Gray Follow-up: 1 Yearish Later

Absence makes the heart grow fonder?? I return with an ending to my ‘growing out the gray’ saga, discovering that the middle was really, really boring. There were no road-blocks, mini-goals, or suspense of any kind. No products were used to alleviate any discomfort. Even the hair cuts were of no real consequence, until now.

When I see photos of myself, as a member of the ‘gray lifestyle’, it’s still a little surprising. Such a change from the light brown-dark blonde (my usual), to the gray mix. I’m pleased with the shade, I love the cut, and over-all, presently the best decision I’ve made. When I walk down the hair dye aisle at the store, I feel myself grinning and delighting in my new-found freedom! It’s one more thing off my to-do list.

As I get older, my ability to let go of my self-esteem issues becomes stronger. I accept more of what I have been given, especially since returning to better self-care with exercise and diet. A little bit of good health changes ones perspective in so many ways. I encourage everyone to LET IT GO! It’s a rush!

So here is the before and after…yikes!

Before

After

After

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Cleanliness

What does ‘clean’ mean to you? What does ‘clean’ look like, to you?

sink-full-dirty-dishes.jpgThere are so many different ideas around the definition of clean. According to the dictionary, ‘free from dirt, marks, or stains’, means that it is clean. Factors contributing to  the perceptions of cleanliness: ethnicity, physical environment, parental tendencies, personality type, and I’m sure there are more.

For me, clean means to be able to make lunch on the counter, without having to wipe away crumbs from another meal, or move dirty dishes to create a space. Being able to use at least one side of the sink, at any time of the day, without removing contents, is a pet peeve of mine. This is a very general statement, but one that I follow to be respectful of others; if you make a mess, clean it up. This is simple, common sense!

I am no where near being a neat freak, or a germaphobe, or anything else that resembles it. Again, it’s simple to me. If I share a space with someone else, then I make sure I tidy up my stuff within a reasonable amount of time, so it doesn’t infringe on the other person’s space. Why should they have anything to do with MY MESS? They shouldn’t.

Do unto others as you would have done unto you, or something like that. I think that’s fair.

The general all around house cleaning, should be shared between the occupants. A no-brainer. If you share expenses, share good movie-watching, share cooking, share moments with a glass of wine, do your own laundry, then, help clean the house. If everyone pitches in, then no one is left with much to do. There is more time for the fun stuff.

It was challenging as a mother, one son was a neat freak, but only in HIS room; the other son was the complete opposite, and not only in his room. I made an effort, in several creative ways, to establish some sort of neutral ground. Unsuccessful would be a good word. The one, whom was the neat freak, is now the creator of disasters, and the other one, much improved. I would never have known that it would turn out this way.

I think it comes down to being mindful, slowing down enough to notice the mess, slowing down enough to notice  the others in the room. The mind may be creative, with a messy craft room, but the mind cannot be peaceful if the rest of the house is the same. There must be some space for ‘space’. A place for your mind to breath, to expand, to de-clutter. Feel joyful, when you walk into the bathroom that you just cleaned, and you notice how it sparkles. Lie down on the carpet that you just vacuumed, and smile when you get up and have no dog hair sticking to you. It’s the little things that usually go unnoticed, that make the biggest and most profound changes in your life.

This will come back to the topic of cleanliness, but I thought it prudent to mention. Being in a relationship is always, I believe, a work in progress. Communication is key, and contribution sits right next to it. Without discussing who will do laundry, then you will never know who should be doing it. Without discussing boundaries, you will cross over each others, and unknowingly create strife. A willingness to participate in all aspects of the relationship, without grumbling, or eye rolling, shows your partner that you care.

I will say again, I am not perfect, nor do I expect others to be. Just be respectful.

Would love to hear your thoughts on cleanliness. This could be an opportunity for you to rant!

 

Intuition

tiny flowers snowy intuitionDear Intuition,

It is with some concern that I write to you today. I’ve been worried, you have not shown yourself in a while. There have been some difficult choices, burdensome decisions, that I have had to make, of my own accord. I could have used you, I needed you.

I know I’ve not always believed in you, cast you aside many times, thinking I was in control, had some control. Those were foolish thoughts, and I know that now. We are so good together, and I feel safe when you are with me, when I open myself up to you, follow your instruction. You have never failed me, although I might have given you that impression, a time or two. I’m sorry. I am weak, scattered, struggling, when I’m not in your presence. You have the strength and character, to pull me through anything, despite the sometimes overwhelming, adversity.

Thank you for your reliability and protection. Please find it within you to return to me. My faith in you is much stronger now, and I will never let you down again.

Yours truly,

The Host

As always comments are welcomed and encouraged!

Writing 101

A Mother’s Grief

An older neighbourhood, with 1950’s rancher style houses. Lawns well-kept, lots of trees flourishing, and all of this was tucked away, hidden if you will, from the busy streets just two blocks over. Jake, was not overly enthusiastic, but I think my jubilation moved him. Or, it was my non-stop chattering about the feng shui, and the flow of chi, and blah, blah, blah. I’m sure he just wanted me to stop talking.

Three weeks later, we were the proud owners of our new house. Unpacking some boxes in the kitchen, I came across a folded piece of paper that was stuck under the bottom drawer. I reached into the awkward space, and retrieved it. The paper was not old, not faded or worn, and the creases still young. It looked like something from a small notepad, one you might write your grocery list on. Unfolding it, I notice the writing, or printing, actually a combination of the two, similar to how I write with pen and paper.

hand written letterI read it once, not thinking too much of it, maybe not understanding. It sat on the counter while I finished unpacking the dishes. It was a warm day, so I opened the kitchen window, which overlooked the back yard. I knew this house had a nice flow, as the gentle breeze made it’s way into the kitchen, and through to the living room. Getting back down on my knees to start on another box, the paper was blown off the counter, striking me on the top of my head. I like to think there are reasons for everything.

