braindribbles

Posts Tagged ‘obligations

The Hair.

Posted on: 16/12/2014

Um. So I coloured my hair a month or so ago.

I’ve done this before. A spot of purple for a party once.  Another spot of purple I won in a raffle.  Some purple streaks a few months ago.  And oodles of highlights over the last two decades.

My normal appearance, until recently, would be something along the lines of the following three pictures.  Colour varying from mousy brown to blonde highlights.

Me in April this year

Me in April this year

profile pic november 2013

Me in November last year

profile pic march 2011

Me in March 2011

Since mid November, though, it looks like this.

Me on 1st December

Me on 1st December

Me on 3 Dec after a night out

Me on 3 Dec after a night out

Me on 6 Dec having fun with the kids

Me on 6 Dec having fun with the kids

So it’s quite a change.

There’s been a lot of comments, and most of them have been very nice. Those that weren’t were gentle teasing and, if there’s one thing I learned from the experience, it’s that people will almost certainly say something.

A lot of people asked, what made me decide to do it?  In all honesty, I’m not sure.  All I know is that I got to a point where I really, really wanted to. But if I look back over the year I can sort of see how it came about.

2014 has been quite a year.  In the first 6-7 months I ran a marathon (runner 44234 if you want to look up my time!), ran a local branch of a charity, taught some lovely antenatal groups, went on a lovely holiday to France, returned to being a professional musician, saw some good friends and poured a lot of love and attention into my micro business.

The marathon, while I was training for it, took over everything.  I had made a commitment and I had to do it.  I felt better than I’d ever done before.  All this exercise was new and exciting, if quite hard work and very time consuming.  The marathon happened in April.  It was harder than childbirth, but I did it somehow and raised over £2000 for the NCT.  It now feels like it happened to someone else.

After the marathon, I tried my best to catch up with everything I’d been neglecting.  But over the years I’d been piling up my obligations and there was absolutely no way I was going to be able to give everything the attention it needed and deserved. I found myself pruning things to the bare minimum, house, job, business, kids, everything but the music in fact, and feeling terribly guilty about it.  And in the meantime I wasn’t really exercising any more.

By July I was feeling massively overwhelmed with all my obligations and, the moment I had dropped the kids off at school (almost always late) and shut the door on the world, I would burst into tears from the stress of it all.  If I didn’t burst into tears, I would eat to mask the issues, or go and take a long nap which avoided it entirely.   None of which was especially healthy.

This is where my antenatal teacher training came in handy.  We learn to be reflective practitioners, so when this had been happening a while and clearly wasn’t just a blip, I did at least recognise that it was a serious problem and realise I had to do something about it.  So I got in touch with a CBT counsellor I know.  Over the summer and early autumn, we worked through a lot of issues.  And I mean a lot.

In July and August I did as little as possible.  I let other people take over some of the things that couldn’t be ignored for a while, and left the rest.  In September I did the same, but became more active, taking Zumba classes, and rehearsing for some gigs coming up the next month.  It was a fragile month. I was still quick to tears, but I was feeling a lot better.  In October my music commitments took over. It was very busy, but I was loving being a musician again, and the fragility was starting to fade.

By November I felt GREAT.  I had literally forgotten what it was like to feel normal.  I hadn’t felt this OK in years.  Not since smallest one was born back in 2010.  And this time not just feeling normal and OK, but feeling actually happy.  I have always felt happy when in good company or doing things I love, but prior to this summer I’ve had various feelings of guilt and obligation hanging over me, preventing me from being particularly happy the rest of the time. Stemming back from my senior school. For the first time, I’m feeling happy and content generally.  I’m feeling like a huge weight has been lifted from me.  I’m back into the housework (though it does give way when I have music or antenatal work on the go), I’m not needing to nap, I’m not feeling stressed all the time. So it’s a new, super-squeaky-shiny happy.  I’ve been liberated from all the baggage that was weighing me down and knocking my confidence in myself.

So maybe it’s not surprising that by November I felt motivated to do something that showed the world I was a present and active participant in life, and not hiding from anything.  I felt a strong urge to do something more noticeable.  Eventually those feelings came out in vibrant, pillarbox red hair.  And I have to say, I love it.

I’m still pretty busy.  The house still looks like a tip most days.  But that’s fine.  Because when I do clean it up, I actually enjoy it. I’m loving spending time with my children when 6 months ago I felt guilty doing so, because I felt I should be catching up on everything else. I’ve had to make some serious cuts to the things I love doing.  I’m no longer volunteering in a senior role. my micro-business is in hibernation, and there’s been a number of smaller things I’ve given up on too.  I’ve finally realised I can’t do it all, and that that’s OK. Everything I have done has brought me closer to people, helped others and also been part of my journey to where I am now.

But I feel good. I feel happy.  I feel connected with my family.  I feel fully engaged with my teaching and my music.  I feel alive.  And (especially with my new hair!) I am feeling present in the world.  Maybe in some way, the hair is a celebration of the return of my mojo.

———-

Since the change my hair has had a separate identity.  I no longer refer to it as ‘my’ hair.

And yes!  It’s my first blog post in many, many months. And it wasn’t even a funny one.

I’ll continue to blog sporadically. No promises on timing.  

Peace and love. And other festive wishes too!