Sometimes I get an idea, and it’s more like the idea gets me. It sits in my head, in the dark, quietly lurking. And then something will nourish that idea and lull it out of dormancy and before I can get a hold on it, the idea will have grown.
Sometimes when this happens, the idea takes over like a weed, consuming the garden of my brain. And then one day I’ll notice that the idea is still there, demanding ever more attention. I read, eat, drink, go about my day as usual — and the idea follows along, ever present, looming slightly larger with each passing moment. Asleep, it creeps into my dreams so that when I wake, it’s larger and restless. The seedling of an idea has become a fully formed thought that won’t ever, ever leave me be.
And so began the idea that recently consumed me. If you follow me on Pinterest, you may know what I’m talking about.
Let me demonstrate:
Let me defend my crazy by saying I’ve wanted colorful hair since I was 14. Initially I wanted blue and purple, like when twilight turns to dusk. My father — the principal of my middle school — would never have allowed it. And by never, I mean like never, never in his lifetime, over his dead body. But the secret dreamy wish always held on, and continued to crop up through the years.
And then at some point my dad DID die. (Bet you didn’t see that coming.)
It’s pretty crazy when the death of someone you love deeply occurs.
From the moment of my father’s passing (some eight years ago), a different idea has pressed against my frontal lobe and taken over my entire world: LIFE IS TOO SHORT. Too short for regrets. Too short not to be lived fully. Too short, period.
The idea became a philosophy. Lots of things began changing in my world: Relationships; my writing style; my personal sense of the world. I started doing things I never, ever would have done previously, things my former self stopped me from even considering. Example: “I can’t travel.” Seriously — I thought about that one afternoon in 2006, a year and a half after my dad’s passing. What stopped me cold was the ensuing small question: “Why not?”
I really had no answer. No valid ones, anyway. Of course I could travel.
And so I planned a trip with my sons to Peru. I planned, I saved, we went. I started road biking that same summer, and took part in a statewide cycling tour that raised money for AIDS research and treatment. I also participated in triathlons, and one day, even got my nose pierced. (That lasted 3 months.)
Why not? Why couldn’t I do these things?
For 3 years I’ve been growing my hair long, and as I’d decided to stop coloring it, it’s been the same dirty blonde color with some pretty awesome gray streaks. But the impulsive girl in me was getting bored. SUPER bored. I added some blonde streaks, but the truth is: I wanted something different. NO CUTTING, I decided. I had too much time invested in my current length.
I suppose it was 2009 when this current idea sideswiped me and stayed: I wanted pink hair. And I wanted it in the worst way. At some point I’d decided that fuchsia or some kind of pink would be the best color for me and my yellowy skin; if only I had a reason to dye it. I mean, I’d been growing it for years! What if I ruined it? Plus, I was totally going to embarrass everyone around me if I colored my hair. People would think I was crazy, be ashamed even. And I worked in a professional environment. No way could I get away with a nontraditional color. And finally, duh: I’m waaaay toooooo ooooold.
I guess when I realized — when I found a lump in my breast and I’d actually considered cancer the best reason to color my hair (you know, before chemo made it all fall out)? That’s when I clearly saw my particular ridiculousness had gone way too far.
I don’t care if I’m too old. I don’t care if I look stupid. Other people’s hair doesn’t embarrass me; why should mine bother you? Plus, I work from home now, in my very own “professional” environment. No. Enough excuses.
Today was the day. I bought Manic Panic’s Cotton Candy Pink semi-permanent hair color. Turns out semi-permanent is the only way you can get certain colors. It washes out in about 6 weeks. AND I learned that you can dilute the tone by mixing it with conditioner.
So… I’ve been sitting here letting the color process as I write this, and wow — I haven’t been this nervous in forever. We’ll see how it goes.
But guess what? I did it! And I can always color over it if I choose to. Plus, IT’S JUST HAIR. Plain. Old. Hair.
Finally: Life is too short. Too short to be wasting it worrying about hair.