Wednesday, January 20, 2016

On Changing Hair

Anyone who knows me who is reading this will laugh. But the subject has been on my mind in such a way that I've just really wanted to talk about it.

When I went to get a haircut a month or two ago, I discovered a white hair in the middle of my head. And I was immediately entranced. As the days went by, I would catch sight of it in the mirror above the sink, this shining white hair like a string of glitter. Such a gorgeous glistening. It catches the light like diamonds.

Sometimes it sticks right up on my head and I have to try and pat it down: it sits right where I usually part my hair and it isn't very long yet, so it always wants to stick straight up instead of falling to one side or the other. Sometimes that makes me think it would be easier to pull it out just so it won't be sticking up, but I can't bear to pull it out because I've grown so fond of it. And, anyways, if I just let it be then I think it will finally grow long enough that it'll fall straight down with the rest of my hair, whereas if I keep pulling it out it'll keep on sticking out.

You see, I've always said that I don't think I will ever dye my hair. I once briefly considered dying the bottom of my hair green (just temporarily while I could get away with it), then decided that I couldn't because that would be dying my hair, which I didn't want to do. I like my hair color: it's a nice rich brown. And I like my hair: I like it long and people always tell me it looks nice long (I've had random people tell me never to cut my hair). And so I figure, if I have this nice hair, why would I ever want to dye it just for the sake of a few whites? Why all those chemicals (yeah, I know there are some more natural hair products out there, but still I think it's unnecessary--we already use enough products as it is)? Why all the bother, the time and money spent dying hair? What for?

With all my comments, I've always known that it might be different when my own hair starts going white. But now, with my one white hair, I still find my position the same. Sure, I my feel different when I'm in my thirties with a lot more whites, but I hope I won't cave. I hope I just style my hair, do my makeup, put together my silly outfits, and enjoy my hair for simply being itself. (And by the way, no, I'm not really into the twenty-year-olds bleaching their hair white trend--that's still changing your hair color, no different from if you're dying it brown or blonde or red or purple.)

Maybe it's because people always think I'm younger than I am that I'm looking forward to age showing in my hair. When I was at the Disney Store last month, I seriously think the woman working there thought I was twelve (really? or maybe that's just her "Disney style" of talking to customers?). And a waitress last year guessed that I was twenty at the most, though I'm twenty-four (which isn't really much--it was funnier when I ordered a margarita in San Diego last summer and the waitress confessed she thought I was sixteen--and they know it's not a fake ID because if it were, it would say I'm twenty-one). This is the life of short, thin people--and it bothers me more than it should.

So maybe that's why I'm okay with getting whites. That instantly tells people that you have a few years on you--and I don't mind people knowing my age. I want them to. I don't want to pretend I'm younger. Yeah, I know I'll like looking ten years younger when I'm forty of fifty or sixty. But I don't need to look eighteen forever. I guess I grew up watching and reading so many older shows and books or historical movies and books, where age is simply something that happens. I watched a lot of The Andy Griffith Show, where Aunt Bee is older but there is nothing wrong or particular about that--even Andy and Barney and their girlfriends aren't too young anymore. Or I Love Lucy--same thing (well, maybe not, there is a lot of changing appearances to "look better" in this show--I just mean the idea of the characters obviously not being twenty anymore). Little House on the Prairie, where age is bittersweet: it means that you have lived.

I'm not an aesthete like Oscar Wilder: I see beauty in what is not "beautiful." (Ugh, when he talked about how manmade chairs are so much better than sitting out in nature--I wanted to tear his head off. I often prefer to sit on the floor to sitting on a chair, and nothing can compare to sitting within nature, I don't care what the chair is made out of. And so many chairs are cheap and horrendous--but I'd better let it go now.) I hope that I don't mind carrying my life on my face because I hope that I make my life into something that I won't mind sharing, visually, with the rest of the world. I hope that the creases will be in the right places, from smiles instead of frowns. I hope that when my eyelids start to sag, my eyes will remain bright underneath them. And I hope that as my hair turns white, I will still be caring for myself--and cared for by others. Life means change: that is time and life is made up of time and only you can decide how to live your time.

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