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  • Writer's pictureColleen Bunten

When you get a wild hair...

If you were to ask those closest to me what my best traits are, I would bet my left boob that they would not say “patience”. I just have never been a patient person. Growing up, my parents used the expression “wild hair” to describe my impulsiveness, and to this day I still refer to my impatient “gotta do/have/be this RIGHT NOW” tendencies as such. I’m constantly dreaming and scheming, getting hit with random, impulsive, spur-of-the-moment ideas that have a way of completely consuming me… at least for the moment.

A quick Google search describes the expression as:

  • An Idiom meaning that you're "itching" to do something

  • An expression referring to a restless soul

  • An obsession or fixation of some sort

  • An unexpected, unpredictable, impulsive behavior

Not only is the idiom/expression “wild hair” just crazy spot on in describing my ways of “wingin’ it” through life, but, I just so happen to have a pretty wild head of hair as well. This mop of mine is curly, straight and everything in between. When I straighten it, it eventually coils up like medusa. When I curl it, it will flatten out and make my head look like a thumb. When I try to put it in a cute top knot bun for that “I just threw it up in two seconds but really there’s 800 bobby pins and a whole can of hairspray holding it together” look, I end up resembling a Teletubby or a manic ballerina. My literal wild hair is extremely symbolic of my life and lives quite harmoniously with my figurative “wild hairs”. My hair and I just kinda do what we want, when we want.

My parents raised me to genuinely believe I could do and be whatever I wanted, which I realize is so amazing and I am so grateful. However, that set the stage for me to want to do… well, everything. And anything.

When I was a kid, they let me join tons of sports and extracurriculars: dance, gymnastics, swimming, soccer, softball, speech league, cheerleading camp, vacation bible school… the list goes on. I loved art and drawing and crafts, I loved the outdoors, I loved animals, I loved music and pop culture. I loved writing and reading. I loved creating elaborate storylines with my dolls and action figures and stuffed animals. I loved trying new things. I loved EVERYTHING. Everything was my FAVORITE. Looking back, it feels like I discovered a new hobby or interest at least once a month.

On top of being a well-rounded, active kid, my daily “wild hair” tendencies still crack my family up to this day...

I once was on a HUGE Mary Poppins kick, and right before a doctor’s appointment, I announced that I was going to fly just like Mary. I grabbed an umbrella, opened it, jumped off our 1’ tall front porch with my little legs… and let’s just say I did not fly, nor did I stick my landing. Covered in bruises and scrapes, my doctor definitely raised an eyebrow toward my mom, who just laughed and said, “She wanted to be Mary Poppins.”

One time I decided I wanted to collect gymnastics and ice skating cards. Not baseball cards, but same idea. It was an olympic year, and I had become obsessed with both sports. I begged my dad to take me to various hobby shops to find them. I think I eventually collected approximately 4, and then I got bored and it was onto the next thing to obsess over.

I had taken dance class since I was two, so I fell in love with the movie Center Stage when it came out. I taught myself how to do fouettes (the straight legged turns she does in her big routine at the end) in my driveway. I hadn’t technically learned how to do them at my studio yet, so when I did, it came naturally. I announced to everyone I would be attending Juliard and I ended up switching dance studios.

Autumn is my very favorite, as is my family tradition of going to the pumpkin patch every year, but one year the rain was so bad that the patch we usually went to was flooded. Somehow I convinced my parents to plant pumpkins in our backyard. I was watching an episode of Reading Rainbow, in which they showed how to cross pollinate pumpkins to get a good harvest. Ya know what I did? Yep, I marched my 6 year old weirdo ass outside and rubbed strange flower parts together while my mom most likely mouthed “what the f*ck” through the window as she watched me. Sure as shit, pumpkins took over our little suburban yard that year thanks to my mating ritual.

Oh, and we can’t forget about the time that my mom needed a little “time off” from me (I can’t imagine why) so it was dad’s turn to entertain me. I somehow convinced him to take me to a pet shop and buy me a lizard. This was not previously discussed whatsoever, but in my head, I absolutely had to get a reptile friend that day, OR ELSE.

Other “wild hairs” I have had over the years include rearranging furniture ever other day, choosing a degree on a whim, switching career paths 100 times, random Amazon purchases, or frequent impromptu trips to Target buying a million things I don’t need slash can’t afford.

Catching on yet?

It wasn’t until adulthood that I learned that these “wild hair” tendencies I have are associated with my ADHD and Anxiety diagnoses. See, I thrive on change and getting/doing new things because I have trouble living in the moment. I get bored easily, and my impulsive, impromptu ideas often distract me. I can’t make decisions to save my life. It’s almost like my brain is wanting to keep things interesting and not overthink (something I am cursed with). I am an instant gratification person and I struggle with things that don’t keep my attention or that seem like a waste of time. I change my mind a lot. So for someone that feels lost as much as I do, for someone that is trying to grasp who I am, understand life and its purpose and live more deliberately and intentionally, when I do get hit with those “wild hair” moments, I dive in.

