I stopped dying my hair over a year ago, and to be honest, I have mixed feelings. I don't think I really have a lot of difference between my natural colour and my dying colour, because I have a lot of red in my hair. The orange streaks in my hair are due to extreme bleaching, which is why I started dying my hair in the first place; I had seriously orange ends and brown roots and it looked stupid, so I started dying everything one colour. So when I stopped, three things changed. First, of course, is that my natural hair colour started growing in. That's what all that brown is above. (I'll turn orange at the ends the next time I'm outside. Trust.) Second, all the grays that I had apparently been covering up appeared with a vengeance. No one in my family started to go gray until they were in their 40s, but I got my first gray at 20. I might just buck the trend.
Third, though, and hardest for me to get a handle on, is that my hair texture has changed. I used to have really fine and hard to brush hair, but thankfully, I think that's permanently changed just because I'm older. However, my hair used to be mostly straight with some wave (see this post or any others before August of 2013 for reference). Now it's this craziness--ultra curly at the ends and won't lay down for anything. A lot of people would kill for curl, I know, but I started dying my hair at 14 or 15, and I've never seen my natural, fully undamaged hair texture. And...I'm not sure if I like it. Part of me doesn't mind dying my hair every couple of months, but part of me doesn't want to have to pay for hair dye every month. Part of me loves that I have submitted to the Stacy London School of Gray Hair, but part of me hates how my hair looks, and has looked since I cut it in August. And I truly just hate that I am going to once again have hair that is extremely prone to bleaching out and looking orange.
A true first world conundrum, to say the least, but I'm not sure what to do. Gimme advice, y'all!
Two Women at a Window, by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo
Circa 1665/1660, oil on canvas
I was doing some research on Jen's pick for this week's Style Imitating Art, which is housed at my favourite art gallery, the National Gallery of Art (and which Jen saw on exhibit!). And it turns out that the NGA has two conflicting viewpoints on their own site about this painting! At the painting's official page, the NGA explains the painting as a charming and wistful painting of innocent delight. However, on this page, which is part of the Spanish Painting in the Seventeeth Century tour, the NGA digs up the dirt: this may or may not be a painting of a prostitute and her procuress. OH MY! (Insert George Takei here.)
Send Jen your submissions by Monday, October 20th, to be included in this week's Style Imitating art post! Keep an eye on the warm tones in this one--it's a great piece of inspiration for fall.
Scarf: Target | Cardigan: Ralph Lauren via Dani at DIYFATSHION | Top: Target | Skirt: Boden | Heels: Urban Outfitters
I have been trying very hard to photograph this skirt for the blog. I've worn it a ton since I got it, and it has just never been photographed. So not fair! But here it is, in all its crowning glory.
In other news, the FAIR is in town, and my friend dragged me off for a trip to the fair. We partially went to see what we could lay claim to for next year (her, banana bread and cornbread; me, pumpkin spice cookies, apple pie and possibly some sort of embroidery), but also for funsies. She forced me to eat a fried Oreo (first time/last time), and we went to a petting zoo where I made friends with a yak (a YAK!!!!). We saw piglets and a giant parrot seemed really fascinated with my face for some reason but the alpaca was terrified of me. The yak was definitely my fave though.
She also made me go on a ride, which did not go well. I do not like rides much at all--no fast no upside down no backward etc.--but she loves them, so we compromised and went on those giant swings that go up a pole and swing around really fast. It was terrifying and I did not like it but I'm not dead, so at least there's that. Next time I'm sticking with the Ferris wheel.
There's a certain beauty in bad news. There's always a story, there's always a topic of discussion surrounding it. It doesn't stand on its own laurels; there are extenuating circumstances.
On Friday, I reached an apex of pain that heretofore did not exist in my body. I was in such pain that I was sweating bullets and thought I was going to throw up. The nurse couldn't take my blood pressure because I couldn't sit, but I can tell you that if the machine had read my BP it would have been through the roof. My heart felt like it was going to pound out of my chest.
