Another Monday, Another Blog

It’s Monday again. Don’t go overboard with the joy.

Had a great weekend travelling and dancing. Got my hairs all chopped off on Thursday evening. 

The haircut has been an interesting transition. I’ve been wanting a change for a while and the 13 inches I cut off in late winter just weren’t cutting it! (pun intended…) I finally made the decision to just take the plunge and give short hair a shot. I was super nervous about how it would look and if I was making a huge mistake, but ultimately I decided to go for it. 

I had all kinds of encouragement from Facebook friends and supporters who reminded me that it’s just hair. Hair grows and changes all the time. Hair is a great place to experiment because you can just make a different choice next time. 

I grew up in a family and culture where long hair on women was expected and praised. We had no restrictions about cutting hair, but just a mild cultural context saying that keeping it long was more appropriate. Men all around me make comments about how attractive long hair is to them. All of these societal norms weigh heavy on my decision making abilities. There is also the fashion idea that longer hair is better for bigger ladies because it takes away from the roundness of your face and body. 

To top off all of this pressure, I’ve always kind of relied on my hair to be my distinctive feature. Long, crazy, curly hair seemed to fit my personality. Unpredictable hair for an unpredictable girl, right? 

As I explore more and more of the ideas I have always held dear, my hair became a focus. I have typically not wanted to rock the boat, preferring to stick to more classic styles and behaviors. But recently I have wanted to make huge waves that pull out every bit of stale thinking. I want to at least look at everything so that I can make decisions as to what to keep and what to lose. I believe in living an examined life, so I better be examining. 

So current responses to my haircut have been positive for the most part. Mom was a little freaked out by it, but resigned to “if you like it” status fairly quickly. But then I realized that almost no one is going to be harsh and bold enough to make a negative comment about a change this big, especially any one who has known me and my hair for very long. 

I’ve gotten quite a few comments about it being “cute” or “sassy” as well as a few people saying that this is “really you.” I’m not at all sure how to take the “really you” comments. I appreciate the support of those who understand my desire to “find myself” in this process. I’m just not sure how well hair can define me. I always felt like the long hair did this, but am somehow not comfortable with the short hair defining me. There are some fairly deep seated concepts about short hair hanging around in the back of my mind, and I’m afraid to really work through them right now. 

“Cute” is an interesting one. I was very worried about a haircut like this making me either too young or too old looking. Cute tends to make me feel like I look too young. But, realistically, why should hair define age? I’ve always admired my great aunt Pearl who had a fully white and grey pony tail and braid when I was young. I remember as I grew up thinking about how much I wanted to be like her and love my grey hair. I can assure you, I don’t love my grey, which has begun to make appearances WAY too early, in my opinion. 

I have enjoyed using headbands and flowers to style my short hair. Again, my concern is looking too young. Obviously, kind people are unlikely to point these kinds of things out, but so far no terrible comments. One friend said that the white flower I had pinned to the side, holding back my bangs, was “me” in just the right way. I think I could really work with being the girl with the flower in her hair. It seems so carefree and whimsical, definitely things I could handle being classified as. 

The “sassy” comment is the one plaguing me most. I’ve used it to describe my new ‘do myself, so I am to blame for in this regard. It seems sassy. It feels sassy. I just don’t know if sassy is something I want to exude. Again, I think my upbringing is lending a hand in this mindset. I was raised holding to the concept of a “gentle and quiet spirit” being the ideal for a woman. “Meek and mild” are other words I’ve been told were to describe a good woman. These have always been a challenge for me. I’ll dive into this topic in the future. 

All this to say, I’m still not sure how I feel about my hair. I enjoy the change. I enjoy having less hair. I have to think about styling it a bit more than before, but I think this will be good. I can’t put it in a ponytail, so I won’t be defaulting to what was ultimately not a flattering style. I do feel like it has been a positive change, I’m just not sure of all the changes yet. 

Guess that’s all for today’s musings. 

See you out there!

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Finding my voice – in my hair!

I’m supposed to talk about Theology in some way today, but have no desire to go there today. I may have to drop this topic. I just really don’t feel like this blog is the place for it. I’ll come back to it when it is an important part of my personal growth. 

Today I am getting my hair cut. I will be going to a salon, sitting in a chair, paying a hair stylist and getting my hair cut short. This is a big deal for me. 

You may remember my hair long. Like this the one above. Or shorter like this:

Today, I’m going short. I’m hoping for the last one (that’s not of me…) 

Time will tell what it will really look like, but I’m hoping for a bohemian, cute, easy to style, funky, fun ‘do. 

Now for the why. My mom loves my hair long. Her hair has always been about shoulder length. I’ve kept it fairly long, with the occasional chop. But I’ve never been willing to go “all off.” I remember seeing the stories of Kerri Russell from the ’90’s  tv show Felicity after her she cut all her hair off. What a bold move!

