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Monday, October 12, 2009

Lightening Up

Greetings, Guests-n-Mommas!

Lately, I've been in the mood to lighten up.

That mood creeps up on me with inordinate frequency, an inexplicable urge to giggle at something otherwise terrible or disgusting. I'm not sure if it's an Irish thing or just some weird, psychological inability to deal with trauma in a normal way. I do know that even on the very day when shit went down with little Zachary, I was wandering around the radiology floor on Kevin's arm, laughing at something silly. (For the record, Kevin was laughing too, and he's my barometer for what behavior is within the limits of social and societal normalcy, I figured it was okay. If a Catholic-bred son of a Marine Corps colonel can do it, I can do it.)

Anyway, this particular recent urge to "lighten up" has been related more to my physical appearance and my house than to my actual mood (although I suppose "mood" is probably intertwined with that somehow).

Let's start with the hair. Mine has been about this length for year and years, give or take a few inches:

Heavy, boring, blah. Guys like to brush it off your face, and kids like to touch it with their snotty swine-flu-infested fingers, but otherwise it's pretty useless. The past few weeks, I was in the mood to lighten up that part of myself. Low and behold, the perfect opportunity came up over the weekend, when I was invited to a "haircut brunch" at a friend's house. I was skeptical at first, because it sounded like one of those things that housewives do, like hosting a Tupperware party or a jewelry exchange. Not that there's anything wrong with either of those events - just not my cup of tea.

But I sucked it up and went because I knew the people there would be cool, and because - after all- this was a chance to lighten up.

A "haircut brunch" goes like this, in case you aren't sure:

Some peeps get together for brunch, and one of the gals at the brunch is supposedly a professional hair cutter, and you don't have any proof of this but you take her word for it, and you sit in a chair while scarfing down pieces of fried bacon, and she goes snip-snip-snip directly onto your dry (and in my case, several-days-unwashed) hair, and lots and lots of your hair falls straight onto the living room floor, and everybody laughs and says you look great, and you nervously ask for more bacon and pray that you aren't going to walk out of that house looking like Sinead O'Connor.

But you don't end up looking like that. You end up looking like this:

And you walk out of there feeling all layered and choppy and sassy, with the cool autumn breeze on the nape of your neck and a bellyful of bacon, and your husband touches it right away and tells you how good you look. And then you beam proudly - because in the end it's still those immediate reactions that matter most - and give him a kiss, flip your head upside-down and flip it back up just to give it some extra volume, and say a quick "thanks" to the Great Being Above that you live in a contemporary society in which women can get haircuts like this at their every whim and not be viewed as some kind of rebel-prostitute-freak.

* * *

Next, lightening up of the house. There's only so much you can do with a tiny house in the city. And one of those things is: paint.

Sometime while biking through Eastern Europe last summer with all those drab post-Communist buildings whizzing by, I felt suddenly inspired to paint everything in the house a dark marigold-yellow color. I want bold, exotic, international, exciting! I told Kevin over a dinner of hot beef gristle and 9% alcohol beer. Bright, goldspun yellow the color of an Indian spice market! He had his doubts, but - that being...oh, about a year after Zach's death - I found myself still position to legitimately pull the dead-baby-momma-gets-whatever-dead-baby-momma-wants card.

"Okay," he said, "but that's all you."

So in a caffeine-induced frenzy, the walls got painted soon after our return:

Well, over the past two weeks I began to feel weighed down by that bold marigold-yellow. I know, I know; I only threw that paint up there a year ago, and really it should have a chance to sit there on the walls, fester a bit longer and enjoy itself. But once I got it in my head that I was sick of the color, there was no stopping me. In fact, it wasn't just the yellow I was tired of: I was done with colored walls of any sort. Time to return to something

"Let's switch over to white," I told Kevin. Plain old, ho-hum white trim with slightly off-white walls. We need to lighten the whole house up."

I wanted to feel like I was floating up into a cloud of lightness inside this house. Kevin did cast me the glance of "here we go again," but refrained from making some typically rational comment about how we "can't keep repainting every wall year after year" as I half expected he would. I think that's because this new painting endeavor happened to coincide perfectly with an existing plan, which was to:

1) "lighten up" our hardwood floors by getting them refinished
2) "lighten up" our furnishings by replacing old/clunky with new/slim
3) get rid of our kitchen table and replace it with a small bistro set

So, adding a bit of painting to all that didn't seem like such a big deal, I guess. Yippeee! So, within a few weeks, our house got as light as my new hair-do:

I know, it's! So Ikea! So metrosexual condominium! But having that marigold yellow gone like five inches of heavy brown hair is, in fact, like a great superficial weight off my shoulders.


