Tuesday 31 July 2012

A Hairy matter


It's just the fiddly dead ends of our bodies, and it is one of the most important things for our self esteem. Bad hair-day equals bad mood, and going to the hairdresser can fall into the category of going to the gynaecologist. Just that the gynaecologist thing is over in a jiffy, a bad hair cut stays with you for month.

So we are all happy when we eventually found a friendly hairdresser who understands our head, we get used to the ambiance, there are nice chats, sometimes they even remember what you said last time, and when you go at the same time every six weeks, you may even see the same clients, which gives wonderful bonding opportunities.

There will be a day, however, on which things go wrong. Either staff changes, prices get raised and for that amount of money one could have gone to London to one of those posh coiffeurs... wondering how that would boost the confidence, or quite simply the hairdresser got bored of you. As a new customer you are not just a welcomed source of income, but a challenge. Eventually they get to do for what they became hairdressers in the first place: Being creative with the scissors. After many years of sheering your head they don't focus on your fringes anymore, but on the gossip in the next seat.

By then the relationship is one of an old couple. You don't complain if things are not quite right, because you don't want to see that sad face and hear excuses, and you don't know how to get out, because the social network is knit so tightly, the others would have to suffer through enquiries in regard to your health and well-being.

And most of all: Here you know what you get! How on earth are you supposed to find a new hairdresser who will do the same thing you are used to, just nicer?

Let's suppose you take the decision that an overhaul is needed, you might even be a bit daring and wanting to change the style or the colour. You know that you never, ever can go back to your old hairdresser, do you? You are a cheat, and the new hairstyle, however grown out and neglected, will have you recognised as that. Only if you look like an old which you might be able to crawl back, providing a thousand apologies and the promise to never do it again.

So, now let's do the big step. You heard from a friend about this fantastic new stylist... at the beginning they are all stylists... you have saved up for it, and you have your appointment. Adrenalin pounding through the veins you step into the salon and the dreaded question is upon you: What would you like me to do for you, today?

Argh... I want to look like Mila Kunis...?

Well you should have prepared better, shouldn't you? Here is my tip!

From magazines or the Internet you find hairstyles in the approximate length you want to be. And then you find up to 3 pictures for each of the following categories:
  • Hate, really really hate... (fringes in eyes, too fuzzy, ...)
  • Luuuurve... but not sure if my hair is suitable (love colour, length, fringe, layering, ...)
  • Like but a bit boring
  • Like but a bit too much
and from those you create a mood board. Glue them on a sheet of paper and take it with you. From that the stylist will get a rather clear picture what sort of head you are after.

Well and then you are entering a new era of relationship building... until the next time!

Tuesday 24 April 2012

There is always a first step

... even if it feels that I have taken this first step more than once now.

Last year I felt at my height! After seven years of researching fashion options for my shape, training to get into one, writing about it, and trying to see the positive side in things, I did the bodybuilding competition just a few days short of my 50s birthday.

It feels good to be on that pedestal and people looking up. I just didn't anticipate that a pedestal is not a comfortable resting place, and in a way I was lucky that mine was not a really high one to fall off. Right after my birthday my life turned a bit upside down; nothing too serious even, just the shit that sometimes happens and which happens to almost all of us at one time or another. It's the time when one has to get the priorities right, or - if one is not sure what that means - to take some decisions whatever they are to get through the muddle.

My decision was to basically skip gym and the health stuff, which kind of took the blogging down as well. Initially I missed the blogging more than the gym and I managed to squeeze a few things in, but I don't think they were fun to read, so I basically gave it up, too.

And here is a big thank you to all my dear friends! I have all the blogs Adsense enabled to make a bit of money for my charity projects through advertising, and the income never dropped. It was a big encouragement to keeping focused on what I had to do, knowing that I would be able to pick up things later.

Well, and now I am back. I took the first step by putting my life's priorities back to where they were a year ago. I filled in all my gym appointments into the calendar and I keep telling myself that 'enough is enough!'. A year ago, right after my birthday I did a big trip, my first ever trip into the jungle with hiking and a lot of activities and it was fantastic. I got so hooked that I went again this year. And the same hike was bloody exhausting. Then I went to cheer on a friend during the London marathon... standing around a lot and walking slowly almost killed my back, something I hadn't encountered for the past five years.

