What choosing to go grey has taught me about difficult conversations

Wow. Episode 52 I am so glad you’re here. This marks the one year mark for how long I’ve been doing this podcast. Wahoo. Hello and welcome to the program. I want to give a shout out to Denise Myers who left a five star rating and review of the podcast. Denise says, Lara Currie sense of humor coupled with her innate desire to teach people about the different ways people are perceived and heard is brilliant. This is one of my favorite podcasts, taking away nuggets after each episode. Thank you Denise. I really appreciate the rate and review. It really makes a difference. Thank you all so much for being here. I have loved doing this weekly podcast and this episode, This one, is the one year mark. Unbelievable. It feels like it’s been a couple of months and years all at the same time. I’ve really enjoyed diving deeper and talking with some special guests, unpacking solo episodes with you and some of those episodes I’ve been really proud of and others were learning experience.

That’s a nice way to say I’ve done some obsessing on ones I knew I could have done better on, but that’s life in general, right at this one year mark, I want to share with you a little bit about why I started this podcast, what I hope to accomplish with it and why I think it’s important. You know, we are all living in a reactionary defensive word salad obfuscating time. So many words are spoken that mean absolutely nothing or worse, those words are being used to shield the true intention or just outright lie. Oftentimes people are just reacting, not acting intentionally and it is keeping us feeling misunderstood, defensive, angry, and isolated with the new work environment from coworking to working from home, from large corporate offices to small team shops. The way that we work has and will continue to change. Making communication and the way we act and react that much more important.

We are living in a time of quote, fake news and we’re also living in the time of time’s up where the canyon between people’s beliefs, reality, facts and perceptions is wider than the Grand Canyon or if you’re an ocean lover, the Agadire canyon. So what the heck do we do about it? We bring it into the light and talk about it. We learn new skills and practice them. We deal with our own preconceived ideas. The purpose of this journey of this life, in my humble opinion, is to become the person that we were to be our truest, best selves. I spent decades in a reactionary life. I know that many of you listeners have read my book. “Difficult Happens; How triggers, boundaries, and emotions impact you every day. Well, that book was born from my own reactionary life awakening. I won’t go into too much detail here, but to give you context, I was raised in a fight, flight, freeze, or flee mode.

By the time I was 15 I had seen a lot and I had lost a lot and I was on my own. It was a time where Seattle was becoming the metropolitan city people now know and love when you’re a 5’2 100lb wee Irish lass who was pretty sure she could take on Roxanne, Roxanne, Google her, well reactionary and defensive doesn’t begin to describe it. Isolated and alone does. Since those years I have done a lot of work, self work, school work, professional work, therapeutic work and I humbly share my perceptions, what I have found to be true with you in the hopes that it makes your life better, happier, more connected. Even if you’re not in the reactionary life, 80% of us were raised in dysfunction or trauma, so you’re going to come across people who are in the reactionary life. It’s interesting. I don’t know if you can hear that and I feel like I say that a lot on this podcast, but we are having some ice rain right now and it just banging against the window behind me.

I hope it’s not coming through, but if it is, just so you know, it’s ice rain, I can’t do anything about it. This has been a challenging year. Why? Because I decided to let my hair, my gray hair grow out, you know, I don’t want to be a slave to the hair dye, the time, the money and the increasing effort it takes to cover it up and for what? Well, this seemingly small decision has taught me a lot about difficult conversations, conflict, context, communication boundaries and how much your ideas of self, your grit, your resilience and your self esteem, how they impact each one of these things. It was a decision I came to over time and really quite slowly. I first noticed gray in my hair. It was actually like a white streak in the front when I was in my thirties I kind of liked it, but when I saw more and more creeping in, well I did what most of us do and I colored it all away.

But as all people who start to gray in their thirties know, it only gets increasingly gray. It doesn’t plateau for a few years. It just keeps on keeping on. In my forties this meant that I was trending blonder and blonder and an attempt to cover up the gray and it is really damaging to your hair and it’s also really inconsistent. It looked good to me one out of every three times I got my hair done and I went from getting it done every six weeks to every four weeks. If you want to see how, how bad this turned out for me, just go to difficult happens.com and there’s a video that plays on the front page of my website and it is, Oh God, it was right after a really bad hair dye job and it was the same formula that we’d been using. But your gray hair starts to almost reject it.

I don’t even know. I’m not a hairstylist. I don’t know the, the lingo of it. This video drives me crazy because it’s so blonde and it had died on the ends a little bit, so we had to cut a bunch off. I don’t like it at all and I want to redo it, but there’s a part of me that the kind of wants to wait, wait for what? Who knows? You know, in my forties I went through a major life change. Anyone who has gone through a divorce knows that it can be an incredible time of growth and can result in some major work on yourself. I’ve spent the years since my divorce working on a lot of the, my personal things and I’ve experienced a lot of life changes from my kids all growing up and leaving the nest to moving across the state to a shift in my career. I’ve fallen in love and am getting married this year and I now have two amazing soon to be step kids in my life. Seth, my fiance, accepts every part of me and he has been so encouraging about my choice to let the gray hair free. Frankly, those who know Seth know he’s like, he’s unperturbed by anything.

