Isabel took one last look in the mirror and decided this was the end. It was the end of the attempt to assimilate, the end of hoping for acceptance; the end of being who she wasn’t. It was a small thing to just simply change her hair color; to look at a box and think, “I just need to. I need to be me.” And so with a sigh and a gasp, she put the mixture together. She carefully mixed the powder and the liquid and the gel. She shook the bottle hard thinking this is what I want. I’m not going to look like everyone wants me to look and she shook away all her worries. She poured the lavender gel all over her head. She waited. She worried. She watched as the color changed. She thought briefly that this was a mistake. For a moment, she felt regret. And then, she rinsed. She rinsed away years of not being good enough. She rinsed away years of self-loathing. She rinsed away the years of fear of judgment. She let the water rinse over her head with purpose and meaning almost nobody could understand. She rinsed away being laughed at.
She rinsed, she conditioned, she blew dry. It wasn’t what she thought it would be–much like everything else she’d hoped would turn out differently, but there it was. She liked it. She was happy for a second.
Her only worry was what might her son think? Would he be embarrassed or proud? She didn’t care about anyone else. They would talk. They always talk. Maybe it was a mid life crisis. Maybe there’s a damn good reason for a mid life crisis. But at almost 45, she looked in the mirror and for the first time in years, she found herself.