Sunday, January 5, 2014

Extroverted, Introverted, Hair I am Today . . . .60s curls in my 60s. . . .

The trouble with promising posts when you first think of them, but haven't yet found time to write them, is that by the time you get 'round to them, the idea that first inspired seems murkier and murkier, the connections that seemed so trenchant appear increasingly dubious. Still, at one point, I thought I'd like to write about my extroverted hair as an expression of an introverted personality, to draw a line from Susan Cain's insightful book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking and, well . . . this. . . .
 Now, sitting at the keyboard, a whole stylist-appointment cycle from when I first promised to develop this idea, I labour to find the threads I once believed deserved to be woven together.

So, methodically. . . . I've been growing my hair out for the better part of a year now, working toward an imaginary idea of releasing fabulosity by allowing my curls to find their own direction. This impulse is against a previous tendency, over the last five or six years perhaps, to try for a style more in keeping with. . . . I don't know. What is that I have been aiming at, style-wise, reflected in my What I Wore or Outfit of the Day posts? I never quite know what my Two Style-Defining words might be: I'm quite sure I never achieve Elegance or Polish or Chic, but I've played at Classic with a Twist, a bit of Street Whimsy, perhaps Paris on the We(s)t Coast Island. I do know that while I've clearly incorporated considerable Artsy, I'm pulling back, increasingly, from anything that shouts for too much attention. More and more, I'm grabbing my navy v-neck cashmere pullover and a pair of dark-wash skinny jeans, although I still like to rock a beaded vintage sweater and some patterned silk pants when I'm feeling festive. . . .

Bottom line, I guess, is that at 60, I'm settling into a style that feels comfortable, although I'd still have a hard time defining it. Sometimes, though, I see the influence of my years in a private-school uniform, both in a tendency to choose well-made basic garments in neutral colours for wearing regularly (navy pullover, skinny jeans, boots=modern incarnation of white shirt, navy wool pleated tunic, black oxfords) AND in the tendency to go all-out occasionally as a move to shake off a uniform's restrictions (anyone else out there had to kneel on the floor so that a nun could measure the distance from floor to hem, a distance that, ideally, should not exist?).

And the curls? and the hair length? and, above all, Susan Cain? How does all this tie together, you ask, in impatient bewilderment?

I have the answer which might clear up that bewilderment -- that post is already written, ready to publish, so this is not another of my promises-to-be-procrastinated-on. But we both know you only have so much reading time today. So while you wait for the next instalment (I know! Bated breath, right?), perhaps you might tell me a bit about your style settling back into a natural place after first attempts -- perhaps Blogworld-inspired, like mine -- to adjust your style for this Certain Age. 
Or perhaps you might amuse yourselves by suggesting Defining Keywords for my Style (Be nice now ;-)


34 comments:

  1. I get this too. No, not the curls (poker-straight here) but the perfect post losing something in Translation if I don't get it down pronto. The words trickle off the page and lie in a heap on the fLoor next to my keyboard.

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    1. Yes! Exactly! And no matter how carefully I try to pick them up from that heap on the floor, they never reassemble the way I first saw them . . .

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  2. Oh how many posts have been lost in the wanderings of my mind. I get that. And I love the hair. I like the play of extraverted bits, your hair, my love of strong jewelry. We are too complicated and too many people confuse introversion with shy and retiring wallflowers. I am however looking forward to reading that book, as soon as i finish a few things that are lingering on my stack. Looking forward to your next installment as well.

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    1. You're exactly right about the confusion between introversion and shyness. You may already have read elsewhere or simply intuited much of what Cain says, but I think she does a really good job of putting it in one place and of pulling together some great clinical findings about introversion as well. So happy to hear from you -- hope all is well.

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    2. Strangely, I had an entire (fascinating) convo last week about the distinction between shyness and introversion (which is such a strange land for me because I'm both extroverted and the least shy person you could ever meet :-)) Mind you, I don't think my hair is particularly extroverted. That's just not its nature.

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    3. I'm curious, K. What would your impression of me be, vis-à-vis introversion/extroversion, based strictly on knowing me online? I might have seen room for introversion in you, although not shyness. (I'm rarely shy myself, anymore, but certainly was in some/many circumstances as a child).

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    4. I totally agree, as I age I become more introverted - but in real life you might not see that. When I'm with others I'm totally extroverted. The way I express my introversion is by opting out and crafting. I don't think of you in terms of introversion or extroversion, particularly. I see you in an elemental way: grounded, natural, constant, resourceful. I don't think of you as shy at all. But I don't think you aim to be the star of the show (a quality I associate with some extroverts).

