Give Me A Head Of Hair

In junior high a cool kid appeared as a transfer.  She was amazing and had been living in Canada.  She was originally from New England like me but wow, Canada.  She played hockey on the boy’s team and she liked awesome stuff that I liked and awesome stuff that I wanted to like.  And she helped me figure out how to convince my mother to let me get a giant streak of magenta dyed into my hair by a very odd man in a very odd hair salon in “the city.”  I rocked.  Just like that I rocked and was awesome and felt it.  It was like the cool just came out with every breath but mostly with each toss of my ash blonde and MAGENTA hair.  That silly streak opened me up and helped the inside heal when all my secret ways of trying had failed.  I am forever grateful to my cool girl friend that showed me how easy it could be to just be.  And that you can play on the same side as the boys sometimes.

In the years between then and now I have had red, auburn, blonde-blonde, just highlighted, streaks, caramel, brown, cherry coke, bad decision black, natural and most recently- my happy fun hair.  I have mentioned my happy fun hair before which will only go to prove my long winded point.  Last spring I realized I was getting too old for my brain and maybe even for my body and went on a spree of random actions.  I got an iPod with bejillion accessories.  I got a ton of new clothes after losing 25 pounds.  And I got a great hair cut followed by 6 appointments to get the right hair color.  It was a deep, deep, rich red with undertones of cherry and mahogany.  At the crown I had medium sized chunky highlights in a golden blonde tone that I could make disappear with a trick of the brush.  It doesn’t sound right but it kicked ass.

This was before the economic dive of the country and the cutbacks at my husband’s non-profit job.  I spent a lot of money on vanity and fear of aging.

But when I walked around, when I picked my son up from pre-school- I stood so tall.  I was taking back my youth on the outside and it was jumpstarting the process on the inside.  I stood out and got to feel like the suburban subversive I believe myself to be.  My hair was a symbol of the old lady me being banished so that I could reconnect to the version of me that is, well, happy fun me.

I got the color redone once and then there was the 10% pay cut, the mandatory furloughs, the loss of retirement benefits etc.  So it faded.  I didn’t have a good enough reason to commit that much money to something as foolish as my hair.  How vain can a person be to spend several hundred dollars (I have a lot of very absorbent hair) on a dye job when their kids need sandals or later on- winter boots?  Then again I was feeling better so my symbol of happy fun me seemed less vital as long as I could sustain the pep on my own- which I could.  For a while.

So now it is much too long and I have mismatched colors throughout.  I have discovered that in my attempt to reconnect to my youth I hid the massive growth of grey hair around my temples and forehead.  The grey, along with the 3 inch roots contrasting against the faded red and blonde, make it look dirty or filled with dandruff of epidemic proportion much of the time.  This is clearly not the look I am searching for.

My foolish hair has become a symbol of enormous proportions again now that I am facing a depression.  Happy fun me (maybe that deserves proper noun status by now?) needs a boost to come out and I think a shock of red hair catching the sun will do it.  I am fixating.  I am embarrassed and feel older and like everyone assumes I am 10 years beyond my calendar years.  That isn’t the compliment it used to be.  It is common in my town to be 42 and have a 5 and almost 4 year-old but I am 32.

When I got my hair done last Spring I took a step away from the boring person who was walking around in a psychiatric contemplative state.  I connected to a new, more vibrant, more vital and present me.  Now that I know I can get to that person and that I have become distant from her, I am desperate to get back there.  The last thing I need in my world right now is distance- let alone from myself.

There is no way to make this happen.  I don’t have a ball to go to where I can hope to have a fairy godmother appear.  From what little I know of guardian angels, they don’t drop cash or Aveda gift cards from on high.  I probably shouldn’t skip eating or medication and even if I did… it would be a while and it might make me nutso beyond the fix of a good colorist.  But you know what- to spill some openness- I have lost 47 pounds in the last year and I am very grateful for that.  I have been better but am now worse.  Right now is hard and me with my happy fun hair and 50 pounds lighter might make the next few months less scary and more bearable.  I might enjoy them.  I would feel pretty and 32 and like I could play hockey on the boy’s team even though I don’t really skate.

Yet again- I want, I want, I want.  It feels so petty and selfish but it is consuming at times.  How did I become the woman who spends this much time concentrating on her hair?  I didn’t even own a blow dryer until I was married.  This happened because I am like so many struggling people, trying really hard to find quick fixes for my problems, my life, my anything.   Kicker is this one, this silly color combination from fancy-schmancy-here-is-your-tea-Aveda, really does bring me up from my down.  And… it works a lot faster than any antidepressant I know.

What color hair do you have?  Do you like it?  Would you change it?  What color or cut or pattern of stripes and dots do you think could make you feel the whiz, pow, pop of life in a new way?

Posted by Miriam on December 6th, 2009
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