I have returned to my roots — I am a full brunette again. Not exactly what I mean, but also, yes, my hair has been restored to a deep, rich shade of chocolate. And it feels like me, it strangely feels like home.
For the last year or so I have dabbled in highlights and progressively my hair became lighter and for a time it’s what I needed. I needed to, literally and metaphorically lighten, up. And then one day I woke up and thought, “nope this isn’t me any longer.”
Isn’t that how situations, relationships, jobs, exercise routines, even hair colors work in life? They fit until they don’t. Or we ignore the fact they don’t fit until we can’t fake it, or take it, another minute.
I don’t know about you but my life has often been a lot like my relationship with my hair. It’s almost always a state of progression and change. It grows out and it feels almost like a security blanket, then you cut it off as a symbolic breaking free. Then you decide you need bangs and then realize that will be a costly move. (If your hair stylist loves you like a sister, she will tell you under no circumstances will she provide you bangs unless you have gum stuck in your hair.)
But much like hair styles, colors, bangs, and the eternal “growing out” phase, there are decisions in life that we have to live with the consequences far longer than we’d like. Sometimes that’s because it takes us a while to come around to the reality of the situation. It sounds ridiculous to say but I had no idea how blonde my hair had gotten. I mean it lives right there on top of my head and yet each morning I would pull it back and ignore it.
This is how we do life sometimes, we are not moving in the direction we need to and on some level we sense it but we aren’t ready, we don’t want to face it so — we don’t. And then one day, like my blonde hair, you are ready for the truth and you look in the mirror and say, “woah, my hair is really blonde!”
This is not to say my hair color was a mistake, it wasn’t. I liked it, I needed the change until… I didn’t.
I have in the past had a tendency to retroactively regret things because at some point they stop working. We unfairly do this to ourselves. Through the lens of change we twist our past choices into mistakes when they maybe were just the choice of the time. I could do that to myself and tell you, and me, that the highlights were a poor choice because I am brunette again. But it’s not true and saying that it was, only damages the trust I have in myself.
I was simply ready for a change. We do this frequently. Things end badly, or we change our minds, and instead of just letting it end, saying that it stopped working, we tell ourselves a darker tale. Why do we do that? Why does the end have to mean an error in judgment? Why does choosing again mean the first choice was wrong?
We learned something hopefully.
We had some fun along the way and then whatever it is ran its course.
Regret and endings can be sold separately.
This, I am learning, can be a much healthier and accurate way to reflect on life. Even our seeming worst choices at one time felt right for good reason. And some of our best and healthiest decisions have felt terrible at times, heart-breaking even, and ultimately moved us forward in a more sustainable direction.
When we release ourselves from this binary framework, we can allow easier access to the shifts we need to make. When we can let go of the idea that life is about getting it right or getting it wrong and instead about living in it — we are expanded. What fits for one season, may not fit for the next. Sweaters are great for winter, less so for summer but the sweater isn’t wrong it just has a season.
Endings and beginnings are like season changes. They are integral to life and never entirely self-contained. An ending in itself is a beginning and a beginning is by nature an ending. The inhale becomes the exhale and the exhale, the inhale.
Why are we so concerned with getting “it” right? Because it will, by definition, change. What is right for today will change in a week or month. That’s part of growth.
I am back to my roots and it feels like me… right now. And for a year when I was a lighter hue, it felt like me then, too. And before that, when I was a little darker, it felt like me then too.
That’s what it means to expand, to stretch.
I may be back to my roots but make no mistake, I am different. I am not the same as I was the last time my hair was this color. It’s merely a trending toward what feels right. What feels right is warmer and darker. It’s also an incarnation of acceptance. This is how I showed up here on the planet. This is how I was created.
I’ve spent most of my life trying to tame my ways, be more palatable, be less of this and more of that, and of that relentless tug of war, I have grown weary.
Instead I am finding out what happens if I nurture my nature and spend a little less time trying to unwind the two. I am back to my roots, which is to say I am back to myself and this time it feels like home.
Sunshine & Sarcasm,
Lowi & G