Monday, September 20, 2021

Grey/Gray Days Ahead

Whoah! This entire revival was almost derailed because I wasn't sure how to spell a color? For a split second I entertained the thought of running to grab a box of Crayolas (do not even try to wave an inferior brand of colored wax at me) to see which spelling they use. In addition to getting lightheaded from the intoxicating scent of the non-toxic rainbow, I am fairly certain that would have turned into hours of coloring, but perhaps not exactly artwork to blog about. 

What have you all been up to for the past few months? What do you think I've been up to? Come on, delight me with possibilities! I am willing to bet you'll come up with something more glamorous than the reality. If I had written even half as much as I THOUGHT about writing, you'd have been inundated with my minutiae! This morning, I pondered what I would think about to replace thinking about, or feeling badly for not, writing. Nine hours of driving around in my Instacarting frenzy left me slightly less enthusiastic, but not without a single spark. Then came the lighter fluid...

The house phone rang, and just a first name showed up on the caller ID. I immediately thought of only one person by that name, who I haven't talked to other than online since high school graduation days, so I figured it was just an update on my car's warranty. When the landline stopped ringing, my cellphone sprang to life with the same name, and I figured it was some sort of urgent matter (yes, possibly still warranty related). Holy cannoli! It was the one person I thought of. Ever the optimist, I immediately wondered if there was some bad news she wanted to deliver directly about a classmate. That wasn't it. Her voice sounded the same as I remembered from all those years ago, and she said she'd been thinking of me, noticed my online absence, and wanted to check in to see if I was doing okay. Being seen, and being heard are amazing, but having someone notice your void can give you the feels too. It is time to come back.

There really isn't a solid explanation for where I wandered off to. I think sometimes I was afraid that this would become a sort of Eeyore blog. I mean, I have always loved Eeyore, tacked on tail and all, but I think he usually projects as far more sad than he truly feels. His color doesn't exactly give off a radiant vibe either...just sort of gray...oh bother!

Which leads me to a point, the point rather, to which I had arrived. I sort of decided to let my hair go on to become whatever color it wanted to be. The "sort of" is not terribly surprising because I only dabbled in the wash out hair color to begin with because I couldn't take the pressure of regularly scheduled maintenance. The decision itself is also not very surprising if you've been hanging around here long enough to stumble on some of my other beauty regimes (here, here, and over here, and several others I am sure, but if I try to find them I might run out of steam). For me, this was not a stand I was taking, nor an indication that I was giving up. Well, that is not completely accurate, as I was ready to give up trying to be anything other than who I am. You see, somewhere along this crazy line over the past year, I became comfortable with this person I am. All of the heartbreak, anxiety, love and laughter just kept swirling together, bubbling up and over, and I just kept stirring. We can be complicated recipes and a little bit messy - well this sounds like a cookie metaphor baking, so now I'm hungry and slightly distracted.

For as long as I can remember, I tried, and usually fell short of masterpiece coiffures. One fine day in eighth grade art class, my less frizzy than usual hair was acknowledged by a peer. Thank you Finesse for your conditioner whose smell I can still conjure if I try hard enough. In ninth grade algebra class, Mike Hughes remarked that I had three hairstyles-frizz, part up with frizz and regular. I do not recall what my response was, but I can assure you that I have a better one now over three decades later. Don't you just hate it when the perfect comeback comes to you after the fact? Anywhoodles, my grandmother always wanted me to do something more with my hair and makeup, but wasn't offering up any after school tutorials (I assume because she was too busy dusting, but we'll save that for a book chapter). Aside from the dark eyeliner and frosted shadows of middle school that were pretty hard to mess up, I never really got the hang of what came next. I dabbled in bits and pieces of makeup that were comfortable to me, and that somehow sufficed. 

Hair though? That was a never ending battle. (This seems lengthy. Are you still there? Maybe go get some candy.) Even on good hair days, something as crazy as a walk down the stairs could throw everything off. Humidity be damned! Or dry air? Where's the body? Do other people have magical hair dryers? Product? Even the word stresses me out. The defeat I used to feel on days when I put in the most effort? (Sigh.) I was not destined to be someone's hot wife, or hot mom (ew). I just wanted to be me. Coming back around to the other side of the mask wearing and not really going many places, I gently eased into becoming myself, minus the pressure of looking like someone else. This does not mean I have given up. It is something so much better. It is walking by a mirror in my house and thinking "hey, that's me!" It's being satisfied with some waves with a mascara wand and whatever hair wrangling makes sense for the day. Was that pretty during all of the heat waves this past summer? No, no my friends, it was not. When the darker days of winter come back, I will introduce some light foundation to bare more resemblance to the living. I will wear sweatpants when my day calls for such, but will not wear pajama pants in public. Like I said, I have not given up.

So we're good, right? It seemed so until a couple of weeks ago. I was out with a friend who I really hadn't gotten to see in person since the before times. After chatting for awhile, she turned the conversation turned to my hair. She was not in agreement with my decision and approached it from a place of love I'm sure, and as if it was up for debate. I understood that on some level she thought my "being" would be better if the outside was pulled together a little, or yes, a lot, better. I didn't have the fight in me. I tried to dig my heels in, but she dug in equally as hard. I felt myself getting rattled and shifting, as I guess my new foundation hadn't quite solidified yet. There is so much more I could elaborate on here, but I am not looking to paint a villain or find sympathy. It's just a story about two friends and how the best of intentions can get tangled.

I am a work in progress like the rest of us - always something that can be tweaked, finessed, figured out. Letting the grays grow out for me is sort of embracing the life I've led up to this point...storms that have been weathered, flaws I am less consumed or embarrassed by. What's to come? Well that is absolutely terrifying in its great unknown-ness. I do know that the simple act of being here makes me feel even more grounded, and I hope it sets some other writing projects back in motion. Thanks to the "end of the alphabetter" for the phone call, and for not once asking about my car's extended warranty.


  1. I am always so happy when I see a blog post from you in my blog reader feed.
    A couple of things...
    I remember the scent of Finesse shampoo. Thank you for that lovely little memory this morning. That was exactly what I needed.
    Second, I'm sorry your friend made you feel that way about your hair. YOUR hair. It's YOURS. YOURS. Have I said the word YOURS enough? One more time. Yours. I'm sure it came from a place of "love," or maybe it didn't, but it's your hair, and I'm sure it looks amazing. She was most likely envious because she couldn't let herself be free like you can. We've earned those gray hairs, and we're not going to hide them away. Allow yours shine.

    I love you, my friend. Keep shining and, if possible, keep writing.

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