Friday, May 15, 2009

16 Kinds of Different

Visiting a new hair stylist last Friday, I got an honest appraisal: "You don't need to look so old."


And then he cut 5 inches off my hair. Maybe 6. No one in my family noticed. Over the next three or four days, we had my niece's graduation and party, Mother's Day, and quilt night. No one said a word. Finally, I mentioned it to my mother and asked if she was being polite by not mentioning it because she didn't like it.

She looked straight at me and said she hadn't noticed. "It doesn't look that different, does it?"

Um. Yeah. 5 inches is a lot of hair.

On Tuesday, I walked into Barb's house and the first words out of her mouth were, "You cut your hair!"

I burst into laughter. When I explained why, Barb said, "Oh, Jerri. They don't see you. In all the time I've known you, your family has never really seen you."

And like someone flipped a switch in my head, I no longer needed to win their approval. The truth is, I'm never going to win that struggle. They don't see me. I can't be good enough or kind enough or loving enough to make them.

Freedom lives in the converse. If no amount of effort is going to change the circumstances, I'm free to make the amount of effort that serves me rather than others.

That looks sixteen kinds of different, from where I sit.

Freedom sang inside me all day yesterday. I went for a walk with Barb. Worked at a lovely little coffee shop and, later, a picnic table in a park. Ate sensibly. Listened to music. Best day I've had for many, many months.


Carrie Wilson Link said...

What a gift.

├ůsa Hellberg said...

Are you sure you want to be seen?
Just a reflection from my own "seeing everyone, but oops don´t look at mee".

Have a nice weekend,
regards from Stockholm.

Go Mama said...

Bravo, J. What a breakthrough!

Now, for those of us who DO see you, (and love you immensely) how about a pic of that sassy new haircut?!


luckyzmom said...

Reading this made me cry. Maybe when I think about it I will feel the freedom you seem to be feeling. Maybe the key is having someone who does see you?

BONNIE K said...

I think that was a big truth that you uncovered, about not being seen. I think sometimes family just assumes we're always the same and they stop looking...

Amber said...

That is a big thing...but it still makes me sad. Because you SHOULD be seen. I am happy you have a friend near you who sees you so clearly for who you are.

...saying that, I do know that feeling of freedom when you let go like that. I had that when I finally realized I couldn't be good enough to make my mom stop using drugs...And I was free to go live.

Go live. We are all cheering you.


Michelle O'Neil said...

You look at least 16 years younger.

big love!

kario said...

Here's to feeling free.

cheryl said...

I loved this piece, Jerri! There's a realization here for us all.

And if we have self-approval, we're covered; no need to seek it elsewhere.

Deb Shucka said...

Such a powerful insight to get. Barb is a true friend, and I'm so glad you have her. May this new awareness give you freedom, and peace and joy.

Oh, the power of a new haircut!

luckyzmom said...

Cut my hair and it took my husband three days to notice and only because he saw the hair in the garbage. I was surprisingly, okay with it. May be the start of that freedom u spoke of.

PS-You may want to check my blog for the youtube my son sent me for Mother's Day. Have tissue handy.