I couldn’t see it at the time, but when I look back over the last 5 or 6 years, there seems a clear point after which the course of my life irrevocably changed. The circumstances leading to that point are forever connected in my mind: a collection of mementos and tidbits seemingly insignificant on their own, but collectively, overwhelmingly obvious.
One of those tidbits was my hair.
Dismiss this as vanity if you must, but my hair has been an extension of my “true self,” an outlet for ideas inexpressible in other fashions, for most of my adult life. I’ve worn it every length (up to my ears, down to my waist) and every color (red, blonde, brunette, highlights, lowlights, random chunks of many colors). Yet, at that “clear point,” my emotional and spiritual clarity suffered so greatly that I just couldn’t find the financial or emotional means to tend to my tresses. Years of adorable cuts and color forgotten, I lopped it off (with my own scissors!) and sported the first style I’ve truly hated since 2nd grade.
In subsequent years, I attempted to color it on my own (with varied results), but never found satisfaction. Those who knew me best understood the change; others never saw me as “the girl with the cute hair” and were unaware of the stifled vibrancy lurking beneath its surface.
I find it unsurprising, then, that the decision to return to my “old hair” came when it did.
I have reconnected with the triathlon community, and found a group of ladies at the Y who are refreshingly unaffected by elitism and insufferable competition. I've joined them on many group rides and swims that have breathed new life into my training.
Then, this past weekend, I ran a 10 ½ minute mile . . . off the bike . . . for almost 3 miles. This is the fastest I’ve ever run during a brick, and as fast as I can usually complete 5-mile to 15-k races. I swam a 1.2-mile open water swim faster than I completed the swim during Florida 70.3 in 2008. The same week, I saw numbers on the scale that I haven’t seen in 2 ½ years. And this week, after an entire year of scraping by on the minimal cut needed to reduce damage, I dove in headfirst and did my hair.
It was just . . . time.
An astute colleague observed that the depressions and joys in our lives come in cycles, and that the ultimate goal is to minimize the intensity or duration of the depression and sadness while increasing the duration and magnitude of the happiness and joy. Indeed, in my own estimation, everything comes full circle.
Now I find myself perched at the magnificent crest of a happy new cycle – one that promises, thanks to wisdom earned through experience, to be significantly more enduring than its predecessor. Yet there is always the threat of sadness, teetering on the horizon like a naughty schoolchild destined to ruin their Sunday best with an overfilled glass of punch. I will need to remain vigilant to prevent this mischief from causing an untimely plummet, even considering that I have been in a continuous pattern of revelation.
But, wherever I end up, I’m sure I’ll remember to have cute hair.