Well, here I am, more or less back to normal. If only I could pin down what that actually meant I'm sure everything would be ducky.
At least I am not coughing much, an occasional anemic piffle comes out of my chest, but I suspect as things go I had a fairly mild case of bronchitis. Nonetheless, I hope my first experience was my last. I was back at the gym this morning and I can't really believe how good it felt to be moving again, how sluggish I had felt during the period of recuperation.
But much as I would like to claim that my renewed sense of ease in my own skin was due to glowing health, it would not be the complete truth. In truth this feeling of being more comfortable in my skin owes more to vanity than to health. In short, it is a hair issue.
In September there was some miscommunication between myself and my hairdresser. My layers had grown too long, it was hot and humid, and, in retrospect, we were each saying exactly what we meant, we were not speaking the same language, and the result was not the one I was looking for. For me, being appalled at my haircut was a relevation, as it was not until I moved to Knoxville and got the style I have (mostly) sported since that I ever really thought of my hair as an integral part of my image of myself. Before that, haircuts were something I got, and I thought of my hair as something with a mind of its own, something outside my control. My new style changed all that, and I saw a more unified version of myself, for the first time how I looked and how I perceived myself to be seemed to show the possibility of alignment.
Until September. The haircut was not bad. It was not that it was short, but rather more the allusions of pixiness that bothered me. My hair was cut in a pixie haircut most of my childhood. It flattered my face and it was cute. There is nothing wrong with cute, but it is not how I vew my 54-year--old self. And herein lay the dilemna. I admit the hair was attractive. I got many compliments, but the hair did not align with the aspects of my shape, style, and personality that I am most comfortable with, and emphasized parts which although no less attractive or even desireable perhaps, were not the parts that I sit easily with my spirit. If I didn't style my hair, just let it do its thing, it would emphasize my height and shoulders in a way that felt distinctly un-feminine and almost butch, especially with the sportier clothes I favor. On the other hand, styling could easily tend toward a kind of round-faced girlish prettiness that, although it is there, does not align smoothly with my view of myself and the way I occupy physical space. It is not that I don't occasionally like feminine, pretty, or even girlish things, or even frivolous fascinators, but that these things aren't part of my prefered mode of being. We all have these views of ourselves, the aspects of our physical, mental, and even emotional selves that we feel comfortable sharing, and the sides of ourselves about which we feel more protective.
I simply felt less comfortable in my skin, and now I feel like I am back to being myself. Although it is fun sometimes to play with different aspects of our persona, it is also nice to feel like I have returned home, where my inner view of myself and the reflection in the mirror exist in harmony,