It started to show itself in the way I kept my hair. Or didn’t. In high school and college I washed, dried, and straightened my hair daily. It was a thing of beauty. Well kept. Perfectly in place. With no sign of unruly wave, even under all those thick, thick layers. It was a good representation of how I saw myself. Of how I saw the world. I was a straight-laced rule follower. My perspective looked a lot like the scenery of The Giver. Things were orderly. Things were black and white. So black and white.
Post college, I went to work with my hair wet and in a bun. It only bothered my mom who I was living with at the time. She grew up during the age of suits, ties, and hairspray. I worked at a design firm as a designer behind a computer. Our project managers, who met with clients, dressed to the nines. My wet head passed go each morning.
I got married to a student psychologist, moved away from home, and learned about the color grey. Not from the book. It wasn’t out yet. Or from Chicago’s long winter skies, though they were in plenty. I learned about the color grey through the stories Kev brought home—of tiny people being born into the deafening cycle of poverty. I drove through their neighborhoods. I saw them on the train. I dried and straightened my hair a couple times a month during that phase. The wave started to settle in.
We moved away from Chicago to New Haven and lived on the street that held the “good” and the “bad” neighborhoods together. I started my own company, worked as a freelancer, and fed this space, though it’s mostly fed me. I was my own boss. Finally. Rule #1: quit attending to hair all together. I let the humid east coast air freely style my long mane. And it did. I lost track of my hair dryer and straightener. But mostly, I stole an extra 30 minutes of sleep each day.
Here we are in Minneapolis with our own tiny human. Standing in my bathroom on top of my newly thrifted oriental runner, I blame my wild unkempt hair on her. But if I’m being honest, it’s a better reflection of how I see the world now. There’s still plenty of black and white, but it no longer defines orderly things. It highlights the disorderly disparities. And in its wake, is a wide pool of grey. Puzzles don’t fit. Answers aren’t easy, when there are answers. I do something rare and cry after dropping off Hallie at preschool, knowing that every child wont get the same opportunities she does. That my dinner table isn’t big enough to feed our hungry neighbors. That life isn’t just about pulling up your bootstraps. And then I curl up to Hulu, a glass of wine, and Grey’s Anatomy to get lost in another life, in another world. Because somedays the most important things feel too big to fix. And my hair definitely isn’t one of those things.
A lot of years later, and I’m learning to sit in the grey. It almost feels like home now. You’re wondering, I’m wondering, how do Honey Soy Roasted Chickpeas relate? They don’t but they do. They marry two contrasting flavors—salty and sweet—and make something beautiful. That’s what I think about the color grey and unkempt hair and unanswered questions.
- 1 can (15 oz.) chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans)
- 2 tbsp. soy sauce
- 1 tbsp. honey
- dash of ground ginger
- olive oil
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Rinse and drain chickpeas in colander. Shake to remove as much water as possible.
- Add chickpeas to baking sheet. Pour soy sauce, honey (see note following), and ginger over chickpeas. (Note: before measuring honey, pour a bit of oil into the measuring spoon first then add the honey. This will allow for an easy release from the utensil.) Shake chickpeas around the pan for an even coating.
- Bake for 20 minutes, tossing and flipping chickpeas a couple times throughout.
- Serve as a snack or a garnish.