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

Road Trip (Part 2)

Road Trip (Part 1)

“Helen,” Lucas said.

“What,” I said, snapping like a turtle unable to retreat into it’s shell.

“Get in here. This is really cool.” Standing on the front landing, I turned my back to the open door. I hate this place already, and I’m loath to appease my brother.

“Helen, you are going to love this,” He says, making his way back to the front door. “Helen, did you hear me?” Abruptly turning to face him, I avoid eye contact and push past him into the foyer. Startled by the simplicity and beauty, a rush of air inflates my lungs, making a small sound.

“Nice eh?” Lucas said. I could tell he was grinning from ear to ear. Another irritating quality of his.

“Whatever,” I said, moving myself forward to avoid more conversation. Turning to the left, the kitchen, dining room, and family room, flowed from one to the next seamlessly. Pale blue was the predominant colour, with some splashes of gray, green, darker blue. Spacious but not too big. Windows, lining all three walls, were currently closed off with pale blue, blinds. The light of day still able to push through to the room. “Jesus,” I said, not able to mute myself.

“It’s really nice, isn’t it,” Lukas chimed in. I saw him out of the corner of my eye, grinning, his eyes so wide. An intermittent ache had started in my gut. Moving about ten feet to the right of the kitchen island, I use my fingers to push at a door. A half-bath separated by a pocket door, opened onto a state-of-the-art laundry room. I kept moving forward, trying not to lose my terse composure. Through the final door, a long hallway, obviously the other half of the house.

“I guess it has electricity,” I said.

“And a flush toilet,” Lukas joined in.

“Yeah, I guess it does.” The length of hallway showed three more doors. Lukas bumped past me and entered the first one. The same colour scheme, only slightly darker, was pulled together on the king sized bed spread. Sliding glass doors to the left and a window of glass tiles adorned the wall above the bed. So much light, I almost let go a smile. A walk-in closet to the right next to a full ensuite.

I caught a glimpse of myself in the bathroom mirror, and shrunk back into the bedroom. The ache in my stomach returned with a vengeance. I needed some air, so I held the blinds to one side while I fiddled with the lock on the glass door. “Jesus,” I said, under my breath. Panic was setting in. Finally, the lock gave way and the door slid open. I took some deep breaths, the air was warm, I could feel the sun on my face. No one knew of my anxiety. No one knew what really happened, and I planned on keeping it that way. One family member left to alienate, and I was sure to manage that in three weeks.

Peering out from under my eyelids, I saw a massive deck that ran the full length of the house. A large, sunken, hot tub sat in the center. My thoughts were interrupted by Lukas, as he came around from the right side of the house. “There is another deck around the corner. There’s another bedroom, just like this one.” He taps the glass with his long fingers. “So what do you think, Sis?” He asked, and leaned his back against the glass.

“I guess it’s alright,” I said. “We’re only here for three weeks.”

“What is your problem?” Lukas raised his voice. I had finally inched my way under his skin. “You are being such a bitch,” He said. “I can’t figure you out. Ever since Eleanor, or whatever her name was, you’ve changed. No one can say anything to you, without getting a nasty look thrown at them or having you jump down their throat. I don’t know what happened to you,” He finished with a puff of air, and turned to go back inside, attempting to slam the sliding door after himself. He couldn’t even slam a door right.

“I don’t give a crap what you think,” I shouted after him, wiping at my eyes. He didn’t stop. I walked past the hot tub to the railing, and peered over the edge. “Oh my god, there’s a creek down there. That’s so beautiful.” One or two more tears ran down my face, an impossible side effect of the deep-rooted sadness.

“There is no cell service,” Lukas called out to me. “I’m going to drive back to the main road and try there.” I barely heard him. The creek was a long way down, and I was beginning to feel dizzy, and if the railing were to give way, “Oh,” I yelped, as I pushed off the railing and fell back on my ass. “Why can’t I stop? I want this to stop,” I blurted out into the open air. I could feel the comfort and familiarity of my anger, restore itself inside my gut, stoking the ache.

© Gerri Leathley 2014

Feel free to pick it apart, or not, but do leave a comment!

 So, I used the writing helper, ‘copy a post’. Now I have the comments and the likes from the original post stuck on this one. Don’t quite know how that works. Just so you know.

 

Gray Follow-up; Two Months Down

To start, I have to comment on how remarkably slow this going gray is. Everything else seems to speed by and sometimes, even without me noticing. Why the difference? I suppose my anticipation of having it complete, hangs out in the forefront of my thoughts. I also want to note, that it has been more than two months. I was about six weeks in, when I made the decision.

gray hair

 

 

So far, so good. It’s definitely spreading! I only ever hear comments from the mirror herself; they are generally good, depending on her mood. When I’m away from the mirror, I don’t think about it at all. When I go into a store and walk down the hair dye aisle, it doesn’t enter my head. It’s such a relief to not have that six-eight week mark, in your brain at all times, so that if you are in a store, you can pick up a box. DONE WITH THAT!

