At Least I have Longer Hair Now

2 01 2018

In 2017, I quit my job of 3 years, went to Burning Man, fell in love, went on road trip through the desert with lover, fell out of love while on said road trip, came back, wrote a book in a month, and then sat around and stared out the window until the year ended. I wasn’t meditating or having some deep existential breakthrough, I was literally just staring out a window.

It was a weird year.

At the beginning of the year I gave myself a theme, 2017 would be the year of patience. I would track my patience by growing out my hair and not dyeing it–this seems like a simple task for most people sure, but I am the type of person who snips and colors every month just to change it up. January found me with barely any hair on head, shaved on the sides with about an inch or two on top. (I had clearly been snipping at it for awhile.)

short hair

2016 Hair

I’m happy to say that I made it to the end, my hair is now almost to my chin, yet even though I have a symbolic representation of my theme, I’m not entirely sure having a theme helped that much.

Or maybe it did.

The reason why I chose patience, to begin with, had to do with my anger issues. The daily injustices and the real shit dramas that have accumulated over time that have helped shorten my fuse; I mostly respond by retreating, hiding in my room, stewing, letting it simmer, letting it boil, acting out with self-destructive behavior because I’m mad at myself the most.

I should have been smarter, should have saw it coming, should have done something about it etc. these ideas play in my head over and over becoming nearly paralyzing in nature.

So I run.

I go outside, no music, no podcasts, and I run the anger away. I run nearly every day and I’m still mad.

Yet, I’m patient with myself. I tell myself this anger will not last forever. That I must harness the energy of it. That I must channel that anger into something useful and not just use it to rage out on the hundreds of drivers in Colorado who don’t seem to know how to operate the cars that they drive. I am patient with myself for not being patient.

I pull at a strand of hair and watch myself becoming more and more irritable. I hold on to it, I take a breath, I wonder how many more days are left in the year so I can stop paying attention to how impatient I am.

So, I’ve gotten somewhere at least. I’ve gotten to the point where I can see myself and that seems like a pretty important skill to possess. I notice the irritability, the anger, the unnecessary clapbacks quicker than I used to. It doesn’t always stop an outburst from happening, but it’s almost as if I’m not attached to it anymore. That I can see it as a pattern of behavior that’s reactionary, that happens because that’s how I’ve been reacting for so many years, yet I no longer see those reactions as belonging to me.

I know that they do. But I also know that they don’t have to. That eventually I will feel the old impatient me coming up to the surface and I can stop her, I can replace her with a different storyline.

Undoing 30+ years on reacting one way with another may, in fact, take longer than 365 days, but I’m a bit closer than I was before and now I can put my hair up in a ponytail and (soon) whip it in people’s faces if they’re annoying me in a bar–so there’s that.

long hair

One whole year of growing hair out, so patient in 2017.

What’s in store for 2018? I’m contemplating the art of discipline. Self-control. Motivation. Hoping the patience I gained from 2017 will help, only time will tell….

 

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