Taboo Tab Preview: “My Father Died, I Dyed My Hair Blue”



From “My Father Died, I Dyed My Hair Blue” by Caitlin Corbett:

“When someone dies, neither the grieving or the well-wishers know what to do about it. We know we have to have a funeral, but after that it all falls apart.

We don’t wear black. We don’t shave our heads. We don’t go into seclusion. Nothing is different.

Except, of course, everything is different. We just have no way of showing it.”


Read the whole article, and more intimate stories on Death and Grieving when the  Taboo Tab launches on Friday, February 22nd.

Three More Things I Couldn’t Live Without (and the lessons they taught me)

Let’s start by addressing a point one reader/friend made after last week’s post“You gotta stop stomping on all your prized possessions, dude.”

As much as I would like to defend my trademark…he was right.  Here’s how that one ended:

Bonus lesson: Don't step on top of aerosol cans. Not even if you're trying to be artsy. Though, since this already went down, I could probably pretend it symbolizes something fancy...
Bonus lesson: Don’t step on top of aerosol cans. Not even if you’re trying to be artsy. Though, since this already went down, I could probably pretend it symbolizes something fancy…

Ungh. Onwards?

[If you missed part one of “Things I Couldn’t Live Without (and the lessons they taught me),” you can read it here.]

5) Guitar


What it taught me: Don’t underestimate “amateur.”  

This is the latest and greatest lesson I have picked up.  Seriously,  if you only read one of these, read this one.

The record company I’m interning for has the single greatest outlook on music, art, and culture that I have ever experienced.  The people who have made Folkways what it is (guys like Moe Asch, Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger) are wholly inspirational.   Take one of Guthrie’s famous quotes: “Anyone who uses more than two chords is just showing off.”

W.G. keeps it real.

A few days ago, the interns all started talking about their musical backgrounds–the instruments they played, the classes they took, even the  degrees they held. I tried to slide in under the radar with this one, but we’re a small group. The conversation eventually turned to me.

“How about you, Shauna? Are you a musician?”

Awkward. “Well…I mean…I play music, sometimes. I picked up the keyboard, and I sing I guess, and I’m learning guitar.  But…I’m not any good.”

You know that feeling in the air when you’ve just said something out of line?  The chatter stopped.  One of the interns, a guy who had gone to college for music, turned to me sharply.

“Don’t say that. Seriously. Don’t say you aren’t ‘Good.’  Do you love music?” I started to answer, but he did it for me. “Yes. Do you play music? Yes. Do you love it?”

“Absolutely. Yes.” I rubbed my thumb over my fingers, blistering from practice the night before.

“Then you’re a musician.”

You know what? He’s probably right.  Sure, I have only had a guitar for a month now. I learn how to strum from YouTubers with cute accents.  I know a few songs… if you count slamming down G & C chords over and over while reciting the lyrics to Thrift Shop.

It’s perpetual amateur hour in my bedroom, and that’s totally okay. 

The fact is, I listen to, learn about,  and talk music all day.  I get inspired.  When the clock strikes 5, and I race home so I can get to my own instrument. I play, and it’s good for me.  It’s sometimes even good for other people–I recently received an anonymous message from someone who was at a New Years party where I played the keyboard :

Hey Shauna,

A friend of mine from the New Year’s party (you haven’t met him) wanted me to tell you that: “[you are] really talented and really made [his] new years to hear [your] performance.[you] resparked [his] passion for music, [he’s] re-picking up piano again… after a 12 year break”

Is that not the most beautiful thing?  I guess that in the end, loving and sharing music is what it’s all about.

6) Curling mousse


What it taught me: Embrace what’cha got.

My hair.  Oh goodness, what to say about my hair?

Well, I guess the first thing to say is that I have hair at all, which hasn’t always been the case.


Yeah, I shaved my head in high school. We’ll call it an exercise in philanthropy, since I raised a bit of money and donated the hair to charity. Mostly, though, the head shaving was a result of the same “Well, why the heck not?” attitude that landed me in DC.  It’s a repeat of why I dyed my hair brown: I told someone in passing that I would totally do it. The opportunity presented itself. I totally did it.

Most. Freeing. Thing. Ever.

The whole process was a pretty big deal for a 15-year-old girl, especially one with braces and glasses (the word you’re looking for is “teenage heartthrob”). Up until that point, I had all but hidden behind long blonde locks.  If my haircut was half an inch shorter than necessary, there would be tears. My 9th grade email address was busy_being_blonde (heh. this was also my creative peak).  Not surprisingly, the head shaving was liberating.  My hair doesn’t define me.  Imagine that.

Since then, my hair has been just about every length. It has been most styles, too.  One of the many things I’ve learned from all this is that my hair is irrevocably curly. I mean, it’s really, truly, naturally curly.  It’s not going to be un-curly without a fight…and I do not have time for a fight.  All I have time for is a mousse.