I had already planned to be at my orthopedist's office because I had an MRI that Monday to assess the cause of on-and-off pain I'd been feeling in my butt (as I've been telling my friends, this is all a literal pain in my ass) where the hip and leg meet. It felt like it had been getting worse, so I headed into the tube. Friday was results day. Friday was my bad news day.
My L5-S1 disc, which is the very last disc in the human back, is recurrent. Which means it has herniated again, almost ten years after doing it the first time, when I was thrown off a horse. I don't know what caused the recurrence, but I have seen my fair share of lumbar MRIs (mostly my own) and when my doctor pulled up my MRI on the screen, I immediately started crying. And all I could really say was the word "fuck". Out loud and then in my head, over and over and over again.
The large black thing in the middle of this photo is my L5-S1 disc. The white crescent beneath it is my spinal cord. In a healthy back, the disc would be an oval and the spinal cord would be a circle.
There are no conservative solutions to this problem. No pills, no PT, no acupuncture is going to fix this. The only option my doctor has put forth is surgery.
While I was a strong advocate during my first injury of trying all the options, I ultimately spent a year "trying" and failing to relieve my pain. The only thing that fixed it was surgery, which took place in May 2006. And this time around, part of me is happy because I am not going to wait a year while being jerked around from office to office hoping for a miracle cure. My orthopedist is going IN. And that's all there is to it.
I did not realise how upset I'd be when faced with another surgery. But I am. It's honestly a scary proposition: someone slices open your back and removes something poking deeply into your spinal cord with a knife. One slip and I won't be able to walk ever again. But my doctor is one of the best in the area, and he's done this surgery so many times he can probably do it to himself. I'm still nailing down a date for surgery; I was originally scheduled for the end of November (by my choice), but I've decided to move it up a month because I am worried about the repercussions of waiting.
I will be out of work for a month. That's a little unnerving. I've only had a few days to process all of this, but some of the info has gone down easier that other parts of it. It's one thing to take a month of vacation, but it's another to be forced out of commission. I'm struggling with that. I'm sacrificing a lot, professionally and personally, to take the month of November off completely: multiple big programs at work, doing some very fun things (my first and probably only real Halloween party), and even voting at my poling place are all now off the table so I can be on the table. I've decided, though, to make the absolute best out of my convalescence (thanks Downton Abbey for the introduction to THAT word): I am going to paint and read graphic novels and watch documentaries and learn to poach an egg and make Julia Child's boeuf bourguignon. I'm not going to let this get me down. Work is such a big part of my life that being taken away from it for a month is daunting.
I've been really lucky: my parents, of course, will help me deal with this (it's pretty easy since I still live with them!), and the outpouring of support from my friends has been incredible. I have an amazing support system in so many levels: my boyfriend, my boss, my many coworkers who overlap as friends, and my long distance besties all have my back (insert back joke here). Knowing that these people are here during the good and the bad has made all the difference.
Blogwise, I don't think a whole lot will change--I'll probably be taking pause from outfit blogging for a bit because I won't be dressing for anything but PT, at least for part of the time. I'm going to hope that I can get up and about after a couple of weeks, which was what happened after my last surgery. Back surgery usually doesn't involve a lot of lying in bed like an invalid--the more I move the better, so maybe I'll be able to get back to outfit photos relatively soon. In the meantime, though, expect photos of books and poached eggs and cats and whatever else I do. I might even work on a very slight blog design upgrade. And I will no doubt be aggressively Instagramming every tiny bit of my convalescence as well.
So yeah. Back to our regularly scheduled blogging, starting tomorrow.
It's time for another sculpture as Style Imitating Art inspiration! This one was picked by Salazar, who is beginning a capsule wardrobe soon. So she wisely (unlike myself) picked a piece of artwork that she could actually interpret! Send your outfit photos to Salazar by Monday, October 6th to be included in the roundup!