I first colored my hair when I was 32. I was living in Washington DC and had just started dating a dot.com millionaire. I thought I needed to spiff up my look to match my new boyfriend’s swank lifestyle.
So I walked into the hair salon with a light brown chin-length bob, and exited with a platinum pixie cut (think Gwyneth Paltrow’s post-breakup do in Sliding Doors).
It worked. Kinda. Though really? I was just playing dress-up.
The romance faded. I kept the blond. For 20 years. And this is me now, letting go of that too.
Before I go any further, let me just say upfront, this has nothing to do with any kind of judgment about whether coloring one’s hair is bad or good. It’s not about that at all. Hair is a fabulous medium for creative self-expression. And who knows, once I’ve carried this exploration through to resolution, I may be back with a platinum pixie.
But for now, the point is, I want to be free.
Because that 32-year-old woman who thought she had to up-level her look to match a man’s life, she’s not free. I’ve carried her around with me ever since. It’s like she somehow got folded into my identity the moment that first foil folded around my brown locks.
She and I, together perpetuated this belief, not just that I’m better, brighter, and more attractive as a blond, but that I need the blond. That without it I am not enough. At the time, I held this in the dark, beneath the surface of my conscious awareness, and only saw it as a simple matter of ongoing upkeep.
It always surprises me how we come into greater awareness about ourselves, often in what seems to be roundabout ways.
In this case, it had to do with money. My husband David and I have been doing some big healing this year around our relationship to money, individually and within our marriage. There’s a lot I could share about that journey, and perhaps I’ll write more specifically about that another time. But for now, I’ll share what’s relevant for this conversation, which is this:
My own intention, as I heal and reset my relationship to money, is to embrace the experience of circulating (re)source in the spirit of joy and lightness of being. That’s the new norm I’m flirting with. (Because, if I’m going to be fiddling with my money space, why not go for gold?:)
And so I’ve been combing through every single one of my (and our shared) expenses, asking myself, does this match my intention?
Sometimes it’s an easy yes, like the yoga studio membership. Sometimes it’s an easy no, like an online subscription that is no longer relevant to me.
On the whole, it’s been a simple sorting process. I’ve been making adjustments as I go and have adopted this as a practice moving forward.
But. When it came to my bi-monthly trip to the hair salon, my read on it wasn’t quite so simple. Actually, it was obvious. Once I got honest with myself, I noticed I felt nothing but heaviness, burden. I literally experienced more joy in paying to have my tires rotated.
The issue was that I felt like I had no choice. I was burdened by this expense, but I couldn’t do without it. To put it bluntly, I was enslaved. To blond hair.
And the point of this whole exploration is that I want to be free.
If there’s something I believe I can’t live without, then that thing owns me. Whether that thing is a relationship or blond hair or some form of worldly success or your children behaving in a certain way or something else.
We all have a thing or two or three that we’ve got tied to our sense of ourselves and our Okay-ness in the world.
And my guess is that underneath each of these things that owns us, there’s some version of “I’m not enough.” And the thing about “not enough” is that whatever we use to fill the hole created by “not enough,” well, it’s never enough.
On the other hand, when we connect with our wholeness, then we can’t be owned. Things can come and go and our sense of ourselves is sound, intact. Life becomes a journey of creative exploration and self-expression. And to me, that’s freedom.
And so, here I am, having a little showdown with not-enoughness. I’m letting the blond grow out. I’m saying hello. “Hello brown hair, it’s been a while. Welcome! I’m curious to get to know you.” And really, I’m saying hello to my own freedom.
Tell me, what are you saying hello to? Please share in the comments below. I’d love to know!
Tom ChildersSeptember 10, 2019 at 3:30 pm
Love this. When I first shaved my head in 1998, my thinning hair was a mousy brown. When I let it grow back a bit 15 years later, it was salt & pepper gray! I stopped shaving at Burning Man, and am re-greeting my gray hair.
I’m also finding that energy work is much more interesting than software development, and I’m completely letting go of my engineering self now, after 40 years in the industry. Very fun.
Elizabeth Hunter DiamondSeptember 10, 2019 at 5:02 pm
Hi Tom! Thank you!
How fun to discover new connections within ourselves. I love your gray:) And I love how you are so open and adventurous, meeting new versions of you along the way. You’re an inspiration!
Barbara TechelSeptember 11, 2019 at 1:35 pm
Oh, the hair thing! I get this. Still working on embracing my natural color, which has more of a brown/red color to it. It’s interesting because about three years ago I embraced my wavy/curly hair instead of straightening it every day with a brush and blowdryer. It is so much healthier!
And now that fall is upon us, I’m trying really hard not to get highlights in my hair and just let my hair what it needs to be.
I, like you, many years ago when I left the corporate world one of the things I cut in expenses so I could be home was not coloring my hair…but then I went back to it.
Your post and thoughts are inspiring me to just let things be. I know my checkbook would appreciate it. 🙂
Elizabeth Hunter DiamondSeptember 11, 2019 at 6:48 pm
Hi Barbara! Hair is such a rich area of exploration, really giving us a window into our relationship with ourselves. I love hearing about your own journey. Thanks so much for popping in here!
Barbara TechelSeptember 11, 2019 at 1:37 pm
P.S. And then I see this avatar photo of me with highlites and straight hair and I want that!! LOL!
Elizabeth Hunter DiamondSeptember 11, 2019 at 6:49 pm
Ha! We find all kinds of ways to send ourselves messages! That one’s fun:)