What a year this has been! In the beginning part of 2016 I had no idea what kind of horrible nightmare I had stepped into and towards the middle of it, I was just waiting to make it out of this year still standing! Of course a little worse from wear and tear, but alive is alive! Something happened the last few months though, when I began to write again… I found myself. I found the meaning behind all the twists and turns of last year and prior and found my voice. Not the voice that I had exercised so boldly my entire life — but that still, small voice inside that I could never allow to get out. I found me. It’s funny how when you stop fighting so hard to keep yourself guarded, you find more insight into who YOU are than anything else.
I’ve been growing my hair out for a little while now. For years I’ve had a long Mohawk, then I cut it all off and had a short one. Now I just have a mess of a do that can’t be done. I try my best not to look in the mirror, most days. Nope not even a glance. I don’t wear make-up, I wear do-rags on my head everyday, so I don’t have a reason to really check myself out. Or at least that’s what I tell myself! But the days that I do catch a glimpse of this raggedy hair, I make sure that I state under my breath how much I despise it. A pixie cut when you have naturally curly hair is no joke! There’s a whole Little Orphan Annie vibe that comes with it that is most unappealing. But today when I was just looking back at 2016, I remembered that I had actually decided to grow out all of my hair at the same time that I had reached my final breaking point with the chaos that had been swirling throughout my life, last year. I wanted a change inside of myself and usually the best way to initiate internal change is with a noticeable change to the exterior, for me! It’s like a jolt to tell my senses that I’m no longer going to be the same person I’ve been used to seeing, anymore so get on board and buckle up!
As my attitude and mindset was being tweaked in a way that I could only equate to being sealed up tight in a pressure cooker – my hair was beginning its own process of a whole new ugly. That in-between stage that you can do nothing but cover it or tie it back AND cover it. Then one day I decided to really inspect this mop top of mine and noticed several bright white, shiny new hairs. For a long few minutes I stared at them in disbelief. I have always said that I would be thrilled once I started to grey or white in my hair because then my outer appearance would match how I feel inside, which is OLD! Feels like I’ve been old since I was a kid, and the outside just never really matched. As I stared at these brilliant white hairs contemplating plucking them, coloring them, shaving them or just torching them on fire, I realized that they too had a purpose to be. They were signifying a new stage in my life. I look today at this messiness and see how much it has grown just over the past several months and it’s become sort of this earmark of my own individual growth. A direct reflection of where both my mind and heart are right now. That in-between stage that isn’t so pretty but is moving in the direction of what I ultimately desire them to be. The issue with that messy in-between stage hair is, I get so antsy to see a drastic change that I have to pry my hands off of the scissors and trimmers, sometimes daily. I get sick of feeling the stupidly uncomfortable itchiness of it growing out and this little voice inside of my head screams, “Shave it all off, PLEASE!!”. I feed that voice some cake and all is well for the time being.
Yesterday, as I contemplated doing what I always do and grabbing the hair trimmers, I thought about how many times I have had this same anxious feeling of wanting to see a night/day change within my surroundings that I become impatient to the progress of it. At times even winding up self-sabotaging just by trying to push something to fit, before it’s actually time.
When I decided to write about my life, my goal was to take my experiences and turn them into help and solidarity for someone out there who maybe felt alone. Someone who’s been through similar and thinks they may be crazy for feeling all that they do inside. The crippling thoughts that keep you up all night long and rattle your brain throughout the day. The feelings that you cannot make stop no matter how happy the rest of your life is, the ones that eat away at all the good and focus your attention on the bad. I knew that in each situation I faced, the only thing that made me realize that I wasn’t alone and that what all I was feeling was normal, was the fact that my husband was experiencing the exact same things as I was. I would research to find as many articles about each situation, that I could and I read all of them over and over again to gain any kind of wisdom and perspective, but I struggled to find an article written as a first-hand account and in turn I struggled to find some sort of synergy with the rest of the world. At the time I didn’t know (and still really don’t) if it’s that no one else has experienced these things or that they just don’t publicly talk about it. My theory in life is though – we are all here to learn from each other. We can all be of great help to others without even realizing it, simply by sharing our life and personal stories. Which is why there is nothing off limits for me in discussing. Not only is there a possibility that I help someone else, but they could also help me. My husband while going through it as well, was searching for the same answers. The only help we could be of to each other was that of sympathetic understanding, which turned out to be the saving grace.
I wrote my way through the pain and frustration. I left every piece of it on the imaginary paper and walked away. I wrote about it all until the tears finally dried up and the worry subsided. I wrote until all of the answers I had been waiting for began to show themselves and then I wrote about that! I don’t know if anyone is listening out in cyberspace or if it even resonates, but if it has at least helped one person who was searching in the same way that I was, than I feel like I’ve done the right thing. That they understand their situation isn’t totally unique territory and that their pain and frustration is warranted, real and necessary to their progress.
My teenage daughter has a saying that she uses each time she’s trying her hand at something she hasn’t yet mastered, “Practice makes Progress.” I always knew that saying as practice makes perfect, but when do we ever truly attain perfection? I know that I haven’t! But progress, there’s the kicker. When I started trying to get this crazy life of mine figured out, I thought I would be understanding about others and the world around me, more than myself and I WAS SO WRONG! And then when I started tackling my crazy self, I thought by the time I’m done I don’t want to recognize who I was. I wanted every day to be a hurdle that got conquered. Like looking at my hair and hoping for it to grow 6 inches longer by the next day! What swiftly kicked me in the face was, progress doesn’t always come in huge swells. Most of the time it comes in little sometimes microscopic bits and pieces at a time, but it is STILL progress! When I examine from the beginning to now, I can physically see and feel how much has changed in my own psyche let alone my emotional and physical state. I can actually see the progress. Just as looking back at pictures of my hair 6 months ago to now. I can see how writing has shored me up to healing, forgiveness and change. I’m hell bent on the change continuing, which means I have to keep working and pushing myself to see what I have been blinded to by my own ego. I don’t know, maybe I was the one person who I was supposed to be reaching through writing it all. It sure feels that way, anyway!
2016 has taught me so much. About myself, my life, my goals, my marriage, my children and what I want for us all. I wake up now, every morning THANKFUL. For a person of ultimate pessimism that is no small hill to climb! I am truly thankful inside for every single little thing and big that makes up this full life. I go to bed thankful for all of the same. I see how much this mess of a hairdo has grown and know that in a few more months it will have grown even more and be easier to manage, just as my mind, heart and spirit will be. I hope that if nothing else comes of this adventure in writing and self-discipline, that I come out of this knowing who I am and why I am here, and how I can be of better service to others. Here’s to 2017 and all of its glorious transformation for us all! I just hope my hair pulls through it…