Monday, February 24, 2014

Relationship Ready

I often get asked if my grey hair has changed the type of guys that ask me out. The answer is, surprisingly, no. But no one ever asks me if grey hair has changed the guys I go for and the answer would be, surprisingly, yes. 

All the way up to a few months ago I was attracting the same mix: young pups in their early 20s, guys my age, guys older. Some were super cute, some held my interest as much as dry toast, and some with extended fingers held in a crucifix. I thought to myself what an odd and dynamic mix and was very afraid that all that would remain with my silver hair would be the dry toast undesirables. 

So I started this blog to put my shy self as a guinea pig and face the fears of potential rejection quite publicly. Well, I didn't think any but a few friends would actually read this but then I looked at the audience and was overwhelmed by the global viewing of my insecurities, dramatic blathering, and excitement I had over every inch of silver grown. Ironically, my friends and family don't read my blog but the hits keep coming all the same.    

I was not, as feared, left with just the dry toast but still the young pups, attractive men, older men, et. al. They still come. And then something switched. It took me quite awhile to figure it out but what switched was me. 

I am more comfortable in my skin 
When you are growing out a skunk stripe you deal with stares and you're conscious of every prolonged glance, passive-aggressive remark, etc. Finally you stand up for yourself and own it and the sheeple (sheep-like people) of the world fall in line. Already that makes you more attractive and you realise that even when you have two-toned hair men are attracted to you. 

I stand out 
Never have I had so many cheerleaders as I do now and they keep smiling at me and telling me how much they love my hair. Most people would think that completely weird but I think it's fantastic. How good that feels to have an army of cheerleaders rooting you on (no pun intended). Those constant boosts of confidence have edged out the last dregs of core insecurities because I have a team of men and women telling me more than ever how great the grey looks on me.

I am ready 
If you want to know what your subconscious is creating in your life, look at your daydreams. Mine were always of first encounters. That seems innocent enough but if I'm always thinking about the moment up to meeting someone, I'm focusing on my independence and my not being ready. Add to that the thought of anything long-term bringing instant panic, "Wait! I mean, let's not rush this daydream or anything, let's just take it SLOW (and never really get there)," and I was attracting like to like. I wasn't ready so I would attract the same. 

All of those men from the past were not ready- little 20-year-old pups who pursued me? Obvi not ready and sort of creepy that I could legitamately be a mother to them. Dry toast guys had an odd theme of clinginess and still holding on to the last ex that dumped them. And the highly-smoochable guys were more independent than even I am and always had some level of wall around them. I'll tell you this once you change and no longer need those guys lurking in the background, they start to contact you out of the blue. Hence the need for de-clutering my love life which I did a month or so ago. 

Now that I am ready for a truly committed relationship and looking to my next move North as being much more permanent, the guys I am starting to attract are also in the same place. I went out with someone a couple of weeks ago who is there too. He's open and honest, at a good place in his life, and is really ready for the next phase in his life. Am I interested in taking it to the next level with him? No, but I am very reassured that I am headed in the right direction.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Right Hair Stylist

The importance of this subject cannot be emphasized enough, especially if you are growing out your grey. I have filtered out dozens of stylists and have yet to find one grey-friendly and still cutting edge super stylist- until today.

I started out very nervous about this. The last time I had my hair cut (besides my one-time self-trim) was 7 months ago. I know, but even though it was a good cut, the stylist seemed put out to work on my hair and then didn't listen to my ONE request to not have a high-heat flat iron. "Oh, I have it on medium," she said as she burnt my hair and turned it yellow. No, I still have not let that go and it made me even more timid to see a new stylist and avoid this again.

I had my speech all prepared- I was going to point out that I started running again and want to be able to pull my hair back in a ponytail, I don't like too-short layers on top because I look like a '70s News Anchor, I don't want him/her to flat iron my hair, I'm allergic to hairspray. I spent a couple of weeks compiling the horror stories of past stylists and trying to make my high-maintenance list seem not so high-maintenance. Fail. But this was important because I get intimidated in salons and chicken out anyway so I was hoping to meet half of the items on my list. Usually I rue the day I go to the salon and start the whole process over looking for a new stylist.

Salons have long-been my Achilles heel and I was just praying that a Master Stylist at a top-rated Yelp salon was going to pass the muster.

Enter Michael Knight at Samuel Cole Salon in North Raleigh. He has 28 years of experience and is constantly learning the latest in the industry. I walk I in and he greets me. I'm relieved to see a cool silver and black-striped beard, lots of tats, and a friendly smile that is not glancing at my grey and making a face. I'm still wary as the last Rockabilly salon owner (with his own black and silver hair, tats, and nose ring) told me how much older I would look with grey and there was only one cut that I would be able to do (enter expletive of choice).

