Au Naturel

“As a woman gathers more years, she becomes more bold, which is not the same as brave. Brave is jumping in. Bold is jumping in, led by angels. In age, we learn to know the difference, for certain. OLDER is BOLDER.” ~ Clarissa Pinkola Estes

Photo by Maressa Andrioli on

For years, 21 of them to be precise, I have colored my hair. Every 3 weeks, touching up the roots myself.

At a time in my life when I needed to make a statement, take a stand, but had little control, I colored my hair. I cut it from waist-length to a chin bob and then to a pixie cut. With the pixie cut came the auburn color. The color was chosen from the hints of red in my father’s beard.

At the time I first cut my hair, I was in a disastrous marriage. While I couldn’t control his actions or change his behaviors, I could control my hair. He HATED short hair. Call me passive aggressive, but it was the one thing he couldn’t do anything about.

It was a sign of rebellion. It was my way of fighting back to maintain my individuality. The fact that the compliments flowed, helped my case. My friends and co-workers liked the cut and the color.

The auburn red reflected the extroverted side of my normally introverted personality. I had a partner who called it “Living Out Loud.” Out of uniform, I am extremely quiet and a homebody. I detest social interactions, avoiding speaking to others unless I absolutely must. In uniform — whether it’s scrubs, bunker gear, my teaching uniform, or a planned social event that I have to dress for (that outfit is considered a uniform) — I can be the most outgoing, social, talkative person you’ll ever run across.

After chemo, I grew my hair back to waist-length. I reveled in being able to put it up or leave it down, playing with different styles. When COVID hit, I cut it to shoulder-length to avoid getting it tangled in the straps of my masks as I donned and doffed them in my job. Despite all that, the color stayed auburn.

Recently, I have decided to let the natural greys shine through. I have worked hard for every single one of those grey hairs. It’s time to let them take center stage. But as in all things, I’m doing it in a classy way. A trip to the beauty salon for lowlights to remove the red and leave blonde in its wake to allow the silvery grey to come in as naturally as possible.

I am choosing to be bold, letting the angels lead me and moving forward. Bravery has its place, but boldness. . .boldness requires wisdom beyond bravery.

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