On Expansiveness

"Stop acting like a 90 year old woman," he said, both kindly and forcefully, as good coaches do

We had been going through my goals for the next few years, talking about how I can take my life from "good" to "great." 

Without knowing it or meaning to, I was seeing "great" as an end, as something that, if I reach it, everything I've been working for will get to stop suddenly and I won't have to try anymore.

Oh, and I was seeing it as if it had to happen soon, because...why? Oh, right, I was acting like a 90 year old woman. 

It's cliche, but life really is about the journey, not the destination, and if we are lucky, we get to have lots and lots of journeys. We are capable of great things, and our greatness or our ability to achieve greatness doesn't taper off the older we get. 

As one TED talk I heard this weekend put it, it's better to live life on an incline...things can always, always move toward "better." Always.

***

My word for myself of late has been "expansive."

I've been wanting to shy away from emotions that feel tight and narrow...things like anxiety and fear and jealousy.

Anxiety and fear is a little easier for me to identify now. Jealousy is harder.

Jealousy is an emotion made up of emotions, so it's hard to sift through, identify, name.

It's mostly a fear-based emotion, sure, but it's never just one fear. It's more a manifestation of every insecurity you ever knew you had (and some you didn't), all rolled into one. 

No wonder they call it a monster. 

***

The studio opened a few blocks down from my house and offered a special of $45 for one month unlimited practice. 

It was a new kind of practice for me, but the premise seemed right up my alley.

Heat? Check. Yoga? Check. Minimal effort to get there and make it happen? Double check. Getting to wear less clothes than this for 90 minutes with strangers? CHECK.---->

I arrived my first day, thinking I probably wouldn't be able to keep up with most of the class since I was new, but confident I could at least try, and in the meantime, feel that deep, soul-quieting connection I've learned to love from yoga.

Instead, I spent the next 90 minutes chanting to myself, "I hate this, I hate this, I hate this, when is this over, I hate this, fuck you yoga, fuck you lights, fuck you heat, I hate this, I'm going to vomit, I'm going to die, I hate this, someone please check in on my dogs after I'm dead, I hate this."

And then I sweated from places I didn't know could produce sweat. Our bodies can be disgusting, FYI.

So I decided that if I hated it that much the first time, I should of course go back again the next day. And the next. 

The moral of this story is not what you think.

This is not a story where I say, "I love Bikram yoga and can now Camel Pose the shit out of myself."

In fact, I still fucking hate Bikram yoga with the fire of a thousand suns. It's not the yoga I came to know and love, and the overly rational part of myself wanted to laugh every time they told me that some weird pose was LITERALLY RENEWING BRAIN CELLS or HELPING YOUR POOPS or YOU WILL NEVER NEED TO SLEEP AGAIN WITH THIS POSE. 

This is, instead, a story where I say that sometimes it's good to push through your initial resistance of something, if only to find out if your first impression of that thing was right or wrong.

You can apply that shit to all sorts of stuff. 

Pushing past an initial impression is part of looking at the world expansively, of challenging yourself to go beyond the things you're pretty sure are not "you" to find the truth. In this case, I had to figure out if Bikram was really NOT ME, or if I was just being a turd about exercising and trying something new.

Well, sorry Bikram, but you are really NOT ME, but I gave you the old college try.

And to be honest, I at least reaped some other benefits from it, like discovering that I didn't hate staring at my half naked body in the mirror for 90 minutes, because hey, that thing still does all right. Hey, girl.

***

I've been a redhead since college, and The Naked Redhead since 2008. 

Redheads are cool people...there's a certain brother/sisterhood formed when you're a ginger (real or fake). Maybe it's that whole Recessive Gene Club thing. Or the notion that people with this color hair are passionate or "fiery." 

Either way, it was a fun club to be in for over ten years. Thanks to all you real gingers for inviting me in. 

But it was time for something different, and I've cut my hair short enough times now to know that it's a bad fucking idea, so I decided to join another special group. 

While it remains to be seen if blondes do indeed have more fun, it's still a change of pace that doesn't involve me being a "triangle head" for the foreseeable future. Carrie Bradshaw, I am not (something I've learned in my 33 years, thankfully).

But WHO KNEW that going from red to blonde would be such an arduous process?! So far, it's been a total of eight hours in the salon over two visits (thank you Phia!! You guys are AMAZING), with one more to go.

(ALSO, also, for inquiring minds who want to know, apparently using Feria is the same as allowing the Devil to take a dump on your hair...so maybe avoid that in the future?). 

Here are photos from the process, because I love selfie-ing the shit outta...er, myself. 

Before: The last time as a redhead, lookin'...wow. Fantastic, obviously:

Step One: They had to basically leech my hair from all the color after dumping box after box on it for a decade. Also, I have roughly a metric fuck-ton of hair.

Step Two: Foil, bleach, color, toner. At one point, I had three people with their hands all up in my business. I felt like a rockstar.

Step Three: Not a bad first stab at it. I'm a little more brown than blonde here, and still some "strawberry," but it's getting there. And I like to selfie in the car. DEAL WITH IT.

Step Four (Getting Closer to an "After"): 2nd visit to the salon, getting lighter, but still a little strawberry in the mix. I like it.

So there you have it. The Naked Redhead is now blonde. 

I've had a lot of people (like, three) ask how I can still be TNR as a blonde.

To me, I guess I don't even think about this place like that anymore. Sure, it originally came into being partly because of my physical identity, but for any of you who have been around for more than two posts know this blog is about my emotional identity anyway.

...a phrase which makes me throw up a little bit, because WHY IS MY 17 YEAR OLD JOURNAL TRYING TO MAKE AN APPEARANCE HERE, but whatever. Sometimes the truth is corny. 

I guess I'm just at the point where I don't feel like I need to be tied to my perception of myself, if that makes sense. 

I'm not a 90 year old woman, after all.