6 Months, Gray Hair, and a Very Itchy Brow

My left eyebrow itches. I can’t scratch it because it’s covered in hair dye. Yes, I dye my brows.  In spite of having naturally dark hair, my brows and lashes are albino white.

This is the first time I have dyed my brows with hair color. Normally I color them with eye liner morning. Thank goodness for youtube. I looked up several tutorials on brow coloring for fear the color would drip into my eyes. In the end, I decided to outline my brows in a thick layer of vaseline to prevent the dye from dripping into my eyes and also from staining my skin.

It’s been nearly 6 months since I last dyed my hair. Partly because I have been dying my hair for the past 13 years and wanted to see how much more gray it has become during that time and partly because the past 6 months have been a whirlwind of events, activities, to-do lists, and 60+hr work weeks.

I now have a thick white-grey streak of hair on the front right. If I had a fringe, the steak would be 3/4″ wide over my right eye. My head is populated with random streaks of white-grey hair now. The natural color has turned from medium warm brown to a dark ashy brown. Perhaps I would be upset about this if I hadn’t started getting a slew of gray hair at 18.

I didn’t start dying my hair because of the gray, but because cutting or dying my hair was outlawed by my strictly Christian parents growing up. It was more for adventure than rebellion because I hadn’t lived with my parents for 2yrs or more at the time. In addition to having a different hair color, I was pleased to find that the dye had a smoothing effect on my bushy, coarse, wild hair. The curls were more relaxed and my hair was smoother and shiner and for 13yrs this was my primary motivation for dying.

About 6 months ago my dad asked what my hair color was. I’m not sure how one forgets their child’s natural hair color, but he had. I guess I have grown my hair out for my dad as much as for myself.

Focus Like a Laser

I need to focus like a laser but I feel more like a search light at the moment. Work has been punishing. I’m behind on a project. I’m always behind on a project…partly because I don’t like my job and partly because there are so very many projects. My work oscillates between soul crushing boredom and break-neck busy. There never seems to be a happy medium.

I feel like I should focus on my passion, or at least a meaningful project.  I should focus on creating art, create a cookbook of my grandmother’s recipes, or write a memoir of my divorce. Lately, I’ve spent so much time at work that I continually run out of clean clothes and struggle to keep up with the house. My “free” time is occupied with laundry and chores rather than anything enjoyable.

This is no delusion about what adulthood would be like. I’ve worked at a W2 job since I was 14 and worked full time since I was 16. My goal in life was to escape the abuse of my childhood and only in my mid-twenties did I realize there was more to life than working constantly. Can there please be more to my life?

The phone conversation of everlasting regret

I had the worst conversation with my dad this evening. My dad wants me to go to Dan’s Christmas morning.

I’ve already told Jonathan and his kids I will be at their house Christmas morning. So then my dad begged me to go to Dan’s in the afternoon.

Finally, after exhausting every polite excuse available, I explained why I was being evasive to my dad. My mother is expected to be at Dan’s. Jonathan hates my mother.

Once, when Jonathan and I were middle school age, we were talking on the phone. My mother became enraged because I had used the phone longer than 10min. She ran into the bedroom I shared with my sister, grabbed me by the hair, and whipped me with a metal coat hanger. I dropped the cordless phone when I raised my hands to defend myself and Jonathan heard me scream for my mother to stop whipping me over and over and over…

So, I told my dad the truth. He began to cry. He regrets my childhood. He regrets everything. We had a conversation of everlasting regret.

Away from family at Christmas

“Hey! I haven’t talked to you in a while. What have you been up to?”

It was my brother Dan and it’s been years since he and I really talked, however the last time I saw him was April. I rocked his fussy newborn son to sleep in my arms while my family stood around making passive-aggressive remarks about my divorce and infertility.

There’s a reason I rarely speak to Dan. A few years ago, he invited me to a bar with his girlfriend and a male friend. Dan and the male friend made a deal that they would get me so drunk that I would go home with and sleep with the male friend. To make a long story short, I found out and bailed. For obvious reasons I keep my distance from Dan.

I keep my distance from my entire immediate family, actually. This isn’t an impetuous decision but a decision I made after enduring years of abuse followed by years of therapy. Since I’m an adult, I leave before the abuse rears it’s head, but my family follows  the same old destructive patterns just to a lesser extent.

Two years ago, my therapist encouraged me to start keeping my distance from the immediate family because their behavior and dramatic antics were causing me intense stress. I’d spend months worried about what nasty argument would happen at Christmas or what passive-aggressive issue would arise at Thanksgiving.

