I hear the all too familiar chirp of the shop’s door, I look up from my orders to say hello and before I can utter a sound I hear “Well! Look at you!”. …with the right side of my head being shaved and a magenta swoop down the side, it is safe to say I am quite used to this… I smiled and said “Hey! Nice to see you again.”. I asked my customer if she needed my help. She did, so I showed her where the product was that she was looking for, carried it to the counter, asked if there was anything else she needed that day and began to ring through her purchases, all the while she was staring at my head and when I would catch her eye, her smirk would disappear. As we were waiting for her debit to connect, she looked me straight in the eye and said “Wow. Your Hair. Aren’t you looking very Neapolitan.”. I just smiled, reminded myself not to show it on my face, and told her to have a nice afternoon.
Now, in a perfect world, she would have meant I resembled a Mediterranean beauty, but knowing that my skin is whiter than preschool paste, and she was sporting a ponytail and yoga pants (with not a yoga studio within 20kms) I knew it was a crack at my hair color. For those of you a little lost …my hair is blonde, pink and brown and some find it to resemble Neapolitan ice cream. After she left, I found myself giggling. Yes, a little at her small view of the world and herself, but mostly at me and how far I had come. Before the age of 24, I was head strong and quite opinionated yet always fair and kind. I was referred to as “spunky” on more than one occasion and also as a tough broad – a true compliment in my book. You see, somewhere between 24 and 37 I lost myself. I used to be the woman that after hearing that wise crack about my hair would have been floored and would have run to the closest mirror trying to see what she saw and thinking I should change my hair, and think I was stupid for even trying something new. I used to let the opinions of others control my decisions and would allow their words to hurt me. I wore my hair short because everyone told me to, it made my face “slimmer”. I wore clothes that were clothes “Mother’s should wear”…what ever the hell that means…I still don’t know. Hell, I even carried a purse I hated and wore shoes that weren’t cute and sparkly like I wanted to, because of some dumb ass comment someone made.
I remember when it began to change, or when I began to change. Actually, I didn’t change. I returned to myself. I was 37. It was December 2009 and I had my hysterectomy. That Christmas was low key, as I was physically unable to perform my yearly Christmas miracles. No cookies were made. Gifts were at a minimum. The only Christmas décor to be seen was our tree. Many had an opinion about my lack of Christmas spirit. Some actually were put out that they wouldn’t be receiving my cookies that year. You know what? I really didn’t care about what they thought. I was too relieved knowing that the 11cm x 21cm x 14cm fibroid was not cancer, and that it had not attached itself to any vital organs. I was too happy to have a week with my husband – our girl still had a week before Christmas vacation and hubby was able to be home with me. I still remember the two of us laughing at the fact we had just had an hour long conversation without an interruption – the first time in 12 years. In those conversations I started to feel like myself, and started to remember who I was. It’s amazing what you realize when you take a moment to be still. …try to do it without having to have surgery.
Fast forward to present day. I dress how I want. I own cute shoes with sparkly bows. I wear heels whenever and wherever I want. I have a cute purse. I own more than one red coat – depending on the weather and the season, a girl has to be prepared. I try new things – be it a new flavour of coffee or a new route home. I say yes to my life more than I say no. I no longer give my time away. I color my hair the way I like. I cut my hair and style my hair the way I like. Today, my wish for you, is that you begin to say yes to you, more than you say no. If you are lost, you begin to be found.
I would rather be Neapolitan than vanilla any day 😉