Tag Archives: change

Politics
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I’m Done Grieving; Let’s Get to Work

My candidate didn’t win. The results didn’t turn out like I’d wanted.

And yes, I grieved. Real tears were shed. Real sorrow was felt. Still is.

For those who may think I’m sad because my “team” lost or my emotions are about sour grapes, all I can say is no, that wasn’t it.

 

I could go into detail about what it is I voted for or against, but I think that gets us mired down again. You don’t have to understand what I was voting for or against. I know. My actions, who I am as a person, and what I believe will shine through if I live my truth. I don’t have to explain it to anyone.

I hope that I (and many others like me) are proven wrong about the very real fears we have and the speculation we’re forced to do in the absence of real information.

I will reserve judgement until we actually get to see something other than the promises that all politicians fill the airwaves with.

I will continue to respect the office of the Presidency, regardless who resides in the White House. The thing that’s been forgotten since…I don’t know, since I was a kid?…is that you can respect someone and not agree with them. You can respect their humanity and their role and not like what they do. Hate what they do, in fact.

That is my path. Respect and wary watchfulness.

The only thing I can control in this world is myself. How I treat other people. How I react in situations. What I do each and every day.

And at this point, with the election over, and the vitriol showing little sign of slowing down (I never believed November 9 would be a magical day when everyone calmed down), the thing I feel compelled to do is work for the future I want my children and your children and our grandchildren to have.

What does that work look like? I have no idea. I’m lost in a sea of too much information from everyone with an opinion and no direction.

But make no doubt about it, for me, the time to grieve is over.

Now it’s time to get to work.

It’s time to become more informed.

It’s time to use the voice I should have used all along. Yes, I am only one voice, but sometimes that’s enough.

It’s time to participate in the process more than every couple of years in the ballot box.

No more shying away from what others might think. Worrying someone will be ugly and rude is a waste of time. Fearing judgement from people who don’t really want to understand my views is pointless.

I’m not one for protesting in the streets or railing against the current system. Until it’s changed and until someone comes up with a better option, this is what we have.

But this is not who “we” are as America. We are better than the fear that has motivated people for years and years (long before President Obama was elected).

I remember the fear of liberals during President Bush’s years in office and the years of vitriol at the end of President Clinton’s presidency. This isn’t new, y’all. We simply have so much more access to each other, good information, and oh yes, bad information that we see it more often, and it feels more overwhelming.

President Obama said (and I’m paraphrasing) in one of his last campaign rally speeches, that when he bets on America, the American people, and for those of us who believe in hope and love, he always wins.

I want him (and us) to win in the way that I believe he meant.

I believe that we can be better than our fears make us. Our fear of “the other.” Our fear of change. Our fear of loss.

So I won’t fear the next four years.

I will work to help make my corner of the world and hopefully the rest of the world a better place, the country I believe my children (and all children) deserve. I will help protect the institutions that make us America – free speech, freedom of the press, freedom to protest. These are all of ours, even when you don’t agree, and more than our ability to vote, they make us who we are as Americans.

It’s time to stop crying, yelling, and railing at the people who disagreed with us and voted for something different.

It’s time to stop railing at the people who didn’t show up to vote.

It’s time to do something instead of bitching.

It’s time to stop grieving and get to work.

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Random Musings
2

Routine is Incompatible with Change

Routine is Incompatible with Change

If anyone had asked me a week ago how I felt about routine, I would have climbed up behind my proverbial bloody pulpit and extolled all the reasons my routine is sacrosanct, the thing that keeps me sane in a world gone mad.

I might have been full of shit.

Maybe I’m growing as a human being. Maybe I’m becoming more mature as I barrel down the road towards the ripe age of 36. Maybe I spend way too much time thinking. (Hell, that’s all true.)

Either way, I’m realizing that my need for a strict routine is mostly about control and completely irrelevant to a well-balanced life.

Now, for my Type A, OCD friends who are appalled by such statements, let me clarify something.

I have a routine. I like my routine. But…and here’s the kicker, the routine is amorphous now, instead of rigid.

Back in the day, my philosophy was that if I had a process for everything and a routine/checklist for everything, life would flow smoothly. And, for many years, that was quite true.

