And the earrings.
It’s the combination of the short white hair and the earrings, I think, that provides the assertiveness that eluded me my whole life.
Everybody else was a “grownup”. But even as I aged into my forties and fifties and sixties, I somehow remained a little girl, beneath notice, hesitant, diffident. I deferred to my peers even as I reminded myself that I was just as old (or older), just as experienced (or more so) than they.
I began to believe that I would die, sometime in a great fullness of years, without ever becoming a “grownup”. That was a dispiriting thought.
And then my scalp began to protest a lifetime of hair coloring, and I began wearing a hat all the time, indoors and out, as my hair began to grow out. Gray, I thought. How dismal. I will lose any elan I ever had, along with the red hair that I felt God had absentmindedly omitted to provide me with. It was red hair that suited me.
But when after nine months my hair was fully grown out, it was gleaming white, like a fresh fall of snow, and the short pixy cut I’d been having to clip off the rusty red remnants provided a totally new look. I didn’t recognize the woman who looked back at me from the mirror. Not a girl. A woman. Friends and neighbors, even my husband once, walked past me and did a double take.
This other woman! She is older but rather elegant, maybe even a little bit haughty. She wears scarves and rings and earrings, and she dresses better than I did. She has a certain air of — can it be? — authority. I would go so far as to say she is a “grown up.” (She is even grownup enough to have a blog.) And to think how I lamented the allergy that forced me to let my hair grow out to its natural color, and, as it turned out, let me grow out too, to be my natural self.