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May's Mundane Miscellany

Inspired by the lovely blue of Stephanie Charette, I decided I wanted to play with some color. Alas, I can't get in to my favorite hair gal for a couple weeks, so it will have to wait. Besides, she's getting some sort of new product in and wants to experiment with it first. I'm not sure if I'll keep my hair auburn and go with burgundy ombre, or dark brown with deep purple ombre.

I don't know if I'll need to walk into a more conservatively professional environment for consulting/teaching by September, so it needs to be something I can trim off, if required.

On the other hand, I'm moving to frickin' Denver--far away from the Land of Limits and Laments. There, purple hair is no reason to point someone out on the street unless it's too say, "Cool hair!"

Yes, the more I think about it, the more I want the purple.

When I told my son I was going purple, he told me he'd checked into getting some deep blue in his hair, but opted to save the money for a con he's attending next weekend instead. When I told him I thought the blue would look awesome on him, he said, "You know, some people can't believe you don't freak out over stuff."

Apparently, the list of unbelievable things that don't freak me out include tattoos, frank discussions about sex and attraction, staying up until wee hours, cussing, and having different opinions.

The last one brought me to a full stop. It is amazing, among my son's age-mates, that a parent tolerates--nay, encourages--kids to have independent opinions. Contrary ones, even! And it is sad that it is so.

Around here, I can honestly say it is not religiously and politically driven. Truly, my parents--my father in particular--are extremely conservative and regular church-goers. But they raised their daughters to challenge the world, not mold themselves to it, and they offered themselves as our earliest quintains in verbal jousts. Some topics were touchier than others, and differences in opinion didn't mean we didn't have house rules to follow. But our very thoughts weren't expected to align with our parents!

No, around here, the drive to conform and carry on is instead cultural--as deeply set as the assumption big-city living is inherently immoral and leaving town will result in heartache. Conformity is its own high virtue.

I've sat here for the last half hour considering the words I just wrote and wishing I didn't have to leave my young karate students behind.

Last week, I told the students in my women's class about my upcoming move. To say I was unprepared for the emotional reaction is an understatement. We ended up going out for drinks for two hours after class. I keep making mental notes of things I want to see these women achieve, or groundwork for achievement I want to see in place, before I move.

During regular classes, I catch myself calculating when this or that student is likely to be testing for their black belt, and wondering if I'll be able to travel back to sit on their review boards. I wonder where they'll end up in life, and I hope there will be someone to remind them they have choices and options and can ask questions of smart people and never have to apologize for dreams that don't fit in the confines of a small town.

The most insidious "inspiration" quote I've heard used around here is, "Grow where you're planted." It's often on posters alongside pictures of a single flower blooming between cracks in a sidewalk, or on an expanse of parched earth, or some other such appropriately challenging environment.

Yes, yes, I understand it's supposed to be about acceptance and inner peace and doing what you can where you are. But it's a pretty screwed-up message to give people who are in toxic, stifling, and abusive environments. It's basically saying, "Look: you had no power to choose where you were born and raised, and you have no power to go anywhere else now that you're an adult, so you might as well just make the best of your crappy situation and get on with doing what you can until you die right in the same place."

Or, perhaps, "You're screwed, but it's immoral to want anything more."

You know what would be better? "Choose where you want to grow." Then you can have all sorts of wonderful conversations about choosing rich soil, the right amount of sunshine, and good companions for optimal growth.

And I doubt that scrappy little flower bloomed all alone in the crack of a city sidewalk so it could be lauded from afar as a shining example of tenacity and humble virtue. It would likely prefer a bit more soil and little less trampling instead.

And, perhaps, a touch of purple hair and transplant.


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 23rd, 2015 05:22 pm (UTC)
That is a big move, but I bet it will be wonderful!

I think the whole roots thing depends so much on if people want to be rooted, or even can be. Some are just natural tumbleweeds, and should get to go.
May. 26th, 2015 04:53 am (UTC)
It will be wonderful indeed. Hard and unsettling at first, but for the best in the end!
May. 23rd, 2015 08:03 pm (UTC)
I've always found "Bloom where you're planted" to be an inspiring quote, just because I was transplanted so often that it was hard to put down roots. How soon till the next move? At any moment you may be yanked out of the pot you've barely gotten used to, and find yourself set down in alien soil. So accept change, embrace the chaos, put your roots down anyway, and bloom where you're planted; adapt and thrive.

Yes, it will hurt when the roots get torn up again, and the deeper they are, the more it will hurt. But the deeper they are, the more nourished you'll be to survive the next transplant, so the better you'll be able to grow new roots wherever you set down next - lush topsoil or scorched sand. And bloom - bloom because you can, however briefly, however unseen and uncommended. "Shining example" be damned; bloom for yourself, because blooming is what you're made to do, and the time in which you have to do it is so very brief.
May. 26th, 2015 04:55 am (UTC)
My perception is likely colored by the fact I've heard the phrase often used to shame people who have the desire and means to leave to remain in bad situations.
(Deleted comment)
May. 26th, 2015 04:56 am (UTC)
May. 24th, 2015 12:52 am (UTC)
I think that knowing yourself is really important. Some people really don't mind where they live, and others have strong place needs for all sorts of reasons. We tried to do the best we could with our time in California, because that's all you can do when you're in the situation--but we also moved, because the Bay Area is great for some people, but we discovered not for us. And it's okay to know yourself that way. It's okay to be a violet instead of a dandelion, if that's what you are. Violets are glorious on the edge of my woods, dandelions thrive anywhere--they'll both brighten a scene, but not in the same way.
May. 26th, 2015 05:05 am (UTC)
they'll both brighten a scene, but not in the same way.

Very true. :) Thistles are like that. Most grow first in poor quality, compacted soil.
May. 24th, 2015 04:27 pm (UTC)
Personal power is an important concept. It's important for a person to have, I think.

Having it taken away by people or by an environment in which you live is demeaning and disheartening and it often takes a lot of energy to "fight back".

I'm glad you're able to move to an area that won't be toxic for you. I hope you'll be extremely happy there. :D
May. 26th, 2015 05:06 am (UTC)
I'm looking forward to it, truly.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )


Blair MacGregor

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