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    5. Extroverts derive some of their energy, apparently, from their social interactions, rather than have their batteries drained by them -- so they probably do need, at some level, not necessarily to be the stars, but to be out there, at least. I, on the other hand, could quite happily stay home, on my own, for several days in a row, and have done so.

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  3. I can so relate to that loss of inspiration(?) passion(?) that happens in the lag time between idea and execution. Like you, I'm leaning more toward quiet dressing these days, though often punctuated by a jot of color or pattern or an interesting shape. (Am also coming around to thinking that I probably have strong introverted streak.) I think your curls are a wonderful accessory. They somehow express your witty, whimsical side. Laughter in hair form. :-)

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    1. I don't know how you find the time for the writing you do! I have been interested in watching you settle into more quiet dressing -- and noticing that in many ways it's much stronger on and for you, more you, perhaps. I see many similarities between us although many differences as well, the latter perhaps underlined by our considerably different work environments and career/life paths. And "laughter in hair form" --- my curls and I thank you! ;-)

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  4. I love your style. I would describe it as, first - inspirational (to me). Then, Chic, Confident and Creative

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    1. Aw, thanks, Moonboots. I'd never try to claim Chic for myself, but I love that someone else sees it there. And if "Confident," then I've pulled off a bit of a scam . . . ;-)

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  5. I think your hair is fabulous!! My poker straight baby fine hair is jealous. My style used to be much more flamboyant and creative. It gave me credibility for my job (Image Consulting) but now that I've left that behind me I'm also reaching for a new uniform. It's morphing into a classic sportiness that gives a nod to elegant. Why limit yourself to two? Bohemian, classic with a twist of feminine might work for you?

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    1. And I've wished for straight . . . greener grass, other side, etc.
      I apreciate your perspective as an Image Consultant, and I agree that two words doesn't quite do it. Bohemian is a good word, although I'm not sure that I can quite live up to it (and sometimes feel far too conservative for it, truly). Classic, Sporty, and Elegant, that's definitely you, at least the you I was lucky enough to meet.

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  6. I love your curls too.

    Style words are not my strong point. We need That's Not My Age, or Sue, to make that call. In my taxonomy, it's definitely Artsy. But somehow you always seem Elfin to me.

    And huge Me Too to the blog post that swirled in all its brilliance down the shower drain:).

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    1. Elfin, I'm going to ponder that one. It's interesting, the notion of trying to distill an essence of style into one or two words. . . I tend more to expanding, words seem to explode outward rather than distill themselves. . . .
      So sad about all the lost posts, on the floor, down the drain. . . .

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  7. Your curls are energetic. They look as though they are full of life. I would probably say that your style is reflective and eclectic. Think of your gold skirt, your fancy (are they brocade?) pants and your dark wash/cashmere look. The academic who wants to express her more theatrical side?

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    1. I like "reflective and eclectic" -- I wonder if I do wish to express some drama, despite my wanting to veer/shy away from it. . . hmmmm. generally, I'm uncomfortable around too much drama in behaviour or wardrobe. . . .but you're right that it's there, albeit within safe parameters. . .

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  8. You live an interesting and far-ranging life with your island paths and yarns taking turns with operas and academics. Your running, your lovely curls, and camera skills convey an exuberance and vitality. Jennifer's suggestion of bohemian does seem to catch, and allow for, such variety. I can understand the appeal of a simpler Iook knowing that you will keep simple from drifting toward boring.
    I hope you can reconstruct your thoughts on hair and introversion - bated breath does come close to expressing my interest!

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    1. Aw, you're so sweet. It's so interesting and even helpful to see myself through others' eyes. It's hard to define ourselves, isn't it, despite a lifetime's self-knowledge. . .

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  9. I have longed for extroverted hair - don't we say that 'we always want what we don't have'? My straight, fine hair is part of the disguise I never asked for - inside I'm all wild curls. What does it mean when the inside doesn't match the outside? It sounds to me as thought you might be wrestling with that question just a little too. Perhaps there is a little of the bohemian and a little of Ms Sit-back-and-watch in all of us.

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    1. Yes, this is part of what I'm thinking through. Insides and outsides. And I like that characterization you close with, the mix of bohemian and Sit-back-and-watch . . .

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  10. Your hair does indeed have lots of life and energy! Mine decided to grow itself when my mother fell ill and there was never time for a hair cut somehow, and now I kind of like having long hair in my (early!) 60s. A bit of attitude there and why not?

    I have an odd relationship with blogging and my posts tend to find their own way - I never actually know what they will do, which makes it quite interesting. I do enjoy yours - very fresh.

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    1. Attitude, exactly!
      As for the blogging, yes, it's so much less polished than other writing I do, which is a huge part of its appeal -- although also nerve-wracking at times. . . thanks for the kind words.

