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My ponytail is on my desk in a ziplock bag, or why being impulsive is a good thing

My ponytail is sitting on my desk in a ziplock bag. It is no longer attached to my head. Soon I will put it in a padded envelope and mail it to Locks of Love, or some other place that makes wigs for children. And wigs for seniors. There are a few gray hairs in the ponytail.

my ponytail is on my desk

I meant to mail it sooner, but, I haven’t done it yet. Sometimes just making sure the kids have clean underwear and we don’t run out of toilet paper is all I can get done in a day. Let alone a trip to the post office. But, I will go at the end of this week. I exaggerated a little, as I do more than wash underwear and buy toilet paper. I also clean seven litter boxes and cook chicken soup.

My hair was all one length. I pulled it back in a ponytail at the base of my neck and cut it off with my sewing scissors about an inch below the hair elastic. One of those critical moments where you are about to make a decision, and if you go forward you can’t go backwards. And then the scissors start to close, and  you are all in. Fully committed. Fully committed to short hair. Fully committed to cutting off a twelve-inch ponytail.

An impulsive act.

Acting on instinct, acting without thinking.

So what makes an action impulsive? If you only think about it for one minute? What about if you had been thinking about an action for months but couldn’t bring yourself to do it. And then you just decided it was time. And you ran upstairs and grabbed the sewing scissors and then walked over to a mirror and cut off your hair? (But don’t run to the mirror with the scissors. Never run with scissors in your hand.)

Now this is usually the part in my story where I try to find quotes by famous people to support my idea that being impulsive is a good thing. Like a Good Thing in a Martha Stewart magazine.   However, I didn’t find any quotes that said being impulsive was a good idea.

Then I thought I shouldn’t include talking about being impulsive in my story. Because everything I read said being impulsive was bad. “Oh, she was so impulsive.” Like in a tone of voice that a teacher would use describing a naughty student. As though she had a major character flaw. And why would I want to advocate for being impulsive when I have no famous quotes to support my argument?

I found a quote telling me to not be impulsive. One of many I read.

Don’t be blurred by impulse

“Don’t be blurred by impulse, to avoid regrets, refrain from doing things that will make you regret.”

― Michael Bassey Johnson

So who do you want to believe? Michael Bassey Johnson, a Poet, Playwright, Novelist, Aphorist, Satirist, caricaturist and a Newspaper columnist who has 298 quotes on Goodreads, or me, who just cut off her ponytail by herself?

Be blurred by impulse

I say, “Be blurred by impulse, to avoid regrets, do the things that you will regret not doing.”

― Pamela Berdeane Fernuik Hodges (Do I look more official when I use all of my names?)

Sign up for that art class, buy a ticket to Rome, call up an old friend, dye your hair green, get rid of all your National Geographic magazines from 1967 and build that Tiny House.

Acting without thinking, is really thinking. Sort of like the book by Malcolm Gladwell. Blink.
In a blink of an eye, you know what you want to do. But you think too much, for too long, and then you don’t take any action.

Trust your impulses

Trust your impulses. You know what you want. You have always wanted to sign up for figure drawing at the local community college. But, you don’t do it. Because you feel self-conscious. Be brave and sign up.

And you always wanted to go to Rome. But you will wait until you retire. And then you will be like the woman I saw at the airport last November. In a wheelchair, on an oxygen tank telling me she was supposed to be travelling with her husband but he died from a heart attack and then she got sick. So she is going by herself, in a wheelchair, with an oxygen tank. Call the travel agent. Be impulsive. You have the money, you have the time. Go and see Rome.

You are not sure your mother will approve of your green hair. But you are forty-two years old and your mother is sixty-four. Go to a beauty parlor and get green hair. Or do it yourself.

Tiny Houses have always appealed to you, but you are not sure you could actually get rid of your National Geographic magazines.

If you do sign up for a drawing class, book a ticket to Rome, dye your hair green or get rid of all of your National Geographic magazines, and then wish you hadn’t. Just remember, you can always take a different class next semester, go to a different city next time, dye your hair brown, and buy back all of your magazines from the thrift store.

And you can grow your ponytail back out.

You don’t have to live life perfectly.
You just have to live.

Have you ever cut off all of your hair? 

Have you ever done something impulsive? Please tell me in the comments I would love to hear of your adventures.

p.s. For the month of March I will be writing daily slice of life stories for the Two Writing Teachers March Slice of Life Story Challenge. Slices of my life, sharing to encourage and bring laughter. You can click on the link to read other stories. 

p.s.s I guess it is time to change my photograph. 🙂

About Pamela Hodges

I write slice of life stories to help you know you are loved, valuable and worthy just as you are. I am a writer, an artist, and a cleaner of seven litter boxes. I live in Pennsylvania with one husband, four cats, one dog and two birds.

You are an artist. Yes, you are. Really.

