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18 July 2010 @ 11:43 am
Yesterday Mrs. Cav commented on how long my hair has grown (down to my bum). When discussing acting and standing out in a line of people wearing black, she pointed out that my hair could be one of the identifying traits. I mentioned, with smiles and a lilting voice, the identity change I went through with my Hip Thing and junior high - high school. ("Wednesday at Savers I saw a softball glove. It fit perfectly. For a minute...I was so tempted. And then I remembered, that's not who I am anymore, and that's okay. I'm someone new now. I can visit for a few minutes.")

I had a revelation while brushing my hair this morning. My hair was part of my transformation and the general path I took.

8th grade, pre-hip fracture: Smiley, long (bum-long) hair, able to be girly yet also tomboyish, took great joy in many things.
8th grade, post-hip fracture: Still hopeful, but growing snarkier, less enthralled with being female (however connected it was with my hip, which has just grown feminine before I fractured it), wishing to slash off my hair.
9th grade: Detest all dresses and skirts and anything I labelled inherently feminine, short-cropped hair, boys clothing, bound chest, sarcastic to a fault, distanced, mean with a somewhat gentler side for those I appreciated and respected, growing hopeless despite third surgery - my most difficult one.
10th grade: Finally had news that it Didn't Work and able to come to terms with who I was going to be in life, took up serious writing (NaNo WriMo started this year), grew to accept the more feminine and started wearing dresses and skirts too, grew out my hair enough to straighten it, changed my personality to one gentler and kinder, stuck up for those who needed it, girly yet tomboyish (even without sports), great joy on many things.
11th grade: Many skirts, many friends, many smiles, longer hair, more compassion, part of many communities, given up on MY hip but hopeful for the future, chosen to replace my hip, creative.
12th grade: Replaced hip, walking on my own two feet, leader of a number of communities, generally a go-to person, fairly active even with no sports, still very much a writer, great joy in a tremendous number of things, even longer hair.
Fresher Year: A continuation of that person, finally on my own. Growing confident in my ability to just be with myself again, this still 'new' person I was who isn't a jock, hair grows ever longer.
Second Year: Little remembrance of the jock self in me, very content, back into leading things, able to be girly or not, smiley, hair down to my bum again, joy in nearly all things.

It has felt in many ways like a journey back to that person I was in 8th grade, only that person grown into an adult. I've noticed the idea brush my mind from time to time, but my hair has often been an indicator of my progress along the path back to myself. It was a long path that brought me back to this place where I acknowledge that I can be my Self, the Self I've always been, with one core part missing (the sports) yet replaced with a more enriched connection to the universe through creativity (art/writing/song).

I feel as though I finally made it. I can still be me. I just learned to express it and get the emotions out a different way. Songs instead of soccer, stories instead of softball, art instead of archery. It's okay that a part of me will always wish to just run run run, free as the horses I used to so admire (and still do in part); I have an active imagination for that, and the words to write myself into reality in a new way.

(However, a dash here and there, just for old times' sake, never brings me too astray. (; )

Now I really need to go shower and get ready for my brother's graduation party!

P.S. This is essentially why I don't watch the World Cup or anything of that sort - it has always reminded me that I could no longer go outside and play. Tugged at my heart. I wonder if that has changed now. I'm not sure. New identity or no, some reminders still sting.
(Anonymous) on July 18th, 2010 04:38 pm (UTC)
Hi. I don't comment on many things, but I just came across this and it really reminded me of myself a lot. I am going into my junior year of college this year and I am a big fan of athletics. I play or well played division II lacrosse for my school. Last year we made it to the finals and during the game I was injured. I ruptured my acl, tore my meniscus and tore a few other things in my knee. I just recently had surgery. The only thing is that I might not ever be able to play again.
The reason I am writing to you is that it seems you have gone through sort-of the same thing. Not that I am comparing, but I was just wondering if you had any advice on how to cope? I would really appreciate it.
Kiwi Crocuscranky__crocus on July 26th, 2010 03:03 am (UTC)
I am sorry to hear of your injuries and the outcome! That is always such a huge, life-changing bummer.

Life-changing but not life-destroying, I always like to hope.

How to cope? Hmm. I'd say, find your hobbies. Figure out what you really enjoy. There's going to be something in you crying over a lost identity - whatever part of you clung to sports as one part of the things that made you up as a person. If the sports-part was a big part, there will be a large portion of the Lost Identity Cryer in you; that voice can drown out other things. Don't let it convince you that it's right and that you have nothing left, that you're worth less now that you can't do something. That's not true. It just means you have to gather your energy and put it into something else.

So figure out what you like doing. It can be old stuff or new stuff - go out and experience some new things, see what brings you that fleeting feeling of joy (pay attention: it will be hard to sense over the pain of the Cryer, and the Cryer will try to suck it away and pretend it never happened; the Cryer wants to make you miserable about losing your identity and doesn't want you to find a new one). When you find those things, keep doing them.

Get good at them. Or don't - sometimes things as just as fun when you're NOT good. Regardless, keep doing them. Eventually your mind will comprehend that these are a new big part of you. The Cryer will be quieted. Not go silent, unfortunately (as I mentioned - the twinges when professional sports are on, etc) but it won't take up as much room in your head and heart as it used to. You'll free up.

Sure, it'd be great for us all to go around without having to feel this pesky calling of Identity and Ego, affixing ourselves and our self-worth to certain things and traits that make us up, but that's incredibly hard. You can work on that too! That's one of the hobbies some people take up when they've lost sports. It's probably the hardest one to take up. But until that's successful, your mind is probably going to have to find some new identities to get that peaceful sensation.

Also, feel free to cry. Sometimes I just need to pick up my old soccer ball or basketball or softball glove, sit in a dark room and cry for a bit. Take the moment to let the walls down and the Cryer out. Don't over-indulge and let that voice take over until you're miserable, but if you let some of the energy out the Cryer won't be quite as fierce and harsh.

So much luck to you! If there's anything else I can do please let me know!
Treecreatesunspots on July 21st, 2010 01:53 pm (UTC)
it's always fascinating and interesting and kind of amazing to look through these sorts of timelines. it's like there is one for every aspect of the self and they all relate.
Kiwi Crocus: Rainbow || Meditative tree.cranky__crocus on July 26th, 2010 03:04 am (UTC)
it's like there is one for every aspect of the self and they all relate.

That statement rang so true for me. I'm still grokking over that. Thank you.
therealsnapetherealsnape on July 21st, 2010 07:18 pm (UTC)
Late reply, due to my hols. May I just pipe up to say that I love having the current Kiwi on my flist?

And as a writer you're going from strength to strength. Those stunning In Memoriam and Postscript stories are among my all time favourites.
Kiwi Crocuscranky__crocus on July 26th, 2010 03:05 am (UTC)
Thank you! There's nothing like a comment such as yours to raise the spirits and feel appreciated. I very much love having the current therealsnape on my flist as well!

Blushes. Thanks for the writing comments too. I'm trying. I still feel very behind. I wonder if my age insecurity will start slipping off as I wander further into my 20s... It's annoying having this on top of my writers' insecurity!