 

gray hairI don’t think I look any older, I certainly don’t look any younger, but how young do I want to look? I’d be content with looking my age. It’s taken me quite a few years to get here, and yes, I’ve earned those years, along with the wisdom that came with them. I’ve no desire to use a semi-permanent yet, but as it grows out, that is an option I will keep open. Apparently you can get clear coats, which add moisture and nutrients, without any colour. Don’t need those yet, but again, I will keep as an option.

I think I’ll go a little shorter, maybe another inch off the bottom. I do like to be able to pull it back from my face, but the shorter it is, the more wave I have. We’ll see.

I still haven’t heard from any one else who would like to join me. To anyone listening: I feel freer, more authentic, the further along I am. I actually find this fun; watching the changes in the mirror, and then sharing it with the world. Well, maybe not the world, but a world bigger than mine was before. Anyone??

You can read about my decision to go gray, here.

More good, gray, reads!

25 “Gray Hair” Bloggers Who Rock

Eavesdropping

“I know what I saw,” the boy said with a strained look on his face.

“I don’t think you do,” replied the boy sitting next to him. He seemed older, more confident, maybe the older brother? I was sitting two seats down and across from them on the train.

train tracks treesIt was quiet, a handful of passengers scattered among the chairs. I wanted to watch them, but I kept my eyes down to focus on their conversation. I know, it’s a twenty minute commute for me, and I was bored. So I eavesdrop, many an interesting topic has been discussed on these short trips.

They didn’t speak for a couple of minutes, and I was ready to pull my attention from them, when the younger boy said, “I wouldn’t lie about that. I wouldn’t say it was him, if it wasn’t.” His brow creased and the corners of his mouth turned down, tightening his lips into a pale, thin, mark on his face. One lone tear dripped from his left eye, landing on his folded hands. He smeared it with his thumb. I know I said I wasn’t watching, but I sneak a peak every now and then.

“Jayden would not have been there, and you know it. What I don’t understand,” he said, “is what you were doing there. You need to stay out of my business Tommy.”

Tommy turned his head to the side, facing the older boy. “It was a mistake. I had detention. I didn’t want mom to know, so I took the short cut home. In the alley, that’s where I saw him, in the alley.” His head slumped down again, eyes to the floor. I saw a few more tears let go.

“You can’t say anything to anyone. Is that clear?” The change in his tone was blatant. From concern to threatening. I quickly turned my face away from them. His facial expression had hardened, and was shockingly, chilling. My breath shortened. He continued, “Tommy, you know what I will have to do, if you say anything, if you let on that you know.”

“I’m sorry. I promise, no one will know.” Tommy had straightened up in his chair, no sign of lingering emotion, no sign of tear stains. I had looked past them, scanning as I turned my head. I could see fear in Tommy’s eyes, despite the dead stare. I wanted off the train.

With relief, I stood up and moved to the door. As soon as they opened, I scurried away towards the staircase, to safety. Sweeping the station, I stepped onto the escalator, and turned to face down. They were standing at the bottom, looking up at me.

© Gerri Leathley 2014

I have not been privy to any conversations like this, thank goodness, and I’m not sure why I always seem to head in the direction of ‘thrillers’. I don’t know where any story is headed until I get there. Oh well! Leave your comments, positive or negative, dramatic or thrilling!

Writing 101

 

Road Trip

“Thank god we only have an hour or so to go,” I moaned. “My back is killing me. These seats are crappy.” We were in a small car, overstuffed with–possibly–unnecessary items, leaving too small a space for two larger bodies. My brother and I are headed to Nakusp, a small village surrounded by mountains, lakes, and rivers, in South Central British Columbia.

pothole dirt roadOur Uncle Jack moved there in his early twenties, as there were lots of forestry jobs. Jack, being a loner, bought some property somewhere around there, and lived all the rest of his days in the wilderness. Whatever. He willed this property to us, and in order for us to claim it, we have to spend no less than three weeks, living in the small cabin.

“All I can say is, there better damn well be some electricity.”

A sigh from the passenger seat, “It will be fine. I’m looking forward to the peace and quiet.”

“Christ, that’s your answer for everything,” I said. Lukas was infuriating, with his lackadaisical attitude, as if this was nothing more to him than a bloody vacation. “Did you get the part about it being a village?” I asked, trying to get my point across. “That means it is small, and who knows where this cabin is. Does it have a toilet or a stupid, stinking outhouse?”

Lukas replied, “I don’t know Sis, but we’ll find out pretty quick.” He turned his head to look out the window. He was avoiding me, again.

“I need you to drive the last hour. My eyes are getting tired.”

