So the older we get, the more we learn, the more we search, the more we examine the difference between the things we always believed to be true and those things that we personally decide are true. The ability to identify does not eliminate the belief, it just hopefully gives you the tools to deal with them.
So for my entire life, my identity has been wrapped around the color of my hair. Sounds silly to some, makes perfect sense to others who were ‘the smart one’ ‘the pretty one’ ‘the talented one’ etc. I had nothing to do with this anomaly, genetics determined that I be born with ‘strawberry blonde’ hair. When I was a baby, it looked orange. As I got older, it was a mix of colors that apparently many adults spent lots of money trying to create with their hairdressers.
Well intentioned people often referenced my hair color. They spoke about it enough that I began to believe that the color of my hair somehow made me special. There was something ‘good’ about it. It was special enough for people to make mention of it.
It became important to my identity. I didn’t achieve anything, I didn’t do anything but this mixing of chromosomes somehow made me special.
I clearly remember the day I wondered if I ever lost my hair, would I become invisible, would I cease to exist?
Dramatic? Perhaps it was, but I was young and the question was real to me.
If we jump a few decades, we arrive at the very recent past. The blonde streaks have been hijacked by the grey ones. Not sure what category the color technically falls into anymore but at this point, it is still natural. For how much longer, I’m not sure, but that is not the point today.
Since November I have had 2 separate people on 2 separate occasions mention that my hair is ‘almost brown’ & ‘you hair looks more brown than it does in pictures’. One person I have known for many years and one was a virtual stranger. The impact of those be two comments were honestly like physical blows.
Should they have been? Of course not, I may be a disaster but even I know that. The people weren’t trying to be mean or hurt me, they realized something & mentioned it. They had no way of knowing that since birth, it is what made me special. They had no way to know that deep down ‘brown hair’ was hurtful because that is just silly.
After licking my wounds, I had to do a little ‘come to Jesus’ with myself. I had to really think about my ‘belief’ about myself. It wasn’t something I actively thought about, it wasn’t something I really thought much about but it was there, hidden deep within me. The fear that if my hair was now ‘brown’ the thing that made me special no longer existed. What did that mean? What makes me special?
The ‘good’ answer is of course not. I am more than my hair color. Hair color means nothing really, it has no bearing on who you are, or what you are. Logically I understand I am more than a single characteristic, but when you don’t even realize that you held a believe for as long as you can remember, there is still that quiet whisper, ‘I hope not’