Phew! Finally, the move across country has been completed. The process of living out of boxes and eating off paper plates can commence. There are all good intentions of unpacking every last thing immediately, but the reality of only having about 4 hours a day of sustained energy sets in easily. Sore muscles, aching back and itchy eyes make it hard to be energetic, much less cheerful. Counteracting my enthusiasm with regard to the tasks of unpacking is the amount of uncolored root growth on my scalp. Panic sets in. My furniture and boxes were delivered weeks later than initially scheduled. I don’t have basic necessities let alone hair dye. Looking at my head makes me realize that it’s necessary to find the box with the hair dye in it sooner, rather than later. There’s about a one inch growth of a color I don’t wish to recognize. Kind of like some countries don’t get recognized in the international community. So I try to scrunch my strands into a kind of cover up and pretend that I don’t need to dye my hair right now. The next morning, the process starts all over again. Look in the mirror, brush my teeth, and assess the amount of roots that are sticking out for all to see. What if people figure out that I actually dye my hair? Truthfully, I’m not concerned about that. I dye my hair for myself. Always wanted to have curly, red hair. Chemo therapy took the curl out of it but I can go to the beauty supply store and get more products to make sure that I’m always a red head.

What I didn’t realize was that dying my hair in my new place was going to be tricky. I never did find the box with my own hair dye, so bought some at the pharmacy. The combination of a sale price and the right color encouraged the purchase of a brand new box of “premium” red hair dye. Whatever that means. There were five steps to this process. That’s not bad, except when you consider that four of the steps need to be read about and followed after the dye is in the hair and I need to put on reading glasses. I thought I might try and memorize the steps in order, but there was too much detail in each step for quick memorization. How bad could a misstep be?

Organizing all the bottles, potions and lotions, I put the #2 item into the #1 bottle and shake it like crazy. That’s when I find out the gloves leaked. My left thumb would be 12RIR Real Intensive Red for the next 24 to 36 hours. Unless I find some miracle compound to get it out of my skin. Despite this, I find that the texture of the dye liquid works well. It’s thin, it covers but it also dyes the tops of my ears. See previous comment about getting red dye out of my thumb. Getting back to basics seems the wisest course of action: cover the front around the face, cover the roots in the part that goes to the back of the head and smush as much as possible into the rest of the hair. Directions say let it sit for 35-40 minutes. Anxiety sets in when I’m not sure if it’s 35 minutes from the first application around the face or the last application at the back of the head. What if I do this wrong after twenty some years of bi-monthly applications? Likely my friends and family will make fun of me.

The timer goes off, I rinse the hair in the kitchen sink, where there’s more room to spread out. Wrapping the towel around my head, I head for the bathroom mirror for the unveiling. Hooray! The hair is dark. Now for the blow dryer and, heavy sigh, it turned out red. I can present myself to the world again as I truly see myself. A feisty woman with hair to match. Red hair is not just a color. It’s also an attitude.