Like almost everyone who’s made this decision. It has been full of back and forth and back and forth. I got to the two to three inch mark and I freaked out. I freaked out and I dyed it only to start the process all over again. There’s a lot of going gray videos on youtube and I think I’ve seen all of them. I’ll often binge watch other women’s journeys to to help build my strength and resolve and to help me predict, you know, predict what’s going to happen for me. As I’ve said on the podcast before, we human beings don’t like the unknown. Sometimes we don’t like change even. In seeing how other women have done it and what their process was like, it, it makes me feel a little bit better when it does get to that two to three inch mark and I want to go dye it because almost every single one of them did too, but they realized, oh no, I got to start all over again.

Complete strangers have been very supportive. You know, it’s like with all people who have had similar difficult situations to you. Someone that understands the shared struggle no matter what it is. There were those that shared their struggle with me. Some of those stories were very similar to mine questioning whether or not to continue on the dye train or hop off. Frankly, I accosted a woman in the bathroom at Seatac airport and asked her if her hair was natural. I told her how beautiful I thought it was and that seeing her, it made me think I could do it. I don’t know her, why would I put that on her? But I did.

When you see others that have a similar or shared experience, you feel a connection. That was the first thing that deciding to go gray taught me about difficult conversations, vulnerability, trepidation and fear. They are just another emotion. Not good, not bad. I mean, I preached this, but these emotions, they’re ones that we often don’t let other people see, but when we do it can be an incredible way to move your relationship forward. Difficult conversations are necessary and they have hidden gifts that you might not even be aware of, like feeling of kinship with a complete stranger in a crowded bathroom at Seatac airport at 7:00 AM.

So I want to share with you what making this decision has taught me about difficult conversations. Lesson one, it’s hard to maintain your boundaries and not be swayed by the positions of those who are closest to you. They mean well, but if your conviction is not resolute, and let’s face it, how often are we 100% about every decision that we make? I think it’s more rare than we admit because this world is filled with shades of gray.

Here are some of the things that I’ve heard from those who I love and who love me. You should always wear your hair down. You don’t look good with your hair up. You have too much gray around your temples. You should add in some highlights and low lights at least while it grows in. Ooh, you are not meant to have gray hair. It does not look good on you. It makes you look old. It really washes out your skin.

There was even one person who I really admire who asked me why I was choosing to go gray and I said that I wanted to be my true authentic self and I want it to be an example to my kids. She said that I might be doing it for the wrong reason, that my hair is part of my identity and it doesn’t matter if it’s gray or died. The ironic thing is is that it’s exactly my point, right? I that’s my real hair. I don’t really frankly even know what color it is. It’s been so long.

All of these statements are things that I’ve thought myself and I have to say, it made me doubt my decision. I’m embarrassed to admit that I acquiesced. I did all three of these things. I kept my hair down. I put in low lights in highlights and erased all the progress again. Another thing that going gray has taught me about difficult conversations is that you should choose who you keep council with. My mom, my sisters, Sholeen and Megan and my love Seth, they have been so supportive. They have told me unsolicited. Okay. There may have been a little solicitation. They have told me that it is beautiful, that I am beautiful, that they stand behind me no matter what I do or choose whether I do get back on that dye train, but they don’t really care. My sister Sholeen even snapchats me. We snapchat every morning. She snapchats that she loves my, the white around my face, the white hair.

Another thing that this choice to let my hair be natural and my hair has decided that that natural is gray, is that I can be my own worst enemy. Getting older is tough. Change is tough. My Gramma tiny told me once that when she was in her forties she pined for her thirties and when she was in her 50s she pined for her forties and when she hits 60 she refused to look back and decided that she was going to enjoy every minute of every year the she had left, which turned out to be 39 more years. So good call grandma. Some days I can channel Gramma a tiny other days and weak and insecure.

It happens to me when I think about my upcoming wedding, just three months away. I don’t want to have half gray, half straw hair and I don’t want a pixie cut. I should just dye it until after the wedding. Well, this made sense to me at the time. I mean, the photos won’t look so good. I wouldn’t look good.

So again, for the third time I went to the salon a few weeks ago and bleached some of the gray around my face. What happened? Catastrophe. Oh Man. Bleach is so harsh. I lost some hair around my temples and my scalp was thrashed. I spent three weeks oiling my scalp three times a day and it was bright red and I had hot spots in patches. It’s a nightmare. This is where I am now. My scalp is healing, my hair’s thrashed. And you can see where my own insecurities and lack of resolve has led me, three times.

