Sunday, May 21, 2017

Quiet Time

There's nothing like Saturdays with friends: shopping, catching up, impromptu barbecue lunches, laughs and ice cream to cap it all off!

But before all that, I love to go where it's quiet, nothing but the birds chirping. I'm so lucky that my favorite spot is just a short drive away, and that the birds are making their way back to Tennessee right on schedule!

Here are some of the latest I've seen this year, some all new to me!

Birdie Hobby

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Purple Hair, Don't Care?

I was so excited about what I was about to do. I'd been inspired by other bloggers and photos of brave women who had done it. After searching Pinterest posts and Google images for weeks, I just knew I had found the look I'd been looking for.

Before last Tuesday, I did not have a regular stylist. So I scheduled an appointment online with Dyllan at Gould's Overton Square. I Facebook stalked her and discovered she had done other fun colors for clients, so I wasn't quite as nervous.

That day I worked my full overnight shift and arrived at the salon early. Dyllan and I looked at the photo of my dream head of hair, talked about how pumped we both were, and the show got on the road.

Hour one: Root coverage to deal with my unruly grays, foils to remove my normal hair color and make way for what was to come.

Hour One
Hour two: Foil removal, rinse, text friends heinous pics of the process, and application of the new shade.

Hours three-four: Another rise, more selfies, trim, blow dry, smooth out, and crazy amounts of gratitude!

The end result? Purple! Lots of purple!

As I watched the whole thing play out in the giant mirror in front of me for nearly four hours, I fell in love with the end result. But I was not prepared for another emotion to creep in: fear.

Suddenly, seeing it all in living color, I was scared of being in public. I was afraid of how people would react to the purple. And a nagging voice inside demanded to know, "What would your father say?" He knows I have a small tattoo, which I know he's not crazy about, but this? This was not remotely discreet.

I had never felt so hair aware.

Day One: I left the salon and met with friends for a quick hair huddle. The first outward indication that I was freaking out inside was my response to positive feedback.

"You're lying!" I shouted, the words flying out of my mouth before I could control them. Emotional and irrational probably sum it up best.

Day Two: Work was okay. I got compliments and suggestions for styles, but the fear had not subsided, lingering just below the surface. I felt compelled to make excuses for my new do, telling people things were not what I envisioned, and how I might change it all again. My mind could only conjure up a skewed vision of what was happening on my head: a frizzy purple mess mixed in with too-dark "natural" color. I felt very goth-like and I wasn't happy about it. My warped thinking was only validated when I caught a look from across the room that said it all. I ran back to my own desk to hide from a coworker, who sat mouth agape and made no comment.

I washed my hair that night for the first time and watched as a stream of pale lavender disappeared down the drain.

Day Three:  I took my new hair out to lunch with friends and finally forgot how self-conscious I felt. I caught my reflection a few times and had to do a double-take, not recognizing myself.

Day Four: Rain. Humidity. Frizz.  I hit the gym for a few miles on the treadmill where I felt empowered for the first time since leaving the hair chair. Maybe it was because I was doing something empowering? I walked back into the locker room and loved the flush in my cheeks from working out and the sweaty wet hair stuck to the back of my neck.

Day Five: Back to work after the weekend. My overnight partner commented that my hair looked like it was finally starting to blend. I faked gratitude, knowing he was just trying to be supportive of all the negative things I had said of myself last week.  I think I'll go back to the gym.

Day Six:  Playing with styles. Up? Down? I do like the way it looks pulled back into a purple ponytail. I sat in a staff meeting and was convinced I would never be taken seriously again.

Day Seven:  The first day I felt totally secure! I don't know why I haven't done it yet, but today, I surfed over to one of my favorite blogs, written by a Cleveland girl with a head of fabulous green hair. Hers was my biggest inspiration. She makes it look so stunning and effortless, like its easy walking down the street wearing your individuality like a crown. The Dainty Squid has a look and style all her own and I admire her for it. And suddenly I remembered, hey, so do I! I don't seek validation for any other decisions in my life, why am I so hung up on this one?

What I learned after seven days of beating my confidence black and blue... is that I love my new purple hair! I have no idea how long I will keep it or whether I will try a different color in the future. But for today, I think it's fun. The past week has been an intense reminder for me and anyone else who can relate, that the only person who can strip you of your confidence is you.

And the most important opinion of my hair, my life and myself... is mine alone.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Doing The Zoo

There was almost a real zoo in my hometown. In early 1987, city leaders launched a campaign to build one with the slogan "Do The Zoo!" It seemed like a good idea to a ten-year-old: animals, and... animals. I didn't know where the menagerie would come from, but I was okay with putting them all in pens and going to visit them on occasion.

I don't know what else was going on in Shreveport in 1987, but this zoo business was huge. It was going to be big on somebody's ballot, and in Louisiana every year is an election year. There were posters, bumper stickers, and buttons. My entire fourth grade class had green T-shirts with yellow lettering proclaiming we were all in favor of "doing the zoo," as if twenty-something ten-year-olds were going to be the swing votes on the issue. We all wore them on the same day once, a show of solidarity. There was likely a group photo. We were all educated on how great a zoo would be for our local economy. It was a solid platform. We were sold!

The real mystery was how and where I actually acquired that shirt. I have no memory of going home to my parents and explaining to them the fiscal importance of bringing grizzly bears to the sweltering north Louisiana heat and putting them behind bars, though I assume it was my duty to share the message, having been brought to the front lines in the fight, dressed for zoo success.

My parents had taken us to the zoo in San Antonio a few years before the great campaign of 1987. We spend a long time laughing at a baby rhinoceros and later, my brother and I rode an elephant. Beyond that, we were not a "do stuff together" kind of family but I was smart enough to know that "doing the zoo" meant we might have the chance.

By May of 1987, school was out, my wearable propaganda was probably at the bottom of the laundry pile (where it likely had been for weeks), and voters had decided not to do the zoo. And it's a safe bet that I came to my senses about the whole spending time together plan. My brother and I would likely have ended up in a wolf enclosure, our parents so utterly exhausted by our bickering that they would have left us there to either become dinner or assimilate (the latter more likely as my brother and I were often uncivilized children).

No longer behaving like I was raised in a wolf pack, I'm a huge fan of zoos. I especially love when children get to "do the zoo," their eyes wide when they are truly amazed by magnificent creatures and nature's awesomeness. You just know they're not faking those "wow" moments when they come face to face with a giant hippo, only glass standing between them.

And I love the peaceful parts. Wandering through the Memphis Zoo today, there were many of those moments among the crowds, when I focused on the sounds of the singing birds, the gentle nudge of a giraffe reaching for the lettuce in my hand, the slippery skin of a stingray as it swims in a circle, and the smells of funnel cake and sugary snow cones.

I wonder if anyone brought up that stuff in 1987.

My First Trip to the Memphis Zoo