Back when I started counseling in 2005 and came to a realization that I needed to worry about my well being and learn to be who I am without feeling guilty or I was going to self destruct in the process of conforming. Those very first steps were truly scary ones and every baby step I’ve made since has been the same. The fact is that I’ve realized I am worthy of being happy and at least feeling normal.
Once I set that foundation in place I set a road map of what needed to change in order for this to happen. The first was to eliminate certain things that reminded me of male daily life, essentially things that impacted me negatively daily that I could do something about easily.
One instance was my vehicle and as stupid as this may sound it was something that had been bringing me down. The previous year out of need I had to replace my original Ford Ranger so in a hasty decision because I owned a home and felt like I needed to be responsible. So I bought another ranger, Let’s face it though a pickup truck is a very male driven product regardless of being responsible.
After going through all of this I would notice that every time I would get in my truck I would get this sinking that simply reminded me of who I am. While I struggled with the decision and felt irresponsible the truck had to go in lieu of something that was more suited to me and stopped screaming GUY!! That was how we had arrived at the decision to purchase my mustang, a decision I have not regretted once. In fact it was the first time in a long time other than the motorcycles that we owned that I had purchased a vehicle solely to make myself feel good.
One of the other changes that we all tend to deal with is aging and I’m no different. But with every age line added to my face and every stiff bone in my body I would be reminded that it was a day lost not understanding who I was or why. The one thing we all notice about aging is our gray hair, face it reminds us of our grand parents or even older parents.
I started to gray at a rather young age, Approximately 27-29 IIRC. Having long dark hair would tend to make every new gray stand out worse than the last. I knew this was becoming a deep part of my male life as I had started being identified by it. Over the years my hair had gone from Deep Brown to an almost Salt and Pepper showing I was getting older. As a male testosterone tends to make your hair get rather coarse and unruly.
In 2004 I was attending the NAMM show in Anaheim California when I bumped into guitarist Gary Hoey. He was a genuinely nice guy from the time we met him. I had been a fan of his playing for a long time and was aware that he was a local guitar hero, that is to say he came from the same general area as I had. In the course of our conversation I mentioned to Gary where my hometown was and he had mentioned he was actually looking to move back and that his family lived in NH not far from me. Eventually he would move back but I’ve yet to bump into him around town.
Like all famous encounters you simply assume given the vast amount of people musicians meet they play the part say hello to sell albums and forget all about it and focus on the next encounter. Gary was different and had done something that amazed me to this day. He remembered exactly who I was. The following year at the 2005 show Gary bumped into us for a 2nd time and never forgot me, this was something that gave me a new respect for him.
During these encounters my friend Todd was present and got to meet Gary as well. Todd as I was, had been a long time fan and had the same genuine experience with Gary.
Not long after when Gary’s tour ran through the Chicago area Todd went to see him perform and in genuine Gary fashion he remembered exactly who Todd was but what would happen next would blow my mind on several levels. Gary had asked Todd how I was and referred to me as the "Guy with the salt and pepper hair" Hmm ..I was beginning to feel old …
As things began to change and fall into place I decided to start coloring my hair. I knew that it was just another step in saying goodbye to Kevin and hello to Karyn. My biggest fear was the ribbing that I would get from work, after all I work in a trade. That ribbing never happened as not one of my male co-workers noticed the change in color. In fact people that see me all the time haven’t even noticed most of my facial hair is now gone.. pretty observant huh?
About 2 weeks after I colored my hair I got stopped from one of the girls upstairs with a smile on her face asking me what I had done. She noticed!! I was elated because not only did she notice but she thought it looked good. Shortly after that word got out as her husband was one of the guys that frequent our shop and yes I did get teased, just nowhere near as bad as I’d assumed I would. The numbness that the guys around me displayed definitely showed signs of typical MALE behavior
This morning as I was sitting in my chair the older Hungarian guy that works in here was standing staring at me and I caught him from the corner of my eye. I looked over and he had this smile on his face and in his thick innocent Hungarian accent asked me, "Did you paint your hair?"
I almost died of laughter, I asked him if he meant dyed? Laughing I explained to him I had but it’s been that way for well over a year now. He just had this bewildered look on his face and went back about his business …
Typical guy? Yep!!
This was one of the changes that had hit me in a profound way from the testosterone into the estrogen. The "T" gives men a more numbed awareness of their surroundings. Estrogen makes you a lot more aware of the world around you, it strips that numbness and creates a bit of a vulnerable feeling. I can honestly now see how teenage girls go through an awkward stage of feeling out of place in the world.
Thought I’d share for today .. Enjoy your weekend