Why does hair define us?

Billy Idol

There are thousands of ways to cope with social/financial/career/romantic setbacks, but mine was to do something radical to my hair, something that was never particularly well-thought out. I have never understood it, but there it is.
The first boy who broke my heart was Nunzio. He had that continental thing going on that looked good to my 16, but in retrospect, he may have the ugliest boy I think I have ever seen. However, he had a really rocking Chevy convertible, a sexy accent, was 21, and my father hated him. Does it get any better?

After a week or two, Nunzio announced to me that I was too young for him, and what he really wanted was to ride the freak train to Nastytown.

I peaked late.

So, off he went, to pursue his dreams of more passionate trysts, but I was left alone, sure that I would never love again.

Then, for a reason still unknown to me, I marched on down to the CVS where I purchased red hair color – AND a body perm.

The hair color was called Maui Sunset and promised a “Natural Reddish/Blonde” – perfect! By nightfall, I would have not only a new look with locks the color of tropical cocktails, but waves, too! Not the stick straight, blonde hair I have always had. I was back in the game, gentlemen!

Well, let me just cut to the chase by telling you that Lucille Ball would not have left her house with this head of steroidal-carrot colored corkscrews. Nor would Harpo Marx, for that matter.

It was disastrous, but my mother, after the hyperventilation abated, wrapped me in a scarf and hustled me to a professional colorist, who saved me from a future as the demo girl for Lay’s Cheeze Curls. I like to think I had some small part in the resurgence of the pixie cut, but that’s another thing.

Years later, after I got fired after a huge misunderstanding about who called who a fat bitch at a corporate shin-dig when things really got ugly. It was a she said/she said sort of thing.

Well, what would any sane and rational woman do after almost killing her career? She goes into a high-end salon on Newbury Street to reinvent herself! This was going to be new, indeed! Edgy, unexpected, NOW!

I had my hair bleached white. and the cut was done by a blindfolded psychopath. I’m not kidding. I was afraid of that woman. If I had curled my lip, I would have looked like Billy Idol. Remember him? And I TIPPED her.

There were other times, not that drastic, but times when I have felt the need to do hair or get a style that I know is wrong. I don’t think I have ever learned what is right. How I would love to have Tim Gunn take me by the hand and gently say that the velour cargo capris were not my friends and to put down the Bedazzler before anyone gets hurt.

I am not a doctor, but I always wondered if I did that stuff because I really thought I would look prettier, or was I punishing myself for not being good or pretty enough.

Well, that’s another one on my list for my therapist.but I’ll put it on the back burner for now. It’s a long list.

About Me

Today, I am 65-years-old – and my feelings upon reaching this milestone?
  – I don’t feel old. I actually feel better than I have in a long time.
  – I have actually learned some things along the way, but was it hard-earned knowledge – much harder than it needed to be.
  – My life is so different than I imagined it would be now.
What I thought was an ending to the most difficult part of life is turning out to be something entirely different than what I had always imagined. Rather than the relaxed and carefree existence I had hoped for, it has turned out to be a time of great challenge.
I want to share some of this with you, and have you share your experiences with me.
When I stopped working, the loss of self-esteem was massive and devastating. It was like a direct hit by a train that I never saw coming. Honestly. It was, and I know that there are many out there who are experiencing the same thing.
I want to talk about lots of issues that retirees face – the shocking loss of identity, the financial change (and ways to alleviate that), health and beauty issues, cooking, art, DIY, alternative ways to alleviate pain and stress, crafts, music, and my passion – animal rescue, dogs in general, and more.
In the past 10 years, my husband and I have lost jobs, had to spend all our retirement to live during the lean times, almost lost our home to foreclosure, filed Chapter 13 bankruptcy, been through multiple illnesses, surgeries, addiction, and major depression/bipolar problems. Mostly me.
How did this happen? We both worked since our early teens, never lived lavishly, saved. We paid our taxes, followed the law, voted. We even recycle, for heaven’s sake!
Well, it did happen. I have spent 4 days on life support during a respiratory coma, had gastric bypass resulting in the loss of 260 pounds, I have been hospitalized for suicidal depression. Those are just a few of the standout lows of the past decade. Make no mistake, I fully admit that some of my troubles are due to some poor decisions on my part.
I tell you all this because I know that there are many out there, suffering, struggling, sometimes unable to take action.. I call this the black hole. The best way I can describe it is to say that when you are paralyzed with depression, and if someone came to you and said that if you could have anything, anything at all, no matter how fantastic, no matter how impossible, you could not name one single, solitary thing that would make you happy. I get it, and it is soul-destroying.
There is hope, and there is light. You can feel better. You can worry less, be more engaged in life, be involved, and discover new interests and passions. You can develop talents you never knew you had.
As I write this today, I can say this with every fiber of conviction in me. I truly believe that if you are alive, you still have a spark within you. You still have the will and you still have the fight. You can pull yourself out of the darkness into the light. That said, we all need a little help.
Once you make a call, whether it is to your general doctor, clergy, your community health service, a friend or family member, a hotline, your local hospital, you have taken the first step. Yes! Now the hard work begins.
I will be talking about how I fought my way back to having a life with meaning, to having dreams again, to not only enjoying things I used to, but finding new interests to pursue.
It is a lot of work – hard, sometimes overwhelming work – but, it is so empowering, and so, so worth it.
I hope you will join me in sharing, and in having a few laughs along the way. In closing, let me quote the great Bette Davis who said, “Getting old is not for sissies.”
Bette knew what she was talking about.