Tuesday, May 8, 2012
What hair did.
Today was my last day at the salon. It was an interesting feeling that swept over me as I packed up my tools and headed for the parking lot. Hair is not and never was my passion but at times I have thought that it really saved my life and my sanity. I was married and soon pregnant at 21. I worked unhappily in a hospital laboratory until my second term with Marnie when out of the blue thee pregnant women (myself included) were let go. I found myself unintentionally a stay-at-home-mother. It had never occurred to me to stay at home with my baby as I didn’t dare to dream we could make it financially. The way was made however since a heavily pregnant woman is not exactly a highly sought after commodity. I slept, I ate, I cried. I slept again. Troy and I were in Pensacola, Florida at the time - a fact that I was extremely less than thrilled with. A few weeks before becoming pregnant we had relocated to the southern location in order for Troy to attend a strict Christian college - he had a fleeting desire to become a pastor. I never had desire to be a pastor’s wife and if you were to ever meet us you surely would not guess this year’s worth of time to be part of our history. It came at a time where Troy was trying to tap back into his childhood faith and in his typical ‘go big or go home’ mentality, he chose to get as close to the big guy as possible and become one of his right hand men. So we moved to Florida. Unfortunately for us (and God) the college turned out to be much more similar to a cult than what Troy had been hoping for and soon he was regretting the move. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that soon I was making him sorely regret moving me. I was pregnant for the first time and a long way from home. Troy’s family lived somewhat near by but I wanted to be in the North. I wanted snow for Christmas, my mother at the birth of her granddaughter, and no Christian cults. My firing at least benefited me in one way - Troy had to quit school. We could no longer afford it. So, being the great man he is, he sucked it up and found a job. Then the hurricane hit and we moved back to Michigan. Soon after, baby number two came. Troy began to train for management and it proved to be better for us financially if I stay home with the babies. When Marnie was born, this job was a pleasure. She was the easiest of babies and we could maintain the same schedule. Eat when she eats, sleep when she sleeps. It was a lovely time. And then Ethan was born. Let me start this by saying he was born on 6/6/06. No lie. I love that kid beyond words, but had he been my first, he would have been my last. He was a different kind of baby from the moment he was born. He was six weeks early and had to stay in the NICU. He came home with colic and never slept. He cried and cried and cried. Colic is supposed to go away at some point, but his just never did. He did not sleep through the night for over a year and a half. We took him to doctors who would dismiss our pleas and send us on our way. I struggled at home. Marnie was two when Ethan was born, so she was well into toddlerhood during this strenuous time. Thank the sweet Lord that she was and easy toddler or I do not think I would have made it. I was slipping though. I was losing all sense of happiness and my temper was quick. We had been moved to Indiana by this time for Troy’s work and I was yet again away from family. We had rented a home in the country and were far removed from interaction with actual people. Troy worked so many hours and I was alone and very lonely. He would come home at night and I would talk at great speed for hours due to the effects of only having babies as company. I began to want something else. I knew I could not leave the kids at this time for daycare was expensive. I still do not understand how so many parents can manage that expense. I decided to give at ‘at home’ jewelry business a try. I did end up with some great stuff... but in the end was unsuccessful and still unfulfilled and sad. I had no real skills, Marnie was starting preschool and there was still something wrong with Ethan. At 18 months old, he still did not babble. He did not say a word or seem to understand anything. He cried constantly and nothing soothed him. A crying baby is the most heartbreaking thing in the world. A year and a half of a crying baby will make you lose your ever-loving mind. Crazy eyed and panicked I demanded his doctor do something and run tests. Finally they agreed. Low and behold, my baby boy could not hear. His eardrums were not vibrating and he was not having his needs met. Surgery was scheduled the day after his results came in. Although supposedly in pain, I will never be able to describe the glee on his face when he arrived home and heard music for the very first time. His eyes were lit from within and his legs moved in rhythm. I cried for three days straight. The work was only beginning as he now had to catch up. He began speech therapy twice a week and occupational therapy every Friday. Progress was slow. He had depended on his crying, frustration and anger to get me to do things for him and we now had to learn to communicate in a new way. We learned to sign. We worked at it. Marnie had begun school at this time and I had to drive her an hour each way three times a week. The school she attended was amazing and worth the commute but between it and all of Ethan’s appointments I began to forget who I was. There was no time for friends - not that I had many anyhow - and Troy was working many hours in a neighboring town. I began to gain weight and shy away from social events. I withdrew from the life I once had and all I could manage was to make it to scheduled children’s events. I was unhappier than I ever had been. We managed to buy a house and continue on the path that was supposed to make us happy. If the details were listed out on paper, it would have appeared that we were doing everything right. Troy had a stable job, we had two beautiful and (now) healthy kids and they were cared for by their devoted full time mother. It was all true but I was miserable. I loved being with the kids but there was something missing. I needed adult interaction and even more, I craved using my mind. Troy was a great companion but his job demanded so much of his time. I was literally losing it and worried for myself. I sent myself to the doctor and went on antidepressants. Things slowly began to improve. My sanity returned, but my longing for something more grew in intensity. I wanted to go back to work. Troy was doing well enough that with a little planning, daycare was not so far fetched. I did not want to go back to school. I knew I needed a plan that would pay off a bit more quickly. I wanted something creative and social. I needed to be around people. I had lived as a hermit for five years or so by this point and I could not handle it any longer. I decided on beauty school. Within a year and a half I was holding my license. It was not without trials and I have many stories of crazy to be told at a later date. There was a four month period in which I quit after my father was killed and I became a non-human. Again, that is a story for a later date. I did go back and I did get that piece of paper. I had started something and I finished it. I had a valid reason to leave my house. I was happy to return at night to be with my babies. Soon we were to return to Traverse and in no time at all I was hired in at the salon that until this very day I have worked happily at. My entire life turned around because of this profession. I had a natural talent and was able to build a great client base. I was able to interact with unique people and be creative. My boss is an amazing woman and compassionate beyond words. Epiphany turned me into a different person. Doing hair gave me back a life and personality. I do not think this story or any words I can muster even begins to show how it saved me. I am so thankful that I believed in myself even slightly in those dark, dark days. I am grateful that my boss allowed me the opportunity to grow in her establishment. And today I had to say good-bye. I am not sad to not being doing hair anymore. I am not sad period actually. It is time to close this chapter and I know it with my entire being. It is just an odd place to be as I now know I no longer need it. I have been holding on and not wanting to let that part of myself go. Partly because I found much joy in the career and that time in my life - partly for fear that I would revert back to that sad person I once was. I know this is not true. I am not that girl. I have power now and much more than a little faith in myself. I am ready for a new adventure and a new life without fear. I am ready, but I do not forget where I came from - so once again, thank you. Ready, set, here I go.