When I lost all of my hair six years ago, I was in the middle of jumping my life’s tallest hurdle. I gained so much since that journey began. I gained back confidence, security and love for myself.
And recently, over the last year or more, things happened to make me forget all that progress.
I want them again. I miss that proud girl.
When my hair began growing, I hid it behind a wig because it made me cry to see it coming in much darker than before. The sunshine on my head had decided to reappear a little overcast. When I looked in the mirror, I didn’t recognize the person I saw. It made me sad. It represented a lot of things I had lost in life.
That muddy brown shade stood for struggle.
When it finally reached my chin, I decided I could begin going without a wig. That was a huge step, because for 18 long months, my blonde wigs were my safe place. But before I could abandon them, I had to have a stylist mix up bowls of bleach. I had to look like me. I had to feel like me.
But the old me wasn’t me anymore. You never are the same after seeing life’s battlefields firsthand.
After six years, I have decided to toss my security blanket and embrace whatever it is that is supposed to be. For the first time in my almost 40 years of life (sans one spring break in college), I am a brunette.
You probably think it’s silly to worry or talk so much about hair. It’s only hair to you. But to me it is my soul, on display for the world to see. It became a mask for pain. And for so long, I misinterpreted the color of my own strength.
I wrote once about how a blonde wig saved me. And it did. Funny how things are ever-evolving.
I have taken the symbolism of that muddy brown hair and changed its meaning. Instead of struggle, it now represents authenticity to myself.
I am not afraid of what lies ahead, despite all the cards dealt to me through this world of ups and downs. In the last year, those downs have been plenty in several categories. It has been more than one person should be given in such a short time, but I have handled it with as much grace as I can muster. I pray the Lord keeps supplying me with His amazing kind.
I have overcome far more than these things, and so have others, I remind myself.
I am me. I am beautiful. Blonde or brunette. Green or pink. I feel that now.
God has numbered every hair on my head and dried every tear I have shed.
Today, tomorrow and forever.
I will let my mane flow and my strength roar like a hundred lions. Even when I am smiling to hide pain. Even when I can’t control something.
Let go. Rise up. Work around the unexpected. Learn to embrace it, even if it takes six years.
Yes, there is something different about me now.
Maybe it is my hair color. Maybe it is the increased height of the wall around my shattered heart.
But maybe it is because I finally realize there is courage in not trying to rope the winds of change, but letting them swirl around me.
Like a dandelion, I will float in the breeze.
((Poem by Erin Hanson))
Hold on, hold on, hold on, they said.
You’re a dandelion in the breeze.
Look at what those winds of change have done
To all these autumn leaves.
Hold on, hold on, hold on
This big wide world is not for you
Hold on for long enough
For the last gust to dance on through
So I held on, held on, held on
They said that’s how you know you’re strong
But not until I wilted
Did I notice something wrong.
I thought holding on was bravery
But when the winds of change do blow
Sometimes it’s even braver still
To let go, let go, let go
My sweet friend Tuesday Dickey at Gypsy Snips is the kind of hair stylist everyone should have. She doesn’t just “do hair.” She gives her heart. She listens and she is empathetic. She understands that it isn’t all about what a person looks like on the outside. She knows just what to do and say so your inside glows. She understands that it is all connected, and that even the most confident people have their valleys. Thank you, Tuesday, for always being someone I can count on to help me see beauty hidden in myself.