKJV)
Did He judge her? No. Was He kind to her? Definitely. He showed her mercy even though the thing she was trying to hide had been exposed. Her ugliness was brought to light in front of witnesses and everyone had to admit they, too, have hidden ugliness. But God sees all of it and loves us anyway.
The second thing I considered—and this was a stretch—was that it really wasn’t that big of a deal. Did I enjoy the way I looked and felt and smelled that day? Not even a little bit. Was I happy that my plans were foiled and I didn’t get to stay unseen? Nope. I was embarrassed for sure. But does it make me any less valuable and did the experience harm me in any way? Absolutely not. I accomplished a lot that day! I was takin’ care of business!
Ladies, I encourage you to cut yourself and everyone else some slack. Let’s laugh at ourselves when things get a little out of control. Let’s not judge others when they have an “off” day. It’s one of the beautiful things that make us unique and human, and I believe that in spite of my laughable and unfortunate appearance, I was still the image of God that day. We are gorgeous every day, regardless of anything else.