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True Colors

I used to care about what I looked like. I still do to a point. But not that much. It's freeing, really. I'm in the middle of a rather humbling experiment. It's called, "what color is Jill's hair?" I haven't known the answer (drink) to this question for about 20 years. If my childhood hair color still remained, it would save a hell of a lot of explanations about the three red-headed offspring I produced. I was more auburn than their bright red coifs, but people certainly classified me as a red head. In fact, my seventh grade social studies teacher called me, "Little Red." I also had these amazing curls which have since morphed into legit frizz.

In my early twenties, my addiction to coloring my hair surfaced. It started innocently. A few highlights here and there. I threw in a little strawberry blonde to brighten my face under the advisement of my stylist at the time. It really worked. But then things escalated....if a few highlights could evoke such a notable difference, what would low lights do? And what (drink) about going from partial highlights to full? Or what about just a whole new color? I experimented with blonde, brunette, and even a shade of red bordering on purple. With every color, a new Jill emerged and visits to the salon resulted in sort of a high that I couldn't get enough of. (Drink)

I knew I had to get a grip. I started a twelve step program, but found myself booking a hair appointment five steps in. Each time I inched toward recovery, I would relapse and go a more drastic shade. But we had started a family. They needed diapers and (drink) formula and a house with heat. So the budget had to get trimmed and the frequent salon visits didn't make the cut. I spaced out the appointments and instructed my stylist to highlight in a manner that wouldn't look ridiculous if I didn't get find my way back to her chair in a (drink) timely fashion. She did well, but between budget cuts and lack of time, my recovery was taking care of itself.

I got used to, and even embraced, my new ombre look between appointments. But then I got a homemade Mother's Day gift created at school. There was a questionnaire template and one of the questions was, "what color hair does your mom have?" The answer? "Black and White." Oh. My. Stars. "So your mom is a skunk?" the teacher who orchestrated the (drink) project must have asked. I quickly got myself on my stylist's calendar and vowed to space my appointments a little closer going forward.

And then. Corona. I was almost relieved that there was a valid excuse for my skunk-like appearance. Not only an excuse, actually, but a sentiment shared far and wide. Women all over the world were commiserating about the state of their roots. There were memes and (drink) open conversations about grey streaks and lots of hats. Plus, I was intrigued. What color is my hair in real life? I have been examining the evidence and have yet to come to a conclusion.

I do note a lot of boring brown. And there might still be a hint of red, but it depends on the light and I think I'm just hopeful. Indisputably, though, there are greys. Not a ton, but they're there. (Drink) And I earned every last one.

I shall continue this experiment until further notice. I am aware that salons are reopening and I'll be back. But for now, I'm still growing my roots, waiting for the day when my kids can identify the correct (drink) color of my hair, even if it is grey. And when my experiment is complete, I will return to my addiction, but with the newfound knowledge of what lies beneath.

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