But Michael was different, giving a great consultation and was almost as excited about my grey hair as I am. He suggested longer hair for my hair type, how my natural part was falling, what my current and future goals were, and when I would graduate (before my 40th birthday in July- holla!). All-in-all, here was a stylist celebrating my choice with me and absolutely thrilled to see the end result. He saw my progression pics and verified that I looked better with every inch of grey that grew out.

After a great cut, comparing favorite 80's Metal Bands, and my having the courage to ask that he not flat iron my hair (he was on the same page), I left feeling awesome. I have a great cut, an inch less of color on my ends, a great cheerleader, and I feel wonderful. Was it cheap? No, but damn, so worth it! I think the key to remember is that you're saving a ton of money on ditching the dye so splurge and get a great style. After all, you're celebrating  and you need a great style. The time for Super Cuts and cuts that come with a coupon are past. If you're talking about budget and you were coloring your hair all those years, you are saving a ton- put it into a great cut and a great stylist.

These are my after pics from this afternoon. How cool is this, only 3" left!! For those in metric Countries, i.e. everywhere except the US, that would be 7-8 centimeters. The cool part is that for every bit of dyed ends that get cut off, your hair lightens considerably. Every cut thus reveals a new you and you get excited all over again.
Well, I am so elated with this and if you find yourself in Raleigh, give Michael Knight (link above) a call. You might email him anyway and see if he knows and can recommend a stylist in your area. Also, look on CafĂ© Gray under the Gray-Friendly Salon Guide to see about recommended stylists in your area.
Okay, I'm off to paint the town and celebrate my new cut. Have a lovely day, all!!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

De-hoard Your Love Life

Have you ever seen that show "Hoarders: Buried Alive"? If you haven't, it's on par with watching "Poltergeist." Scary. Really scary. So those of us who watch it look on in abject horror, vowing we will never let our homes get to that state. And yet we never evaluate our love lives this way.

If you took an honest assessment of your life, are there exes you're still (maybe just a wee bit) holding onto? If you hesitate, that's a yes. This was an epiphany I had recently. Much like hoarding, it's gradual until one day you wake up and can't find the kitchen. It's also a mental block, holding on to the past as an ideal.

I was asked this question recently and I immediately started to blurt out, "Nooo-wellll, not really." That's a yes. Now, if you haven't forgiven all of your exes and asked for their forgiveness, that's the first step. I've sent apology letters as much as 20 years late, and I let go of any actions they did against me. You can just write and burn letters to them. The overall intent is to release both of you. If it would benefit them to hear an apology, by all means humble yourself and do it! If it wouldn't, then write and burn. One great suggestion was to write an "I'm pissed at you" letter, then write a letter of explanation from their perspective. Often it doesn't go: "Oh you were perfection personified and I was the slug who didn't get it," BUT it does admit their fault, your fault, and takes away any lingering emotion.

I evaluated this a bit further. Is it holding onto someone if you keep their letters, emails? It seems like that's an easy yes but it all depends on the intent. I went through a lot of these old emails. If they weren't 'attagirls' or affirmations that brought good memories, then they were discarded. Nearly all were discarded. A few were kept as memories from an important time in my life, whether it was young adult coming of age or someone helping me through the loss of my mom. Honestly, if this correspondence was lost in a move I wouldn't be heartbroken, but I also feel no attachment to the person writing them.

One might also ask what it means to still be friends with an ex. Again, it's all about intention. There are some exes that I don't want to be friends with. We're at different places in our lives and we don't really help each other grow in a positive direction. No problem, just don't need to keep in touch. Then there are those that I wouldn't want to spend the rest of my life with them, and vice verse, but we are great supportive friends of each other. We remain friends but we also never looked back and there are no "what if" thoughts going on. They're just buddies and I support them finding truly great women to spend their lives with.

So recently I severed all emotional ties with the men of the past and present that weren't really what I was looking for. If there were casual relationships that weren't going anywhere, well they're not going anywhere. If we're willing to be friends then it can go there but if he might want more, gotta let you go. It feels so good, like when you clean out your closet and donate carloads to charity.

Because let's face it, if you know in your soul that someone is not right for you yet you still hold onto some sort of hope, you're carrying around dead weight. And what is that doing to future great men in your life? They'll have to wade through all that crap and they may not make it, just like that hoarding dream I have of not finding the kitchen. It serves no one to carry that weight around- not you, not him, and certainly not any future beaus you may have.

Winter is that perfect time to clean out the clutter. Whatever it takes- writing and burning, deleting phone numbers, emails, etc., or even ceremonial severing any energetic tie to another (I know, I know); but seriously, clear the clutter and start the new year off right.