Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The eyebrow incident.

Today there was an unfortunate incident with my eyebrows.

It involved hair dye. Hair dye left on for two hours. And lots of exfoliating with straight up kosher salt.

I would have used dirt if we were out of salt.

It was that bad.

The dye, left on for 4x longer than recommended, had adhered to my skin. It created the effect of painted on eyebrows which reminded me of Bert (as in Bert and Ernie), but as my dear friend pointed out to me, I looked like Uncle Leo (see the YouTube clip if you don’t recall).

Since had my tirade at lunch time yesterday, I am certain my children did not say anything for fear of making me angrier than I already “appeared” (literally).

Anyway, this got me thinking about all the things I do to change myself--to draw myself away from my au natural state.

I dye my hair. I have forever--first I dyed it fake red in college; then summer highlights as a career girl; now, I just color the gray away. I’ve dyed my eyebrows for an eternity (they are blond, my hair is nearly black).

But the outside stuff, well, that is just nonsense--sometimes it borders on art--much like a tattoo in the form of hair dye, painted toe nails and new lipstick. It all washes away--even if it an arduous and lengthy process. No matter how many times I dye my hair, it always fades back to exactly where it wants to be.

I try to change my insides too. Almost daily.

Like times when I don’t say what I really think because it takes too much energy. Or I talk too much and listen too little because I am scared someone might say something I don’t like. Or times when I let my temper cloud my genuine love for my family. Or when I let my fear of failure stop me from querying an editor. Or when I get caught up in gossip and forget how deeply I love each and every human being on this planet.

Or when I let my own life experience disconnect me from my friends. When I pretend to feel connected, when I just don’t.

All these things--the silence, the noise, the temper, the fear, the gossip and the disconnect--these cloud who I really am. These shields hide my truest self. To be my self, to be who I am at my core, I don’t have to change--I just have to shed the garbage.

It is like a spiritual weight loss--burning through the gristle to get to the lean, mean and healthy me. Maybe this all starts with accepting my blond eyebrows and my nearly salt and pepper hair. Or maybe it just starts with letting go of one shield--just one at a time.  Maybe it just takes a little faith that the shields I’ve built for myself are completely unnecessary.

Because no matter how much you try to hide and change, you just can’t change the truth.

It always pops up, just like a gray hair.

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