Thursday, July 19, 2012

Away We Grow

For years I've said that I wish I could donate my hair. "Do it," I was told. My retort was always something to the effect of my hair being too fine to grow out. In kindergarten, on the first day, I was so excited to use scissors for the first time that I cut about four inches from my hair (hey, I looked for paper first). That started a lifetime of short hair for me, as immediately after school I went in to get - and sport - my first mushroom cut. I took a brief hiatus from short  hair when I started growing it out again around age 10. It was a few inches past my shoulders in 5th grade, but from the photos, stringy as all hell.

In 6th grade, I took about six inches off, leaving it above my shoulders. My hair hasn't been below my shoulders since...until now.

A few years back, PE - prior to the whole debacle starting - mentioned that he liked long hair, but I could really pull off short hair (whatever that means). I agree, really. Even though the inverted bob was killed henceforth by a certain Kate, who, even since has ditched for a longer do. When we finally said "okay, lets date for real," I made a deal with him that if he stopped shaving his hair (wayyyy) too short and grow it out, I would grow mine out. And then a weird thing happened: I liked the results. We broke up crashed and burned, but I kept growing my hair out. And it's helped with free drinks; guys seem to be intimidated by girls with short hair. Or maybe they think we're they're gay.

I have always stuck with short hair, some variety of a pixie cut or an inverted bob since high school. In June of 2010 was my last "real" haircut, since then I've been growing it with only maintenance trims for the most part. See below: In order: 2008, Mar 2009 (grown out for my sister's wedding), Fall 2009, Oct 2009, Halloween 2009, Mar 2010, June 2010 (left side), June 2010 (right side), Oct 2010, Mar 2011, June 2011, July 2011, Oct 2011, Apr 2012 (damn right, that's a hobbit hole!), July 2012 and today at work:

If you're paying attention, you saw my old nose. And if you weren't, now you have and welcome back to this paragraph. So for the past few weeks I've been asking myself this question: When you're growing out your hair for no specific reason, how do you know when it's time to stop?  Most people didn't have an answer aside from "keep growing it". But I think, by nature, I'm not a long hair gal and I still cant get used to it touching my back, so growing it and growing it isn't an answer that suits me.

I have, however, found an answer that has; one that I have expressed envy of for years: Donating to Locks of Love. I don't know why this kind of charity is so appealing to me: Maybe because it's so personal: Its a PART of you - like an organ - not money. And the value of how something makes you feel is so much more important than the value of something you can buy.  And so, I have decided that I am going to try my damnest to get this fine, delicate hair to hang on for a year or however long it takes to get ten inches and donate to children in need. Bucket. List. (And I didn't even think to add it because I never thought I could.)  And away we growwwwwwwwwwwwwww...

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Vacation Introspection

"It's times like these you learn to live again; it's times like these you give and give again; it's times like these you learn to love again; it's times like these time and time again..."

Heartbreak and bruises and life trials and tribulations are tough. But there is a richness, a warming, to realize that you've found yourself again. I think that is the most rewarding part. Not the part where you put yourself out there, or the part where you gather to strength to say "that's enough" and save yourself; not even the part where you pull your face from a pillow, dry the tears and move on, but what happens just after. The most rewarding part of the many paths of life and love is that each time something hurts, or you find yourself in pieces, is a time to reclaim who you are, and somehow, become happier each time this transition passes through; And each time, a better version than the last.

I have never been so alone (yet no where near lonely) for so long. I have never been so broke. I have never been so confused - or rather so lacking specific direction. And I have never been quite so happy.

I would almost blame residual vacation smiles, as I just landed late last night from another vacation abroad: A short stay in Mexico filled with amazing experiences and an even more amazing group of strangers new friends. Ziplining, snorkeling in underwater caves and with sea turtles and sting rays, swimming with dolphins and the list goes on. My life is exceeding my bucket list and my queue of places to travel grows. My bucket list expands to include all the things I suddenly grew the guts to do and courage to go so far.