I’ve decided to live my own life and quit making excuses for not making decisions. I’ve always wanted to cut my hair short and now’s the time. I’ll post pics on fb and here eventually. Thanks for your support. 

See you out there!

Welcome to July!

I missed a blog on Tuesday. Sorry folks. I may try to write an extra at some point, but not today.

Today’s blog is about dancing. Indy Contra was lucky enough to have an extra dance this week. We had a Sunday afternoon dance in our regular spot, Grove Haus, with the Coffee Zombies. The lovely and talented Lauren Peckman called the dance. Several out-of-towners were able to come visit for the day, which always brings a smile. Last night was our regular Tuesday dance with an open band. We were grateful to have some talent come from the surrounding communities to play in an AMAZING open band. 

I’ve scheduled quite a bit of dancing for the next few weeks. Over the holiday weekend I’m dancing Friday evening in Louisville and Saturday evening in Lexington. The following weekend I’ll be travelling to Nashville, TN to dance to The Ripples. 

All this travelling and dancing really has my wanderlust running. The more I travel, the more I want to travel. I’m pulled by the wonderful people I’ve met at all the area dances. Wouldn’t it be great to just leave it all behind, travel the country, and dance along the way!?!

One beautiful thing about Contra is the freedom I feel inside a dance. I enter each dance with a partner. We take hands and line up with the other couples. But the beauty to me is that I do not belong to my partner as the dance progresses. My partner and I share each other with the rest of the dancers. We dance together in each set, but we also dance with everyone else we encounter.

Some partners will gently place my hand in the hand of my next neighbor. I love the feeling of being led into the next “relationship” or experience. My partner enjoys the time we share but also enjoys sharing me with the others. 

I long for this in life. I hope to find a life partner with whom I can experience each new encounter, enjoying our time together and also relishing the beauty of sharing life with the rest of humanity. 

Dance teaches me so much about life. Thanks for indulging my wandering mind!

See you out there!

Monday’s musings.

Computer at work was broken so I’m just now getting to blogging. Hope you didn’t miss me too much. 😉

So today I was thinking about how hard it can be for us to stand up for ourselves. Even when we are adults and can defend ourselves, we continue to find ourselves struggling with what others will think of our decisions. I was hanging out with my 85 year old grandma this evening and even she was complaining about the pressure she was feeling for others. She was having trouble making her own decisions because of how her KIDS would react. Seriously! If she can’t make up her own mind, what hope do I have at nearly 1/3 hr age?

This morning on my way to work I had an experience that sums up my current mental torment. I drive through beautiful Brown County to my office in downtown Nashville, IN everyday. The road twists and turns through the hills of Brown as they call them. Deer are a common sight. This morning there were 3 “teenage” looking ones in a field to the right. As you would expect, they started running across the road just as I came upon them. I was watching carefully and was able to slow sufficiently. What made me take the most notice was the composition of the group. One ran ahead and was nearly across. One stopped before crossing. The third, however could not decide which way to go. Stuck between safe and dangerous, he just looked back and forth.

This is me. This has always been me. I know that crossing could be dangerous, but would also be tons of fun. Stuck in the middle, I know both sides would be upset if I didn’t follow their lead. The problem is that the indecision of this poor deer is what always get him hit. What kind of repercussions come from not making a decision?

Anyway, that’s what I’m musing about today.

See you out there!

I will not miss 2 days in a row.

Life is hard. Even when things are seemingly going your way, sometimes it all sucks. That’s kinda where I’m finding myself. (Also, I’m a girl with emotions I’m having trouble controlling.)

I skipped out on writing yesterday because I was a little afraid of what might come out. I don’t want to scare you all off already! But I will not skip a second day. I know it would be the end of this endeavor.

So here I am. Nothing fun to write about to fulfill the topic, but I’m here. I’m still a little afraid of what might come out if I pry too much. So I’m sorry if this is a bit surface. I’m writing from my phone, so formatting might be off. 

I’m struggling most with loneliness and feeling unfulfilled. Even though I have great friends and a good job, these two issues keep resurfacing. I’m an action oriented person but I can’t figure out what to do.

I’ll get deeper into these things in the future, but I wanted to get it out there for now.

See you out there!

Wednesday – Dance Topics

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The schedule says I’m supposed to talk about dance topics today. I’m not sure that I will have enough topics for all the Wednesdays, so please offer me some other things to go with Dancing. 

Since this is the first Wednesday, I do have some things to talk about for now. 

I love dance. Dance has taught me so much over the years. I have been swing dancing for 15 years and just took up contra dancing in April. I would definitely not qualify as a great dancer, but I do love it. I think a lot while I’m dancing, too much sometimes!

