Thursday, November 29, 2007

When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Go to the Hairdresser

Yesterday I spoke to a friend of mine who's having a terrible time with her mother. Her mother has Alzheimer's and is starting a rapid decline, which is heartbreaking for my friend and so sad for me because I've known them both for a decade or more. We talked about her mom for about a half hour and towards the end of our conversation, she casually mentioned that she had colored her hair ORANGE.

Allow me to say that my friend is not a punk rocker! She is just not an ORANGE type of person, so I knew there was a problem. When I probed further, she said that it was like a Lucille Ball red but then she'd put something else on top of that which had turned it orange, and now she was searching for yet a new color to add to the mix.

I was thinking of all of the Benadryl cream that I had to put on my poor scalp when my father had leukemia. During a period of a year or so, I colored my hair brown, added reverse highlights, bleached it back to blonde, and cut it off in a "short, chic" cut that made me look as though I had just enlisted in the military. By the time my dad died, I was almost bald!

It was just a distracting coping mechanism. I couldn't control my world and there sure as hell was nothing I could do to help my father. It was so awful to watch him, a medical doctor, suffer mercilessly through 30 transfusions. Every time he'd have one, I'd look in the mirror and think there was something wrong with my hair. It was an area where I could take action. And then when my hair looked horrible, I could obsess about it and make new plans to fix it.

I gave this characteristic to Tara, the main character in my novel. So if you wonder why she's a little odd, it's because she lives by the philosophy, "hair today, gone tomorrow."

Sigrid Mac
Author and Editor