I remember being in my therapist’s office early last year, telling her that one of my worst fears is that I come across as being unapproachable. Between the “I’m constantly cold, so I cross my arms” stance to my quiet nature when surrounded by strangers, I’ve long feared that people would think I was just a unapproachable witch and to stay far away.
And then my red hair happened.
My natural hair color is a mousy brown color that I’ve long since abandoned. Thanks to trusted hair stylists, I’ve been brunette, blonde, pink-streaked, purple-streaked, and highlighted to kingdom come since high school. The red hair was something I’d always wanted to try and when I emerged from my stylist’s chair 2 years ago with these gingery locks, I knew I was hooked.
As I’ve grown my hair from a coppery chin-length mushroom cut in 2016 to the midway down my back fiery mane it is now, I’ve noticed that my hair has become my invitation for conversation. I rarely go a few days without strangers saying something about my hair. It sounds oddly vain to be talking about it, but I also noticed it was the hair that debunked my personal mythology that I wasn’t approachable.
Clearly, if random strangers were telling me they loved my hair, then I was approachable, right? My theory about being standoffish couldn’t be that true if everyone and their cousin stopped me to compliment my hair.
Life, or Something like it
This past week, the man I call Dad (biologically my stepdad, but emotionally, my Dad) was in the hospital. He’d been dealing with spinal and nerve issues and we’d confined the details to just family for a while. When the news came that he’d need to have spinal surgery, suddenly everything seemed daunting.
I’d compartmentalized myself so well that I’d barely even told my best friends what was going on. Holding everything in — like I typically do — wasn’t serving me very well.
Newsflash: Holding it in never works, yet it’s a reoccurring theme in my life.
So I did what most Generation X’ers in this day and age do and I took it to Facebook to ask for thoughts and prayers. I was almost stunned by the number of people who offered support.
I tend to operate in the mentality that I’m an afterthought to most people. Whether that’s true or not is up for debate (and by all means, debate me on it), but I’ve grown used not being on the forefront of people’s minds. This is a huge contributor to my Zero F**ks Given attitude about most situations. After all, do unto others as they do to you, right?
But seeing the outpouring of emotion in the last week has prompted me to adjust my tune a little. I’ve tried to pay back the heartfelt thoughts and prayers with some of my own.
I’ve had a few friends this same week with some personal turmoils that I’ve tried to offer similar support for. I realized how much I’ve appreciated the smallest cheers….From the text messages my friends have sent asking me how my Dad is to those who have watched me from the sidelines to make sure I wasn’t breaking down into tears when out in public, it’s been a great lesson in giving and receiving support and friendship.