Sunday, January 24, 2010

What was my "natural" hair color?

For the last few years, I have been getting my hair colored.  Those little gray roots would start to get to me and I wanted to get rid of them.  At first, I loved banishing the gray.  But, as time went on, I didn't like the color of my hair.  It just seemed way too dark.

So, I said to my colorist, this color is too dark and he said that I had asked him to match my natural hair color and he had.

What I realized is that I had completely forgotten what my natural hair color was.  I had always loved my natural color, why didn't I love this color?  It made me think that no matter how hard I tried I couldn't remember who I was.  I had sort of lost my identity.  Yes, I know it was just hair color, but it made me think of my inner self and how I really couldn't remember who I was anymore.

After years of being a mom and being a wife and whatever else I was, I wasn't sure anymore what I liked or who I really was as a person.  Decades ago, my mom said, "be careful not to lose your own identity".  I took care of that, I became a lawyer.  With a law degree, I would never lose my identity.  I was "somebody".  The problem was I didn't like being a lawyer. 

I have loved bringing up my children and working in the schools and being the "manager" of the family.  I don't regret a minute of it, but as my youngest gets closer to going off to college, I am realizing that I really don't remember my natural hair color, that is, who the heck I am.

When I mentioned this to a friend, she said, "maybe you don't want to be exactly the person you were".  I thought about that.  Maybe it's not so much about going back to your original natural hair color, but realizing you now have the chance to have any color you choose.  Maybe I have been spending too much time trying to remember who I was and thinking I could go back. Suzanne Braun Levine says in her book, "Inventing The Rest of Our Lives: Women in Second Adulthood" (which I highly recommend), "You are not who you were, only older."

I think she is right.  I have changed a lot over the last 20 years and even if I could remember my "natural hair color", it isn't necessarily what I need or want right now.  It is time to explore and get excited by the fact that I can choose any damn color I want.  

I doubt I will ever be a blond, but it's nice to know that life ahead has many more possibilities than what I had been thinking.  My natural color is just one option, actually my options now are limitless.