As promised, a selfie

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This is the after picture from my most recent haircut. I went quite a bit shorter, and I now anticipate my hair being 100% dye free at my next cut on October 28.

I took some minor crap on Facebook for the fact that I’m not smiling in this picture, but I almost never smile for the camera. It’s not that I’m mad or sad (although I do have bitchy resting face); I just don’t like the way I represent on (virtual) film when I smile. IRL, though, I’m generally pretty damn cheerful.

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Ten Weeks

That’s how long it’s been since I last dyed my hair. I’m off to the salon shortly to get some more of the dyed portion cut off (it’s been 4 weeks since I made the decision not to dye any more and got the first big hair cut, and also since I started this blog).

As I get further and further into the journey, I’m noticing two things. One is that I’m not alone. It’s like when you get new car and suddenly you see your new car everywhere (I drive a Nissan Cube; it’s still a rarity to see those out and about, although I am seeing more now than when I got my car 16 months ago). I am seeing a lot of women who seem to have stopped dying and growing out their natural gay hair.

The other thing I see is a lot of bad dye jobs. Don’t misunderstand me, I don’t have a problem with dying your hair for whatever reason, it’s just that the more I look, the more I can tell a home dye job because the color is so flat and lifeless. I also see a lot of women my age or older who are still clinging valiantly to the deep, dark shades of our youth, and frequently it’s just not flattering anymore. Our skin naturally fades as we age, and most of us have wised up and started wearing sunscreen, so we are, of course, paler. With these paler complexions, the dark color of our youths only serves to age us; the exact opposite of what most of us want.

This is pre-hair cut, a selfie with my 10-week skunk stripe. I’ll add an after selfie after today’s cut.

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Color my world

No, not the Chicago song, although I do love it (because I am of an age where it’s a classic to me). This post is about changing my wardrobe to match the new hair. I have found this can be a controversial notion. From what I’ve seen, particularly in discussions on the knitting site Ravelry, there is a sizable percentage of women (and probably men, too, but that’s not the point) who dress themselves only in colors that they like or that make them happy with absolutely no regard for how those colors make them look.

Personally, I love bright orange and many shades of yellow; they’re such happy colors. Tragically, I have no yellow undertones in my skin, and those colors, at least if worn next to my face, make me look awful. Ditto with most colors with appellations like dusty, heathered, tweedy, or country. The dulling of bright colors by adding beige or gray undertones is quite simply not flattering to me. If you go by seasonal terms, I’m a winter. I can wear pure white next to my face, and it looks good. I can wear really deep purples, blues, and greens (which is handy because I love those colors, too). Red can be tricky for me; a true red or a red that’s more to the purple/blue side of the spectrum can look great, but more orange/yellow reds don’t flatter me. With the natural hair color of my youth (as opposed to the natural color of now), I could wear pastel tones of the basic colors that look good on me. These days, pastels make me look washed out, and I practically disappear.

Now, if I were an introvert, I might dress in pastels and shades of beige, greige (gross) and mousy brown, but that’s really not me. Which means, that I’m going through my closets lately and this time, instead of just tossing clothes that don’t fit or are from a different decade, I’m tossing pastels, off-whites, and most earth tones (not that there are a lot of those).

If you’re wondering what your season might be, Color Me Beautiful, and Pretty Your World have quizzes. Color Me Beautiful is more established and has 4 seasons, which can be limiting. Pretty Your World believes we have 12 seasons and that even though I’m basically a Winter, I can wear some Autumn colors, which kind of explains why really deep chocolate brown and olive drab (like my Air Force fatigues which were very flattering on me) are colors that I can wear even though they’re not typical winter colors.

If you’d rather wear colors that make you happy, that’s cool, but for me, looking the best I can in what I’m wearing makes me happier than looking at my shirt all day. Which is why sometimes you might catch me wearing yellow or orange socks with my deep purple T-shirt.

