childhood

Missing my mom’s voice on my birthday I shall be taking a leap by going blonde

Missing my mom’s voice on my birthday I shall be taking a leap by going blonde

dipping my feet in water in cuba
A few days ago it was my birthday. Typically it rains on my birthday parade. Amazingly, this time around there was no rain puddles for my feet to step in. There was a bit of a breeze and the sun played peek-a-boo throughout the day. That is about as good as it gets on my birthday and I was grateful. I got my hair done and my newly beautiful stylish strands were a bit afraid of the breeze; yet I walked over 40 blocks taking in the sites of the city I so dearly love.

 

Getting my hair done on my birthday is a bit of an odd move for me. I usually go the stylist for times a year.  From what others have told me, my hair styling frequency may be slightly less than average for an American woman. C’est la vie. However, this year I do not have much time between my birthday and the annual gala event I attend. I do tend to get all dolled up for the cameras.  Many people go to the spa on their birthday. I most definitely do not do a spa day. I’m low maintenance and rather spend a birthday with close others enjoying a great meal and some yummy cocktails.  There I was sitting in front of a mirror for several hours on my birthday. What a way to turn a year older. I stared at my incoming grays. I stared at my fussy hair. I sat at the mirror for about three hours. That is a long amount of time to sit and reflect on one’s face on any given day and especially on one’s birthday.

 

It was a good time for reflection.  I know I have reached a turning point in my life and I must push through that looming “door” and move on.  I know that I must keep going further. I want to continue to learn and develop new skill sets.  My furrowed brows and my incoming grays tell me so. You can’t sit in front of a mirror for so long on your birthday and not feel inspired to take on new challenges.  In that vein, that day I agreed to do a Brazilian hair straightening and cut my hair short.  As the straightening was done, I wondered if I would ever go back to being curly-haired.  Even with straight hair I still think and act like a curly-haired girl.  Growing up with frizzy curly hair meant I experienced bouts of marginalization.  My hair was extreme and seen as messy. Although, eventually I ran in circles that appreciated the curly curls. I embraced being exotic. With straight hair I am still exotic but different.  My hairstylist thought about all that I was saying and she noted I needed something else that was new. I needed another push to move forward and break free from whatever was holding me back. I agreed. Next week, when many cameras will be on me, I will dye my hair blond.

 
Ever since I was young, I vowed I would never dye my hair blonde. It didn’t make sense to me to do so. I always thought who would believe that a brown chick could have blonde hair.  That was back when I didn’t understand what dying one’s hair was really about.  Sure we want to hide the grays. However, hair dyeing is about something else. It is about kicking things up a notch. It is about taking a chance. It is about surprising oneself.  I need to surprise myself for I know I can do so much more. Oh, the perils of turning a year older.
As I sat looking at the mirror and as I walked about the city, my phone chimed every so often from the Facebook, LinkedIn and text messages wishing me a happy birthday. Mentally, I was in a good place. I had decided on change. Yet something was gnawing at me. That day, the WordPress community had a writing prompt titled “worst case scenario” and there was no way I wanted to even contemplate it for a millisecond.  Who wants to think about what can go wrong on their birthday. I ignored that day’s writing challenge.  I had a city to traipse about and hair color to contemplate; as well as cocktails to imbibe.

 

With every chime, however, there was a millisecond of sadness. As I walked about the city I passed a restaurant that I had taken my sister to for one of her past birthdays. I was still awaiting the arrival of my birthday package from her. Our mail carrier has been a bit lazy as of late (he literally told me so).  Eventually the box came and I was so happy to see the items she had thought of getting me. They were her attempts to make me happy by getting me things she believed I liked. Indeed I loved them all just because she sent them. I have never returned a gift in my life.  Every gift means something to me.  Then I knew what I was missing. Then I knew what that phone chime was doing to me.

 

One of the most important aspects of my birthdays since I was young was getting a phone call from my mother. There was no phone call from my mother. There hasn’t been one in two years.  When she couldn’t reach me in the past she would leave a long voicemail in which she would sing a silly goofy birthday song. There was no mom voicemail. There was no mom phone call. The inability to hear her voice on my birthday was saddening. Does it ever get any less sad?  I had been subconsciously waiting for her call all day. I wanted to share with her my thoughts on going blonde. She would have thought it was me being the responsible yet daring child.  She gave me the first push to take a risk when I accepted the boarding school offer and moved away from home and family at such an early age. She had accepted my decisions despite how extremely foreign they were to her way of life and culture. She would have laughed at my thought of going blonde and would have said go for it just keep a bottle of black hair dye handy just in case. Ok mom, I shall.

 

My mom, my Mona Lisa

My mom, my Mona Lisa

12 replies »

  1. Inevitably I’m teary-eyed at this post. I turned fifty last year and have been 30 years without my mother. I’ve lived longer with her than without her, yet I can still conjure her voice in my ear and still mentally taste the Mississippi Mud cake that I’d request each year for my birthday. We’re both lucky to be moms and have that bond with our own children, yet the longing remains. It gets easier and the hurt becomes more distant because I know my mom would want me to be happy. Still a day doesn’t pass that something doesn’t remind me of her.

    I hope you’ll post some pics from your event! I’ve never made a drastic hair color change. I’m a natural blond who began seeing grays at 26–yuck! I’ve been coloring and highlighting for a long time! 🙂
    Great post! A belated happy birthday to you!

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  2. “I vowed I would never dye my hair blonde. It didn’t make sense to me to do so.” LOL! Welcome to the world of doing things that don’t quite make sense!
    Seriously though, happy birthday and I’m loving the adventurousness! And your beloved mother was one beautiful lady!
    -ValS

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  3. I’m so sorry for your loss, Mimi. I lost my mother eight months ago. Your memories become so bittersweet, don’t they? You did so well to focus on the happy memories various places and times can evoke. I loved this post of yours…it is so thoughtful.

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  4. Hi psychologistmimi. I rarely look in a mirror no hair to dye and miss my mum who passed in 87. I accept my fate and cannot change the past so one day at a time! Thank you for liking my poem Unidentified Material! Peace and Best Wishes. The Foureyed Poet.

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