The trip was short: Wednesday to Monday, but it felt like much longer and oh-so-short, all at the same time. I somehow feel changed again, but I don't know how or why. PI said today that it's because it seems that since this year last, I decided to stop letting the burdens of life or my lust for love weigh me down; I pushed back everything and took over the driver's seat. Maybe he's right --- and how I love the wind in my (now much longer) hair. There's something magical in (the cliche) of learning to love yourself.

"...I'm a new day rising; I'm a brand new sky."

Monday, July 2, 2012

That Post Break-Up Thing

And then you reach that awkward moment where you see the last guy you dated in public for the first time and can't find a corner to run to and hide in. Or, you make plans to see the last person you dated so that when (and if) you happen to run into one another again, you can exchange pleasant hellos can carry on like normal humans and not a 5 year old hiding from that weird old man who keeps winking at you 3 pews back. I cho(o)se the latter.

When I first began to date...well, I suppose I should stop myself before I make over-generalizations that aren't historically accurate. I once had a psuedo-stalker, so when that ended, we stopped speaking. After that, the next guy I dated dumped me and married his ex, so we stopped speaking. (Years later he would find me on FB. We now converse there.) The next guy ended amicably and there was no question we would be friends; the relationship always veered more towards friendship anyway. So the first time I had a choice (it was after nearly 3 years together), I said I couldn't be friends. I was absolutely heart broken and couldn't ever see him again. Only we began speaking about 6 months later and were friends for the next 8 years - until he met his now fiance and somehow I became the enemy. Prior to her, at times, I certainly called him my best guy friend, but, I suppose, time and circumstance made him an asshole. Unfair, to say the least. The Ex and I talked for a while after our break-up, but as the past few years have gone by, we don't speak much besides the holiday/birthday wishes and occasional checking in. It's not on purpose, but likely correlates to when he is back in a relationship. The Pink Elephant wasn't ever really a question because, despite having had a great friendship and lots to talk about, the now lady in his life certainly wouldn't welcome me into his (which I understand, considering what he did there). As for HG, refer to the first paragraph and otherwise consider him having fallen off the face of my Earth. Why? I'm not sure; suffice to say that he said he "can't" be friends with exes (though I don't consider him an "ex") and "never has been". Which begs the question: Just how little did I (and the others) mean to you?

Am I taking it too personally? We had something, right? Where does all of that go? As I surveyed the room, I found that most women are willing to keep in touch; it's men that struggle with it.

Men, not women, seem to find it impossible to be friends with exes. But, perhaps, it's not all men's fault. Perhaps it is the women they are with at present. Only, the thing is, is that were it not for the women of the past, they wouldn't be with the girl of the present and - at least for me - they wouldn't be the man they are with her. I find myself often the teacher of men, a sad and increasingly obnoxious obligation the universe has seemed to saddle me (and countless other good-natured women) with: Here dude, have a lesson, the next lady will benefit. So then, I find it so perplexing why future girls would see any intimidation by having a slight presence of the past in the life of their current mate, with a previous partner with whom they were intimately drawn. Because, as time would have it, that intimacy is now dead, so wouldn't the threat be less intimidating than, say, that rando at the bar? He's been there. He's with you now. (Then again, maybe its not the girl and it is just him; or at least how he perceives the situation to appear. File under: Stupid Assumptions.)

But just because that part of the relationship died, it doesn't mean the attraction to the personality died along with. What about the inside jokes? Or car games? Or remember that concert we went to? Remember the time...and...? All those things don't just go away, do they? Sure, people move on and sometimes friends lose touch - but this complete and utter avoidance of an ex or that past psuedo-relationship or that girl who taught me something or the "person that brought me to you" - how and why is it so required for them to disappear so quickly? Am I the only one that finds fault with this? With this complete disregard for someone that once meant something to you? I think we put too much into these things to let that happen - and so often, so easily.

Hurt fades. People move on. But the connections you build with someone that, at least for a time, became your very best friend; for me, they just don't die and fall away. It makes me sad to lose those each time; I put a lot into them. And I think that's the hardest part. And maybe that's why we hide in the corner; to avoid that hurt that you were so easily detachable...or maybe just the sadness that you lost your good friend.

I wish it didn't have to be like that.