Ch-ch-changes

What if it’s too dark? What if it looks wrong? I glanced at the instructions once more, without really reading them. I knew what they said, it was quite obvious how to use it. How stupid! I rolled my eyes at my own undecided reflection in the mirror. Such a fuss over something so small… I ran a comb through my towel dried hair and went for it.

When did I become so boringly cautious about my hair colour? I spread the coloured mousse on my roots with a new brush I got especially for the occasion. I used to be so handy at this sort of stuff, many many moons ago, when I used to colour my hair… when I was a teenager. I even had friends who would ask me to colour their hair too, since I usually did such a good job with mine. By the time I turned twenty I had experienced with so many shades that I almost couldn’t tell what my natural hair colour was. When my mother got married, I showed up with blue, red and black streaks in my blond hair; and they weren’t the clip-on kind. And now I was worried about touching up my roots with some coloured mousse… Damn it!

Yes, I’ve been obsessing over my hair colour, more so than I used to do before… before I turned 33. Right on schedule, the month I turned 33 my first grey hairs made their appearance. Only a few, only obvious to me and my hairdresser, but nevertheless they were there… and I knew they were there. My mother got her first grey ones when she was 33 too; my grandmother, when she was in her early thirties as well. I knew what was coming, so I wasn’t exactly surprised. I made a hair appointment and that was that, there wasn’t much else I could do. Besides, I could still remember my mother’s age related breakdown from back in the day, 33 was her scary age…

Well, I may not feel old, but my hair seems to have a mind of its own, ever since it turned 33. So I started touching up my roots more often, because I just cannot help focusing on those hardly noticeable greys. Typical… no matter how fine everything else is, we seem to obsess over tiny flaws which are sometimes obvious only to us. And since I’m not the type to go to the salon on a weekly basis, I eventually had to accept I needed a solution I could handle myself, at home, if I wanted to keep my nice ombre grey-less. Said and done, easy to use professional product recommended by trusted hairdresser purchased, yet I was still hesitating.

Yes, I was hesitant, because it wasn’t really about my hair or my age. It was all about change. I am not the enemy of change, nor do I reject it on principle, yet I seem to become more and more aware of all possible implications of any small change, of the ripple effect it might trigger. I used to jump into so many colour changes – some of them on the disastrous side – without thinking twice, while now I know I cannot afford that anymore. Well, not if I want to preserve a certain professional respectability and still be perceived as reliable…

Truth be told, there was this blue shade that would be so fun to try, and a purple one too. After all, it’s June, what better time to try silly things, just for the fun of it? I paced myself and I have yet to try the blue, but the colour I had selected matched my hair perfectly and the result was better than I had hoped. That’s the other side of change, the one where things come out right…

Why do you want to change your number, she asks, her nails clicking fast on the keyboard. For personal reasons, I reply. I’ve been meaning to change my phone number for quite a while, and I kept finding excuses to postpone doing it for just as long. In a way, it was more than a phone number, it was a connection to the past, I had that number since I got my first mobile phone. Meanwhile I had moved and moved on, I had lived and experienced, yet that was a connection between all those stages, a link to the person I used to be and to all the persons I had met. And it was exactly that kind of connection that made it necessary for me to change it. Sure, there had been other numbers, but that was my personal one… Nevertheless, it’s June – what better time for a change? Funny, I seemed not to care too much about all this when the lady was providing me with a new number (one I have yet to learn, but that’s a different story). Later at home, I felt so relieved when I clicked “delete” for almost half my contacts… I was only keeping them so I’d know to avoid calls from certain individuals and getting rid of them was somehow freeing. Again, the pleasure of small changes… changes we choose, not changes inflicted on us…

My feelings towards change have changed over the years. I used to constantly crave it, I even used to stir trouble to trigger it. Unwanted, uncontrollable changes were being thrown at me, and for a long time I countered with changes (big and small) I caused myself. Fighting fire with fire was something I learnt at an early age. Yet age brings uncontrollable changes of its own, most of them more profound than a few grey hairs. So when change – wanted or unwanted – kicks your cute little behind time and time again, when it teaches you it doesn’t always represent growth, but it’s rather often a step back, you learn to stop and think before triggering any new changes just for the hell of it.

Change is a new beginning. Yet a new beginning is sometimes no more than the result of an undesired, painful ending. Contemplating silly little things like new phone numbers or hair colours, I realize I don’t want to become one of those people frozen in the past, frozen in front of any possible major change, frozen with fear of falling or failing. Cautious analysis is one thing; stubborn, fearful resistance to change is another.

June is drawing to an end now, and as summer progresses, my craving for change will decrease, that much I know; come August and I will be exhausted with everything “summer”, even if it is my favourite season. I need to remember one thing though: to be as open to change (in my own cynical, analytical way, of course) as I feel the need to be in June. After all, sometimes undesirable change can be prevented by willingly making those right, although scary, changes in advance. Who knows, I might just meet August with purple hair this year… 😉

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