Lisa

When I was younger, I was often told that I resemble the actress (does one say actor these days?) Susan Sarandon. I have always known myself to be an Autumn, since reading about colour many years ago. I followed the colours casually since I’m drawn to brown and green. In the summertime, I sometimes wear printed blouses.

I enjoy jewelry more than clothing, bracelets and necklaces mostly, and have many pieces made with natural stones. Some of these are fairly large and I’m comfortable with their size, feeling that they add glamour to my look. I enjoy cosmetics as long as the process is not complicated and I look enhanced but natural.

Before retirement, I was a resource teacher in a primary school and made an effort to look approachable for students, staff, and parents. With my love of reading and children, I now volunteer at a library several days a week to read with groups of young people from grades 1 to 7.

When my hair began silvering, fifteen years ago, I kept it coloured in a shade close to its natural colour. I tried colouring it only once myself but the colour was too dark and red and took months to grow out. Over the years, my colourist transitioned the colour from medium brown to a beige-blonde shade. I was happy to allow her to be the expert, rather than create friction in our relationship over a topic that did not feel important enough to me. I want my colourist to know that I value her work and worried that she might take my suggestions personally.

One year ago, I turned 70. When I looked in the mirror, I saw silver roots. Within ten days of a colouring appointment, I was scheduling the next one. Coping with my hair was interfering with the peaceful vision that I have for my life. I have never been afraid of change but I had too many options with how to manage the problem. I didn’t feel that I could find the best answer on my own.

In searching for images of Ms. Sarandon, since we are close in age, colour analysis popped into my head from somewhere in my past. I made an appointment and was satisfied to hear that I was a Dark Autumn. Having never been draped, the process was more in depth than I expected and I felt that the result was reliable.

Rather than suggesting a hair colour, the analyst and I discussed my goals for hair colour and my overall appearance. I found this an easy conversation because I am clear about what is rewarding in my life. I have learned that putting energy into the relationships that are important to me is essential. For me, that means my beloved family and my commitment to the children at the library. I feel ready to allow my own hair colour and release that commitment from my life to make way for a new way to look and to see the world.

I do want to feel beautiful even if that means finding a new kind of beauty. I want to embrace truth in my life, especially when the artificial was a decision that I made in the past that no longer represents the kind of life I want. When I reposition my perspective, life has taught me that everything else that I care about will also be closer to what is true. I embrace cultivating a new wardrobe as long as I keep a mindful approach in our consumer culture.

Growing the silver took patience. I bought gifts for myself, rewards really, in beautiful scarves and hair accessories that I wear for the date nights that my husband and I have reinstated. My hair is full and wavy, with a fringe. I will return to shoulder length, but I so wanted the dye gone from my life that I imagined myself as Meryl Streep in the film, The Devil Wears Prada, and had my hair cut in a brand new style. I felt chic in a way that I could not have enjoyed as a younger woman. I feel that I set an example for all women and welcome the chance to talk about the topic openly. I would like to reassure women that they can do this and love themselves deeply in the process.