And Why I am a Ginger in the brightest and most vibrant shade I can find.
Someone asked me recently why I dye my hair. "Are you looking for attention?"
I floundered for an answer, responding that I like the color and was completely bored of being blonde.
He followed up. "Doesn't everyone want to be blonde?"
Not after forty years of it, they don't.
"Why red? Why not purple or blue?"
Red seemed like a slightly more natural choice, I hedged.
He may have smirked slightly. After all, the red of my hair does not occur naturally on the heads of people.
The conversation moved on to other topics, but I was acutely aware that I didn't answer his questions; not fully, not completely.
I didn't just wake up one day and decide I was tired of being a blonde. I did wake up one day to a completely different life, with a completely unplanned future.
My husband had died after a long, brutal illness. In a sense, when I buried him, I buried a version of myself.
I buried that blonde girl of long ago, that version of myself ceased to be.
Now, I could have wallowed. I could have propped up that empty undead version of myself, but I had children to care for. Wallowing was never an option.
Instead, I buried her, even mourned her, but she was dead. Life had to be for the living.
I was left with a stranger wearing the face of a dead woman.
I needed to become someone else. I wanted the new woman to be vibrant. I wanted her to go out and live. I needed her to be brave.
I found art. It became my salvation, my healing, and my new beginning.
That art girl needed a thick shell. Rejection happens daily for her. Self doubt is inevitable. I chose a difficult path for her.
Louis the Cat wrote that caps lock is how he feels on the inside, all the time.
Which is precisely why I went ginger. The vibrancy, the brilliant daring of my hair is how I want to appear to the world. It's how I want to feel on the inside all the time.
So maybe my friend was right. Maybe I do it for the attention. Maybe I do it because it's the easiest way for me to remember who I want to be, even on days when what I really want is to crawl into the back of my closet and hide from the world.
But, that girl, the one with the brilliant, vibrant hair, she doesn't hide, not from anyone, not from the world, and absolutely, never from herself.