Welcome to Following the Whispers blog

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit. Hope you enjoy your stay. I blog here whenever I feel the need. This blog was created at the time my memoir came out, in February, 2009. Its motto was: creating a life of inner peace and self-acceptance from the depths of despair. Now, my focus is sharing this journey we call life.

“Only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth, and that is not speaking it.” Naomi Wolf

“We are called human beings, not human doings.” Wes Nisker, Buddhist teacher

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs…(And) if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” Theodore Roosevelt

Monday, May 30, 2011

Monday Musings

Last Saturday I went a little beserk. I haven't shared about this because, well, frankly I'm embarrassed about how I feel. As you can see from my profile picture, I have white hair. It started going white when I was 28 and for a lot of years I colored it. But when I turned 60 two years ago, I decided I should just let nature be what it obviously intended and leave it white. I got lots of compliments - folks who have drab gray and would have loved it if their hair was white like mine. But when I looked in the mirror, all I saw was someone growing older and someone who looked very much like her mother. And for those of you who have read my memoir, you will understand when I say that didn't make me feel very good. Plus I'd been depressed about other things as well.

I guess those negative feelings had been building up inside, because last Saturday I looked in the mirror, ran to the phone, called my hairdresser and said, "Help. Fix me."

Until now, I had been unwilling to commit to coloring my hair every 4-6 weeks. Chemicals no good, the money, blah blah blah. Then a very good friend said that adorning ourselves is part of our nature. Well, since I'd been heavy most of my adult life, I never even considered adorning myself. Now, though, I wear clothing well and feel much better about myself, so, I thought, why not adorn myself?

The end of the story? I am now a red-head. It is vibrant and alive, whereas I'd been feeling drab and washed out-looking. I will post a pic, I promise. Just not quite ready yet. And my depression - gone in the blink of a dye bottle. Oh how I wish we weren't so hung up on outward appearances. Sigh!

Are you?


Mountain Mama said...

I completely understand where you're coming from, Karen. I also wish that outward appearances (mine, anyway) didn't affect me so much and that I could just step out with confidence no matter how I look. I've colored my hair for years (I'm a drab "dishwater" blonde naturally. Yuck.) I had dark red hair for years and I really think redheads have more fun, so ENJOY!! :)

About the white hair, though. My grandmother told me that her mother had beautiful white hair and that she'd love to have hair like that rather than gray. I think it's very appealing to many people.

I guess most of us are hung up on outer appearances. It's just human nature, so don't be too hard on yourself about it. The important thing is for you to be happy with yourself and feel confident. Haircolor was invented for a reason, after all.

I hope you're enjoying your weekend and that you have a wonderful Memorial Day. :)

jennifer (MM)

Jules said...

LOL, a red head? They are a wild bunch them red heads. ;) I call my gray's wisdom scares, see how down right wise I am? :D
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

GigglesandGuns said...

I started graying-to-white about that same age. I colored it for years and then a cat scratch almost killed me and threw my system out of whack. Now no color will stay after the first wash.
I know you've been down lately and if this helps I say -- MAKE IT RED, BABY! Just remember, we love you no matter what. (no crazy stripes though, ok)
Picture, soon.

Ellen Brickley said...

Karen, while I think pure white hair looks amazing, you were definitely right to reclaim the appearance you want, and I hope you enjoy the confidence your new red hair will give you :D Enjoy being a redhead, as an Irishwoman I can vouch for the wonderfulness of red hair (sadly don't have it myself, I'm a brunette to the bone).

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

My sister decided to dye her hair red and she loves it! Hope you enjoy your new look. :)

Karen Walker said...

Jennifer, thank you so much for your thoughtful, kind words. They mean a lot, believe me.
Jules, not so sure I qualify for wild bunch - my friends say "vibrant."
Gigglesandguns, I promise, no crazy stripes.
Ellen, thank you. I was a brunette as well, but alas, the older we get, dark hair doesn't look that great.
Elizabeth, thanks, I am, so far. We'll see...

Suze said...

My dear Karen!

I am so happy the flame of color has worked its magic on your sweet spirit. One of my sisters is a mother of three under seven, including twins, and she has been contending against an unspecified reproductive malady. She is on hormone therapy to go into early menopause-- she's 32-- and in constant, excruciating pain. My other sister and I decided to give her a gift certificate to get her hair bobbed and died teal, which she's always wanted.

I say, don't get hung up on being hung up on outer appearances! :) We are a complete package, and I am certain yours is as magnetic and full of heat and panache on the outside as it is in on the inside.

Love to you this day,

Linda Hoye said...

I am looking forward to seeing a picture! I say that you have earned the right to wear your hair hover you want and in whatever color you want. It is one of the privileges we enjoy as we grow older and more settled into who we are. Enjoy it!

Anonymous said...

