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New Brighter color….
The color Mother Nature (who is supposed to know best) likes…..

  Everyone wants me to be a redhead. My staff, my friends, my fiancé, my daughter, my mother (most of all) – everyone.

    Everyone except Mother Nature, that is, because she’s decided it’s time for the old girl to fade into the land of blond-ish red. Despite my best intentions and sincere efforts to keep my hair color true to its former (younger) red splendor, the sun and my older textured hair just won’t get with the program. I can color my hair any shade of red I want, but within a few days, its back to the natural strawberry blonde shade as if my pillow is made of bleach. When I garden or do anything outdoors, I instantly lean to blonde. Meanwhile, people are convinced I’m lightening up on purpose, going for some funky platinum, streaked look. 
   They all say, “The strawberry color is beautiful, but really, I miss the red. The brighter color suits you best.”

    I will never understand how a color from a bottle “suits me” better than the natural evolution of my hair as age settles in. Ah well. I guess when you are an authentic redhead all your life, people associate the color to your personality and anything quieter seems a bit off base.

    I’ve been spending time outdoors with gardening, our retreat and such, so my hair has gotten very light lately. And everyone has mentioned it. They drop subtle (or not so subtle) hints that I’m blonder than I should be. Frankly, I like my hair red too, but I’m all for letting my hair do what it wants naturally. I rather not get too wrapped up in fighting the natural process of ageing – to me there is nothing more unbecoming than a woman in her 50’s acting like she’s some  20 something wannabe, wearing jeans and clogs and trying to be sophisticated-cool in her speech and manner. I rather celebrate my age with class (not to be confused with becoming dowdy or lacking style…) Let me work with nature and grow older with my own attractive style, rather than be in desperate self-denial where, because I’m not fat and I throw on a 70’s jeans jacket, I believe my 50 looks like 35 to everyone else. (People that believe they look much younger than they are always seem naïve to me. People tell me that I look 40, or that I haven’t changed at all since they saw me ten years ago, all the time, but I don’t buy it. Our skin, our eyes, and our wisdom reveal our maturity, no matter what we wear or how we manage to exercise, tuck, or dye parts of us to keep the status quo on the surface.)

    I’d say at least 50% of the people I know my age all believe they look younger than everyone else their age – but what I believe is happening is we all look younger than our parents looked at this age. Our generation is so hung up on youth we ACT younger and live less conservative lifestyles, and this convinces us that our 50 is like 35. Ha. We might look well-preserved and great for our age, and we may cling to a bit of immaturity so our world doesn’t don’t resemble our conservative parents, but still, we all look our age –we just look 50 for what a 50 year old in 2012 looks like…

Despite that speech, I also realize that if so many people mention that I should be red, there might be something to it and perhaps, I should listen – at least a bit.

Yesterday I decided to listen.

    Albertsons, the grocery store closest to my home, is going out of business. Everything in the store is 50% off. David keeps stopping by on the way home from work to get things he finds at bargain prices that he thinks we can’t live without – real necessities, like a dozen cans of clams or 600 wooden skewers for shishkabobs – we now have enough skewers to last the rest of our lives – and boy am I relived I’ll never have to worry about sishkabob deficiency.

   Yesterday, he told me he picked me up some hair color too.

    I said, “YOU picked up hair color for ME? How do you know what kind or color to get?”

    He said, “I’ve seen the box after you’ve colored your hair, so of course I know what brand and color you use. That stuff can add up and since all the hair products are on clearance, I figured you might want to stock up. I got you the color you use, and also the color you’re supposed to be.”

    “What do you mean the color I’m supposed to be? Do you mean the color you want me to be? ”

    I have never heard David say an offensive thing to or about anyone – he is a model of class and respect for others, so he was quick to back pedal and assure me that he loves me as I am and always will – blonde, red, gray, or bald…. He was only trying to help out by picking up hair color for me. (Of course, I knew that. I was only teasing him.)

    He shrugged innocently. “Remember, I see you where the sun don’t shine, so I know the true color of your hair, or at least the color God designed for you, so I thought it would be natural to go back to that color. It’s your authentic state, so why not…..”


    Now, I know from experience that if I go with any of the copper or bright red dyes, my very porous hair will come out looking like I took a magic marker to it. It will be bright. Really bright. But only for a day or two, because then it will turn back to strawberry blond, like it or not. So it is not like I’m taking some risk of ruining my hair if I color it bright red on a whim. I keep telling my mother, my staff and others that for all I know they want me red, give it up. It’s a losing battle. But today I thought what the heck…. I marched into the bathroom with David’s L’Oreal copper red hair color and did the deed just to make everyone happy. I figure I’ll be the redhead they all know and love for a few days, and when my hair returns to its equilibrium color, I can show them all that my being blond-ish isn’t because I’m not responsive to their preferences.

    As expected, my hair came out bright with some areas flashing copper and others seeming more auburn.

    When I picked Neva up from school, she lifted her eyebrows and said, “Wow, Mom. You’re red. It’s crazy sexy looking. It doesn’t seem right….. Moms are not supposed to be sexy…..”

     “Never fear, I’ll be back to strawberry blonde in about three days.”

     “It’s streaky. Wildly red in some areas, more normal in others. What is that all about?”

    “That is how my hair responds to really bright red dye. I can put the product on equally, but drier areas suck the color in and other areas, where the gray is starting to show, are resistant. Takes a day or two for the color to settle. By next week, I’ll be back to my all over blond-ish red.”

      “David is gonna love it. You look dramatic and younger and … actually, I really like it…. In fact, you should keep it that way,”

    Of course she feels that way. She’s used to kids at her school with purple hair or tuti fruity stripes. “Couldn’t even if I wanted to…”

    “People are going to be surprised when they see it at the studio today… You are really RED! Like a movie star. “

    “You don’t think I’m going to work like this. I’m putting it up.”
     She laughed. “Yea, I don’t blame you.”

     I sent David a picture. Of course, he responded favorably. One of the loveliest things about him is that he is genuinely happy when I make even the smallest gesture to please him. He appreciates appreciation, if that makes any sense. And I swear, all men share a fantasy about lusty, passionate redheads… they say blondes have more fun, but it’s the redheads that get the male second-take looks. And just to prove it – I’ll add a picture that was sent to me by an artist I dated before meeting David. This was his perception of how I look (or the way he liked to imagine me….)
 after he color corrected a picture he took from my facebook page.

    Anyway, the hair color incident isn’t at all about me trying to please others, or proving a point, or trying to look exotic or fighting Mother Nature. 

     I just keep imagining David in the hair product aisle, picking up different boxes of color and contemplating which ones he thinks I’ll appreciate and use, then spending his own money on the product to help me stretch my very tight budget. I imagine what went through his mind as he pictured me with each color, and his thoughts as he left the product on my sink, the chance he took that, instead of appreciating his gesture, I might have twisted the meaning into his wanting me to change, rather than proof he is a man who constantly takes giving and consideration to a whole new level.  

My hair will fade overnight, but my awareness and the marvel of David’s genuine and endless acts of caring are permanent……..

About Ginny East Shaddock

Ginny is the owner of Heartwood Yoga Institute. She is an ERYT-500 Yoga teacher, C-IAYT Yoga therapist, RCYT & Ayurveda Counselor who loves nature, gardening, and creative arts. She has an MFA in creative writing from Lesley University, and a BA in Business Administration from Eckerd College. She teaches writing and is the creator of the memoir writing program, "Yoga on the Page" combining the teaching of yoga to writing personal stories with integrity, intention, and heart.

One response »

  1. hogan rebel

    At the Heart of Ginny: RED!



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