I’ve found you find strength in your moments of weakness

My horoscope from last Sunday made me smile – Leo: Moving on is tough if you don’t feel like you’re making any progress — but you are. That is really truer than it sounds. For what seemed like an eternity I’d been struggling to move on from past hurts and betrayals, but I felt like I was mired in place, getting no where at all. Then last year I made major progress, all thanks to a concert I attended when visiting a friend. It’s amusing the places and things that can help you face and overcome your demons. Lately though, I’ve felt like I’ve been stagnant again, not able to move forwards. So that horoscope was perfect in its timing, arriving on a day when I felt hopeless, felt like I wasn’t healing anymore, possibly even felt like I was backsliding. It gave me a much-needed kick in the pants at exactly the right time.

I have very bad knees1 (osteoarthritis, osteophytes2, and chondromalacia patella) and my orthopedist has restricted some of my activities; one of those restrictions is to avoid stairs unless absolutely necessary. At my last appointment when I had a cortisone injection, I mentioned to him that I work on the 10th floor of my building and that we were getting close to “fire drill season”. Since a fire drill means taking the staircase all the way down to the bottom, and I’m not supposed to take stairs, I asked him if there was anything that could be done for me. He wrote me a note that allows me to take the freight elevator with anyone else unable to take the stairs. After that appointment I contacted one of the fire marshalls for my floor, to find out exactly what to do, and to alert them to the fact that I was now to follow these alternate evacuation procedures.

That note finally came in handy this week. Monday afternoon, the fire alarms went off. Someone actually had to tell me3 they were going off, oops? Let me tell you – it was incredibly nice being able to ride the freight elevator down. The last time we had a drill my knees weren’t half as bad as they are now, yet I could barely walk after going down all those stairs. I knew if I had to do it now, I would have issues before making it all the way down, and likely wouldn’t be able to move at all the next day.

Like I said above, if I had been required to take the stairs on Monday – I most likely wouldn’t have been able to walk on Tuesday. But, on the off-chance I had made it into work – Tuesday would have killed me. Tuesday afternoon the fire alarms went off, again. As I was waiting at the freight elevator for the fire marshalls, most of the people who were headed down the stairwell next to me showed their jealousy – calling me a cheater, saying it wasn’t fair, etc. It amused me some, with all the looks & remarks I was getting. But, when the elevator opened and I got on, it was already almost full with very able-bodied people from the top floor who were just flat-out being lazy. On the way down, we stopped on a floor with someone in a wheelchair, and 2 on crutches were waiting, yet none of the execs in the elevator made a move to get off to let the people who truly needed it have their spaces. That kinda saddened/sickened me some. Hell, I feel slightly guilty about taking the freight elevator down, yet I actually need it!


  1. My knees are bad enough that I could request a disabled parking sticker, but my conscience won’t let me do it. I may be barely able to walk on my worst days, but I would feel guilty taking a handicapped spot from someone who needs it even more than me.
  2. Osteophytes are more commonly known as ‘bone spurs’.
  3. I could hear a faint siren, but I usually hear them coming from police/ambulance vehicles outside on the Tollway so I just tuned it out and assumed it was out there again.

Hair, long beautiful hair

For the last several years, my hair has been VERY long – like, almost 2 feet long. I think the average length was 22 inches – that’s all the way down to beneath my waist. The shortest it has been in almost a decade is down to the bottom of my bra band, but it was usually about waist length. Prior to that, a shoulder-length cut is the shortest I ever let it get.

For the last 20-odd years, I just refused to have my hair shorter than that. For the absolute longest time, I HATED the thought of having short hair. That, of course, was rooted in my childhood. When I was about 4 years old, I had beautiful long, straight, light auburn hair, until my mother decided to have it chopped off into one of those Dorothy Hamil hair cuts that most girls had at one point in the 70’s. She kept it cut like that for years, and of course I grew to resent it. In the mid 80’s, she decided she wanted to perm my hair, but I didn’t want a perm. I did, however, see the opportunity to strike a deal with her. If I allowed her to perm my hair, I was allowed to grow my hair out as long as I wanted. That lead to many many years of perms (some bad, some not) and my hair growing longer and longer. My form of bargained rebellion. Haha.

After I got older, I didn’t have to have her “permission” to grow it or get it cut any longer, so I ceased getting perms. (However, many many many years later, my hair still has a residual curl to it from all the perms.) My hair did become a shield, though, and I kept growing it out as a way to hide.

Over the past few years, I’ve been doing a lot of changing on the inside. A lot of growing up and soul-searching and trying to find out who I really am. The last 6 months or so, I’ve finally felt like (and seen) that I was starting to make progress in healing from past emotional wounds and becoming someone new, someone stronger, albeit more jaded. All these changes… I think they finally made me ready to start making some changes on the outside, to reflect the ones on the inside. My hair is the easiest to change, so it was the first to go.

I met with my hair dresser on the 13th to talk about cutting my hair. He’s been wanting to cut it to about 2-3 inches beneath my shoulders for YEARS now. So when I was in his chair for my bang trim, I asked him how short he wanted to cut my hair. He gave me the usual response. My next question was “What if I said you could go even shorter?” He paused, turning me towards him slightly, giving me this total deadpan questioning look. I grinned and added “I’m talking a cut that’s ‘Locks of Love donation’ short.” He got this huge grin and asked when I wanted to get it done. I told him as soon as he could fit in me in for an appointment – his next response was “Well, how about right now?” So yup. I did it.

He pulled my hair back in a ponytail, took an electric razor to it to get through the thickness, and soon enough, I was holding a 13 inch long ponytail in my hand. After that initial chop was done, he cut more off to style it into a cute bob with long layers. So the average length of my hair went from 22 inchecs long down to about 7 inches long. MASSIVE change, but I love it. Absolutely NO remorse at all over the cut. I think a lot of that is because I know my hair will be going to a good cause, since that ponytail is being sent to Locks of Love.

Since the hair cut? I’ve been getting TONS of compliments on it. Various people have told me that it looks sexy, sassy, spunky, cute, mature, and sophisticated; as well as getting told it makes me look younger. Someone said it made me look 10 years younger – but I sincerly doubt I’d pass for 21. I do think it looks good on me, although I’m not sure I agree with all the adjectives that’ve been used to describe it. Haha. The only drawback so far, is that it takes a lot more maintence than my old style. I could let the long hair air dry, brush it out, and I’d be good to go. But this shorter ‘do requires gel and blow drying to straighten it and flip the ends under. It’s all good though, it’s worth it for the way it makes me feel.

I am also a massive packrat. I can’t help it – my father, his mother, her parents, etc – were all packrats as well, so it’s in my blood. I hold on to absolutely everything, no matter how pointless it is to keep it. I’ve been “forced” to clean out the attic the last few weeks, and I’ve been reluctantly trashing things. Since the hair cut, however? I’ve actually been EAGER to clean, throwing away even more than before. It’s as if the outer change to get rid of my safety blanket, so to speak, has made it easier inside for me to let go of material things. I made major strides in cleaning over this last weekend. The only reason I stopped cleaning was because the trash was too full, and I was out of containers to put the recycling or good will items in. It was odd – I was actually upset that I couldn’t clean and trash more. I never want to clean, so that’s very unusual for me.

It’s amazing, really, what something as seemingly simple as a haircut can do for your mood. Now it’s time to dye it, and I’ve got a new color picked out for that as well. A nice light caramel that my hair dresser suggested instead of my normal auburn.