abundance · adulthood · determination · fear · intimacy · perseverance · recovery · relationships · self-love · self-support

Manic Panic.




It’s what the junior high and high school kids
were using to dye bright streaks of their hair in the 90s. There was one store in the
mall that sold it (Nature Works? – The Nature Company! that’s it.),
and if you said you were going there, you meant that you were going to dye your
hair a brilliant shade of rebellious.
I never bought Manic Panic. I was as straight an arrow as
they come until the end of high school. There was too much order to maintain,
and too many rules to follow, for me to diverge any bit off the path I was
expected to walk.
And so, as I am very apt to do, once I hit college, the
pendulum swung so desperately and frenetically in the direction of “off the path,” that it
swung right around and hit me in the now-pierced face, like a rogue tetherball.
Obviously, this wasn’t the “way” either. This wasn’t
my authentic way, at least.
I had a therapist tell me a long time ago that if my mother
had killed herself when I was young, as her behavior threatened she’d do, that
I would have probably gone down with that ship. I’d spent so much time and
energy attending to the needs and expectations of someone else, there wasn’t
room to explore or attend to my own.
Years later, I had another therapist tell me that this life
was my own, that I didn’t have to make
choices anymore based on whether I thought my dad would approve, or disapprove
and retaliate anymore. That this life was my own was such a novel concept, I’d
rejected it for years. That I could choose now to dye my hair, pierce my face,
be alone, reject the world, participate in it, smoke, not smoke, date, not date – is still a
concept I’m adjusting to, but the marination of this understanding and
awakening has been long underway.
The idea that I am a master of my own fate … well, it seems
just as rogue! That I can choose the kind of toilet paper I want; toothpaste I
like; friends I call. That I can choose how I want to dress in the world; what hobbies to pursue; … job to have … partner to love.
Fulfillment, is the end game, or the suspicion of the end
game. Am I happy in my path? Note, Molly: this is your path. There is no mother to care for, no father to
obey. What is it
you want in
life? And do you feel free and brave enough to pursue those desires?
Do you feel free and brave enough to apply for a new job? Do
you feel free and brave enough to wear clothing without stains? Do you feel
free and brave enough to accept that you want a partner whose clothes are also
without stains?
Do you feel free and brave enough to accept that you want a
good life? A job you respect? A partner
you admire?
Do I feel … stable enough, secure enough, self-supporting
and self-worthy enough to not only admit these “taboo” desires, but also to
express them to the world, through action?
Do I feel ready to tell you, world, that I want in? That I
want in on the goods, on the joy, on the self-respect, on the intellectual
stimulation, on the bed-rocking sex, on the critical, yet specious-seeming ease?
Well, I guess I’m telling you. I guess it’s been long enough
that the tetherball has hung limp and impotent, and it’s time to begin playing
again. I no longer am… tethered to ideas of being and living that aren’t my
own. The cord is cut, the apron strings untied. The life, really, is my own. 
And though today that may not mean dying my hair
green or copper, as I wish I’d been able to do a dozen years ago, it means I now know that I could. And that I would be awesome besides. 

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