Phase two in Operation Lighten Up: the paunch belly and rapidly increasing thigh-diameter. That's a whole new beast of a phase, though. If only I didn't love food so very, very, very much...


Being Me said...

Stunning, stunning, stunning! And the walls ain't bad either ;)

I am a very strong advocate for colour being used to complement our healing. You needed the yellow then, for whatever reason. Interesting you call it heavy now. Time to change.

LOVE it. Your hair cut is awesome, suits you! (er, not that I *know* you except I feel like I do through your blog, I hope that's ok...)

Hope's Mama said...

Loving both the new looks!!

Michelle said...

Love, Love, Love the new looks...especially the hair!

'Murgdan' said...

Love it! Love ALL of it!

chicklet said...

Both the hair AND the white paint look awesome. The yellow was nice, but the white is very clean and makes your furniture stand out more. And the hair - well it just rocks.

everydayistheendoftheworld said...

I love my plain white walls SO much more than I thought I would! They make all the art and photos and funky little treasures look good.

I changed my hair last week during a very depressed weekend - it's now dark brown on top, and bright purple underneath. I'm still not sure if I love it.

Sophie said...

Both you and the house look great! So refreshing when you make some changes isn't it?


Karen said...

Your hair looks very chic, Monica! And your home makeover looks lovely, too. Glad you're feeling lighter these days and that you shared it with all of us.

Sharon said...

Loving the new do and the white walls!

angie said...

I love your hair. It is so cool. And your home is very streamlined...are you from the future?

kari said...

Love the 'do. Your house, however, is too clean and chic. Makes me feel bad about myself.

Brenna said...

Love, love, LOVE the hair. I really need to do something like this (why have I never heard of a "haircut brunch"?! I need new friends). With my pregnant fat face I'm not sure I currently have the nerve to lop it all off, though. It's my chin camouflage.

Your place looked great in that warm marigold yellow, but it looks light and airy and calming in white as well. (And it matches the mod haircut!)

AnnaMarie said...

Your new hair is gorgeous!

Shanon said...

Looks great! It's funny. I just stayed up late one night last week and painted my old office (which was to be the nursery). It felt like a real healing "hump" to get over, and now if feels like a totally different room:)

jen said...

to join the chorus...everything looks fabulous! go you!

Parenthood For Me said...

You look gorgeous as always. I see what you mean about the marigold. I used to love bold colors and slowly I have become less dramatic. You can always "brighten" it up with bold fabrics.

Karen said...

Monica - since you're in a lightening up kind of mood - and since I'm challenged and cannot find your email for looking and don't have much time - do you like folky music? I'm guessing you might and a fantastic Canadian band from Newfoundland called Great Big Sea is playing near Bellingham in November. We've seen them live and they are amazing - splurged and took our boys last year in December when they were in Vancouver. These guys are AMAZING live and a lot of fun. I'd love to go but don't have my passport yet (have to get the forms notarized back where we lived till recently and people know me). Thought you might want to check it out if you're at all into this kind of music. Just 15 min south of the border in Bellingham, WA. Sun, Nov 22, 7:30, $35/$28 Mount Baker Theatre Newfoundland folk rock powerhouse.

AnxiousMummyto3 said...

Hey Mon,
Love the hair, love your blog. Gave you an award. Come see. :)

KuKd Chick said...

Hey all - for the record, my hair doesn't always look as whimsical as it does in the second picture. Like now, for instance: I just got up and it's all flattened against my head like a plastic hair-helmet. Just as an FYI.

Karen - of course I like folk music (you had me tagged on that one) and am instantly intrigued by this idea, so I will see if I can make it to Great Big Sea!

Anxious Mummy- I'm bad at getting awards. Thanks so much and I will go check it out and hope/pray that I can do what I'm supposed to do with it. :-)

Brenna - "pregnant fat face" - I had the same apprehension, but in the end I've felt the lightening of the hair to be worth the double-chin exposure.

Being Me - I like your take on color as a healing quality. I agree 100%. One of the first things I did within 24 hours of Zach's death was slather a bunch of paint on canvas and makes some bright, colorful paintings. In fact I think I might blog about those. COol concept!