By: Neghar On: February 10, 2018 In: body image, feminism, heart wisdom Comments: 1
“Damn, your hair grows so fast,” he said.

Close to 2 inches of silver this time. It’s been 7 weeks since my last visit.

Orlando has been my colorist for the past few years. I first came to see him when I was dying my hair shades of purple, blue, and green; these days he does my base color every 6-8 weeks—the gray that appeared when I was 19 covers nearly half of my head now.

I’m 35.

I feel the years in the best possible way. I revel in the process of aging as I travel closer and closer to the truest, highest expression of myself.

Maiden. Mother. Crone.

Lately I feel all three of these archetypes at once and in turns. As I age into deeper womanhood and grow in my feminism, I find myself asking if it’s “okay” to make my grays invisible —if wanting to eliminate wrinkles is a byproduct of the Patriarchal society in which I’ve been raised. These questions expand me; I’m committed to being honest with myself about the answers.

At my core I’m certain that any aesthetic choices I make are based on my own preferences. I’m not trying to conform to a standard—I no longer hustle for my worthiness or do things I’m told I’m “supposed to.” I don’t “need” to dye my hair, but I want to.

I find myself asking, is it okay to want these things? I wonder if being a feminist means I’m not allowed to have my own definitions of beauty—or, perhaps, if that’s exactly what being a feminist means.

On either side of autonomy there are voices. One demands that I conform—it insists that aging is unappealing and offers up a narrow sliver of what’s acceptable. It asks me to mold myself, by any means necessary, to fit awkwardly into that sliver.

It sells me creams and pills and procedures to help me eliminate that which is considers “unsightly.”

The other impugns any aesthetic change whatsoever. It tells me that the decision to dye my hair and paint my face is not my own. It criticizes my commitment to feminism. It tells me that if I am, in fact, an empowered and autonomous woman, that I can’t have lipstick and hair dye and high heels.

Both voices are loud.

Neither offer an ounce of nuance.

Neither voices are my own.

Orlando finishes blow drying my hair and I smile at him gratefully in the full length mirror that faces us both. My locks are now a beautifully rich imitation of my natural almost-black-darkest-brown. I remove the nylon cape, exit the styling chair and enter a firm hug with Orlando.

“I’ll see you in 7 or 8 weeks,” I say.

As I question these choices I find clarity. I decide that I’m not interested in showing up according to someone else’s rules—I’m committed to making autonomous, empowered choices for my body. I’m here to discern what is right for me and determine what makes me feel good, independent of external pressures.

I walk out of the hair salon and get into my jeep. I have a nail appointment in 15 minutes.

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