When I created my company a few years ago, that was based on a “wild hair” that had been itching at me for awhile: jumping into self-employment. I had been reflecting on making the plunge to leave traditional work for awhile, but I definitely did not do as much planning as, in retrospect, I should have. All I knew was that I was longing, ACHING for a way to combine all of my skills, talents and passions into one in hopes that I would make money from at least one of them and never have to return to a 9-5 job ever again. Instead, I have found myself in a never-ending hamster wheel for the last three years, juggling different hats and trying to split my focus between a billion things. Don’t get me wrong, I have loved living each day on my terms, taking on contract projects and small jobs that interest me, having more time for my music and art and writing, but, I also know that I have made things harder for myself than they need to be. But, when you tell someone with wild hair to simplify, you might as well just cut all of their hair completely off. It’s just our nature to live a more complex life.

If you’re a “wild hair”-er like me, I have bad news. This trait probably won’t go away, especially not overnight. It’s ingrained in us. And ya know what? It’s AWESOME. It makes us fun and unique and versatile and creative and ultimately should help lead us to success and happiness. IF we learn how to harness and channel it.

When my brain is going a million miles a minute, wanting to do ALL of “the things”, Instead of “I have to do it all, right now”, I have been teaching myself “I am capable of all of these things, but I can’t do them all at the same time.” My point is, you don’t have to pick. Do it all! Try things! Make that hair of yours as wild as possible! But don’t overwhelm yourself. Breathe. The more you relax and reflect before just doing, the more life starts to make sense.

I have tried to change this aspect of myself for as long as I can remember. I have hated feeling like I am crazy, like I am too different, like I am a burden or inconvenience, like I am not enough, like everyone else has their shit together and I am forever on the quest. Recently I have learned to accept my “wild hairs”, and even love them. I’ve been seeing the good, finding confidence to follow through when things matter or chopping them off when they don’t. I’ve been more clear and able to turn my “wild hairs” into dreams and breaking them down into more tangible goals. I have finally been able to put all of this into words, and I am finally ready to share with the world my journey of how to harness and channel my “wild hairs” in hopes that I can inspire and support other like-minded wild ones like myself.

Here are some tips from yours truly:

  • Write everything down. Every single idea, impulse, etc. Get a notebook. Get 20 notebooks and label them accordinging to idea types or projects. Get a tiny notebook to keep with you throughout the day. Make sure you have a notebook by your bed. Sometimes just getting the “wild hair” out of your brain and into the universe is enough for the moment and you can always come back to it.

  • I have finally joined the 21st century and have found some amazing apps that have helped me with productivity, organization and routine, which ultimately helps you stay consistent, focused and hopefully make space for your “wild hairs”.

MindNode & Mindly (mind mapping)

Trello (perfect for planning out ideas)

Thought Diary (record your mood, ideas, thoughts)

Shelfie (plan out daily routines)

MinimalList (super simple list making)

Google Drive/Docs (can be utilized to carry out systems & organization)

  • Get some perspective, and start ranking your “wild hairs” 1, 2 or 3. Does it need to be done NOW (1) or can it be pushed off for awhile (3). Just because you can’t do it now doesn’t mean that you can’t ever do it at all.

  • Accept that not all wild hairs are priorities. Sometimes your ideas can just be fun. You don’t have to be a pro or expert at everything you do.

  • Tell a loved one your “wild hair” - get it out into the universe as a placeholder. It helps with accountability. For instance, I have been working on an EP of original songs for about two years, and people have asked me about it because I mentioned it to them before. That has given me more encouragement and excitement to follow through and DO IT.

  • Give yourself time. Try to make your “wild hair”, if it is ongoing, a habit or routine for at least a month before totally giving up and switching gears to something else.

  • Focus on YOU. I am a very independent person, but I definitely am working on not caring so much what others think. Own who you are, be PROUD of your “wild hairs”.

  • If you are inundated with “wild hairs” and it is starting to really affect your life and make your brain loud and messy, it’s time to talk to your doctor. Whether it is your physician, a psychologist, a psychiatrist or a therapist, they will all be able to help if you are concerned you might have something undiagnosed. Mental and emotional health are EVERYTHING, so it should be prioritized above all else.

I’m slowly but surely learning to let my “hair” do its own thing. If it wants to be curly, I let it be curly. If it wants to be straight, I flatiron that shit. If it wants to be put in a messy bun, drink a bottle of wine and start a blog, so be it.

I am so excited to launch my blog, Wild Hair, to share my creative journey as someone who lives with ADHD, Anxiety and Depression (and kicks its ass every single day) and is learning to harness and channel my craziness into goodness while I build a fulfilled life that I love and am proud of. This blog will be a “wild hair” that I vow to stick with, because I know that I have a lot to say and contribute in this world. I’ll be sharing my newest adventures and endeavors, tips, tricks and advice on topics that I will pretend to be an expert on, and hopefully pieces that will inspire others to live their truest, wildest life.

My whole life at this point is a “wild hair”, and I’m learning to be okay with it. I’m not simple. I’m not patient. I’m far from boring. I’m fucking wild, and I’m READY for it all.

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