Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Emotional Purging

Sometimes it's the seemingly little things that are really the biggest things. Tonight, for example, I packed what will be Mia's last school lunch as a kindergartener. That could make me sad, but recently, I had some much-needed emotional purging (although I didn't know I was due for it at the time.)

It started out with a simple trip to the salon. I hadn't been there in, oh, about 6 months, because I was really happy with the way my hair looked. (I will swear to the ends of the earth that giving up shampoo was the single best thing I have done for my hair, and consequently for my self-esteem -- because regardless whether or not a woman is high maintenance, her hair is a huge part of how she expresses herself to the world.) I was growing it out because I thought it made me look pretty, and it made me feel younger, and I figured that if I ever got sick of it being longer than it's been in quite some time, I would just cut it and donate it...

So, why did I make that appointment for a "trim?" Well, I am insanely excited about an upcoming vacation without children!!!  (To a tropical island! Eeeeee!) I have so, so, so much to do to get ready, and I decided that I could hear my stylist in my head saying that my "ends are looking a bit skinny." Really, that's what she has told me in the past. Anyway, I figured it was best to get it shaped up before the trip, and I thought I could tick that off my to-do list quite easily.

I called the salon and scheduled a trim, and thought I was so lucky to be able to get in with my stylist (who's done my hair for almost 8 years now) the very next day. Sounds straight-forward enough. I showed up, laughed about how I heard her voice in my head worrying over my "skinny ends," and made a point of saying that I was really happy with my hair and just needed it to be cleaned up a bit. Then, I proceeded to yammer on while she did her thing. Topics of conversation included my upcoming vacation, obviously, but also some other beauty-related items of current interest to me: homemade shaving cream, homemade facial cleanser, and my general disgust with parabens. (Perhaps I need to get out more. These are kind of sad topics for general conversation, but they're pretty important to me!)

The next thing I knew, she was handing me the mirror to view the finished haircut. This was when I realized that she had taken off much more than I was anticipating, at least two or maybe three inches! (Truthfully, it's hard to gauge length since my hair is naturally curly, plus, she always manages to make it much fuller than I ever could.) Since I was somewhat it shock (How did I not realize what was happening?!) I just thanked her, paid the bill, and gave her a ten percent tip, as I normally would. Then, I went home and studiously avoided looking at myself in the mirror by taking the kids outside to play, doing yard work, and basically, pretending that I had not just lost all the hair I had been growing out for over 6 months, the hair that made me feel more attractive than I had in ages, the hair I was planning to donate... I was totally in denial.

This experience has taught me that it's actually possible to go through all five stages of grief in one day. Once I finally came back indoors, several hours later, to use the bathroom, I saw my reflection. Then, it really hit me that my hair was gone and there was nothing I could do about it. This led to some majorly-blown-out-of-proportion depression, complete with out-and-out sobbing, the kind that made me gasp for air, the kind that made me have puffy, swollen eyelids, the kind that went on much longer than it should have because each time I began to calm down, I had another irrational thought that provoked more outbursts. Part of me was disappointed in myself for crying in front of the kids (or at least for not having a "good" reason for my grief). Another part of me felt selfish and guilty for mourning my hair in the first place, considering how many people I know who have cancer and would probably love the opportunity to cry over a "bad" haircut because it would mean that they have enough hair to go to the salon and get it cut in the first place! But still, I couldn't stop crying for a good twenty minutes. Depression.

Then, I went through what must be considered the bargaining phase, essentially trying to rationalize things by constantly asking the "what if?" questions. Why didn't I pay attention to what she was doing? Why was I talking so much? I should have told her up front not to cut more than 1/4" off the length! Didn't she understand me when I said I was really happy with my hair, that I meant the length? What was I thinking making a hair appointment when I loved my hair the way it was? I should have never done that.... Now, how will I ever have enough to donate?

This led to anger. This can't be happening to me! What if my now-short-hair looks like a poof-ball on our tropical vacation? What if I can't get it up anymore? (And I just recently have been getting compliments on wearing my hair up, so I have started doing it more often.) I went upstairs, tossed my clothes aside while quickly undressing, let forth some under-my-breath screams (still not wanting to freak my kids out over this -- and Brett was wisely standing aside and letting me fight my demons), and then got into the shower. I let the hot water beat down on me for a while, soaking my odious, too short hair, and washing away most of my frustrations. Stepping out of the shower, I felt that I had purged most of the negative emotional energy, and surveying my wet locks, felt more like myself. Even if the mirror reflected my shorter hair, it at least looked a bit longer since it was wet.

After my shower, I felt enlightened. The tears were not for my hair, not really. That was just the trigger to my emotional purge, the last straw as it were. This "bad" haircut had been the conclusion to a very emotional week. I had learned that my dance teacher was injured and wouldn't be able to teach any classes until fall, so I am without an outlet for all of this stuff... Mia's first loose tooth was quite the milestone event, and then a couple days after that, we went to her "kindergarten graduation." It was so amazing to see how far she has come in the past few months! This is a lot for most people to take in, I can imagine. But for me, being so very sensitive, it makes absolute sense now that I was due for a good cry so that I could come to terms with all the big changes and then move forward. (This has historically been how I have coped with all the little mole hills building up until one seems like a giant mountain, threatening to engulf me.) As upsetting as it was, this was not about my hair. This was about my baby girl growing up. After a refreshing shower, I realized these things, and I while felt completely spent after crying, I was also relieved, physically and emotionally purged.

Did I finally achieve acceptance? Well, my hair looked more like "me" once it dried. Plus, it's bouncier and healthier looking. In truth, I didn't get a "bad" haircut after all. My stylist knows my hair better than I do, apparently. While it wasn't exactly what I was hoping for, I do look good with the shorter hair style. And the stuff that really triggered the tears? Well, I can deal with that, too, just one thing at a time.


By the way, having stayed up past my bedtime tonight and blogging into tomorrow, I have now just reached my 3rd "blogiversary!" This means that it's been three years since I wrote this, (which was viewed by all of three people) and here I am still at it, wondering where to go from here... Thanks so much for stopping by and reading my thoughts! I love being able to share parts of my life in this way, and I hope that you, too, get something out of it. Sorry, no fabulous giveaways, or anything like that, but someday, perhaps, I will be able to do that sort of thing!

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