You’ve had more fun with hair dye in the past couple of years than ever before. Previously you’d played around a bit with highlights, and covering the greys, but then you decided to go red. Never the same red for more than 6 weeks, so over a year you tried out quite a few shades. And then you attemped home hair dye removal which of course didn’t work but turned your hair bright orange. After a month or so of carrot hair, you followed that up with a series of browns which all looked different. And right now you’re trying to grow it out so that you can start all over again.
I’ve been thinking about what all that hair dyeing really meant and here’s what I have concluded.
Over the years we grow and stretch, and shrink and are reshaped by the life that we find ourselves living. And yet, sometimes we find it hard to accept the changes in ourselves and in others. We don’t want to notice them or pay attention to the signs of change, because we worry it means we’re not who we thought we were, and they are not who we have decided that they are either.
In the past few years you’ve learned and accepted, that the re-shaping of yourself can’t be avoided or stopped.
If you keep engaging in life it will keep happening.
You had a pretty scary time a while ago, when you realised that you didn’t fit the labels you’d applied to yourself. Events led to a fairly sudden and massive recognition that you have changed over your life time in so many ways. You’d thought that once fitting a particular mould you would stay there, but that’s not how it works.
It’s probably no coincidence that you then dyed your hair bright red.
Dyeing your hair is a way to indicate that you are not exactly how everyone has always thought you are. It’s a visual sign of an ever-changing personhood.
Maybe that was your way of saying, ‘I’m different to the person I thought I was; the person you thought I was.’
That self-realisation was incredibly important and it has enabled you to see the growth and change in others whom you love.
You married almost 20 years ago, and there is no way that you and your husband are the same people you were then, but it’s taken a while for you to catch up to that truth. Isn’t it fun, when you stop assuming that you know someone, and you create space for them to be different? You’ve started asking each other questions rather than assuming you know the answers. You’ve listened to each other and worked to understand who you are now and what that looks like when you are together. Your need to try new things has been fed with opportunities to learn to surf and sky dive and skateboard. His journey isn’t yours to tell, but you know what it has looked like for him too.
So keep allowing your shifting identity to be explored. Keep exploring life, and like your hair, don’t be afraid to experiment with colour ( but learn from the mistakes, and like home hair dye removal, there’s a few things you know you should never do again).
until the next letter