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I hate job hunting

That’s really all I have to say today, but I am trying to be in the habit of posting to this blog on a regular basis. I’ve been looking for a new gig since April, but I’m trying to get out of my current career field as I don’t see it continuing to be viable for the 20+ working years I have until I reach full retirement age. Hindsight being 20/20 and all, I see now that I should have gotten out probably 5-10 years ago. At this point, I’m starting to feel like a pager salesman. It was a great job when I started in 1990, but in 2013, not so much.

I’m not giving up, though. I’m tired of working from home and just about everything else about the field. If I had a way to get training to expand my options without incurring a crapton of student loan debt (with no guarantee that I’d be in a position where paying off that debt would be possible), that would be ideal, but, sadly, I have to earn a living in the meantime.

Going to close this before it devolves into a total pity party. I am changing my life. As an impatient person, it’s just not changing as fast as I’d like.

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A science experiment

Let me preface this by saying (and this will come as a surprise to no-one who knows me) I am not a patient person. I want what I want when I want it, or sooner, but never later. It’s that part of my personality that made me try a science experiment yesterday. A science experiment with my newly shorn, proudly graying hair.

Here’s the thing: I don’t actually want my hair to be any shorter than it is right now, but at this point it’s about 1/3 natural (gray) and 2/3 dyed (brown), and when I decided to go gray, I wanted to be done with the brown and just gray already.  I did some research on the internets and read about Vitamin C to remove hair dye. I figured the worst thing that could happen would be that it wouldn’t work. So I gave it  a shot. The formula for this method is that you take a bunch of vitamin C tablets grind them up in some way (hitting with a hammer is what some people recommend; I used my Magic Bullet smoothie maker, which died in the process, incidentally) and mix them with a clarifying shampoo into a paste (I used a Suave shampoo that removes buildup). Then you get your hair a little damp, glop the paste on, rub it in to make sure that every millimeter of hair is covered in goop, and then let it sit for an hour or so (some people do longer) while your head is wrapped in a shower cap or saran wrap, or something to keep the heat in.

I did just that, and the end result was absolutely no change in the color of my dyed hair. Not an iota. Per my searching, this method is actually best suited for semipermanent color or permanent color that’s been put on recently (like within 72 hours) and is too dark. Supposedly the vitamin C breaks the bond between the hair and the dye.

Like I said, it didn’t work on my hair, which has permanent dye on it which was most recently applied 6 weeks ago. But my hair did not get fried (I conditioned the ever-loving snot out of it after I rinsed out the paste), and I had to know for myself if it would work. Now that I know the only way for me to be insta-gray is basically to shave my head (or take the clipper guard to maybe a #2), I’m much more able to wait and let it happen on its own. I admire women who stop dying but don’t cut their hair short when they make the decision to go natural. I just can’t see me waiting 18 months to 2 years for the process to be complete, which is about the average amount of time it seems to take. That kind of patience takes a lifetime to develop, and I never tried to develop it before.

On the weight loss front, I’m going with Paul McKenna’s book, I Can Make You Thin. Maybe not the tapping, but the 4 golden rules of his, and I’m listening to the CD every night. It’s taking some conscious effort right now to follow the rules and really think about how hungry I actually am (and whether or not I’m hungry or just bored), but today, it was easier than yesterday, and it’s starting to already become a habit every hour or so to rate my hunger on a scale of 1-10.

Change One lost me in the first chapter, before I even really got anywhere by telling me to put artificial sweetener in my coffee. I didn’t give up Diet Coke because I hate it (I love and miss it); I gave it up because I’m not eating artificial sweetener anymore for any reason. Working on saying the same for High Fructose Corn Syrup. I avoid it as much as possible, but that stuff is sneaky, and I don’t always know when it’s in something. I’m reading more labels now and not buying stuff that has it.

Another reason Change One is going back to the library is that their suggested calorie counts are seriously low; the Lose It app that I have that is just a calorie counter program allows me about 600 more per day because it takes into account what I weigh currently and not just my gender. There’s no way I will stay on a plan of 1300 calories per day. Physically I probably could, but I know that I won’t.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

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It’s not just my hair that’s changing

I’m also working on weight loss. Quite frankly, a lot of weight loss. Like so much weight that it’s a little overwhelming.

