all of the selves we Have ever been
The recovery literature states that
the first step is admitting you have
In my defense, I did not bring this problem upon myself. Really…
Age, hormones, and cancer did. The gene pool I swim in might have been a factor too. Nonetheless, I need to come clean:
I have ponytail envy. No more denial or self-deception.
Envy is one of the seven deadly sins. Most religions consider envy to be a disastrous emotion—like Cain killing his brother Abel. Just to be clear, you have no need to be afraid--mine is a benign envy. My pain is not directed at the good fortune of young women with full heads of hair who sport bouncing and swinging tresses. Mine is not a spiteful adolescent envy. I do not wish to inflict misfortune upon ponytail-wearing women or reduce their healthy, youthful status. My envy is more the type that longs to emulate, be one of the gals, preserve an element of youth and own this symbol of energy and potential.
Whenever I see a long, full ponytail, I think of the old rock and roll classic Chantilly Lace that was first released in 1958. According to Wikipedia, Chantilly Lace was the third most played song that year. I was not yet listening to the radio in 1958, but the song is so catchy and popular that it continues to be played on rock and roll stations and has had several remakes. You might recall the words:
Chantilly lace and a pretty face
And a pony tail a-hangin down
That wiggle in the walk
And giggle in the talk
Makes the world go ‘round
The song is as lively as a long ponytail in the heat of a hundred yard dash. If you listen to the song, you will want a ponytail too.
I frequently get the Chantilly Lace earworm during my walks along the shared-use bike path. It is a time when I am thankful for the mask mandate because I can’t resist singing a few bars. This public display of my lacking vocal talent is the direct result of a young woman who passes me on my left. I know I shouldn’t blame others for my actions during recovery, but this gal is a trigger. She jogs past me like I am standing still. The runner is young and fit. Attired in tight leggings and a sports bra, phone in hand, buds in ears, her long blonde ponytail swings left then right keeping pace with her feet. Despite her speed, she is not even breathing hard. I watch her move up the path, the ponytail is like a metronome that marks her time and regulates her pulse and breath. Her movements are smooth and graceful like a beautiful ballerina. I would need a magnifying glass to find a drop of sweat on her. Perhaps the ponytail acts as a fan as well as a metronome.
I envy the youth and health and strength of ponytail-wearers. The movement and the energy reflect all of the potential within them. Somewhere along the way, from all of the dress-for-success feature articles I read, I think I gave up too soon on ponytails. Who was it that decided we get too old for ponytails? We need an investigation into this bad advice that leads to premature aging.
Now that my hair is too fine and too sparse to sport a full, swinging ponytail, I have regrets, and so I move onto steps two and three of the recovery plan. I turn it over to a higher power and thank God I survived the cancer and all of the other challenges that made my hair so fine and thin. I continue to work on steps six and seven, acceptance and humility. Eventually, I will move further down recovery road and forgive those dress-for-success gurus for their bad advice and forgive myself for rushing the process of aging back when I was in a hurry to be all grown up.