Sometimes, nothing of note would happen. Other holidays my worries were completely substantiated as I tried to resolve some fight or listened to my mother bad mouth certain family members for hours.

“Which family members are planning to come?”, I asked.

I dread seeing my mother most. Most of my childhood memories of my mother are filled with fear, guilt, and self loathing. She hit, screamed, yelled, accused, and belittled me constantly making my childhood the stuff of nightmares. These days, she goes for the heart by making mean spirited comments about how my husband left me 4yrs ago and how I cannot have children. She’s not the type of person I’d like to spend Christmas around. Her boyfriend is okay though.

My dad might be going out of town to visit my sister, but he might not. No one knows. He’s the most tolerable and the sanest member of the immediate family. My sister lives across the country so she’s obviously not flying back for Christmas. My dad does not care how I spend Christmas. He made this declaration the year my husband left when he flew out to visit my sister and her husband.

“So…are you coming?”

“I made plans to be at Jonathan’s early on Christmas. I’m not sure I’ll make it.”

“It’s not until the afternoon! …Of course, we won’t have anything for you to eat because you’re vege-ter-ar-ian but you can bring some food…”

“Um. I’ll have to check with Jonathan and see what the plan is.”

No, Dan. I will not be attending your Christmas gathering. I love my sweet little nephew but I simply cannot tolerate any more family bullshit.

TheCompany’s Cake

In addition to working into the night and on weekends, I have also been nominated to decorate a cake. TheCompany is hosting a cake decorating contest on Monday and my coworkers have delegated the cake decorating task to me.

I think TheCompany has christened this a “team building activity” which means I have no choice but to participate [read: use up my weekend decorating a cake for work] or I will not get a raise next year.

I could not make this stuff up if I tried.

New Symptom. New Illness?

Shit! My thighs have rubbed a hole in another pair of jeans.  New jeans are yet another expense. Goodwill never has size 18 jeans with a 32″ inseam. Christmas season is expensive when your family grows by a boyfriend and two children.

Work continues to hack away at my sanity with a string of long stressful days. Although my job pays moderately well and I wish I could enjoy it, my job is not enjoyable. I try so hard not to dwell on the immense dissatisfaction my job often brings.  After working 9-11hrs at the office, I don’t want to come home, eat dinner, then work for an additional 1-3hrs.  For the past two days, I haven’t been able to force myself to work after leaving for the day although I know I should.

Other than fatigue, my health has been better but not good. I’ve been experiencing less arthritic pain overall, in spite of feeling like I constantly need a nap. My nails are brittle and peeling down to my fingertips which is unusual. Lately, my stomach has been bothering me too. Sometimes its a burning feeling. Other times it’s cramping. And, *TMI WARNING* I’m often constipated for days at a time which is very strange considering I eat a whole food vegetarian diet. This new symptom makes me wonder if I’m experiencing some new illness. I truly hope not. Fibromyalgia and RA are enough.

An UnWanted Day to Myself

So here we are in the middle of the “snow storm”. So far, there hasn’t been much snow. Jonathan had to pick up the kids and go home early although we were supposed to spend the day together in case the weather got worse.

Because of his divorce contract, we’re not permitted to spend the night together when the kids are present unless we’re married and not a moment before.  It’s a bit ridiculous considering that the kids spend more time around me than they do around their mother. She chooses to see them only one day a week. The law is the law. Jonathan drives back to his house before the roads get bad or his kids will be taken from him.

This means I have the entire day to myself. I don’t especially want a day to myself. I’d really like to spend time with my friends who I’ve scarcely seen because I’ve been working so much. Sadly there is just enough snow on the roads to be dangerous. Now I’m catching up on chores in my very cold early 20th century bungalow and finding any reason I can not to write a program for work. It’s likely I’ll need to work 12hrs every day this week in addition to being backup support during off hours. As much as I don’t want to spend the day shivering at home alone doing chores, I most certainly don’t want to send the day working when I have far too much of that in store this coming week.

I hate tennis shoes: exhibit a

I’m waiting at the car dealership. In spite of making an appointment I have to wait 30+ minutes because they’re running behind. Apparently a bunch of idiots decided it was imperative to get their oil changed before the forecasted snow storm. Think about that for a minute…an oil change will help you drive in a snowstorm how, exactly??!

So, here I am sitting in the waiting room with a bunch of 45+yr old soccer moms who clearly have plenty of money judging by jewelry, nails, hair, and lulu lemon yoga pants.

As I was saying about how I hate the way tennis shoes make your feet look neon clad marshmallows and would prefer not to be associated with the women who typically wear tennis shoes to run errands:

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