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Get the FREE illustrated, sort of a comic book, “You Are An Artist.” Believe in yourself and your ability to draw. xo Pamela

  • Berdeane Bodley

    How beautiful you look with your new shorter hair, I love all your different looks……Mom

    • Hi Mom,
      Now mother, you would say I was beautiful if I shaved my head. How nice to have your love and support.
      xo
      Love your daughter

  • Dianne Niklaus

    Hi Pamela!
    Serendipity to find this piece today…I was just thinking this morning that maybe I ‘should’ cut, trim or otherwise get more ‘stylish’ with my hair….but I’m actually very attached to it at the moment, and so in this case have gained perspective that will give me more time: I will let it grow to my elbow (it’s about halfway down my upper arm now) and then have more to donate to Locks of Love! Your writing, and new haircut, are wonderful. Miss you!

    xo
    Dianne

    • Hello Diane,
      How nice to hear from you. And how funny you were thinking about what to do with your hair today. You would look great if you shaved your head. Stylish is personal. No rules on what we should or shouldn’t do. Your hair would be a great donation if you decide to cut if off one day.
      Thank you for your encouragement with my writing and the new haircut.
      I miss you too.
      xo
      Pamela

  • I love your statement, “just live”. Short hair is hard to go back from, it is wonderfully simple. More time to do those other pressing things. If I used my full name, surely, somewhere “impulsive” was part of the lineup. We’ve moved impulsively, several times. Homeschooled, That was a family conversation starter. Ran away, stole away, given away, wasted away. I impulsively chose my boyfriend as the battle I’d fight for in high school. 27 years later, I’m still happily battling (for him, not with him…anymore). I think there is something to be said for reframing the concept of being impulsive. I am claiming it these days as just another piece of my puzzle. It doesn’t define me. Because I am also a planner, thoughtful, and often a bit afraid to jump. They are all just pieces.

    Today, my daughter noticed a man in the lane next to us a few cars ahead. He was rocking OUT in a open topped jeep so “boogie shoes”. He was having such a good time, it just made me happy too. At the next light we stopped at, our cars were lined up side by side. I leaned out (impulsively, much to the dismay of my mortified teen) and said, “I just wanted you to know that YOUR happiness? it has made me happy today as well”. He smiled. I smiled. My daughter hid her face towards the other window.

    That is ok, I would have done the same thing until recently. But you know what I think? Why CAN’T we tell people that their delight is contagious? I am here with my mom. Who has cancer. I really, really appreciated his solitary act of joy. And I bet he didn’t go home horrified by the lady who interrupted his song. Maybe he smiled and felt like singing again tomorrow

    • Christa,
      I can imagine impulsive is one of your middle names. A sense of adventure and a daring spirit.
      Please give your mommy a hug and a kiss from me. Tell her Pooh is concerned. Actually Pooh would love to mail her a get-well card. Will you send me her address privately?
      Boogie Shoe’s man brightened up your day. How fun you told him. A random act of joy while you were driving.
      Sending you hugs and prayers.
      xo
      Love Pamela (and Pooh)

  • jesspetersonart

    I enjoyed this blog post Pamela!
    Yes, I got my hair chopped when I was 18 or 19. It was down to my waist. But I didn’t do it impulsively….people kept telling me to chop it and donate it. They were getting on my nerve. I was going through some kind of hippy phase. But somehow I finally got the guts to get my hair chopped. A whole 12 inches, I think. And I really liked my hair cut. Now I look back and think, ‘what was I thinking having my hair that long?’ I also remember a time me and my mom took a trip to Navy Pier impulsively. That was really fun.

    • Hello Jessica,
      Thank you Jessica.
      Yes, people can say things that get on ones nerve. I hate being told what I should do. If someone had told me I should cut my hair, I would have never done it.
      You had a lot cut off when you did cut it.
      And I’ll bet you were thinking back then how great you looked with long hair. And you would be right. Just as you are right now, that you like it shorter.
      A trip with you mom would have been fun. Especially if it was an impulsive adventure.
      All my best,
      xo
      Pamela

  • Kathy Storrie

    Yes, on impulse my husband and I signed up to be a distributors of health products before we did our homework, prayed and counted the cost. We thought everybody would be excited and interested in being healthy.Wrong! Ten years later I signed up to be a distributor of a famous, fashion jewelry. I started going in the hole financially after each party and my hosts were getting lots of free jewelry that was turning black. Now, my husband and I pray and wait for a clear “go ahead” from God”. Thanks Pamela for reminding me to stop, pray and wait.

    • Hello Kathy,
      Follow your heart but with wisdom. I will remember to stop, pray and wait. Or impulsive with a touch of grace.
      Do you still have a garage full of vitamins?
      xo
      Pamela

    • Kathy Storrie

      Dear Pamela,
      I went through all my jewelry today before I read your blog.I had already cleaned the pieces I liked and threw away the pieces I hated. Hurrah! Dance! Dance! The vitamins are long gone! The box load of health product paraphernalia finally mildewed when the basement flooded…such freedom to pitch all that stuff. Bad decisions come with such clutter.

