I have not colored or cut my hair since August, which was the first time I went to a salon since before the pandemic. It was a big event after going like clockwork in the “before times.” It felt good to show myself some love. So why am I not going now?
At first, I did not think about it too much, but as my in-person (IRL, as my kids say) event calendar began to fill up in the many months since my last salon appointment, I became acutely aware of three things: 1) my natural color is MUCH darker than I remember, but 2) ALL my grays seem to make it feel lighter, and 3) I do NOT own any pants or clothes that are not comfort first.
You might say, “good for you, girl” or “do you!” and “live your best life!” But suddenly I wondered—am I letting go a little too much? While I am slowly growing to appreciate my hair's natural state, I am not exactly reveling in the magic of my changing hair. I am avoiding the return to my previous life, which required so much external validation. And maybe I am in a little blue spell as I realize we can never go back to the way it all felt. Now that we know all that we have known since March 2020, maybe I don’t even want to go back.
So what do I want?
When I look around me, things feel even more confusing. I can feel how on some level we all want to return to “normal,” but not exactly in the shape it was before. I find also, that everyone’s expectations are mismatched. Some friends are desperate to be back in the office and going to parties, while others miss their children and have developed an affinity for staying home or have developed social anxiety about crowded spaces and “sharing air” with strangers. Not to mention the intensity of the world around us as we watch war unfolding across the seas. It makes some of us want to nest in security at home more, while some of us want to experience the pulse of the world outside our bubble even more.
Clearly I’ve been leaning in one direction more than the other, but I’ve decided to find small ways to make my own balance for the good of my mental health. I am going to try having fun with coloring my hair at home and make a salon appointment for the summer to likely fix whatever I end up living with until then. I am going into New York City this week and will work on enjoying myself in an IRL gathering of magical women. But I will also cherish the time at home, in my cocoon with my family, trying not to let these rich moments of togetherness slip through my fingers without acknowledging how lucky I am.
My own menopause journey takes many twists and turns. Sometimes I feel like I can take on the world and sometimes I just want to take it all in. Right now, I am working on gratitude, a little reflection, and stepping out of my comfort zone in ways that enrich me. Life still feels challenging and uncertain, but we often have more choices and everyday opportunities than we realize. When we stop and really listen to ourselves and open ourselves up to the vulnerability of leaning on our loved ones and even sometimes total strangers, the world around us expands no matter if we are going out to meet it or letting it come to us. I am grateful we have this opportunity to open ourselves up together. Thank you for being part of my expanding world.
You are not alone. We are Kindra.
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Tags: Personal Stories