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Tunnel vision affects all of us. The biggest challenge with this condition is that the primary symptom is a complete lack of awareness that you have tunnel vision in the first place. I see it frequently in my line of work; as a business advisor, I often say I help people see that there is a forest when they are lost in the trees. When I first embarked on my journey, I didn’t feel like I was doing anything special when I helped my clients see the big picture. When I coaxed someone away from the details so they could get an aerial view of the challenge or opportunity they were facing, it didn’t feel like a huge “Aha!” moment to me. But over time, I realized that I was performing an invaluable service for my clients. Here’s the irony: when I stepped back and recognized that being a business advisor was wasn’t supposed to be about having an Aha moment myself, but rather about giving my clients their Aha moments, I said “Aha!” Case in point…being myopic is part of the human condition, so I am just as susceptible as anyone else even if I cure myopia for a living.

My entire thought process on this was sparked this morning, as I was getting ready to leave the house. As I picked up the power cord for my PC I remembered what had happened the night before…

Last night I couldn’t find my power cord anywhere. I looked in all the usual places: the desk, my bag, the bookshelf where my husband sticks it if I left it out and my son tries to play with it. I pored over our office, then expanded my search to the rest of our house, but it had simply disappeared. That’s when the frustration started to creep in. OK, maybe the frustation rushed in, but I had a lot of work to do!

First I was annoyed at myself. How could I have misplaced it? How would I finish my client work if my battery dies? Why can’t I keep track of my stuff? Then the blaming started. Matt must have stuck it somewhere. Why would he put it in an unusual place? He must have taken it to work with him by mistake! I looked all over the house in the places where the power cord had ended up before, but eventually, I gave up. When my husband came home an hour later, the first thing I said was, “Hi Honey. Have you seen my power cord?” and of course my tone was only slightly accusatory. He told me he hadn’t seen it.

About an hour later Matt said, “Hey. Weren’t the cleaners here yesterday? Maybe they moved it somewhere.” Good point. I went back into the office. Like a lot things you look at frequently, eventually you stop seeing them. But what Matt said had flipped a switch in my mind; this time when I looked in the office, it took me – literally – two seconds to see the power cord, which had been shoved into one of those wall pocket thingies where I put all of the important mail I don’t intend to open. At the time, I was so relieved to have found the power cord that I just grabbed it, plugged my PC into the wall, and told my husband he was a genius. Living with me is like an emotional roller coaster.

It wasn’t until I had a night to sleep on it that I realized how interesting that little experience had been. When I saw my power cord this morning, it hit me that I had been gifted a concrete, tangible experience to remind me of how easy it is to become myopic, get tunnel vision, get lost in the trees, or slip into a state of denial. And, maybe more importantly, I had the opportunity to experience how good it feels when someone helps you take a step back in a kind and gentle manner. This situation would have ended very differently if, in the throes of my frustration, my husband took my frustration personally and got angry at me for implying he put my power cord somewhere or got annoyed with me for losing something that is expensive to replace. Instead, he just pondered the problem, came up with an idea, and helped me shift my perspective. (AUTHOR’S NOTE: Thanks, Baby!)

I suppose the challenge for all of us is to teach ourselves how to take a breath and get distance from something when we feel “stuck.” In addition, it’s important to be receptive to help if we can’t manage to get ourselves unstuck. But to me, the most valuable awareness I received from this experience was to remember to be compassionate when I encounter anyone who is challenged by myopia. I know from my own experience that people who are afflicted with tunnel vision have no idea that they are lost in the trees, so I must be kind and gentle if I help them take a step back so they can see the forest.

All of this from a lost power cord.

Good job Jimbo Gallagher! You correctly explained the title of the previous blog post.

Last week, I posed this question on Facebook and Twitter: Is it a compliment or an insult when someone says you have “pageant hair”?

The responses varied from “Who cares, I like your hair,” to something along the lines of “Um, 1986 called and it wants its hairstyle back.”

