Ground Zero

    a.255w ground zeroHave you ever wanted to start over? Begin again from ground zero?

    A number of years ago a whisper of an idea came to me. What would happen if I got rid of all my hair and faced the world head on? (I had low maintenance hair with a lot of body, waves, and literally required no more than wet and shake to look presentable.) I hemmed and hawed for a few years, even carried photographs of both men and women who’d buzzed their hair. Finally one day I had enough, went to a hair salon, showed the stylist my photographs and closed my eyes. When the buzzing stopped and I opened my eyes, all my strawberry blonde wavy hair was on the floor. I rubbed my hand on top of my newly buzzed head with its half an inch of hair and … fell in love.

    I LOVED the buzz! I loved how sensual it felt. I loved rubbing my hand over it. I loved feeling the wind blow across it. I loved how light it was. I was shocked. I figured I’d be eager for my hair to grow back. Instead, I bought an electronic clipper and have been happily buzzing ever since.

    A few weeks ago a whisper of an idea came to me. What if I buzzed my life? What if I got rid of almost everything, loaded my car with what it could hold, and headed out. What if I left almost everything behind and really began all over again, from ground zero?

    I started thinking about those who have to evacuate and can only take what fits in their car, or refugees who flee fighting and only take what they can carry. I’m very grateful I’ve never experienced either first hand. I’m grateful I can’t relate to the trauma and stress of such an experience, or anything similar. Still, I mused, did the need to flee on short notice — necessary for survival versus it being their choice — exacerbate and aggravate their loss? If so, would such a drastic move be easier for a person who began again from ground zero by choice?

    a.256w dumpsterOne part of me wanted to take that reckless leap into the abyss of the unknown. Another part just couldn’t quite do it. It was the latter which won this round. Instead of parting with everything, I parted with many things. While dealing with my very sick cat, and needing something to do to keep busy, but wasn’t too taxing on the mind, I went through every closet, every drawer, and almost every bookcase. Area by area I pulled everything out, put it in a pile, then picked up each item individually to decide: yay or nay before moving on to the next area.

    I was amazed by the things I was able to part with. Items that once held so much meaning, simply didn’t any more. Just as last week I wrote about having friends for a reason, season, or life, the same applies to things.

    a.258w hauling stuff awayThere are things I needed for a specific reason. For example, lots and lots of hangers from when I had lots and lots of clothes. However, over time I’ve lost interest in clothes and have winnowed down my wardrobe. So why keep the hangers?

    There were things I needed for a season. There were some art pieces which resonated with me for years. However, that stopped and they were, still taking up space. No longer bringing joy. Now they’re gone.

    Things for life. Well, I’m not sure I’ve hung onto anything for my entire life, but there were many things I decided to keep this round (including a ring and jewelry box which were my grandmother’s, given me when I was about eight).

    I believe my final total was about eight medium-to-large boxes of stuff passed on, three full large trash can bags of shredded papers/pictures/photographs, two or three kitchen size trash bags of stuff that was tossed or recycled because it was too far gone to pass on.

    a.257w tollboothI still need more than my car to haul what’s left. However, just as I wondered what it’d be like to face the world without the ability to hide behind my hair, I’m pondering what it’d be like to face the world without hiding behind my stuff. After all, aren’t I guilty of categorizing and judging others by the stuff surrounding them? Definitely not consciously! But on some level the stuff, be it the clothes, the car, the house, the location of the house, or the whatever. So if I don’t have that as a marker or a reference point, how would I react to others? How would they react to me?

    I don’t have answers to these questions. I simply have a home with a lot less stuff in it. Be interesting to see if I acquire answers. Be even more interesting to see if the whisper grows louder.

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    Tammy - September 10, 2014 - 9:21 pm

    Love the idea of buzzing ones life. I’ve done it half a dozen times in mine. Each time came sadness, memories and freedom. All part of letting go and starting again. My most traumatic was moving from my “big house”, a 6,000 sq. ft. dream come true. We lived there for 13 years. I left it to move to the city into an 1,800 sq. ft. condo. Needless to say, no furniture I had would fit. There were tears, then there was a new life. Same when I moved to L.A. from Colorado 4 years ago. I left so much behind to blend homes with the man I took a chance to love. Great move on my part. Congrats to you, my friend, in your buzzing. The only whispers you should ever listen to are your own.