When it comes to my curls, I can’t beat ’em, and I’m no longer in the business of shaving them right off.  The only option left is to join ’em.

7) ‘Senorita Margarita’ body wash


What it taught me: Smell is associated with memory. If you’re moving on, change it up.

New body wash is my #1 weapon against homesickness.

…yes, actually.

I first discovered this trick in high school.  I was headed to France for an exchange, and was terrified of myself.  I figured France would be awesome, but it was my first time away from home and I didn’t want to mess it up with my emotions. I wanted to be able to take advantage of all that awesome. I needed to make sure I didn’t get homesick.

I knew smell could trigger nostalgia, and I wasn’t taking any chances.  I very deliberately left my collection of vanilla soaps at home. It was a great call.

Smell and memory have the craziest relationship. I know you cannot completely hide from scent-triggers, but when you move to a new place, it could be worth it to smell like a new you.

(And hey, you never know…maybe I’ll end up bringing Senorita Margarita home with me.)


Remember, this is the second in a series of three posts on “Things I couldn’t live without (and the lessons they taught me).” What would make your list? Comment below with your list, or blog your own version and throw up a link!

Why I Dyed My Hair Brown…Then Lied About It

I have been a blonde all my life. All of it. When my hair was long, it was long and blonde. When my hair was short, it was short and blonde. When I got highlights this Spring, they were to lighten up my already light hair. After shaving everything off for charity in high school, I was left with a head of blonde fuzz. The email address that defined my early teen years was the ever-creative “busy_being_blonde.” You get the point–golden locks are my JAM.

Sorry, they were my jam.

Just a little change…

BAM! Brunette. Just like that. I coloured my hair on Saturday, and life has been a whirlwind of catching people offguard since.

It’s very, very, very different, but I really do like it. The people around me like it, too. And everyone, me included, would like to know “WHY” I chose to do this–WHY I chose to go this dark, this dramatically, this suddenly.

Fair enough, right? It’s a very new look, so it’s reasonable to wonder what fueled the decision. And it would be reasonable for me to answer questions about it. Which I do.

Regretfully, none of these answers are true.

“I guess I just felt like a change!”

Lie. I do not “feel like” a change. Not a real change, anyways. And even if I did, does dying your hair count as a legit change? It might make a statement about where you’re at, or accompany a change nicely, but it’s not exactly life-changing in and of itself. I’m a mobile and adventurous 20 year old, you guys. If I did truly feel like a change, dying my hair would be pretty weak.

“I have always wanted to give it a try, so I thought I’d just go for it!”

I don’t know what my definition of “always” is, but…no. Not even. I don’t think there was a single day before this Spring’s blonde highlights that I even considered touching my hair colour. And going dark? That idea dates back to maybe a few weeks ago, if that. Liar, liar.

“I thought it would be nice to go with a warm colour for the winter.”

…That doesn’t even make sense.

“Well, I was Audrey Hepburn for Halloween, so I just went all out!”

Yeah, except I frantically pulled together the Breakfast at Tiffany’s costume last-minute. Seriously last minute–the afternoon of the 31st, to be exact. Also, I didn’t dye my hair until November 3rd. Also…who does that?

Though I did get to bring a little brunette to a Halloween bash Saturday night. Maybe I DID dye the hair for festive reasons after all…

(Note: if anyone does go all out enough to perma-dye their hair for Halloween then…I take back that last question. Also, that person is awesome.)

“I don’t know, I just felt like it.”

I did feel like it, yes. Or at least, I didn’t not feel like it (obviously). “I don’t know” is a cop-out, but it’s fair. It’s a simple way of saying “why” isn’t totally identifiable. Which is…about half true.

The Truth

Alright, here’s the other half of the truth. Like I said, I don’t know quite why I did it. However, for your reading pleasure, here is the lame back story as well as I can remember it:

It was a few weeks ago. I was in the office. In passing, my friend/colleague told me that she used to be a brunette. She added that chocolate brown hair looks good on pretty much anyone. Intrigued, I responded with “Would it look good on me?”


I think she had reasons for this. Maybe she didn’t. Either way, the conversation ended with me proclaiming that “I guess I will dye it in November, then.”

“DO IT!”

Just like that. I imagine that she immediately forgot the conversation, but I didn’t. If there’s one thing I like more than making random plans and commitments (like dying my hair in November), it’s keeping them. Basically: I really like to say things. I don’t like to say things I don’t mean. So when I said “I guess I will dye it in November, then,” I meant it.

And now I’m a brunette. That’s the truth…at least, as far as my mirror and memory can tell. Shout out to the lovely ladies at Hair Junkie on Laurier Street West for a fabulous first experience!

(‘Sup, dark side?)