Dear Chump Lady
Here is a silly question. I have been through years of hell. In short, like most people here, my husband of thirty years cheated with a woman at his office 30 years younger then him. I went through all the usual crap including forgiveness, starting again, listening to him gaslighting, blaming myself, counselling, anti-depressants, pick me dance……thank the Lord I then found this blog. Yes dear readers he did it again and I threw him out, we were moving house at the time.
I was devastated. He then got cancer and had a major op…. Which killed off my no contact with the miserable toad.
However, I was preparing myself for my son’s graduation. I went for a haircut and came out with a really brilliant cut and very loud pink highlights. The question is, why did a simple cut and admittedly extreme hair colour so change my mood when everything else failed? I would say I am me again and achieving Meh. Do explain if you can.
One untold benefit of the infidelity experience is that you feel more alive.
I know that doesn’t make any sense to someone reading this with a recent D-Day. Alive? I feel run over by a Mack truck. I feel nauseous. I feel numb.
Hear me out — yes, you will in time feel MORE alive, not less. Your senses are heightened, you’re raw with emotion, and in a weird way you are more receptive to the world. There is a certain thrill in letting go. Your world is falling apart and you just fall with it. You look at everything in new ways. That sad song you heard on the radio a thousand times now takes on such import and significance. You relate to the pathos. You sing along and it feels so fucking meaningful.
This stage doesn’t last forever because we can’t go through life like an exposed nerve, but while you’re there you’ll find yourself incredibly receptive to new things. For you, that’s pink hair. For me it was welding. Embracing new things means you’re healing. Shaking yourself out of that old identity and into a new one, requires some experimentation.
Some people buy new bed linens and stop there. Other people dye their hair pink. I learned how to use a plasma cutter.
A little riff on welding — it’s like a glue gun that can kill you. Oh, I’ll just stick this piece of steel to this piece and look — it’s a flower! (See picture above — I made that!) But you ground it wrong and the current goes through you, not the metal. I did that and burned a hole through my hand. The fleshy part between my thumb and index finger had a neat, cauterized hole! WOW! Did I ever feel alive after THAT!
Sane, cautious Tracy would probably never take up welding. Heartbroken WTF Tracy did.
Old you probably would not have attempted pink highlights. New you wants to shake it up a bit and see yourself in new ways. Good for you! Rock that pink hair at your son’s graduation and enjoy your new life!
(And please tell me that even with cancer this guy is your ex. Last I heard radiation doesn’t cure cheating. Somehow I’m doubting his 30 year younger OW is sticking around for the chemo appointments…)
This column ran previously. A shout out to all the new hairdos out there.