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  • Gemma Speakman

Headscarves and Maggots


There's no going back unless you do a knife scrape (not the same tho...)

Ever slept in when you really needed to be up, burnt the last slice of bread in the toaster or your mother in law drops around and you’ve just used the last tea bag or worse, last square of loo roll. Maybe you’re running for the bus fall over and miss it, or your wallet or phone is nicked the day before your holiday or Christmas or you’ve gotten soaked walking to work by a nonchalant car load, laughing as they see you turning back to get changed. They’re known as life’s little annoyances, they’re everyday, they happen a LOT, they’re innocuous but they make life well, life, because they’re real - and for whatever weird reason, we can’t avoid them. There’s almost a sinister higher power dishing out a serious dose of one-upmanship mostly when you’re down.

Heard the one about the headscarves and maggots? Ever even seen them in a sentence together until just now? Probably not. It’s a strange juxtaposition - but it happened, today, outside my house and by this, I’m adding the to the long list of ‘little annoying things that make life, life.’ To clarify, I don’t mean that I saw a maggot with a headscarf on (stranger things have happened and there’s every possibility this could become a ‘trend’ and someone who has pet maggots will start a trend soon). It was me, game face on, ready for work, headscarf in place for that extra dimension when the cold calls start dragging you down - the pop of colour you need to lift you up again when you feel all is lost, creativity is dead, and buried until you touch your head mid way through the hollow sales pitch and you feel a little happy ‘oh yea, I’ve got that on today - I feel different!’

Neon headscarves help everthing

Somehow, just somehow the headscarf made dealing with today better. Its neon shouty colours matched the sunniness outside; a welcome contrast to the glib drabness of the office and the phone recipients’ attitude - who like everyone else just wanted to be outside soaking up rays rather than being paid pittance for earning their bosses more money.

The point here of course, is that the littlest things can make all the difference. Little things are really good at making you smile inside. A warm cup of tea after a long cold walk or more fittingly for today’s sizzle, an ice cold rose after getting stuck on the central line. A plain dress is instantly steered in a different direction whether you pair it with heels or chunky trainers. Elegant pashmina or neon headscarf? Large hoop earrings or a simple pearl? Statement necklace or a series of finer layered necklaces? Regardless, your choice is instantly transformative. You have the power to change a look with little tiny accessories decisions. Even shopping for accessories is fun - the big pressure of finding an entire outfit is gone - it’s the fancy icing on the cake that you can indulge in.

Back to what I was doing with the maggots; it was the banal weekly task of putting rubbish out and finding them everywhere gorging on the weekend’s crustacean carcasses as I opened the flip top. It was mostly an avoidance dance and pulling various ‘yuk’, ‘eugh’, ‘g-ro-sss’ faces before catching myself in the window reflection and realising the various levels of face disgust and the dances my hands were doing to avoid even touching the blind swollen, moving pops of ambrosia rice with the shouty, happy neon headscarf atop, was slightly ridiculous, even funny. It made me laugh and it made me think and it had the ability to turn the otherwise flat task into more of a hop and a skip moment.

Not the ideal start to a TUESDAY but let's just roll with them and then shut the lid...

If like me you don’t behave like a fashion editor dressing herself with care and attention and meticulously plan the next days outfit but rather it’s more like ‘stick on what your hand touches first, even if it’s from the floor (if it passes the sniff test it’s generally ok is my unspoken rule), then I urge you to invest in some eye catching and distractive accessories because generally all eyes will be on those; they’re usually more prominent and outward.

Another fact I discovered (I know this is probably wrong given our insects are in severe shortage and are part of an ecosystem), is that maggots are resistant and can survive approximately 85 spray bleach pumps. I’d go so far as to say it invigorates them, swells them further and gets them slightly ‘high.’ They did sort of stop moving but I didn’t hang around long enough to see if that was momentary hedonistic paralysis.

But as well as this seemingly random event proving the worth and place of accessories, and once I’d flicked the rogue ones off my hands, I shut the lid and cracked on with what else needed doing - kids, paralysed dog physio, breakfast, packed lunch, hanging out washing (make hay while the sun shines, it’s free to dry), locating various school consent forms lost and late, actually getting to school (you get the boring insanity drift I know), that little maggot incident was just adding to the long list of daily life chasms that we are faced with. Once the lid was shut that was dealt with, it was immediately and seamlessly onto the next life job.

Accessories put a little shine and a little ‘jurrrgh’ on the overall end result the same way small little incidents like dealing with trite maggots in a neon headscarf make up life. The plain black dress with hoop earrings and/or high heels. We’re multi faceted as humans (mother, sister, wife, lover etc) and like a lens we zoom in and out on this thing called life as is required - equipped to take on a multitude of unannounced tasks minute and fleeting (maggots in a bin) and large (giving birth, saying goodbye to people we love) and if we have a neon headscarf or an amazing accessory atop or with us, it somehow makes it all the sunnier.

Little things make the big things (just ask the insects) oh and whilst you're here put out a spoon of sugar and water in your garden to save our bees - they're kinda crucial to humanity.

This little task will make the bigger thing called life, possible.


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