Musings: Grow Grow Grow / Long Long Long

Monday, April 18, 2016

Hi everyone. This post evolved quite a bit as I worked on it today. I've had a lot on my mind the past few months, and that came out as I was writing this today. It began as a brief post on my recent visit to the salon, but it soon evolved into something much more involved.

Upon reading it now, I think the two pieces of the post - the original, somewhat light-hearted idea, and the more intensive, soul-searching conclusion - share a common thread: self-worth, and self-awareness. I hope you find it worthwhile.

 Apologies for the radio silence the past few weeks. It's been extremely busy in my little corner of the world recently. Things really should be calming down a bit very soon (I hope), and I'll be able to do longer posts once they do.

For now I wanted to share a few pictures from my most recent visit to the salon. I get my hair done every two months or so. In this case, because my stylist J had to reschedule twice at the last moment, it was 10 weeks between visits. As you can imagine, my hair really, really needed this visit!

I love getting my hair done, for reasons I'm sure everyone reading this can understand. Being at the salon and knowing I belong there is a wonderful feeling. The entire staff always makes me feel welcome - just as they do for all of their regular clients. And I guess that's the point; they think of me as a regular. No more, no less. I make it a point to remind myself to not take that for granted, ever.

J always does a great job, but after finishing the color, she said she wanted to make up for the two cancellations and "really go to town" (as she put it). :c)

My hair is naturally curly, but she wanted me to get some ideas for possible curly looks that involve more than sticking my head under the faucet in the morning and throwing it up in a bun (my standard approach). lol

As you can see, she truly outdid herself:

I could not believe how it looked when she finished - nor how long it's getting! I'm not sure how I missed it, but it truly was a revelation when she showed me these pictures (which she took).

I've been letting it grow for two years and some change. Because wavy/curly hair like mine grows out before it grows down, it has seemingly taken forever to begin to get longer. But it's clearly happening now, much to my delight.

At the beginning of each visit J anxiously asks me, "We're letting it grow, right?" lol Each time I reassure her once again that I am letting it grow as long as it will possibly go. She breathes a sigh of relief and tells me how lucky I am to have hair that will let me do just that. And I always reply (jokingly) that I can't take any credit for it, as it was part of the original package. :c)

I really *do* know how fortunate I am, and, as noted above, I truly strive to not to take it for granted. I get stopped on a regular basis by people complimenting me on my hair and, since I've started wearing contacts, my eyes. I mention this not to boast; I know I have nothing to do with these things, and that they are simply a result of winning the genetic lottery.

I was telling a friend over the weekend about a moment that happened earlier in the week. I was at the office, walking to the kitchen. I saw two colleagues, both male, standing by the coffee machine chatting as they waited for it to brew.

Out of the blue I felt a surge of relief, following by a sense of profound gratitude. I thought, "Thank God that isn't me."

I felt tears well up (fortunately they didn't notice); I was able to make it to a conference room for a few minutes to regain my composure.

It's been a hard, hard 4-6 months. I've cried more in that time than I did in my entire life up to that point. I've experienced one of the two most painful experiences of my life, one that is still taking a toll on me to this very moment.

I wish things were different. I wish I hadn't had my heart shattered, or endured the struggles I have the past five years during my transition.

But I wouldn't trade the past few months, or the past five years, and the pain I've felt and am feeling, for anything in the world.

Because I'm now experiencing all of these feelings as myself, at long last.

No one can take away from me that sense of self, that profound knowledge that this is who I am, and who I was always supposed to be.

Others, including the person who was so thoughtless and cavalier about destroying my heart, have also endured the struggles we all face as we strive to be our true selves. I know firsthand, as we all do, just how much pain that causes, and, in this person's case, caused.

But they also have countless, tremendous blessings in their lives. Looks, brains, friends who love and care... the list goes on and on.

I told this person more than once that I wish I had 1/000 of the love and support from my parents that she has from hers. And I loved this person unconditionally, more than I have ever loved another person in my entire life. I said so to them countless times.

But I've come to realize that none of that matters. Nor, I sadly suspect, will it ever.

Not doing the profoundly difficult work of learning exactly who they are, and why they deserve to be loved, both by others and, most importantly, by themselves, may seem the easy way out.

But by not dealing with the root cause(s) of their pain, they are ensuring that they will live a life consumed by self-hatred, shame, and guilt. And that those feelings will lead them to destroy their best chance to have the very thing they want so very much - to be loved, and treasured, and told that they are the most important person in the world.

I gave that to this person. Unreservedly.

And they accepted it. Finally. It was a remarkable thing to witness, firsthand, someone's heart literally opening up in front of you and realizing they did deserve to be truly happy, and to work to make that happiness happen and last.


