Saturday, January 26, 2008

Time Warped

On Thursday, I spent most of the morning cleaning my bathroom and organizing the linen closet as well as the undersink cabinet. I found seven boxes of hair color. I added it up, it amounted to almost a hundred dollars worth of product. Since I quit coloring my hair three years ago, this was a mystery how I accumulated all of that dye. It takes two boxes at a time to color all my hair, so I had enough for three sessions, plus one box for touch ups. The problem is that all are three different shades of color: dark blond, brown, and reddish brown.

I sat on my bed contemplating for a few minutes. I have been very happy with my silvery locks. But I did get a little defensive with my husband about our budget and how I need to pay attention to what I spend on personal maintenance. For instance, like most women, I have five or more bottles of different kind of lotions. Lotion for my face--two different kinds, because one is for the summer and one is for the winter. Another for my hands only--my job is brutal on them (Burt's Bees Almond Hand Salve). Two different perfumed lotions that pair with my favorite scents (L'air du Temps and Coco Chanel). And a couple of sets of Body Shop and Victoria Secret lotions that my stepmom and my sisters sent me for presents. And two different kinds I bought on a shopping trip while on vacation with my sister, totally oblivious to the stockpile already waiting for me at home. Lotion is for the most part, a pleasant and inexpensive
little luxury that I indulge in without nary a hesitation, I give in to buying them much more easily than anything else I consider in the marketplace. Don't mention the various little tubes that I stashed in my purse, at work and in my gym locker. My lotion hoarding has become a near obsession.

Now, I found myself in a massive collection of hair dye I didn't need, but bought during a time of indecision about what I wanted to do with my hair. Tossing them or giving them away occured to me, but it still seemed like a waste. I saw my husband's point of view quite clearly, now with the boxes stacked in front of me as incriminating evidence. If I tossed them, Hubby will find them. He investigates all the trash before he sets it out in the curb on pick up day. Besides, it is sort of like toxic waste. The chemicals are extremely flammable. And I didn't know anyone who would take second hand beauty products. I wouldn't.

Then I meditated on the difficult growing out period that I went through when I decided that I was sick of coloring my hair. It was ugly and hard on my self-esteem. I didn't look forward to going through it again if I started up again. But then a change would be nice, and I could ease myself back into the routine and ease myself back out if I wanted.

So, I took the plunge. My plan is to start with the lighter shade so it wouldn't be so shocking. And then go darker each shade until I've gotten to my reddish brown again. Which I'm not sure I'll get to, I might just decide to stay brown or light brown.

It took about an hour for the dye to soak into my hair--it's only supposed to be in 30 minutes max. I kept checking it and silver kept showing up. Finally, I was out of time and had to rinse it out before my hair got damaged and I missed my yoga class. I was five minutes late to yoga, and my hair was still wet and icicles were forming as I ran from my car into the gym to join my co-workers. I stopped at a bookstore on the way home, ran into Holly, my friend and after a half hour I was able to get home to see how it turned out after several hours among friends in public and not really knowing.

Dennis noticed it right away, but also saw patches of grey. I looked at the mirror and sure enough, he was right. It was a terrible coverage, but at least my hair wasn't fried, like I was afraid it would be. And to have a little grey was actually okay, it was less jarring after having it completely grey. I've had dark blonde before, it doesn't look bad on me at all. I was platinum blonde as a toddler, and grew darker until I was brunette as a five year old. Throughout my lifetime my hair transformed from medium blonde to almost black brown depending on the seasons and my hormones.

My emotional reaction to covering up my grey hair was really unexpected. I felt like I lost a unique part of me that was different than anyone else. My grey came in very well and not everyone has that happening with their aging process. It was comforting that at least one aspect of my growing old was an attractive one, when everything else seems to be a battle. The pangs of regret really were overwhelming, and hard for my husband to understand.

"But you look 10 years younger!"

"It's just hair color, not a time machine!"

Besides, what happens when 10 years younger eventually will be old, too? In my mid-life, I want to be embracing the next stages, not resisting them. Because to me, understanding them and accepting them helps me through them gracefully. I don't want to look 10, 5 or 2 years younger--I'd want to look and to function well for my age. I know people who are fighting to be youthful, which is not a bad endeavor--being active is a good thing. Keeping up and learning new things is important, too. But I know how my limits have changed since my 30's and 20's. I'll never be 25 again, thank God. I'm not going to get myself stuck in a time warp where I'm still in the 1980's even though the rest of the world is well into the early 2000's.

This I say even though I listened to Bob Dylan's Hard Rain album while taking a shower this morning.

Nope, no time warp here.

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