My midlife crisis has officially hit.
Yesterday, I took myself off to the bathroom with kitchen scissors, with the intention of cutting off all my hair and then shaving my head bald. I have urges like these ones occasionally. Usually when I'm feeling a little too clingy to *things* or an identity; when I'm feeling too comfortable. Doing things like cutting off all my hair takes me out of my comfort zone. It forces me to be faced with perceptions and judgements of others, of observing myself in the face of those judgements. It enables me to step outside of comfort and deal with uncomfortable. It forces me to let go - of lots of things: of attachment to image and what that represents to me, and to me through others particularly. Women are hugely attached to their hair. It represents safety, comfort, beauty, status, among many others.
Bikram has a saying that is oft repeated in class by our teachers. "Find comfort in the uncomfortable". It's a very apt saying in the practice that we do. And it also applies to life. Reframing situations that are shitty, to find the point of coping and then the point of winning. I realised I have embodied this saying for a few years now. Cutting my hair off is one way of bringing about situations where I can do just this.
I stopped short of shaving it. Not sure why. I've shaved my head before (so it wasn't a fear of the unknown). It was a heck of an experience, particularly as I was looking for work while traveling and no one wanted to hire a skinhead, despite my five star hotel and hotel bar work references. Once I saw there was more hair on the bathroom floor than on my head, it felt like enough. So I stopped.
We made another collective decision yesterday.
The telly which previously had pride of place in the living room, is now in the garage. We were never connected to free to air telly - all we did was watch movies and downloaded tv shows, but it still sucked up so much of our time. We knew we disconnected from each other mostly, while watching and because we both have issues self-regulating with telly, one episode would turn into a marathon and before we knew it, it would be 1am and we'd be stupefied zombies. This was our active, conscious decision to reclaim time with each other, free from telly. And our living room looks so much lighter and brighter with it gone!
The other quite significant change inline with this midlife crisis, is the renaming of myself. My first name, the name my father gave me. My second name - I love. It was my maternal grandfather's first name and means 'moon' in my mother tongue. I also gifted it to my daughter, so there's no way I'm losing that one. My surname changed almost two years ago, with the separation from my daughter's father. I chose that one and I still love it (it means beginning).
My full first given name is a name I am rarely referred to by. There are people in my life that have known me for years and don't know the extension of the shortened version I have gone by previously. The only times I hear that name now, is when my mother and father are speaking condescendingly to me. Past memories are of it being shouted when I was being reprimanded. So, not great associations. The shortened version of my name I have never felt a connection with. Common as muck. Not that there is anything wrong with that (Joe Blow, Joe Bloggs, Joe Regular comments aside) - I just don't feel connected to it. And it wasn't the name I was given. The name I was given has been mispronounced my entire life and the mispronunciation gives me fingernails down a blackboard feeling, so I quit introducing myself as my given name many, many years ago as a result.
The name I have chosen as my first name is a name I have sat with for many years. I wanted to name my daughter that name, but it couldn't be agreed upon. I have pondered giving the name to myself, but I knew of two children that shared this name and it felt like a hijack. Plus all the surrounding issues that something so intrinsic like a name change brings up in everyone else - I wasn't ready to absorb those, until now. All of a sudden now feels right. And the thoughts and opinions of those in my life no longer seem to matter, where they once did. Curious how these things can change.
It completely and utterly feels like a midlife crisis.
Not that I'm planning on snuffing it at 70. As I explained to a friend today, I can't see any reason why this midlife crisis can't continue indefinitely. She then asked if I didn't see a midlife crisis as a negative thing, then? I explained that to me, crisis is the destruction of old thought processes, old paradigms, old behaviour patterns. Making way for a newness, an authenticity. For me, crisis equals change. Scary, unknown, overwhelming, thrilling. Potential for awesomeness. Growth. All those things. Things I want to embrace, face full on. My biggest regret would be looking back and regretting. All things are possible. Nothing has to be permanent. I refuse to not try something because it may not work out. If it doesn't, I reserve the right to change my mind. And that philosophy is so freeing and so exciting. It's also so limitless.
So, what's my new name you ask?