The surprising amount of conversation invoked by my question caused me to ponder my hairstyle, as if there aren’t more important things I could be doing with my time. For those of you who don’t know what is meant by “pageant hair,” it’s the big, meticulously-styled bouffant that takes time and a variety of tools to create. If you really wanted to do it right, you could go the distance to “helmet hair,” which is the look one gets after applying layers of Aqua Net hairspray so your hairstyle can be preserved for posterity, like a butterfly in a glass paperweight. I am sure I don’t have helmet hair…at least, not anymore. Don’t blame me, blame 1986! By the way, it works best if you let the Aqua Net dry between applications.

Fine. I insist on poufing my hair, but I really don’t have any choice. I don’t have the kind of effortless mane that some bitches – I mean, friends of mine – have. I am referring to the type of hair that can be washed and air-dried, so its proud possessor can simply shower and waltz out the door looking great. If I wash my hair and then do nothing to it – no blow-drying, no teasing, no curling, nothing – within twenty minutes I look like a drowned rat. I have the type of hair that needs round brushes, hot rollers, and various other instruments of torture to prevent it from sitting flat on my head. That is in large part the reason I toil, blow-drying my hair upside down even when it’s 80 degrees outside and doing so makes me a sweaty mess.

But the fact that my hair doesn’t air-dry well is not the entire story. In fact, it’s not even the main reason why I want my hair to be big. Much like my reason for wearing black clothes (not because I am cool or fashionable, but because I tend to spill food on myself frequently), my reason for having big hair might surprise you. It is the same reason I don’t wear ponytails, the reason I leave my hair long and loose and full.

My head is too small for my body.

There. I said it. My head is too small for my body.  And the only way to deal with it is to make my hair bigger and hope that its sheer volume will make me look in proportion overall.

Right now you are thinking one of two things: either “This woman is completely vain and neurotic,” or, “Don’t be silly, honey, your head is the perfect size” (Thanks Mom!). Either way, my response is the same:  I have third-party verification that, yes, my head is oddly small for my body. This confirmation came in the form of Thomas, a hair stylist at the Macy’s Salon in Menlo Park Mall in New Jersey, with whom I had the following conversation in 1998:

Thomas:  So, how do you like to wear your hair? (AUTHOR’S NOTE FOR THE MEN: This is a routine opening question whenever you go to see a new stylist.)

Me:  Well, I usually blow it out and put Velcro rollers in to make it fuller.

Thomas:  Really? But right now the straight and sleek look is so IN. And your hair texture is perfect for that.

Me:  Ummm….I don’t really like to wear it too flat. I like it on the bigger side.

Thomas:  But maybe we should try it…

Me:  No! My head is too small for that.

Thomas (incredulous):  What?! What does that mean?

Me:  Look at my head in relation to my body. It’s too small.

At this point, Thomas actually stops what he is doing, which was touching and fluffing my hair. He stares at me intently with one hand on his chin and one folded across his chest. To his credit, he makes the effort of surveying my head from a couple of different angles by circling me as I sit in his chair. After two or three minutes of this, he announces his findings.

Thomas:  OK, I see what’s going on here. From here to here (he points from my right ear across my face to my left ear) your head and face are actually somewhat narrow. But, from here to here (he points from the tip of my forehead to the back of my crown) your head is actually quite long.

There is a pause in the conversation while I process his remarks.

Me:   So…I think what you are telling me is that I look like the creature from the movie Alien?

Thomas:  Is that the one with Sigourney Weaver? I love her!

So there it is. My head is too small relative to my body. At least, it is when you look at me from the front.

There is one other possible response you could have to my issue with my small head. I am sure that at least one of you is thinking, “Well, maybe it isn’t that your head is too small. Maybe it’s that your body is too big. Maybe if you worked out a little more, or went on a diet, or did something to make your body smaller, everything would balance out.”

You know what I say to that? Suck it. If making my hair bigger means I get to eat ice cream or cheese fries when I feel like it, then give me some hot rollers and Aqua Net and call me Peg Bundy.

Bragging rights go to the first person who guesses the relevance of this entry’s title. This contest is brought to you by Mike Ingrassia.

About Me

The purpose of this blog is purely self-expression - being creative for the sake of being creative. It has evolved into a collection of non-fiction essays.

All of the anecdotes and incidents you read in this blog are completely true and not exaggerated, no matter how sad, pathetic or unbelievable they may seem.

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© Operation Peace and Serenity, 2009. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Operation Peace and Serenity with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.