There were a few logging trucks that passed us about half an hour ago, but none since, so I pulled partially off the road, to the narrow gravel strip that separated the two lane road from a five-foot ditch. I figured we would have enough time to switch, while it was quiet.

I groaned as I squeezed out from the driver’s seat, “This is bloody ridiculous. We are already in the middle of nowhere. I can’t believe we have to stay there. Tell me the point of all this. Tell me this is worth it.” I’m sure Lukas tuned me out as he wandered down the ditch.

“I can’t hear you. Give me a minute. I’m just taking a leak.”

Getting in the passenger side was much easier with no steering wheel in the way. “This is a little better,” I said to myself, stretching my legs out in front. With a raised voice, “Are you coming or what?” I ask. “What’s taking you so long?”

The driver’s door opens, and he proceeds to fold himself into the seat. “You know, it wouldn’t hurt you to loosen up a little,” He said.

“Just get us the hell there.”

There was silence for most of the duration, aside from a few condescending remarks thrown at my brother. “Could you drive any slower? I should’ve just driven the rest of the way. We would have been there by now.” I was in a foul mood, with no patience left. I stuck it out making sure to sigh and grumble at regular intervals.

“I do believe this is the road,” He said. Slowing to a crawl, he made a sharp right onto a dirt road. Pothole after pothole, for ten minutes straight, we made our way to the front door of a Rancher style wood house, not cabin.

“This can’t be right,” I said. “You turned down the wrong road. Idiot,” I mumbled.

“Nope. This is it,” He said, heading for the door. “This looks great! I knew it would be. Uncle Jack made lots of money, you know?”

“Whatever,” I said. I hated that he always had to be right, and usually was.

© Gerri Leathley 2014

Just Your Average Joe

Walking along the street or sitting in a coffee shop, you would not notice this man. Just your average Joe. Older with gray hair, sometimes a little unkempt, he is of medium/ tall height with a slight hunch of the shoulders. One would conclude that he is physically active, for his weight is appropriate to his height, and his strides are easy. He keeps his head tilted down, just enough to make others assume that he is deep in thought. Whether that is a learned behaviour or just the tilt of his head, or the fact that he is a bit of a hermit, I don’t know. The added facial hair, gray also, gives the impression of intelligence, with a touch of ‘silly professor’.

orange blue jester hatHis dress ranges from; plaid pyjama bottoms with a cotton Tee at home, to jeans with a nice shirt or sweater, when out and about. He has a beefed up scooter, which now, after seeing him decked out in helmet, sunglasses and windbreaker, makes sense. There is definitely a fun-loving side to him that may keep you on your toes. You can see it in his sky blue eyes.

Conversing with this man, you find out that he has the strength of character like that of an angry bull. His voice is quiet, unassuming, with a mild South African accent, even when raised to make a point. Filled with common sense, he is. Down to earth, no flash, sensible shoes. He has money, that becomes clear once you get to know him better. Not because he tells you, but because he has worked hard all his life, and he shows you his vast projects. You know how it is being used.

His compassion runs very deep. Learning from his own past, becoming who he is today, and reaching out to others in order to encourage and teach emotional, intellectual, and physical health as one. His stories are very interesting, his background, his challenges, and how he managed to grow from it all. Frustrated at times with the lack of openness in people, the fear of change, the fear of success really, he strives to reach them. However, in his effort to educate, he is not pushy, allowing his teachings to have their effect, or not.

He has an alter ego, the one who writes the stories, the one wearing the jester’s hat. They work well together, as author and editor, despite his dislike for the writer. The creations are a bit brash, bold, bottom-line, but if you want the truth, if you are open to the truth, you will enjoy it.

Writing 101         As always, your comments are welcomed and encouraged!

What Was Her Name Again?

mind readerI understand how she wasn’t able to remember my name, the conversation was overflowing with detail. Had I not already known what was going on, my brain might have shut down. (a little ‘post-mommy syndrome’ still clinging to me) It’s intriguing, however, to be able to glimpse inside the mind of another, to know what they are thinking. I can hang on to the energy of some, it’s like taking in a breath, receiving thoughts. This is what she was thinking, after we all left the coffee shop.

That was a very interesting conversation, a lovely lady. I’m looking forward to learning more about this training, how she accomplishes so much, how she is so happy, excited, and full of life. Her voice is very quiet though, sometimes a little too quiet, I missed a couple of things she said. The coffee shop will be great! The other lady commented, on how there will be so many different happenings, coming together, all in this one space. I must remember the date of the opening, sigh, I’ve forgotten it already. Sometime mid-June, I think. She did say, she would email me the date. It seems like so much work, and so much to remember. That other lady, sigh, what was her name again? She said something about the training, that for her, it was exhausting, but wonderful. Let’s go home now, granddaughter.