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  11. I love the hair! This post is so timely for me. I lost a good deal of weight 18 months ago and went through a period of skinny everything -- skinny jeans, close fitting tops, etc. Now I'm unsettled -- the clothes seem too tight, but I don't want loose. I'm not sure I like prints, but solids seem boring....I wander around shops wondering who I am. Classes start tomorrow, so I have to wear something! I am envious of your "settling."
    Lynn

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    1. Thanks, Lynn. And sympathy on the feeling unsettled, although many will be envious of your weight loss. The "settling" comes, for me, as a gradual recognition of a strand that's been there all along, I'd say. I suspect that may happen for you as well. Meanwhile, do you find it surprising, as I do/have, that we are still discovering ourselves at this late (at least for me, in my 60s) stage?!

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    2. I think I'm probably too late to join in this conversation but, Lynn, I know exactly what you mean as I too have dropped several sizes over the last 18m. And I am completely at a loss for what to wear. My wardrobe is depleted as I give most of what becomes too big to a charity shop as soon as I grow out of it, but I no longer know what to restock it with. First world problem.

      At the moment, I am still intent upon going down another size so I find charity shop jackets etc along with chainstore jeans and tops fit the everyday bill, but yes, I am unsettled. I've been meaning to lose weight for years, but it has crept on instead, so the look I aspired to 'when I lose the weight' when I was 34 is no longer appropriate, let alone a la mode, now I am 54.

      As you say, Mater, things will eventually settle, but it is strange to be discovering ourselves at this late stage. Looking back, when I was younger all the post 45 women I knew seemed so sure of themselves, whether vamp, frump or somewhere in the middle, but I don't suppose they were. And really it is rather exciting to think that a whole load more personas* (or at least the outward appearance of same) await us should we choose to adopt them. Or not, should we be perfectly happy where we are.

      * I'd say personae if that wasn't pedantic

      BTW I love your curls. I love any hair that know what it is doing - straight, curly or whatever. It's the stuff that vacillates that I struggle with

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    3. Never too late! ;-)
      It surprises me, as well, to be discovering things about myself -- why I should have assumed that would end at mid-life, I'm not sure, but like you, I had a different vision of this stage of life when I was younger -- Well, Duh ;-)
      Delightful to still be surprised, though . . . perhaps even better than being settled. . .
      You can say "personae" here, from one potential pedant to another. . . and you can still personas as well. Tempted to put another smiley-face emoticon, but yuck! too many of those dotted here already.

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  12. Your hair is entirely fabulous. I think I understand the connection you make between introversion (as per Quiet) and having rambunctious hair so I'm waiting for you to articulate it for us! As you tone down, or quieten, your clothing choices, your hair gets to be the artsy, exuberant side of things. If you grew out the curls, and wore artsy clothes, it would probably be too much for you ... Sorry, have rambled on as usual - will now shut up and wait to read your next post :)

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    1. Yes, this is part of it -- and I never, ever think of you as "rambling on" given how perspicacious your comments always are (don't get to use that word often enough, so please excuse! ;-)
      For me, my hair wasn't rambunctious when I was young but expressed my, hmmm, I guess I was too young to think "bluestocking" but bookworm, at least. More to follow . . .

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  13. When I spent time with you, did not have the impression of an introverted person, but then we all have different facets. I like your hair very much but then, am biased ;)

    Unwilling to spend a lot of time fighting my hair's natural inclination- so a good cut and length that suits my proportions is the way it has to be.

    Recently had houseguest who spent 45-50 minutes on getting her hair exactly right each morning. Don't quite understand the choice to spend time like that.

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    1. I wet my hair thoroughly every morning, washing it every 3rd, usually, and then I just apply product, rumple and twist the curls into shape, and let it dry. I just cannot fathom spending (and the verb is so perfect in all its meaning here) more than 5 minutes on it.
      And no, I think that most who see me when I'm out in the world don't see me as introverted -- although some of my neighbours who see me hunker down with a book on most ferry rides will know . . . ;-)

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  14. Ah, the hair issue. I have spent the better part of my 60 years cajoling my timid hair into a frenzied expression of my sunny and outgoing personality. I am willing to spend that time 9also used to plan my day ahead) because I then feel totally myself, whether the curls on my head are what I was born with or not.

    Great post!
    Thank you.

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    1. Your hair looks quite wonderful in your photo -- what a glorious shade of grey! We really do count on our hair to speak to the world for/about us, don't we? And now I'm pondering whether the very little time I use to cajole my own hair has a correlation to the amount of planning that goes into my day! ;-)

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I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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