Monday, January 19, 2009

Dye(ing) to Feel Alive

I'm about as low maintenance as anyone I know when it comes to personal maintenance like using cosmetics, getting my nails done, or needing to have the latest fashions. I’ve never really cared that much about that kind of stuff, although I do admit I really like cheap, pretty earrings. Most of the time however, I could really care less about what’s hot and what’s not. It’s just not all that important to me. In the States, the only thing that I maintained on a regular basis was my preferred hair color…whatever I decided that would be at the time. I have had assorted shades of blond, brown, and even red hair during different periods of my life, mainly because I like variety and always liked to experiment with fun, funky styles.

Before I left for China however, I made the decision to let it all go, stop dying my hair and just let nature take its course. I knew I would be partially gray within months, but felt that it would be too much of a hassle to mess with it here and culturally not really necessary either. Little did I know just how brutal Mother Nature would be!

About 2 months into “au natural” I started to see the roots. A bit grayer than I had anticipated, but well OK, I am getting older. After 4 months of gritting my teeth and closing my eyes to the multicolored strands hanging from my head, I finally cried, “Uncle!” I couldn’t take it anymore. I got online and ordered my hair color and developed from the States and had it sent to Lacey’s house with an SOS for her to ship it to me ASAP! It was a hair emergency! Well she tried to send it, but found out that it couldn’t be shipped overseas…(thank-you Mr. and Mrs. Terrorist) So, I had to wait until one of my friends was going home for Christmas break and she said she would bring it back in her suitcase.

If there is such a thing as losing face over hideous hair, I think I had no face left. The combinations of having gray, dirty blond, gold, and reddish brown locks and no haircuts in 6 months was atrocious! With thick, wavy, multi-layered, crazy colored hair like I had it was a wonder the fashion police didn’t give me a ticket! I was just past the 6 month point, barely holding on to any shred of dignity I had left when my beloved dye arrived! I clutched it like a long lost friend. At last…victory would be mine! I made my friend take several pictures of the disaster just so I could remember why I didn’t want to look like a decrepit old woman before my time. I mean-come on! I’m 47 not 70…geez!

I put on some happy tunes and mixed up the foul smelling concoction with glee. Nothing could spoil the moment. As I slathered the goop all over my head I had a strange sense of satisfaction. I felt my roots rising from the dead and the fun, funky part of me dancing inside. I anxiously waited for my 45 minutes of developing time and quickly jumped into the shower to wash 6 months of gray down the hole in my bathroom floor. As I took the towel off my head and beheld the beautiful golden brown shine on my once lifeless hair, I looked in the mirror and said, “Yes! I’m back!”

Now I know to some of you this is just really silly and a senseless waste of time and money, ($6 whole dollars) but think of it as mental health maintenance. It’s way cheaper than psychotherapy which isn’t available here anyway, and for the cost of 2 cups of Star Bucks, I can feel like myself again. In my estimation…Not a bad deal at all