On Wednesday, June 29th, I went to visit my good friend, Keri Minson, who had just had surgery. She was in the Utah Valley Regional Medical Center. I took over some goodies from BYU for her to enjoy. She had me sit down next to her and we began to talk – but only for less than 5 minutes before another woman walked into the room. She had a long, dark pony tail and looked polished and classy. Keri smiled up at her and said, “Oh, my friend.” And then she gestured to me to start to introduce me but the woman just jumped in and said, “Oh, is this your mother?” Keri looked startled and embarrassed. I struggled not to jump up and strangle the woman. But I calmly said to Keri, not the woman, “It’s the gray, Keri. It’s the gray.” For the next five minutes, Keri was trying to figure a way out of the affront caused to me while I sat back and just smiled at the total stupidity of the woman. Keri kept explaining to me who this woman was and how I should know her. It turns out that she is the mother of one of Gillian’s friends. She is also the Stake YW’s President in their stake and Keri is her councilor. She knows Gillian very well. I personally don’t want to know the woman. The rest of the conversation was total prattle so I quickly said my goodbyes and left.
I went home that night and looked at myself in the mirror and said, “Do I look old enough to be the mother of a soon-to-be-grandmother?” Does this hair age me that much? I am much happier with the texture and look of my hair than I ever was with the dye. But how much older does it make me look? If a total stranger took me for an old woman, then it must have aged me at least ten years. The real question is this: do I care what others think about me? I’ve cared my whole life what others think of me and have rarely felt pleased with myself. I have fretted more than normal about the look of my hair. I rarely please Jim with the length of my hair. I never pleased my dad or my brother. Do I care? Yes. Unfortunately I care. However, I have decided that I am not going to care anymore. I want to be free of the judgment of others. I want to be whoever I want to be.
I walk like I’m at least 80 years old due to broken down knees and I think that ages me more than the color of my hair. I may look and walk like I’m aged, but my heart and mind are still very young.
This morning I chased hot air balloons and laughed and clapped my hands with delight when the sun shone on the balloons or when I could see the people up high and the flames shooting into the balloons. I took a photo of something else – a non-descript one, but I laughed when I took it because it pleased me. It isn’t one I would print but it pleased me nonetheless. I get excited when I see airplanes. I have never grown old or tired of seeing them fly over my head. I stop what I am doing to watch them, wondering where they’ve been or where they’re going. I feel excitement with cloud formations – it takes me back to my childhood when I would lay on my back and decide what those clouds looked like. I find joy in the simplest of things and I giggle and laugh out loud at the silliest of things. The color of one’s hair or the outer shell of a body doesn’t dictate what one is inside. It’s like an old book – open the cover and find beauty and joy inside. I choose to be free of other’s perceptions. I am who I am.