The girl who cuts my hair really wants me to color it. She’s brought it up several times, and every time I’ve pleasantly changed the subject. I suppose there’s a cynical argument to be made that she wants to make more money per appointment, and maybe that’s it. But I don’t really think so. I’m afraid she thinks I don’t know any better, and she’s trying to help. (Truly. I don’t think she’s ever seen me wear makeup, which to someone in the beauty industry must seem strange. She probably feels a little sorry for me.) I suppose I should just tell her next time why I’m not scheduling color, or doing it myself at home.
Because I don’t want to.
This seems to be, in the mildest possible way, counter-cultural. Most of the women I know either dye their gray hairs or pull them out. And let me say right now that if you do, you go girl. I think you should do exactly what you want to do with your hair. I think I should, too. What I want to do with my hair is to let it be.
That is not the most flattering picture I’ve ever taken of myself, but you do not even know how many shots I had to take to get an angle on that without getting either my pajama pants or a toilet in the frame. Or catching an absurd expression. Anyway, I’ve got a kind of a sideways skunk stripe going on. Also a nice sprinkling of salt throughout the pepper, but that’s harder to see here.
I have dyed my hair in the past. I had some highlights done at a salon once or twice, but honestly I didn’t really like it. It didn’t look like me. I did some boxed stuff at home, and got away without any tragedies, but … eh. That didn’t really look like me, either. So I let it grow out, and here I am.
This is at least a little because I don’t want to pay the salon prices for color and doing the stuff at home just seems like too much work. The minute the roots appear, it’s another thing to add to my
list of things that I will procrastinate to the last inch to-do list. But I do manage to get my hair cut, even though finding an appointment time that works is annoying and sometimes guilt-inducing, and I cringe a little every time I see the total on the debit card slip. So it isn’t just that.
It’s mostly because I am, finally, okay with me. As is.
I do not mean that I don’t think I need to change anything. I have lots of work to do. If anyone knows of a twelve-step program for chronic foot-in-mouth syndrome, that would probably be a good place to start. What I mean is that for the first time since I was in elementary school, I don’t look in the mirror and reflexively despise myself.
That sounds kind of harsh. But it’s true. (There are probably a lot of contributing factors that we won’t get into because you did not come here to be my therapist.) And I am getting off the self-hatred hamster wheel if it kills me.
There is a five-inch scar across my throat, and I am (oddly?) kind of proud of it. It’s part of my story. My crow’s feet get pretty deep when I smile now, and I like them. I plan to make them worse by smiling as often as possible. I am getting a lot of gray hairs, and I’m keeping them. I earned them.
It is entirely possible that at some point in the future (when the salt is gaining ground on the pepper), I will look at myself in the mirror and decide that I am totally okay with me, as is, but that I would also like to be a brunette again, just for kicks. But not right now.
If my hairdresser doesn’t like it, she can kiss my sweet skunk stripe.