Scooting my butt back against the fridge, I began to read it again. This time, more slowly. It read like a novel, so the third time through, I held on to each word, letting them sneak inside me to spread their meaning, to help me understand. The emotions within the words became mine; devastation, fear, betrayal, guilt. I felt the love of this woman for her sons, and the genuine, heartfelt, apology that completed it.

The lady who lived in this house for fifty years, had passed on, and that’s why it had been for sale. I didn’t know the whereabouts of her family, but I knew I had to try to find them. This might have been the last thoughts she wrote down, the last treasured piece of her, lovingly handwritten. A true keepsake. The letter held everything, I imagined a mother would feel, for her children. I grabbed an envelope from one of the drawers, gently folded the letter, and placed it inside, with care.

Writing 101; Day Five  Feel free to leave your comments below, they are appreciated.

To Gray or Not To Gray?

 

It all began, at age 26, with a few gray hairs at the base of my scalp. Of course, it was someone’s brilliant idea to point it out to me, in a tone conveying horror. That little seed, planted in my brain, has materialized every 6-8 weeks, for the better part of 10 years. In the beginning, I dyed my hair for something different, but, as the gray continues to spread and consume entire areas on my head, I’m not looking for different anymore. It has become a battleground, and I am weary with the knowledge that I will not be victorious.

“It is also intense, like revealing a secret you’ve tried to conceal for years.” From, How to Embrace Gray Hair Glad I don't see this view!

Two little words describe the shade of gray that persists in pushing itself to the surface of my scalp—rainy day. What’s your shade? Salt & Pepper? White? Are you lucky enough to have silver? To clarify, I love, love, love the rain and how it trickles down my face when I look to the sky. It empowers, refreshes and replenishes me. The gray clouds above do not bother me; they are beautiful, grand, and powerful. However, they are distant enough to not drain my skin of what little natural color it has. An interesting side-note, gray is a shade I started wearing a few years back because I like how it looks on me. Honestly, I don’t know what that is supposed to mean. Sigh.

Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who is fairest of them all?

Surprisingly, and happily, I’m finding much positivity around wearing our natural hair color as we age, and as I read more articles about this, I am increasingly convinced to go for it, excited actually. To finally be free from all that is, in reality, just the stories we’ve heard and told ourselves, about self-worth, self-confidence, and self-esteem. A concept I should embrace completely and I’m working on it. I even made myself a table to demonstrate the abundance of negatives. I’m sure the list is much longer.

Negative vs. Positive Aspects of Dyeing My Hair
Costly Boosts self-esteem
Smelly Younger appearance
Time-consuming Choice of many colours
Standing appointment every 2 months without fail
Osmotic behaviour of the chemical-laden liquid? See definition below
Short-term boost of self-esteem
Everyone knows you do it
Becomes more difficult to attain a natural look

Definition: Osmosis is the result of diffusion across a semi-permeable membrane. If a semi-permeable membrane separates two solutions of different concentration, then the solvent will tend to diffuse across the membrane from the less concentrated to the more concentrated solution. This process is called osmosis. (So this is my reality: that thick, brownish, sludge pushing itself into my brain cells every couple of months, yet I persist.)

Gray Matters: Why and how to stop colouring your hair by, Barbara Barnes. In some cultures, gray hair represents qualities — maturity, responsibility, wisdom — that deserve to be valued by everyone. Jean Shinoda Bolen, in “Goddesses in Older Women”, cites the connection between aging and wisdom revered by these traditions…We can let our hair be gray and know we are as vital and full of potential as ever, which may be more attractive than anything else we could do. That is my favorite part, and why not?

You can also find 100+ reasons to go gray here. The title is great: Revolution Gray, it’s not just a hair color, it’s a lifestyle. It is a ‘Going Gray Blog’ with lots of pertinent tips, relatable comments and stories, as well as links.

I took a few minutes to visit with a hairdresser and discuss my future. Bottom line is; there is no easy fix. Everyone will have different issues and personal ways of coping. I have to find what will work best for me, and so I had about five or six inches cut off the back. That removed a lot of the darker color. My hair is now a little longer than shoulder length, and by the way, I love it! Cutting off that much has cut my grow-out time probably in half. It will take about a year, maybe a bit longer to complete the process. She gave me lots to think about, but I was a little taken aback by one of her comments, “Just know that it will add about ten years to your age, and you are still a young woman.” Why on earth was she trying to talk me out of it? She kept asking me if I was sure. I realize now that it was her own fear of showing her gray and my response to her comment: “It will be me, though. I don’t care what anyone else thinks of my hair.”

In essence, I am doing this to be more authentic. I’m tired of hiding my reality, and I do not believe for one minute that I will look ten years older. It’s about freeing myself…and that will only make me feel younger and lighter, letting go one burden at a time.

On that note, I have now immersed myself in this personal project, and when the “The Skunk Stripe” becomes too much for me to handle, I will decide how to deal with it then. As you noticed, I posted a photo of my newly, emerging skunk stripe, and will post an update monthly, along with tips I’ve learned and used, or not used.

Would love to hear from you, gals and guys, all ages, with opinions, your own challenges, and any positive encouragement you can muster up.

One more thingwho’s going to join me?? Be brave! You can comment below or visit me on Facebook and leave me a personal message.