Thursday before last I had a few moments to chat with my teacher's aide about life. Every now and then I like to pry into the minds of teenagers and see where they are. I must say, my aide is a wonderful young man who indulges the mom in me with a few details from his life from time to time. Somehow our conversation turned to his lovely girlfriend and the subject of hair. She is an adorable tiny little thing that has an interest in cosmetology. He told me how this summer she had some trouble dying her hair and had to have it professionally fixed. I promptly told him, "she really has to be careful, I've turned my hair green more than once - but that hasn't happened in a long time." Eat. My. Words.
Thursday night, I dyed my hair. And as you can probably guess, I turned it green. Not all of it. No no, that might be considered school spirit as our colors of pride are green and gold. Just portions of it, mostly the ends. I desperately washed my hair hoping I could undo the green lantern fix I was in, but to no avail. Frantically I called my babysitter/house-sitter who works at a salon and begged her to call in a favor. She did (God bless her!) and one personal day later and plenty of cash on hair dye and I am a brunette. Which, incidentally is much closer to my real hair color than blonde will ever be so I suppose it all came out in the wash, literally.
But as I was panicking over my green hair, my dear friend Laura was trying to convince me to not panic. That my hair was NOT what made me a good teacher, friend, mother, etc....and no one would care if my hair was green. However, my vanity assured me they would and while I still took the day off to get my hair fixed, I thought of a few things (mostly how Laura was right) and I'd like to share them now.
Even before the green fiasco, I stopped "fixing" my hair. More importantly to this fact, no one really noticed. I used to spend an hour every day blowing it out and then straightening it with a torture iron so it was silky smooth like some Hollywood celebrity. I sprayed it here and there so it would swing just right and spent a lot of money on hair products, clips, and do-dads to make my hair look "perfect". But one day last summer I was tired - tired of doing it all so I just stopped. Stopped straightening it, stopped fussing with it, stopped "fixing" it. I let it be long and wavy and simple and no one said a thing (well, almost no one - I do have a mom :-). And it was fine. My friends were still my friends, my students still respected me, my husband still said I was beautiful. How much time have I wasted fixing my hair every day? How much sleep have I lost getting up an extra 30 minutes early just so I could straighten my hair? Frankly, I'm too tired to do the math.
How often do we spend time pondering what other people think about us when all the while they are pondering what we are thinking about them? Hours? Days? Months? Sadly it is probably years if we added it all up. My green hair fiasco brought me to understand a few simple truths about time spent thinking about others opinion of me - it doesn't matter. As the old saying goes - "those that mind don't matter and those that matter, don't mind'. This, my friends, is true. The friends that knew about it the night of, they didn't care one bit. Not at all - they did however get a hearty laugh out of it. Truth be told, had they cared I more than likely would have evaluated the friendship because I certainly would not care if their hair was green.
There are so many other important things to deal with than how we look. I'm not saying hygiene and basics aren't good. I still shower and wash my hair every day, blow it dry, and make it presentable. I spend a few minutes on my make-up hoping to bring out my natural features because it makes me feel good, not the rest of the world. I really love shoes and fashion and trendy clothes, ad nauseum - but I like them because I like them and never once have I flipped through a magazine to pick out my outfit (yes - some women do this...it is a conundrum as I would be happy to wear yoga pants and a hoodie almost everyday!). Some days I look better than others as a student shared with me today in fact that I looked "tired" which is really just a nice way to say I looked like crap. But c'est la vive! Can't be perfect everyday and I know she didn't mean it that way, I just had a little fun with her. But at the end of the day, it's not important - much like green hair.
There are people in this world who can't read and write, people who don't have food for dinner right now, children starving here on American soil. Orphans going unloved, small children taking the abuse of a trusted adult, a tired mom working two jobs to do the best she can, a father praying his daughter won't go too far while another father prays his son won't push it, and vice versa. How lucky would they feel if their biggest problem of the night was green hair?
We, as a race, are unbelievably self-obsessed. The simple fact that I write this blog from time to time shows a moment of my narcissism to those willing to read along. A blog is all me - me - me. But, just for once, wouldn't it be amazing if everyone took pause to be thankful for nights where "green hair" is issue du jour? Wouldn't it be amazing if hair dye did the trick and all problems were solved? Wouldn't it be amazing if rather than looking at ourselves, we looked, I mean really looked at all in this world we should be thankful for? Wouldn't it be amazing? I assure you, it would.
I've enclosed a link to a video I recently viewed that impressed me beyond words can say. This man, born with no arms and no legs, has found a joy in life that I want to possess. An internal happiness, an intrinsic motivation that would do us all good to take hold of and never let go. He is truly a blessing, truly. He could care less about his hair.
But as humans, our pause for reflection is often momentary, I admit mine is. I know the world will go on spinning and sun will undoubtedly rise tomorrow and set again. Women will still envy models, men will still suck it in when a "hot" babe walks by, and the twirl of fashion and romance will continue to intertwine with one another like those little mini-tornadoes you walk by in the leaves of fall. Boys will be boys and girls will be girls and that is o.k. - in fact it is great. Problems will arise and the moments of panic will set in amidst all the ups and down, moments of doubts, and facets of uncertainty; but within all of this know that I am wholeheartedly wishing you nights filled with green hair - may all your problems be so insignificant and fixed with hair dye.
Doesn't that just put the "p" in perspective?