My hair is pure white. I was a redhead and went white in my late twenties. I coloured it for years and then it wouldn't take colour anymore. I do miss being a redhead - my sweet patootie has only known me with white hair.
I'm glad you decided to give in to a little pick-you-up - I think that's great and I want pictures! Oh man, blogspot is going weird again and won't let me sign in. so you know, it's Jan Morrison!

L.G.Smith said...

I LOVE a makeover. Sounds really shallow, but changes like that really do affect how you feel about yourself. A few months ago I completely changed my look, and I can tell you it put a little pep in my step. Looking forward to the picture. :)

Karen Walker said...

Suze, I am so sorry about your sister. And thanks so much for these thoughts. That goes to everyone, it is really quite helpful.
Linda, that's a great way to look at it.
Jan, what is it with Blogger? Oy. It certainly did give me a much-needed pick-me-up.
L.G., you are so right. And even though it feels shallow, it feels right. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

A red head? Well, change is good. Waiting to see the pics! Have a great holiday.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

If it makes you feel better about yourself, why not? I've some grey showing, but my wife calls it dignified, so I don't worry about it.

Karen Walker said...

Stephen, yes, change can be good. My poor hubby, though, can't get used to it.
Alex, yes, on men it's called dignified. On women, not.

Dafeenah said...

Ok I am going to try this again. I have been trying to comment all day and blogger hasn't been cooperating.

I say you should make it a weekly thing. Not necessarily dying your hair but a special treat. Mani/pedi, spa, walk in the park, coffee, new clothes/shoes. Something because you deserve it!! It's important to take care of ourselves. It isn't selfish or vain and there is no reason to be embarrassed. The only thing to be embarrassed about is not doing it often enough.

K.C. Woolf said...

White is a great colour, and vibrant red is even better! (I might be a bit biased though.) ;-)

Big changes always take time getting used to, but it's great that when you felt the need for a change, you found the courage to go ahead.

I'm looking forward to the picture! :-)

Melissa Ann Goodwin said...

Wow! Good for you! i decided to go gray in my 40's and immediately felt better than I had in years of coloring. I have a young face so I can get away with it (at least that's what I tell myself) and I get lots of compliments. But I've always thought that if at some point it made me feel old or didn't make me happy any more, I'd go RED! Not there yet, but who knows, I may be joining you!

Pixiebaby said...

Congrats on your new red hair! Glad that it gave you the pick me up you needed. We all need a boost now and then and if a little hair color is going to help get you out of your recent case of the blahs, I say go for it, which you did. ;) Can't wait to see a pic. You're already gorgeous and I imagine that the red looks amazing on you. I had red hair for about two years. I liked it, but didn't want to keep it that long, however I had the brilliant idea to use henna because it's natural. If I had read a little further I would have found out that the only way to get rid of henna is to let it grow out. Yep, lesson learned LOL.

Joyce Lansky said...

I've been coloring my hair for years, but I quit paying exorbitant prices at the salon. I buy a bottle at the drug store and do it myself.


Karen Walker said...

Dafeenah, you clever lady - great idea!
K.C. You are so right.
Melissa, yes, me, too - for about two years and then bam, I felt old.
Pixiebaby, thanks for the heads up.
Joyce, yeah, I'd like to find the right color and do it myself.

Manzanita said...

I follow you on this hair deal. I used henna on my hair all my life. A year ago I stopped the henna and now I'm "a la naturale." Funny thing I"m just a little gray on top. Looks funny. I'd rather be all gray or white or whatever. I bet your red is stunning.

Anonymous said...

You go, girl. I can't wait to see it.


Sharon Lippincott said...

Hey Karen, whatever works! I'm so happy for you that you found a magic bullet. I'm in that crowd waiting for a new picture.

I saw my mostly white tweedy hair as "old" when I first grew it out, but I've since discovered that my appearance in the mirror perfectly reflects my state of mind. When I FEEL old, I LOOK old. You have been feeling old, and if changing your hair color changes that, then GREAT. When you get tired of the hassle, expense, insistent white roots and chemicals again, remember that white is your adult hair color, and it's BEAUTIFUL. It doesn't mean you are OLD.

Karen Walker said...

Manzanita, I hear ya!
Simona, thanks
Sharon, I LOVE YOU!

Brianna said...

Can't wait to see a picture of the new hair color! I think if it makes you feel good, so good you're not depressed, then keep on coloring!

Hilary said...

Hi Karen .. I too 'want a picture'!! Delighted that one phone call made all the difference - and you feel light as a daisy now and years younger .. good for you .. ENJOY! Cheers Hilary

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Good for you! Can't wait to see your new picture. Sounds like the new look will better suit the real you.

Ranae Rose said...

I can relate to this, Karen. I have a serious white-hair gene. I've been turning white since high school, and at the ripe old age of 22 I'm pulling as many white hairs as I can stand out of head every day, and there are always more. My hair is dark, so the white really stands out. I know I'll have to start coloring it soon, but I'm really dreading it. My hair is extremely thick and literally about three feet long, so it's going to be a real annoyance and expense to do so. Holding out as long as I can without feeling like the world's youngest granny. lol