My hair is getting really long. I mean really, really, long. I haven't had my hair this long since the birth of my first child. I realized yesterday that I don't know how to have long hair anymore. Now for some backstory.
One of the things on my master list of "Things to do before I die" was to grow out my bangs. I had bangs from the time I was ten years old or thereabouts. The exact timeline is fuzzy, but the fact remains that I had bangs for well over twenty years of my life. I longed for the luscious, free-flowing no bang look. The pull it back in a ponytail ease. The no need for curling to look good, thus avoiding the occasional curling iron burns on the forehead. But alas, every time my bangs got long enough to hit the corners of my eyes, or fly into my eyes when the windows were open as we drove along, I said "Enough!" and cut my bangs again. Finally, after my third child was born, I decided to let my bangs grow at least to my jawline, not matter what. If I couldn't stand them when they hit my jawline, if I hadn't adapted to liking them at all, I'd cut 'em again. But at least I would have grown them out enough to satisfy my list.
Now, about three years later, I have no bangs. My hair is down to the middle of my back. I like it most days. I cut it myself. Partly because I can and partly because I don't want to pay $30 to get an inch trimmed off then ends when they get all yucky. I'm kinda daring myself to see how long I can get it. Sorta of like the end of Thelma and Lousie when they drive off that cliff, I'm heading into the gray area between nice-looking long hair and hair that's just Too Long. I'm thinking of letting it go a few more inches and then donating it to Locks of Love.
But back to my first paragraph: I no longer know how to have long hair. I don't style it. I don't even really own the battery of styling products I used to have. For a long time I didn't even have a hair dryer--I just let it air dry. The longer it got, the more of a problem this was. One Sunday morning, while facing the reality that I was going to church with wet hair and not being happy about it, I seriously considered using the reverse switch on my vacuum cleaner to dry my hair. Seriously. I ended up steaming it mostly dry with my flat iron. When I told this story to my best girlfriend as she dropped off her kids for a little service daycare, she laughed with me. And brought me a new hairdryer when she came back from her Dr's. appointment. And I was grateful.
So I don't know how to have long hair anymore. I'm usually putting it up with a hand-carved wooden hairpick I bought at a craft show or it's in the universally acceptable pony tail (which Entertainment Weekly tells me is now "out", so I'm not sure if I should keep wearing one or just stick with my hairpick). When it's down it's in my way. It's hot and sweaty. It doesn't feel right.
What it all comes down to is that I am craving change in my life. My hair is a metaphor. I love where I am and who I am but I'm ready to build on that and have something else. I'm subscribing to Domino instead of Better Homes and Gardens (although I still sneak peeks at that one when I'm at the library). I'm looking at short haircuts online. I'm going to see how long my hair has to be before I donate it. I'm walking close to two miles every day and looking to carve out time for a daily Pilates routine. I'm going to bed earlier and sleeping better. I'm actually having some success avoiding my much loved sugary/fatty foods. I've been 99% caffeine free for about 3 weeks. I want new CD's to listen to. I'm ready to let go of all of the books I've been hoarding over the years (that's what the Library is for, isn't it!?) so that I can have less clutter around me. I've done the initial purge of my closet and am ready for more. I've given away the baby crib and most of my baby stuff. I had a big clearance sale for all my local friends who wanted cheap scrapbooking supplies. I'm learning all I can about photography so I can start that as another stream of income. We are ripping out the dingy carpet in favor of new hardwood floors. I bought the big Scotch ATG 714 tape gun to replace my beloved Tombow adhesive. IKEA is coming to Portland this summer (which means it'll be about an hour and a half away instead of 4 hours! Hooray! My van has seats that fold flat!) and I am ready to chuck all my furniture and embrace a more Swedish way of life with funky cool stylish (but cheap!) things I can buy flat-packed and put together myself. It's almost as if, at 36-almost-37-years-of-age I'm ready to grow up and have the confidence in myself to back that growing. Going back to my word of the year: I'm ready to DO.
I'm ready for a change. I'm just not sure how to bring it about. Yet. But the fact remains that I am DO-ing, and am ready to DO MORE.
And that's the other side.