Letting Go

I think my lesson for 2013 will be in “letting go.”

Letting go of:

anxiety

control

fear

 responsibility for other people’s feelings

insecurity

the cocoon of higher education

other people’s expectations

bad habits

 

This year is a paradigm shift. I’m turning 25 this week- a quarter of a century old. I’m graduating in 4 months, getting married in 8. I can unironically consider myself a grown woman now. But even though part of me is chomping at the bit to start my “real” life,  it’s scary too. Will I be able to handle all of my responsibilities for BLSA (and manage my exec board too)? Will I find a job? Will I get all my assignments in on time? Will my car break down? Will I have another dental emergency? Will I be a financial  burden on my fiance? Will my car break down? I swear, worrying is an unintentional hobby of mine and I could create a litany of things to be anxious about. But that kind of thinking is dysfunctional as well as an utter waste of time.

So much of my life has been spent in defense mode- trying not to repeat my own mistakes, or those of others. But even if I fail (and for me that could mean anything from actual failure, to simply not meeting my own sky high expectations) it’s not the end of the world. I’m young, and I will recover. More than that, I’m blessed. I surely didn’t make it this far all on my own. Tex has a job and is prepared for me to move in and support me while I search for a job- and who knows, I may even have one by graduation because I’ve got a couple of leads already! I’ve made a career out of pessimism and the worst case scenario has yet to happen to me. So why do I continue to carry an umbrella on a sunny day? It’s time to let it go.

Beneath the surface

Beauty and fashion often seem like frivolous pursuits. As a child, I rather disdained them myself; they just weren’t important to me. I’m still a fairly low maintenance kind of woman, but as I’ve gotten older I realize why they’re so important.

Obviously, people judge you based on your outward appearance. But the real kicker is how your appearance displays what you feel about yourself. I won’t expound on that because I know you all have heard it before, it’s not a novel concept. It really hit home to me recently though. I’m on the brink of a massive life transition–next year I will be done with law school (FOREVER praisetheLordhallelujah!!! *church stomp*), move in with Tex and get married. From May 11, 2013 onward my life is a blank page. What will I fill it with? Who do I want to be? Certainly not the modest-bordering-on-timid girl that my current wardrobe makes me out to be. After a life spent trying to blend in, I’ve realized that standing out is okay sometimes and I’m slowly but steadily making adjustments. A little sparkle on the neck or wrist never hurt anyone. Not all dresses and skirts are impractical and uncomfortable. And there’s a wonderful middle ground between high heels and hi-tops that makes me feel positively chic. 🙂

But then there’s my hair. I dyed it yesterday. I got caramel brown highlights when I did my Big Chop last summer. I liked them, but as soon as I got them I couldn’t wait for them to grow out. Since my grays were showing and I only have 1-2 inches of highlights left since I never touched them up, I dyed it. I was thrilled when I looked in the mirror. The highlights just gave me a lightness that I don’t feel. Mysterious, sophisticated black is my natural hair color and I’ve always been in love with it. However, there are other things that aren’t so easily changed or reversible. I struggle with being natural because the unruly cloud that grows  from my scalp is at odds with how I envision myself. I’ve flirted with the idea of being wild and bohemian, but the idea of trying on that persona is like putting on a clown suit to me. “Not I,” said the cat! Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate my natural hair. I don’t think it’s ugly or that there’s anything inherently wrong with it…it just doesn’t feel like me.

Now, there are some practical considerations. I don’t miss the chemical risks associated with relaxers, but then again…. surely 3-4 relaxers a year can’t be more damaging than putting a 16-20% concentration of aluminum on my underarms everyday. I drink bottled water & use reheatable Ziploc food storage. Ya know? And funny enough, while people complain about what humidity and sweat does to their perms I have a far more difficult time maintaining my twists & twist-outs than I ever did my perm. I have spent as much or more money trying to find hair products that work on my natural hair, than I did on a bimonthly relaxer at the salon. (Let’s not even talk about how much it costs for weave & braids.) And the time commitment is ridiculous too! I used to be able to wash & dry my hair in one hour, and it only took longer if I got fancy with a roller set. Every hour I spend on my hair is an hour less I can spend on cooking, exercising, or simply relaxing.

So I’m at a crossroads. I’m going to give it another month before I do anything irreversible, but I really think a perm might be best for my lifestyle. I guess the real question is, why does it even matter?