So I’m exercising and working on eating in a more healthy (and less emotional) way. I eat every single thing I feel, and since I feel a lot of things, I tend to eat way too much. I think that part of why weight loss has been hard for me to achieve and maintain is that weighing this much serves me on some level. It keeps me kind of invisible out in the world. And while my personality isn’t one that wants to be invisible, I’ve been very screwed over, relationship-wise, in the past, and it feels very comfortable for the most part not to be noticed by men. Let’s face it, the phrase “no fat chicks” isn’t a cliche because it’s not true. On the other hand, I like men. I kind of miss having one around, even if I don’t really want to share the remote control or my bathroom with one.

More importantly, carrying all this extra weight makes me feel like crap a lot of time. I’m tired. I don’t move well or gracefully. My knees and my back hurt. I am, quite frankly, over it, but I’ve been this way for so long that my bad habits are ingrained. I’m really going to have to work hard to change them.

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I checked this book out of the library yesterday to see if it can help me change. When it comes to eating, changing one thing at a time may be the way to go.

I also have this book.

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I got this a while ago, and it has a self-hypnosis CD which I have used with some benefit. Frankly, I really like McKenna’s thoughts about food. I’ll count calories or points or servings or whatever for a little while, but then I start to resent it. I’m really unwilling to spend the rest of my life documenting every little piece of food or drink I put in my mouth. I have much, much better things to do. I’m reading Change One now (or will be later today) to see if it’s something that I think I can do long term. If I think it is, I’ll see about getting a copy for my permanent collection. If not, then I’ll send it back to the library, no harm, no foul.

I know that I have to exercise, too, but weight loss is 70% about what you eat. Maintenance of weight loss and general health are more about exercise, but actually losing weight is so much more about food than movement. The older I get, the more I see that. In my youth, I would have scoffed at the notion, but now I know that it’s true.  I am exercising, primarily with DDP Yoga, which I’m really enjoying. No impact, cardio, strength, and none of the spirituality that comes with traditional yoga (not that I object to spirituality in general, but I’m an atheist, so it’s sort of lost on me). Watch the video of Arthur Boorman’s transformation, which is on the first page of the site and all over YouTube and Facebook, and you might be inspired, too.

Meanwhile, it’s time to go do something productive.

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Does the Internet really need another blog like this?

There are lots of transformation blogs out there in internet land, but I haven’t seen one like this before. A blog in which our heroine (me) is transitioning from dyeing her hair to going gray while contemplating how she’s going to lose 100 lbs (give or take), change careers and stop working from home, and maybe possibly get laid.

Therefore, this is that blog.

I made the first gray step yesterday. Actually I made the first step last week when I decided I was sick of coloring my hair. I made the decision that at my already scheduled cut and color appointment (I’ve been on a six week schedule for a couple of years but it really wasn’t quite often enough), I would only be getting a cut. In the spirit of consideration, I got in touch with my stylist to let her know, and I also got in touch with the salon so they could change the time block from cut and color to cut only so that my stylist wouldn’t have empty time when she could get another client in and hopefully make some money. This is immediately before I left for the salon, see the skunk stripe of doom?

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I came home with the cut you see below. It’s basically the pixie that Jamie Lee Curtis rocks. I’ve worn my hair this short before (very notably bleached blonde a few years ago), so I wasn’t afraid of the “supa short.” I know it looks good on my face.  See?

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So this is step one. The short and spiky actually hides the line of demarcation pretty well, and I’m now up to an every 4-week schedule but for cut only. I’ll keep that up until all the gray is out, hopefully by my 49th birthday in late November, and then we’ll see what kind of salon schedule I’ll need to follow after that.

In the meantime, I have a ton of hair product (on me, the shorter the hair, the more fun I have putting stuff in it), and I’ll be on the search for the perfect lipstick. I’ve not worn a lot of lipstick in the past but I know that I need it when the hair around my face is lighter. Without it, I look both tired and angry. And that’s just not good.

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