To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee, One clover, and a bee, And revery.
The revery alone will do, If bees are few.
--Emily Dickinson

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Reflections on purple hair

I changed the color of my hair again. No more purple or brassy blond shines from the top of my skull. I'm back to brown with a few well-placed highlights. I'm back to socially acceptable suburban mom hair. I have to admit, I loved my purple locks. It was fun to have hair that could be associated with grape Kool-Aid.
People here in Houston hardly batted an eye at my new hue. Sure, there were a few people who stared. I'd be in the grocery store or cross a parking lot and get an odd look. I would also forget that I had purple hair and think in my internal outraged voice, "What are they staring at!" And then the internal forehead slap, "Right, I have purple hair."
All in all, the odd looks were few. Most people embraced my hair. Strangers would strike up conversations with me who perhaps wouldn't have otherwise. Maybe when you're wearing hair that looks like it should be waving from the back end of a pink plastic pony, it conveys to the idea that you're open to conversation.
In particular, this happened with 20-somethings who would be checking me out at a restaurant or store and at the end of the transaction would suddenly gush, "I just love the color purple!" O-kay. What followed would be a ten minute conversation on everything from their life goals to recommendations on my next hair color. Cobalt or turquoise blue were the most common opinions.
In short, my purple hair didn't just become an outward expression of my angst on suddenly turning 40. It became an opportunity for people to get to know me better and for me to know them. 

Monday, February 3, 2014

I needed to do something different...

Last week I turned the big 4-0. It was a good day, all things considered. At a professional conference, I received a rose from our breakfast waitress. My boss, who had control of the microphone at the conference, lauded me and had a couple hundred pastors sing me Happy Birthday.  A cute Starbucks dude gave me a free frappachino when I hit the road home. The family was glad to see me when I returned and met me with joyous embraces. It was the kind of day that gives you warm fuzzies.

Three days later, I dyed my hair purple.

My new look.
That's right, purple. There's also some gold mixed in for contrast. Why would I do such a thing? Mainly, because I've never done it before. And 2014 is all about new experiences. This year it's about taking risks and trying some things just to see what it's like. Plus, I really like purple. I wanted to do something that would change my outward appearance, something drastic to mark the start of a new year. Sure, I could have gone with piercings or a tattoo, but they seemed a little too permanent. Besides I'm pretty certain that the purple hair will stay as etched in mine and my family's memory as if I etched something in my skin.

When I was a teen, I never dyed my hair any strange colors. Unlike many of my friends, I didn't even try playing with peroxide-induced blonde streaks in my chocolate brown locks. 

So it's part teenage rebellion and part social experiment. Frankly, I wanted to see how other people would react. I've been walking around a couple days with purple hair and the most reaction I seem to garner is from elementary-age girls. Most of them think it's cool, a few scrunch up their faces with the strangeness of it all. Most folks haven't batted an eye. Maybe that comes from living in a metropolitan area, but they've been either too polite or too unfazed to make much mention of it. Of course, those are strangers. I haven't flaunted my purple locks in the workplace yet. I imagine my co-workers and the people I interact with most regularly will have the most to say. 

When I came home with purple hair, the reaction from my loved ones was mixed. Let me acknowledge that I have a loving and tolerant husband who was amply forewarned about the Year of Scheffie. Emma thought it was beyond cool and kept patting my head saying, "My mom has awesome purple hair!" Rose was flabbergasted but has gotten used to it. She's grudgingly accepted it after a day or so. Emma now wants to dye her hair orange. I told her she could dye it whatever color she wanted when she was 40. She's negotiated me down to age 32. I'm good with that.

Next month, maybe I'll learn to skydive. Stay tuned.

Monday, January 27, 2014

2014 and transformation

I'll be honest, 2014 and I are off to a rough start. Before it even arrived, I knew this year would be difficult for me. I'm turning 40. That's right, the big 4-0. And I'm not taking it very well. I am not, as my grandma used to say, aging gracefully. I don't want to age gracefully. What does that even mean? Does aging with grace mean that you calmly accept those things you cannot change? If so, it sounds more like a mantra used in Alcoholics Anonymous. Should I wear turtlenecks? Put my hair up in chignon? Start referring to everyone as dear in conversation? Is this the part where I'm supposed to embrace my inner crone?

Statistically speaking, half my life is probably over. I'll admit the the first half has been great. I've done things I never dreamed possible when I was coming of age in that tiny town in Illinois. I'm married to a handsome and generous man. I have two beautiful children who are turning into sensitive and thoughtful human beings. I've seen my fair share of the world. I've experienced both heart-bursting joy and losses that crushed pieces of my soul. In short, I have lived and loved beyond my wildest expectations. I'm blessed and I know it.

But now I'm turning 40, and I've decided I need to shake things up a bit. I've decided that if I can't age gracefully then I can at least do something that propels me forward.That's why I've decided that 2014 will be a year of transformation. 2014 will be the year of Scheffie. I don't want to be the same person stepping into 2015 as I am now. By this time next year I want to have a wagon load of new experiences and discuss them right here. I've got some ideas about what types of things I'd like to do. I won't share them with you now. It would spoil the surprise. I'll let my mid-life crisis unfold as it will, here on these pages.It's an ever-evolving list  of new experiences anyway.

Suffice to say, I plan to kick 2014's ass.

So let the transformation begin. If I have to turn 40, I'm going to do it my way.