    Sheila Bergquist - September 11, 2014 - 12:55 am

    Wow, buzzing your hair took some real courage! It’s great that you loved it. I need to get rid of stuff too and find it so hard to do. I can easily give something away if someone I care about likes it or needs it, but just throwing things out is so hard to do. I think it’s great that you did it and let us know what answers and whispers you get!

    Tana Bevan - September 11, 2014 - 10:54 am

    Tammy~Up until now each huge change in life circumstance was brought about by DRAMA! In retrospect I believe it was the drama which made the change and starting over so difficult, or more accurately more difficult than it would have been otherwise. That’s what this whisper is. A chance to get ahead of the wave. To make a life changing dramatic change on my terms. Not quite there yet, but that I’m seriously considering it, and by virtue of the serious clutter clearing, acting on it, makes it all the more possible…probable? Time will tell. Still a little shaky on claiming my life as my own. However, with each step in that direction, I grow stronger and the desire to claim it does as well. You’re actually an inspiration my dear, sassy friend. *smiles*

    Tana Bevan - September 11, 2014 - 10:59 am

    Sheila~It seems we’re reared to believe our purpose is to acquire more and more stuff. (After all, that’s how a consumer economy survives.) However, more and more people are questioning the “need” for all the stuff. There’s the entire tiny home movement. The minimalist movement. I’m sure there are other movements. I’m not exactly a movement type person, but I do enjoy the lightness I feel each time I am able to part with a thing I no longer need. IMHO things are meant to be used and/or enjoyed. If I am not able to do so, then it’s time to pass it on to someone else who can. If I were ever to create a movement, I think I’d go for the Enoughism movement. Having enough of whatever is important to me, both tangible and intangible. Cheers.

    Shelley Sackier - September 15, 2014 - 2:04 pm

    This was a great blog post, Tana – and coincidentally, we must be surfing the same brain wave as I finished a post about this a few weeks back. It doesn’t post until the end of September, but I love feeling connected with other writers and discovering our similarities.
    I think it takes a huge amount of courage to do the buzz cut, and I have massive amounts of admiration for you. I like short and no fuss, but I’ve never really thought about a buzz. The thought of less maintenance is always a welcome one. And the thought of loading up and heading out is as blissful as it can get in my book.
    One of these days …
    :)

    Tana Bevan - September 15, 2014 - 4:28 pm

    Shelley~In retrospect is took me long enough to give the buzz cut a try. Actually, the main reason I held off is that I’m always cold, and without hair I’d be colder. Eventually I realized a buzz would leave a bit of hair on my head (in this case about 1/2″), so I felt a little braver. Still took a while. However the end result is I fell in love. *hehe*

    Daily the idea of simply upping and leaving appeals more and more. However, there’s a niggling voice in the back of my head which reminds me that if I go somewhere, I bring me along. So, until things are straight with “me,” there’s really no point in changing locale. However, once things are straight we “me,” then changing locale won’t matter because I’ll be good to go wherever I am. Rather one of those dichotomies, like banks happily lending money to those who don’t need it, while giving grief and/or denying those who do.

    So there you have it friend. We’re all on our journeys. Fun when our paths cross and/or we’re in sync. Looking forward to reading your post. (Actually I usually always delight in reading your posts. You have a LOVELY way with words!!!)

    IR - September 19, 2014 - 1:11 pm

    This is beautiful — > “However, just as I wondered what it’d be like to face the world without the ability to hide behind my hair, I’m pondering what it’d be like to face the world without hiding behind my stuff.”

    Tana Bevan - September 19, 2014 - 3:29 pm

    IR~It’s proving to be a lot easier to part with my hair (as it was only on top of my head), than my stuff (which is all around me). Still, I persevere.