Up until about five years ago, I had a fairly noticeable red streak in my hair. It was bright enough that people would comment on it -- even hairdressers would accuse me of dying it like that on purpose.
"Totally natural," I'd reply proudly, enjoying their surprise and compliments about how cool it was.
Part of me knew that it wouldn't be red forever.
Like the red streak, little if any of my life stayed the same. On most days, I wonder if people who knew me as an acquaintance or so-called-friend back 5-10 years ago would even recognize me. On other days, I'm not even sure if I recognize myself.
I think about the changes that come about when a woman becomes a mother, and I imagine that at some level, we all become different people. However, I wonder if I have become the person I'm supposed to be, or if I just lost the person that I was and took on a new persona.
I don't consider myself stuck in the past, although when you've got a toddler strapped to your leg and another one on the way, it's easy to reminisce about late nights out dancing at clubs, whooping it up at various concerts, and spending way too much time trying to figure out what to wear – you know, when times were easier, feelings were lighter, and my biggest worry was whether my dog had pooped on the floor while I was away at work.
When people see my streak now, all they see is white. It turned that way about five years ago. And there's no shortage of people who say something lovely like "Oh wow, you are really going gray!" or "Did you know you have a lot of white hairs?"
Up until recently, I'd be trying to dye it back every now and then, or I'd comment "You know, it used to be bright red…" I'd go on about how cool it was. How original and unique.
I sometimes wonder if motherhood has taken away all my color. If I'm doomed to remind people about how I was "way back then." Or is it that white is my new color – that motherhood has allowed me (or is forcing me) to paint a new picture of who I am and who I will be.
This new year I'll remember my red streak fondly and attempt to start embracing the white one. Not for what it was, but for what it is. The new me – still the same, but with new colors.