I love the patterns in dance. As a math teacher I guess I can play the nerd card here. Contra dancing, especially, has amazing patterns. I would love to see someone map out the path a single dancer takes over the course of a dance. Contra dancing is constant spinning and passing. The pattern is repeated with each new set of neighbors as you make your way up and down a long line of couples. 

A little about contra dancing since many of you have probably never heard of it. NPR once called it “swirly awesomeness” which I would say summarizes it fairly well. A little like a square dance, a line dance, a swing dance and a social encounter all mushed into 5 minutes or so, contra dancing has stolen my heart. 

My contra affair started on April 1st. I must have decided that I should find something to make a fool of myself at, so I looked up and dance group and went for it! I instantly knew that I was hooked. For each dance I take the hand of a partner, decide who is going to lead and “take hands four” as the band settles in. The caller gives a series of moves that we practice with those nearest us. They are called our neighbors. Once the band starts, we jump right in. Trying to remember my left and right hands correctly, we swing, alamande, gypsy, do si do, or one of a few other moves. A simple walking step takes us through each move. Swirling is inevitable and the best way to avoid dizziness is to stare deep into the eyes of whoever you happen to meet for that move. Swing with this one, alamande with the other, slide left, circle to some other position and start again. My partner, the one I started the dance with, stays with me through out the dance. I know that if I ever get hopelessly lost, I can find my partner and swing until we figure out where to be. The two of us progress through the dance together, meeting others only briefly. 

There are several stories I will relay over time in regards to this beautiful dance. The acceptance, compassion, joy and love that I have experienced in these wood floored dance halls has changed my life in just a few short months. 

That’s enough for tonight. See you out there!

Tuesday – Traditions

Today’s topic, per my post about having a schedule (here) suggests that today I will breakdown a tradition. This does not require that I rap or rhyme in any way. I just want us to take a deeper look at something we probably all hold dear in some way. 

I was raised with lots of traditions. Some traditions are so integrated that we might not even recognize them as traditions. For me, these are things that we do not have a direct command from the Bible for, but are expecting none the less. 

Today’s topic: Modesty. I’ll probably hit this one several times, but here are today’s thoughts. 

This story When Suits Become a Stumbling Block has been travelling around facebook as of late. A wonderfully funny satire discussing what it might look like if we called out men on some things that might make us women lust. 

Modesty discussions usually come around to men being visual and women offering them too much to view. The general attitude is that women need to be careful what they are advertising, so as not to cause a man to stumble in regards to their clothing choices. This tradition is used to rule out things like shorts (of any length), sleeveless shirts, jewelry, yoga pants, pants in general, etc. But I have a feeling that the issue goes much deeper than a choice in clothing. 

The larger issue, in my humble opinion, is that we have been trained to see one another as commodities for using to obtain our own goals. This is a problem for both genders, and what I believe the article above speaks to exactly. Women are told not to dress provocatively so that men will not lust after them. This is based on the idea that men are visual and want what they see. Women, however, are told that they are not visual and that nothing men could wear would entice them inappropriately. The article mentioned offers men in suits as an example of where that mindset breaks down. 

Women are, supposedly, looking for security and provision as a part of their human nature. They are, by nature, needing a man to provide those things. In our culture, a suit is the uniform of men able to provide these things. So, because of our frail nature, we as women might be prone to lust after a man dressing in the garb of our needs. 

I’m going to stop there before I barf or punch someone. The problem is that we have been told, by society not nature, what our needs are and how to find fulfillment for them. Both men and women are influenced by what we see and experience on a daily basis. Does this mean that we should completely withdraw from modern society? Not in my opinion. But it does mean that we must question what society is teaching us. We must be raising children who are able to question what they see and hear and who can combat gender stereotypes head on! 

I absolutely believe that men and women are in our very nature different, but I also believe that each PERSON is created unique. How can we lump everyone into 2 categories? 

My issue with the tradition of anyone assigning modesty ratings to apparel for another person is that we must look beyond the clothing itself and question the society that places value in one area over another. 

Do I believe that we can forsake all modesty and that anything goes? NO! I do think about my clothing choices carefully to figure out what message they might be sending to those who will have to view me in them. But I also question where those messages might be coming from before they get to me. 

I could rant on this for days, but I think that’s enough for now.

As a random side note, I had the opportunity to work as a COB (Civilian on the Battlefield) at an active military base a few years back. They dressed me up as an Iraqi civilian and we trained soldiers in what they might experience. I was trained in how to wear full hijab during this time. I was covered, head to toe, ankle to wrist, and everything in between. Not a bit of my form was exposed. And yet I learned from the Iraqi men working with us that I was more attractive in hijab than in my street clothes. Their society had told them to want a fully covered woman. And if you ever need ideas about headcoverings, I can wrap a scarf like nobodies business!

That’s all for now. 

See you out there!