Tag Archives: just me

It’s Only Hair

9 Aug

I suppose you would describe my style as clean, polished, maybe even preppy.  I grew up in a fairly conservative family, attended a Christian college (despite being non-religious), and my career as an elementary school teacher only nourished my wardrobe filled with pencil skirts and polo shirts.  I am the girl next door.  Jeans and polo shirts.  Khaki skirts and sweaters.  Sundresses with wedge sandals.

It’s not that I want to blend in.  It’s just that I’ve never felt like a loud person.

So this hair?  Is a departure for me.  A leap.

I dyed my hair once before, a few years back when I was teaching 4th grade in St. Louis.  I went to work the next morning and was thrilled when a co-worker asked, “did you do something different with your hair?”  I proudly answered yes, I had done something different; it was now slightly browner than before.  You know, chocolate brown instead of its natural chestnut brown color.  With a semi-permanent dye.  We both laughed at my half-assed attempt at change.

So this past weekend, at BlogHer, as my colorful and vibrant friend A’Driane from Butterfly Confessions applied the bleach to my hair, I took a deep breath and chanted “it’s only hair,” in my head.  And as she painted the hot pink dye onto my head, I wondered how I would style this new ‘do.  How would my family react? What would people think?

I washed the last of the pink creme out of my hair, toweled off, and finally revealed the results to the critic in the mirror.  I couldn’t help but smile.  The pink was perfectly offset by the surrounding brown, providing a pop of color to what was previously a blank canvas.  Once curled, the magenta waves twisted and mixed with the brown, and entertaining the eyes.  The girl who always took things so seriously, even her hair, was transformed.

The gorgeous and talented Cecily and A’Driane chatting in the hallway during Sparklecorn. A highlight of my weekend.

My pink hair made me more approachable at the conference (which was attended by almost 5,000 women!).  It granted me an audience with pink-haired Cecily from Uppercase Woman (she was friendly, kind, and so very funny).  And it made me feel striking, even when I wandered down to breakfast in my sweatpants and tank top on Saturday morning.  And now that I’m home and have re-entered real life, my wet mommy bun doesn’t seem so, well, mommy-ish.

So, thank you, A’Driane. For pushing me out of my comfort zone and for filling my life and my hair with color.  What seems like such a small, superficial act has inspired me to be brave in other areas of my life – to take chances and try new things – and to have more fun.

After all, it’s only hair. Or is it?

**note: after Mirjam’s comment, I had to add that last sentence.  And that’s what I love about blogging.  I love that it makes me think about what I meant.  What I wrote.  And how I can make it better. **

BlogHer 2012

7 Jul

There are a bunch of you who have never heard of BlogHer.  That’s okay.  Like my husband says, the only people who care about blogging conferences and really read blogs are other bloggers, just like the only people who read academic papers and care about academic conferences are academics.  To each his own.  BlogHer is the largest conference for women in social media.  Bloggers from all over will descend on NYC in August to network, learn, and party.  And this year, I’m going!

I’m excited about the sessions – opportunities to get inspired by powerhouse writers and to learn tricks of the trade, both technical and artistic.  I’m excited to attend the parties.  I won an invite to SocialLuxe, people!  And I’ll be dancing my glittery butt off at Sparklecorn.  But I’m really going to meet some of my online friends for the first time.  I’ve truly connected with some spectacular writers, moms, and women online.  We’ve bared our souls but have yet to be in the same room.  And that’s about to change.

Originally, I was going to bring the baby with me.  I was prepared to babywear, take breaks for naps, breastfeed in the middle of sessions, and miss out on some of the social events.  And then I realized…this was my chance to have a little time to myself.  Probably the only change I will have in the next year.

So, I’m leaving the girls with my husband and Mama’s going to PAR-TAY!  I’m going to get to really focus on my writing and connecting with some amazing people.  I’m going to sleep without waking up five times a night (unless one of my roomies snores.  Fess, up, ladies!).  And then I’ll miss my girls something fierce and want to run home.

I can’t wait.

In the Zone

19 Feb

I went back to work a few weeks ago.  It terrified me and I questioned the decision daily but ultimately jumped back into hosting piano lessons in my home and commuting with both kids 45 minutes north once a week to tutor.

To make it all happen, I drive the girls up to my mom’s house while I teach in her town.  Then all three of us stay the night with my parents and drive home in the morning.  My mom drives her car down and helps out here, prepping the house for piano lessons, babysitting the kids while I teach (along with my amazing neighborhood babysitter), and then helping with dinner and bath time before heading home.  Hubs is responsible for picking up the house the night we are gone so it’s presentable to students and their parents.  And we all get a little help from the frozen entree aisle in the grocery store.  It’s stressful and exhausting.  It means I have to carve out time each week to lesson plan, usually while wearing the baby and tossing snacks at the toddler.

But it’s worth it.

My house is guaranteed to get a fresh, clean start one day each week.  My open floor plan means that students and parents can see every room on the first floor from my front door.  No hiding sinks full of dishes or forgetting to pick the toddler underwear up from the living room floor.  The rest of the week, it looks like a catastrophic Babies ‘R’ Us explosion has ransacked the house.  But on lesson day?  We pass for clean(ish).

And me?  Those two days I am forced to dry my hair, put on makeup, and find some pants that fit from a drawer other than the one housing all my pajamas. I feel pretty on those days.  I think it’s just as important to let go of the expectation that I need to get dressed (or shower) every day.  I have a newborn, for crying out loud.  But I still need days to take care of myself – to feel like how I look matters.

But the best part is how the lessons make me feel.  Once my student walks in and hands me their lesson notebook, I go into the zone.  I am a great teacher.  Responsive to student strengths and weaknesses, motivating, kind, funny.  My enthusiasm rubs off on the kids and the energy we share is addictive.  There’s nothing quite like the high of hearing a student work on a piece for weeks only to come in one lesson and nail it, their face glowing with pride.  Two days a week, I get to share my love of math and music.  I get to build self-esteem in my students.  I get to relax and have fun.  Because when I teach, I feel more like myself than any other time.

It’s a part of my soul – and I’m committed to making it a priority.  Everyone should have something that makes them feel “in the zone.”  What’s yours?

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