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.