The thing for ladies to do these days is put shocks of pastel in their hair. You see it everywhere, across race and class lines. Lilacs and pinks and teals and robin egg blues. A sea of bobbing cotton candy, as far as the eye can see.
Not me. It reminds me too much of my high school, where girls would bleach their hair with peroxide and use Kool-Aid paste to color it a rusty red-orange when their mothers wouldn’t buy them real hair dye.
This morning I colored my own mop brown. Just plain old brown, like it used to be, before the grey crept in. It started taking over last year. It’s hard to say if it was circumstantial or if it’s just age. Maybe both.
I remember being so upset with my mom while I was a pre-teen when she openly contemplated coloring her greying hair. I felt like it was a betrayal of who she really was. My mom had this beautiful, lightly salt-and-peppered head of impossibly curly hair. Hugely curly hair. My mom wasn’t the sort of woman who was preoccupied with capturing and holding her youth hostage. My mom was aging beautifully and would never try to fool anyone. That’s what I thought at the time. That hair color was a lie.
I was a kid. I didn’t have any idea that the years would come for me too, some day, before I was ready.
Now, of course, I would tell my mother, “Do whatever you want! Be happy! Be free!” Life’s too short to let a sullen pre-teen make your decisions for you.
Mom never did color her hair. Still never has. Now it’s nearly all grey. Still huge and curly. Beautiful, of course, just like her.
As for me? I’m addicted to the boxed stuff. I battle the creeping grey invasion every few months with a new box, a new set of disposable gloves, a new chemistry set inside. Sometimes I think I’ll just leave myself be and let nature take its course and try to live like one of those fabulously sophisticated women with long, grey locks. But I am not those fabulously sophisticated women. I am still trying to get comfortable in this earthbound body and here it is changing shit up on me.
The grey got to me before I was ready. I’ve got to beat it back, like a fire. I’ve got to live the lie. The lie for me is more true than the grey.
My mom said something to me a few months ago, right after I had made the leap to move into my own place and try to start a new, better life.
She said, “Linz, you don’t know what it’s like to have a man love you. You’ve not had it yet. When it happens, though, you’ll know it.” She said it with frustration. Not toward me, but toward all the men in the world who’ve hurt her baby girl.
And at the time it was sort of like Ouch, Mom, but I knew what she meant.
And she was right.
I had no idea what it was like to feel completely comfortable in my own skin while in a relationship. To feel my own agency and worth but to want constantly to be a better person, a better partner, because I want to make his life better too. The feeling of being a team.
Not to say insecurity isn’t always there, creeping around and poking its head in periodically. But to live without the constant drumbeat of anxiety and instead have it replaced by a safety net of love and acceptance? Incredible.
I am grateful.
This song says more than I am allowed to.
I ran out of white dove feathers
To soak up the hot piss that comes from your mouth
Every time you address me
We got walloped the morning of Jan. 22. The forecasts had all predicted the white stuff would gear up after noon, but it started in earnest around 7 a.m. and blanketed the city with upwards of 8 inches some places. My commute to work was treacherous, and took me more than an hour. Part of that hour was spent idle on Rosa Parks, stuck behind a procession of cars and trucks that couldn’t get up an icy hill. People were out of their cars, pushing. I waited under an overpass (strategically, so I wouldn’t get buried in the snow that was still falling around us) until finally there was enough room between stalled cars for me to give it a go. I made it. My other option was to abandon my car, which I considered briefly. Not a great feeling.
Anyway, for as scary as it was, it really was quite beautiful. I was so excited to get Holden from his dad’s so that he and I could play in it, but he was not all that into it. “Let’s play in the snow!” I said. “And build a snowman!” He scrunched up his face. “Maybe later. I want to go inside where it’s warm.” And just like that, my 4-year-old turned 40.
Here’s a gallery of photos, taken over a couple of days.
You probably would expect to see a tumbleweed roll through here before you’d expect to see an actual, substantive post from me. That’s fair.
However, I want to stop and take note of something. It’s this weird feeling I haven’t felt in a long time. I almost hesitate to acknowledge it publicly for fear that speaking it to the Universe will prompt its evaporation. Poof. Gone just as quickly as it appeared. But I’m going to chance it, because I want to give thanks for the two things I’ve been feeling a lot of lately:
Love and happiness.
This year has been brutal in many ways and the hard stuff isn’t over yet. It probably won’t be for a while. But I have lucked out and landed myself some unexpected good stuff too, somehow. Stuff I haven’t felt in a long, long time and in some cases at all. So I want to keep it to myself and hide it under a blanket so no one will take it away from me. Selfish? So be it.
Let me savor this, after years of starving.