In the here and now, my routine is becoming much simpler and (apparently) more flexible. I have a list of what needs to get done each week – and in some cases, each day. I get it done in whatever way works best for that particular day. And sometimes I don’t, and it gets moved to the next day. No specific order, no process for how it should get done. Just get it done as best as I can and move on. Ta-da!

Where did this little epiphany come from?

I think it was the day I cried (yes, cried) when my plans for the day veered off course because John’s sister had an unscheduled doctor’s appointment – and I’m her ride. I could blame the silly tears on stress or fear for her health. That makes me sound like a much better person. I had what amounted to an adult temper tantrum because my perfectly scripted routine was thrown out of whack. (It’s mildly embarrassing to even admit.)

Or, maybe it’s the admission that I’ve tried for a year to create an easy (read: mindless) routine I could simply follow…like I did in the old days…and failed miserably. The old days truly were simple. Wake up at the same time. Leave to drop the boys off/get to work at the same time. Eat the same breakfast/lunch from the same drive-thrus. Come home at the same time. Do the same thing every evening. And let’s not even mention the rigid schedule I created for myself while at work. The routine worked back in the day. I had little time, little help, and a lot on my plate. The routine was a survival mechanism, and it worked. But I don’t have that life anymore so why am I still trying to live like I do??

Routine can cause change to stagnate – if it allows changes at all.

I have said the words, “But this is how I’ve always done it” way too many times to count. I have dug my heels in, quite firmly, thankyouverymuch, when others – well meaning or not – have suggested a change, a new way of doing things, a different outlook. My process and routine gave me comfort, made me feel safe, and granted an appearance of control in a life where I felt like I had very little.

When my routine couldn’t be maintained or even determined, as the case has been recently, I’ve melted down – quietly and not-so-quietly. At some point, I guess I realized I was being ridiculous about it all.

Working from home, being a writer, creating this life has been nothing but change. And change is scary. Trying to have a similar routine from an old life gave me comfort…until the lack thereof stressed me out.

What’s the bottom line?

If I really want a permanent change, a healthier life, and less stress, I need to give up on the idea of a strict routine when it no longer fits my professional or personal goals.

Believing that because I’ve always done something a certain way means I should continue doing it that way – even in the face of overwhelming evidence that tells me it’s no longer viable, is only holding me back. Routine is incompatible with change, no matter how comforting it may feel.

Image via Google Images

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Random Musings
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Haircuts and Life

Haircuts and Life

For the first time in nearly 15 years, I’ve got a haircut I don’t love.

No, I didn’t freak out at the salon and demand my money back. I’m not wearing a bag over my head to hide my shame. I simply shrugged my shoulders and pulled my hair back into it’s typical ponytail.

So why is my not-awesome-slightly-embarrassing haircut even noteworthy?

Because for the first time in a long time, I tried something, realized my mistake the moment the scissors snipped off too much hair, and didn’t  meltdown or freak out. Actually, I realized that the arc of my life, the way I’ve grown and changed as a person, can be seen from how my visits to the salon have changed.

As a kid, my hair – length and style – was dictated by my parents. I was rocking the Pocahontas look with ram-rod straight black hair with the part down the middle (I’m 35, and that damn part is still there.) I also had the straight bangs cut right over my eyebrows.

I was probably eight or nine when I went to a salon for the first time. My dad had always trimmed my hair. This time, all he could do was pace outside, hating that someone was touching his baby’s hair.

When my hair became too thick to wrap my hand around – and I was plagued with awful headaches, my mother took over. The J.C. Penney’s salon was the most glamorous place I’d ever been. Even then, my hair style wasn’t my decision, not at first. I was only 10, after all. Several inches of hair came off that day. I felt 10 pounds lighter.

I kept my hair shoulder-length – sometimes a little shorter, sometimes longer – throughout high school. My dad was adamant that I wasn’t going to have short hair. How ironic, as my mother has had short hair for much of my life.

Towards the end of high school, I had money to burn, and I experimented with color. The fiery, orange-y, red thing I did to my hair was not my most flattering moment. When I sat down in the salon chair, I didn’t think about skin tone. I didn’t ask questions. I pointed to what looked like the “coolest” color and away we went.

I immediately regretted it but had too much pride to say anything. After all, I was the one to blame. The god-awful color was my own choice.

By the time college came around, I was supposedly fully in control of my hair-style decisions. But I was also an insecure kid. To avoid making another mistake, I simply didn’t get haircuts. Once I got engaged to the now ex-husband, I justified my decision by saying I wanted to grow my hair out for the wedding.

