I’ve decided to make Travels With Mary Sue 2016 a memoir about Fearlessness.
Why a memoir? My life story would bore you and me. Focusing on selected moments in time will feed my creative need to write and help me hone my writing skills.
Why fearlessness? To foster self-reflection about how and why I arrived at this place in time.
For clarification, what is a memoir versus an autobiography?
Memoir – a themed collection of stories about moments or events in the author’s life.
Autobiography – the author’s entire life to the present.
Here is the first installment. Some details may not be totally accurate because my memory for time and color is not exact.
“It’s fearless, what you are doing with your hair, letting it go grey,” commented a classmate at our fortieth high school reunion.
“Hmm! I never thought of it that way,” I replied, not knowing if it was a compliment or not.
In fact, I did color my hair for years. I went to the drug store the minute I saw those random, wiry, grey hairs coming in. You couldn’t miss them amongst the chocolate brown strands. I stood in the store holding boxes of hair color products up to the mirror, looking for the closest shade to mine.
What a mess, coloring my own hair at home. Dark brown dye splattered all over the gleaming white sink and tiles in the bathroom. The frayed, white towel, splattered with cocoa brown hair dye, now had a singular purpose–protecting my clothing during the hair dying ritual. I say ritual because short hair needs to be “touched up” at least every four weeks.
After six months, I asked my hair stylist if he would color my hair. I was at the salon once a month for a cut anyway. I liked this no fuss, no muss plan. It did come at a price; the monthly cost of a hair appointment doubled. I had a substantial income, so why not treat myself to this indulgence. I added a manicure to the routine. So much for being low-maintenance.
Why and when did I stop hiding the grey? To save money and before it was obvious.
I made a career change and moved to Homosassa in 1999. I continued having my hair colored for about a year. Then my income dropped into the basement and I needed to live on less.
Over time, the percentage of grey hairs to dark ones was increasing. I never wanted to be that women with dark hair and grey roots. Not a good look. I’ve heard it referred to as the skunk stripe. Yikes!
My mother had thick, wavy, beautiful, white hair at a very young age. Maybe I would be lucky enough to have the same gene. So far, not so much. My hair is salt and pepper, heavy on the salt. It’s thinning some, with a little wave.
I avoid the mirror and the camera to minimize those who is that old lady moments. You know the ones. You are shopping and see your reflection in a window. My favorite moment — realizing the two old women I saw on a closed circuit television in an art museum were me and my friend.
I totally understand why others enhance their hair color. We all have to like what we see in the mirror and in pictures. Our image of ourselves has a lot to do with our self-esteem.
Feeling down? Make a hair appointment. Let someone wash your hair. Warm water flowing over your head chases the stress down the drain. The feel of someone gently caressing your scalp can transport you to another place. Refresh your hair color and you will feel like a new person afterward.
There can be something sensual about having your hair washed, by the right person. Two movie scenes come to mind. Robert Redford washed Meryl Streep’s hair in Out of Africa. Out of Africa Enough said! Kira Sedgewick washed and cut John Travolta’s hair then gave him a shave in Phenomenon. Phenomenon Hmm!
But I digress. Is it fearless to let my hair go grey? Maybe! I’m not afraid of aging or looking my age. I’m not afraid of what others think of my hair or me. I’ve earned every one of those grey hairs. I wear them as a badge of honor. They remind me of where I am on this journey: more than half-way between the beginning and the end; more salt than pepper, with a touch of sass.