I do have something smart to say after all, which is that I got my hair colored today. “Lightened,” is the common parlance. Or “dyed,” if you’re my mother. I’m trying to fight the gray while waiting for it to grow and let me tell you it has been a long, sad, demoralizing process that brought me right up to the brink of… I don’t know. Self pity? Madness? No surprise there, as I forded both those streams a long, long time ago. Let’s just drop it in a bucket called “ambivalent aging” and everything that comes along with being female. (Dudes, you are on your own.)
If I could work my way through every decision that brought me to this place, I would end up in 2014 or so, reaching back through a tangle of clips, barrettes, elastics and misguided keratin treatments and—I’m not gonna lie—a lot of ridiculous tears. I stretched and fried it to within an inch of its life with a flatiron and finally I cut it all off and moved through a long series of increasingly hellacious styles and both my head and I were miserable for years. Years. Add to that a gradual switch to wearing glasses full time, gaining X lbs., and then changing my lifestyle wholesale overnight, and it was a recipe for some kind of disaster. I had no idea who I was anymore.
And—no surprise either—disaster came! I can see now how all that misery fed off itself after a while, how I tried to go from A to Z while skipping B through whatever (um…Y, I guess), and thinking I’d never miss the journey or the lessons I would have learned along the way if I had only asked myself what in the hell I was doing. And why I thought it shouldn’t or wouldn’t matter, or that I could outsmart it. How I confused moving back here with letting go of everything and thinking I could somehow stop caring about how I look. How I convinced myself that pride and a little vanity were bad things, when they’re not really, not always, not if they mean taking care of yourself and being good to yourself and understanding, most importantly, how it makes you feel when you don’t.
This won’t make sense to anybody but me, btw, but why should it have to? Sense is overrated, ask anybody who’s alive and capable of watching the news. It’s as useless as wishing for yesterday.
However! I am starting to feel like myself again, and to recognize who I see in the mirror. And even if nobody else notices (does anybody else ever notice? doubtful), it matters to me, just a little but more than I thought. And I’m going to be honest about that, even though this is an embarrassing, bordering-on-narcissistic-asshole thing to type, and I promise this is the last time we will ever talk about the important subject of my hair.
A ha hah hah haha hah ha hah ha! Of course we will always talk about my hair.
++ A random update! The ants finally came back. I battled them on my own for two weeks and when that failed I called in reinforcements (i.e., the management, who called in pest control). Now they are gone again and all is quiet. I mean it’s me vs. millions so I’m not holding out hope, but when you think about it everybody needs a nemesis. It seems the Formicidae family will be mine.