      • Dear Kathy,
        Yes, get rid of the clutter connected to bad decision. Or decisions that didn’t work out well. I wonder if a decision is really bad, or it if an uniformed decision. Because if you knew what you know now. then, you wouldn’t have done what you did.
        So happy you are having a happy dance.
        All my best,
        Pamela

  • La McCoy

    Are you mailing it to the people that make wigs for cancer survivors?

    • Hello Laura,
      Yes, the hair will be donated to wigs for cancer survivors. And over the next four years I will grow another ponytail to donate. Perhaps the next one will be all gray.

  • In his book, The Art of Work, Jeff Goins said, “Committing to the wrong thing is better than standing still.” So cutting your hair would be you standing still. 🙂 Funny post, Pamela.

    • Hi Anne,
      Hmm, I thought for sure I wasn’t standing still, but committing to the right thing. My head is not burdened by carrying so much weight around now.
      xo
      Pamela

  • Krithika Rangarajan

    Teeeheee

    The Universe has been sending me messages since 11:25 am 😉 First, an article about ‘Late Bloomers’ plopped into my Inbox – a nudge to say, “Hey! Didn’t you want to launch a website for late bloomers?” Well, now’s the time 😉

    Then your email subject seduces me into opening it….and I read this powerful message about the benefits of being impulsive (OH MY – could that be a blog post? 😉 )

    I am visiting my parents in May. I usually fly, but, last Saturday night, as I lay in bed praying for the Sleep God to bestow me with a restful sleep at 3 am (okay – that was a lost prayer 😉 ), I thought, “Hey! Why not just drive all the way to Maryland with my puppy?”

    My shocked husband – who is very familiar with his wife’s many phobias – was delighted and hugged me for this very rare show of bravado! Of course, two nights ago, I began rethinking my ‘impulsive decision’, which was reaffirmed by a quick phone call to my parents who said, “Are you NUTS? You have NEVER driven alone!”

    Yes, mum and dad, but I am 34 and it’s time I grow up, especially if I want to be a travel writer 😉 Also, my 13 year old nephew will start driving from Seattle to DC within the next decade…so, eesh, don’t you think it’s time I did something not-so-safe? 😉

    Hmm…and I also want to dye one hair strand violet (so funny you mention this too!)… hmm…..

    Oh boy, I can just visualize the look of horror in my mum’s face when she sees me jump out of the car with a strand of violet hair and my puppy in tow (who is not currently allowed at her home because she is scared of dogs 😉 )/…tee hee…and on top of that, I am going to let my parents know that I have no plans of attaching myself to a corporate. I am going to be a Freelance Writer. PERIOD!

    WOW – am I feeling courageous or what!

    (Of course, it is entirely possible my husband will accompany me to my mum’s home, BUT I am still driving! 😉 )

    Thanks for your charming ‘slice of life’, Pamela! #HUGSSS

    LOVE ya

    Kitto

    • Hello dearest Kitto,
      Wow, your world has been rocked today. Late bloomer emails and then a story encouraging you to be impulsive and brave. You would look stunning with a purple strand in your chocolate brown hair.
      How long would it take you to drive to your parents home? Sounds like an adventure to me. Perhaps with a puppy and a husband.
      And being a freelance writer.
      Boldly going forth!
      All my best, Love ya too,
      Pamela

  • Jada Pfeifer

    I think you are very brave for cutting off your hair, even if it was impulsive. Mine is down to my waist and I get physically ill at the thought of cutting it off.

    • Jada,
      How fun that your hair is so long. Cutting off your hair would be a tragedy. I would barf too if my hair was that long and I cut it off.

  • GirlGriot

    Congratulations on your donations! And your bravery: that’s a lot of hair to cut off all at once. I can’t wait to see your new picture!

    • Hello Stacie,
      Thank you for calling my action brave. I never thought of it that way. Here is the new hair. Not a bad way to lose weight.

      • GirlGriot

        Great photo! And you still have so much hair! Wow, your hair was quite long.

      • Pamela I LOVE it, so flattering

  • Most of my impulsive moments involve food and wine; however, I am going to Rome at the end of the month–and London and Barcelona and Paris. I made an impulsive decision about this trip last year and haven’t looked back. Regarding those quotes: Think of being impulsive as a carpe diem moment. Finally, I have never had hair long enough to make a 12″ ponytail, but there are a couple of poems about hair that I really like: “The Rape of the Lock” and “Prophyria’s Lover.” Love that you keep referencing cleaning seven litter boxes. Too funny!

    • Hello Glenda,
      How funny. You are actually going to Rome! Your trip sound amazing. Please share a photograph here when you get back.
      I love your idea. I will think of being impulsive as seizing the moment.
      Thank you for the poetry suggestions. I will read them. After I clean the seven litter boxes. 🙂