So: Enough IS enough! I need my health and my fitness back.

Seven years ago I started on a route which was a blank sheet; I had no idea how or if things would work out, and I had a fantastic time. It feels a bit lame to start over again, but I guess that is what athletes do all the time. They work hard, they compete, they are high up, they rest and then they start over, and hopefully become even better. At least I have seven years of experience on my back to know what works and what doesn't.

So, here is to my first steps... the calendar is filled in, I was in the gym yesterday, the first blog is written.... Summer 2012, here I come!

Sunday 19 February 2012

Finding Motivation

There are the things that we want to do but we procrastinate nevertheless, the things we have to do but don’t like doing, and the things we think we should do but somehow never get round to.

I find myself blaming the lack of motivation in one category on the existence of the others: 'I cannot follow my dream because there is too much house work.', 'I really should go to the gym but if I don’t follow my dream today I will never make it.' Problem is: Shifting things round and round doesn’t get anything done and all that is left is feeling miserable... That is not a good starting point.

The Duties!
The easiest ones to tackle are the duties; the stuff we have to do but which we don’t particularly like doing. Like my fish tank. I like it to look nice, but cleaning it is a bit of a nuisance. To be honest? It’s half an hours work... ½ an hour... girl: Get your rear up and have it done and dusted!

See, the trick lies in ranking the tasks by duration. Get a quick one done and feel good about it. Or choose one that fits into a particular time slot, like: 'between lunch and having to leave the house for a meeting'. Knowing the length of a task and then imagining how it feels when it’s over, gives that little kick to get it done.

Should Do Stuff!
What about the ‘should do stuff'...? Maybe we just shouldn’t! I ditched the sewing course and the Taekwon-Do class. The sewing course was held by a brilliant teacher and I thought the skill could be beneficial at one point in my life. And then it turned out that in order to have the full benefit I would have to do homework... which I never did... I shouldh’ve... but... The Taekwon-Do was a similar story. The effort to actually doing it well was too high for the benefits. Maybe in a few years time I regret, however, when I took the decision I had a big sigh of relief and big rock fell off my shoulders. The one thing that kept me from skipping out earlier was the feeling of having to explain myself to... everybody, basically... ‘you were so excited at the beginning, what happened?’, ‘you were so good at it, why would you want to stop?’, ‘you bought all this equipment, what a waste!’.

No ones business, that is! I try out stuff; some I like, some I don’t, some turn out to be too time consuming, so what? Turns out: There should only be two categories: The stuff we have to do, and the stuff we want to do. If something doesn’t properly fit either – ditch it!

Want to Do Stuff!
Oh, those are tricky little bastards. They are thoughts and desires we use for all sorts of things... and sometimes they should go on the couch of a psychiatrist.

They are wonderful tools for blame... 'You never help in the household, so I don’t get to do stuff'. One could just DO stuff, and letting the work pile up; developing a thick skin, socks wouldn’t be folded, shirts not be ironed, kids favourite meal not be cooked, car not washed... they would find out eventually, that taking some duties off your shoulders would give you the time to be at their service. It however seems that having this blame tool available is more valuable than to actually educate the family. Why else would we stick to NOT doing the things we would like doing?

Maybe we have a rose tinted imagination of how it would be if we were to give it a go, and we somehow know, or fear, that it might not be like that? If there is only one big dream, then sometimes it is nicer to dream the dream than to destroy it with a harsh reality, and then nothing would be left... not even a dream.

Truth is: Every dream requires a lot of work and dedication to become reality, and the reality might look different from what we expected. It is ok to just like the dream and to keep dreaming, but if this little sneaky thought keeps coming back over and over again, and if it doesn’t look rose tinted anymore but takes the colour of a nag, then it might be time to do something about it. Sometimes it needs a good friend who is able to listen and to step into your shoes to get started, sometimes the foundations have to be laid in secret until the confidence has risen to respectable levels to come out, and sometimes we have to listen to some people to find the right kick:

However, whatever it is that is needed: Use it and then DO it!