Saturday, January 16, 2010

Day 1: Express Yourself

I'm sitting in the basement of Elliot's, my darling boyfriend's, mom's house in Virginia, playing peekaboo with the softest grey cat. Grace has eyes greener than the emerald earrings Angelina Jolie wore to the 2009 Oscars (I wants them. Her, not so much) and a pert little black nose that makes her look like a '40s bow-lipped movie starlet. If they were in cat form of course. She is a very weird cat in that she will violently head-butt me until I pet her vigorously all over but she hates to be picked up and hugged. She makes me miss my cat Egg. I love my little Egglet. Here she is:
Look at her! She is the cutest, softest little kitty in the world and so beautiful with her inky fur and her yellow moon eyes! I will talk about her often as she is the love of my life and I don't care. You're just jealous. But as this is the Leyla/Madonna project I should probably focus on that now.

So as all Madonna fans, and regular inhabitants of planet Earth, know, Madonna likes to reinvent herself. I am aware that this is somewhat of an understatement. It's like saying, to quote Phoebe Buffay,"Oh Monica, you like things clean." So I can't very well start my transformation without a makeover. Believe it or not this was the boyfriend's idea. A whole new look for a whole new Leyla. Now before you get all up and pissed and huffy and how dare he, feminism, girl power be yourself, I'd like to say I agree with him. There's no better way to get a fresh start than by doing something visually symbolic, like changing your hair or clothes. You're not giving up on your old self, you're just bringing out someone new that's hiding deep in there somewhere. I've always had big curly hair and recently got half of it bleached and though I thought it looked awesome, it killed my hair. I had wiry strinyg kinks instead of regular curls and waves and so I made an appointment with Amy at Vidal Sassoon as soon as I got back from LA and decided to get it cut.

Then I changed my mind.

And then I changed it again.

Did I not mention I'm kind of indecisive? Yeah we're back to Monica likes things clean territory. I am working on it, so bear with me. That is the point of these 100 days.

Finally, I just made up my mind, got up at 8:30 am and chopped all my hair off.

Oh dear. Bye bye length I've been trying to achieve for the past three years. Hey, Amy said it would feel and look a lot better and I trusted her so fuck it. I have short hair again. I haven't had it in over 5 years but with some streaks still in there and all the scraggly parts gone, I now have a little longer than chin-length bob.

I look gooood.

Strutting out of Vidal Sassoon, with non-combover bangs flipping attractively into my face and mouth, I went home to the boy who greeted me with a big hug and declared me a hot ass babe. Aww, he'd read the previous entry. But I didn't just stop there. I needed more. More stuff to help me express myself, my new self. I needed a new outlook on life and hair was just the beginning. So I marched right over to Harvard Square and got a tattoo.

I'm not kidding.

I've wanted a new tattoo for awhile but after my leg tattoos caused one of my other delicious breakdowns I was sort of wary. But I wanted this. I needed it. Okay, so most people mark accomplishments with tattoos or get them on momentous occasions. I say pshaw to them, I'll get one at the end of 100 days if I want too as well, but for now, I have a delicate, swirly and purple (!) ohm on my left wrist. I love you mommy, don't kill me. Plus, now we're connected; you, me and Mina, my sister, all have ohm tattoos. I mean the fact that we share blood and that you heaved us out of your uterus also connect us, but goddammit I wanted my purple tattoo. And the artist John was the nicest man. We had a lovely chat about metal and bands we've seen and how great Iron Maiden is (IRON MAIDEN FOREVER) and he thanked me for being an excellent customer because of my delightful conversation and tolerance for pain. My ohm faces me which means, "for me."

Doing fairly well for myself I decided that even if clothes do not make the man, or woman, they very well should. So off to buy me a new outfit! This sounds like I'm just indulging myself but really, it was the best high. I had no qualms about my hair and about my tattoo and at least one of those things is something permanent and I never felt so sure of myself. Life is looking up already because, "[I] deserve the best in life, so if the time isn't right then move..." hmm. Okay, maybe "Express Yourself," wasn't the best choice as that song basically tells you to depend on a man to make you happy unless he's a moron then you get another one but the sentiment remains true. I am technically expressing myself, just not in relation to a man. But he did start this all off actually, my boyfriend and his makeover suggestion. My God, everything is just connecting already. Too bad all the shops didn't agree with me as I found no cool outfits and everything I tried on either made me look like a pregnant lesbian or bulgy whale woman from bulgy whale world.*

So I headed home, a little deflated but not much. And my spirits soared right back up when a random man on the street yelled, "I like your hair." YES. VALIDATION. I turned to smile at him and say thank you at which point he demanded if I was afraid of black men.


Well sir, am I running away screaming in abject terror at your rather menacing form? No. And thus, we can surmise that no, I am not afraid of black men and I am also no longer smiling at you. No matter, it's movie night.

Man, hanging out with Boston friends, watching Moon (which, coincidentally is my other musical love David Bowie's offspring's directorial debut. It was good. I kept singing, "Is there life on MAAAAARS," in my head though. And, "Ground control to Major Tom. Commencing countdown engines on." And, "There's a spaaaaaace maaaan, waiiting in the skyyy." Oh come on, you make a space-related movie and you're related to Ziggy Stardust. What did you think the audience reaction was gonna be?) and going out to the hipster club is so fun. Hey, I'm playing Madonna, she started in dance clubs like these and after half a bottle of wine and three, maybe four, Jack and cokes later, I see the light. I am so thrillingly, enchantingly, hilariously, brilliantly, madly, wildly, fondly, blissfully, dizzyingly happy I'm not in L.A. and that I am here, in Boston, dancing and drinking to ironically hyped-up dance versions of Joy Division songs. But maybe a bit too dizzyingly. My transformation is now churning up bile in my stomach and the world is spinning so fast my inner Leyla is about to become my outer Leyla.

Yeah I threw up. But I made myself do it if that makes this sound any better (boyfriend says no). I hate going to sleep with the world spinning so I did it. And promptly passed out.

Maybe not the best start, but it's a start.

*I did find nice outfits the next two days. I have two new dresses now hooray.


  1. Oh my Leyla, you're one hot ass babe.

    I think the positivity of this entry. It makes me smile.

  2. leyla! i love the hair and the tattoo. also, i will soon be joining the ranks of the ohm tattooed bunch... i realize i am not related to you... but, i still thought this was important enough to share.

    i am also quite pleased with the positivity of this entry.


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