Tuesday, September 04, 2012
The Way It Was
Isn't it strange how you can walk into the same grocery store multiple times a week, know the layout so well you could stock the shelves in your sleep, but when you enter through the entrance on the opposite side of the store, it seems as though you've arrived in an entirely new world? When the glass doors opened and I stepped inside the "other" entrance, it felt a lot like the first step out of an international airport on foreign soil. There was nothing to do but stand there for a second, look around, think "Oh, this is where they keep the ace bandages" and fight the sudden urge to turn around and run towards the familiar.
I was heading through the store with no list because I only needed one item. Surely I could remember. Almond milk. I grabbed the carton and walked towards the cashier. Then it hit me.
I want to dye my hair.
Three rows away from the check out stands I made a sharp, spontaneous right into the aisle of hair color. Dark auburn. Why not? I grabbed two boxes.
As I was paying for my three items, the checker asked if I was changing my hair color. Yes. He laughed and replied with a spirited, "My mom always randomly decides to dye her hair." Heaven. Help. Me. When did 20 somethings start looking at me and lumping me in with their mothers? Just a few years ago, I swear this same demographic allowed me to hang out in the group with their sisters or their friends. I hugged that bag of hair dye tight and marched out of the store muttering, "Your mother. Are you kidding me?"
Hours later there were thin plastic gloves on my hands and colorful blobs of hair dye splattered all over the bathroom sink. And on the floor. And one on the toilet. And how did some get on the wall behind me? The boys were yelling, in dramatic fashion, about how I was smelling up the house. Aaron came in to open a window only after declaring, "You're going to be beautiful and dumb if you don't get some fresh air in this bathroom."
I waited 20 minutes then stepped into the shower. Wet my hair. Lather. I watched as streams of dark red dye streamed down my arms, pooling on the ground. Jaws. This is what it would look like to be attached by a shark in your shower.
When my hair was dry, Aaron said, "It's bold and crazy, but I like it." The boys? No. Not so much. "Will your hair be like that tomorrow too, mom?" Hayden asked. Yes and thanks. Ashton was exasperated. In the sweetest of voices he said, "I really can't stand your hair, mom. I want it to go back the other way." Aaron let out a guttural sigh and was about to lay into Ashton, giving him the speech he's had to give our boys more times than we can count - the one about what you say to women and what you don't. "I'm really fine. I like my hair, but yes - dive on into that speech - because if he ends up getting married one day, we'd like him to stay that way." I have lived with tiny males long enough to not take their comments at face value. They hate change. If my hair is auburn for six weeks and then I dye it back to my natural color they will make these exact same remarks. "We liked it better the way it was."
And don't we all?
I like my new do. As my summer tan fades, the deep red tones make me feel less washed out and fully present inside my own face, but I keep finding myself standing in front of the mirror a lot disappointed that I still feel old and tired. No amount of running, healthy eating, or water drinking seems to be able to take all of this and make it go back to the way it was before. The fight against aging feels a lot like David and Goliath - except without the slingshot and stones. The giant never falls and David is smashed into the ground.
Walking through the store, heading back from the dairy section with a carton of vanilla almond milk on my hip, I guess what I really wanted - more than hair dye - was magic. Two boxes of ten years ago.