So this is what the difficult conversation I had with myself taught me that I needed to defend myself to myself, not to anyone else. I didn’t. But now I am. I’m not saying that I have it all figured out or that I won’t slip and this struggle is now over. What I am saying is that when we don’t deal with these feelings and what the true intentions of the other person and myself are, if they’re unclear, that is where the danger lies In those difficult things.

Our understanding is filtered through our own lens of ourselves, our choices, our securities, our insecurities. Think about this. The next time you’re talking with someone and you feel insecure or judged or uncertain. Ask questions, If not of them of yourself, go deeper or you may find yourself back in the salon chair with bald spots and a scalp rash.

The next time you encounter negative comments, I want you to be prepared so I have a free download just for you. Five ways to deal with negative comments. Go to difficult happens.com/five that’s the number five difficult happens slash five I mean difficult happens.com/five negative comments will happen. Be prepared.

I’ve been thinking a lot about a friend from the old neighborhood, Lisa, I kind of want to call it her full name here because I just adore her, but I won’t. She had a full head of gorgeous grey hair since she was in her twenties we all loved it and commented on it. We, I mean it was part of her persona. She would often respond with the fact that she’s allergic to hair dye. She was an is wonderful just the way she is. However, I’ve been thinking about that response. Did she feel a need to defend it? Was she just tired of fricking talking about it? I wonder, I also wonder if I was supportive enough about it.

Another side effect of this decision. Lots of other stuff that started to come up. Stuff that is high time. I deal with that and I am a lot more like my mom Theresa. Yes, her name is Mother Teresa. I’m a lot more like my mom than I thought. My facial expressions when they are reflected back to me. My matter of fact tone, my zero F’s to give when I am adamant and recently I’ve started giving my honest opinion unsolicited to those I care about and in areas I feel safe. Now I want to clarify, this is not me throwing around opinions on what they are doing or how they are doing it. It is an opinion that might have given them pause to think. For example, just recently there’s this real big push for B school, um, which is an online program taught by Marie Forleo and I’m sure it is, I’m sure it’s wonderful. I’m, I’m not interested in it and I don’t like the affiliate model. I am really into the go-giver model if I like it, admire someone and I think that their services are awesome. Like Nikki Rausch. I talk about her on here a lot. Like my girlfriend Renee Vanous of the Vanous group. She’s a wonderful realtor, just an amazing person. I talk about these people because I believe in them and I want to promote and support them. Not for any affiliate or kickback and I know people don’t like that word kickback, but I feel like that’s what it is. That’s my personal opinion. If you do affiliates, awesome, awesome for you. I don’t, I don’t like it. And I explained that online in one of my groups that I don’t like this affiliate model and I prefer the go-giver model.

Now this opinion about the affiliate model, I don’t spread it around unless it is the topic of conversation, but I much prefer the go-giver model like I said, where we support each other because we believe in each other period. I’ve also been burned in a huge way by the affiliate model where the person promoting and encouraging me to use someone services didn’t even work with them, had never used them before and I got ripped the eff off in a hardcore way and that is a whole other podcast episode that I will do about trusting your inner voice.

So anyhoo to recap what this choice to go gray has taught me about difficult conversations is to be aware of your boundaries when you make big decisions. Think it through. Keep “Why’ing” it down. Ask why, what, how, to discover and uncover what you really want, what your goals and intentions are. If you’re changing your mind about something or you being swayed by insecurities or fear of judgment or was a valid argument presented that you fully stand behind. Second, when you feel judged by people who love you, it is more often than not about them, not you. It is about their own fears, insecurities, perceived judgments and their desire to shield you from those same reactions.

Number three, there’s a special bond between those with shared experiences. Name it, claim it, and dare to be vulnerable every once in a while, but in the right venue.

Four it’s natural and normal to want to be seen, validated, and encouraged. Sometimes the most important person to do that is you.

Number five, do not solicit feedback, advice, or opinions if you do not truly want them, period. Sometimes when we should be keeping our own council and digging a little deeper within ourselves, we’ll put it out there for popular vote and that may set you back months. Wow. 52 episodes. I am so grateful to each and every one of you listening. I hope I brought you some value and hey, go grab your copy of five ways to deal with negative comments. It’s at difficult? happens.com/five that’s number five. All right.

Until next time. Be honest with yourself, but kind with yourself. Be Firm even to yourself, but fair, to yourself and be in touch. I’ve got to redo that.

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Five ways to deal with negative comments


Difficult Happens; How triggers, boundaries, and emotions impact you every day

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B-School Program by Marie Forleo

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