Until they chose to give in to their demons, yet again.

To ruin a golden opportunity at true happiness and contentment.

And to do so with reckless, total disregard for how that decision affected anyone other than themselves.

I've spent nearly half my life confronting the demons that threatened to consume me. I've made enormous progress, especially in the past year or so. I'm still battling those demons. It's an ongoing effort.

But I've worked much too hard, and come much too far, to allow myself to be treated that way ever again. I accepted that treatment countless times in my life, until very recently, because I thought that was what I deserved. To be an afterthought, someone to be used and then tossed aside like garbage once they were deemed no longer useful.

No more.

No more.

Walking away was the hardest thing I have ever done.

But I had no choice.

The alternative was to invalidate everything I had accomplished since starting to transition.

I told them exactly why I was doing what I did. Why what they had done to me was unacceptable.

I also told them that I was not shutting the door on them. And why I was leaving the door open. Because they possessed so many wonderful traits, traits that made - and make - me love them so much in the first place: intelligence, resilience, determination, a sense of humor... the list goes on and on.

I did so because that is what people with character and integrity do: take responsibility for their actions, and own them.

In short, I put the onus exactly where it belongs:

With them.

And the result?

I am still waiting for a response.

Any kind of response.

Day after day.

Week after week.

And now, month after month.

Of silence.

Complete, total, utter silence.

Not a single sign that what I gave, for nearly four years, is worthy of even an acknowledgement.

I have not given up.

Not yet.

But a mutual friend put it very well.

"You're still hurt and angry because you still love [this person]," she said. "It will be when you're indifferent that things will be truly be over."

And each day that goes by is one day closer to exactly that.

I don't want it to be this way.

But I know I did the right thing for myself.

I know I can look in the mirror and love who I see.

And I know the other person can't.

It isn't too late.

But it's getting very, very close to being so.


I apologize for the length of this, and for how somber it turned out.

That was not my intention when I started writing it, I assure you - it was supposed to be about hair, for crying out loud! :c)

But I've learned not to censor myself, and to let out these dark thoughts. The alternative is simply anathema now.

Would that the other person be able to understand the power in saying out loud the things that they hate and fear the most about themselves.

If they could just do it even once, they would understand how doing so robs those corrosive thoughts of their power. By exposing them to the light of day.

I hope they do, regardless of whether I ever hear from them again.

I truly do.

I know I was worth it.

Just as I know they are worth it.

Even now, after all the pain, and hurt, and heartache.

I know they are worthy of love, from themselves most of all.

I hope they can learn that.

Just as I wish anyone reading this can.

It's never too late.



I'd originally picked these songs because their titles were a lighthearted tie-in with the hair-cutting theme that was the original idea behind this post, before it turned into what you've just read.

But as I write this I realize they fit the theme of the finished version as well.

The first song is "Grow Grow Grow," from PJ Harvey's superb 2007 album White Chalk. I absolutely love this song:


So is the second song, which is that rarest of beasts: an obscure Beatles song  (if such a thing is even possible).

"Long Long Long" was written by George Harrison, and is the last song on what was Side 3 of The White Album. It's a gorgeous, moving song, with a sensitive, restrained performance by the entire band. Even at this stage of their career, when they were fighting nearly every day, they were still able to put aside their differences and create something this beautiful. Truly remarkable. Check it out for yourself:

The rattling sound as the song progresses, incidentally, is caused by an empty bottle on top of the organ Paul McCartney was playing that began to vibrate as he played the sustained chords that end the song. The band spontaneously incorporated it into their performance, which adds an otherworldly element to an already eerie, unearthly track. That's why they were The Beatles, I suppose...


Jenna on April 19, 2016 at 1:20 AM said...

I love your hair. I had to go shorter again so that I'd stop wearing it in a ponytail and actually wear it down.

Sorry about what you've been through. Its the ones that we love the most that have the power to hurt us the most. Time will heal things but you never forget. The pain my ex caused me has faded but I still remember her.

The other day I was chatting with my sister about something that my other half had been doing. Its annoyed me and frustrated me more than you can believe. My sister at one point replied that no matter what happens between my other half and I in the future I will always love her, which is true. No matter what happens between us part of me will always love her. But then that's what you get after spending almost half you life with someone.

Coline on May 7, 2016 at 1:08 PM said...

So long since I played that album! I saw it in the attic last week, time it got a spin.

I seem to have got this transition lark all wrong, I had long hair for forty years until I finally started going to a salon and now have a short bob!!!

Stace on May 8, 2016 at 2:26 AM said...

Sorry to hear about the tough times, I hope that it settles out for you soon.

As for the hair, the colour is gorgeous and the length so suits you!


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