That was partly true, but I didn’t want to make decisions about my own hair. It was too scary. Mistakes were too easily made. I went with tried and true – the same reason I said yes to the ex. He was comforting, and I didn’t have to learn anyone else, face rejection, or change much about my life.

A day after we were married, and a week after I graduated college, I found myself back in the salon chair. All that hair had to go. I went short. Boy short. Between the woman cutting my hair and my inability to explain what I wanted (about hair or anything else), it was a bad haircut that I had fixed a week later.

The shitty cut wasn’t significant. The length was.

My reasons were many.

I wanted a no-fuss, no-muss style. I’d spent three years with insanely long hair and the aggravation that comes with it – shedding, tangles, and broken brushes (true story).

My father had just died, and this was in part a rebellion against my grief, a new moment in life, something different. Long hair was a reminder of him, and I was tired of hurting.

It was not lost on me that my very new husband told me he loved long hair, and I chopped it off without even telling him my plan.

I kept the style for a few years. My mother brought me to the salon once a month or it probably wouldn’t have happened. I didn’t care about my hair in those days. For a while, I cared about very little.  The loss of a parent and the realization (quickly tamped down never to be considered or admitted again) that I might have made a mistake in spouses can do that to you.

When the ex and I moved away to Florida, I stopped worrying about my hair. I was pregnant, broke, and very stressed out. My hair was the least of my worries. I let the short cut grow out and tried to remember to get a cut every several months or so. I cannot tell you how many times a random stylist has asked, “So…when was your last cut?” and I’ve struggled to remember.

Just before I realized my marriage was over (which was long before I told anyone else), I chopped off all my hair again. This time, sitting in the stylist’s chair felt like freedom. A new direction. A change. I wasn’t afraid to do something bold with my hair – or my life.

After the divorce and my new found realization of what single motherhood was all about (including a deadbeat ex-husband), I stopped caring as much about my own appearance. I let my hair grow out. The next few men I dated, culminating with my relationship with John, loved long hair on a woman. For the first time in my life I was spending time with men I genuinely respected and enjoyed as human beings…and men. I was happy to let my hair grow out and wear it long for them.

Over the past three years, my relationship with the salon has been a strange one. When I’ve gone, I wanted bare minimum. “Just a trim!”

I didn’t want to rock a boat, do anything drastic, or screw anything up.

Then, just after Christmas, January in fact, my mother had enough of listening to me bitch about all the silver in my hair (it’s a stripe down that blasted part…I look like a skunk!). I visited her in Mississippi, and one of my belated Christmas presents was a trip to the salon.

As a kid, she had a say over my hair. When I was in my 20s, she was still in mom-mode, so while I technically had a say, she also shared her opinion of my choices – good or bad. Now, in my 30s, she was happy to give me the gift of a few child-free hours in a salon and a new look, whatever I wanted.

The gates opened wide. I was a new freelancer just figuring out that I really do have some control over my destiny. I was finally out of a corporate-esque world where appearances sometimes matter most. I could do what I wanted.

Freedom!

Purple hair, y’all. I went purple. But I still didn’t change my hair style. Sure, the easy answer is that I prefer this style. And I do. But in life, as with my hair, I can be lazy. I’ll do the same tried and true thing forever simply to avoid making a mistake.

Until a few days ago.

I was tired of the Pocahontas look that has evolved in the past three years – ramrod straight and very flat hair. No body, no lift. Ugh.

I tossed caution to the wind and tried a new style. From the front, it’s kind of cute. From the back? Grown out mullet are the only words I can use to describe it.

The point isn’t the awful haircut. Okay, it’s not that bad, but I’ve been avoiding eye contact in the mirror so I might have forgotten.

The point is that for the first time in a long time I tried something new, daring, bold, and without three months of pre-planning or getting a million other opinions first. One could say that maybe this time I should have. (Cynical!) But on the other hand, as I take chances, try new things, and sometimes fail miserably in every other aspect of life, it’s only fitting it happened at the salon, too. My own reaction to it is probably the best sign of how far I’ve come…no freak out, no tears, no talking about it incessantly to everyone around me. I’m rocking the ponytail and waiting for it to grow out. It is, after all, only hair.

 

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