I’m leaning over the bathroom sink, my nose thisclose to a relatively clean mirror. I’m as terrible at applying makeup as the day I started wearing it in the 8th grade. I guess there are some things adulthood just can’t fix.
I stand back and stare at myself with a sliver of disdain the majority of women know all too well. The bags under my eyes could use a little more foundation and the black liner outlining one eye is slightly thicker than the other. I know trying to even them out would result in a look only a raccoon would be proud of, so I reach for the half-used lip gloss on the edge of the counter instead.
That’s when I see it.
A single, defiant, horrid white hair.
It’s staring back at me from the top of my head, pushing the other brunette strands aside and demanding an attention it most definitely does not deserve.
At 27 years old it’s safe to say I’ve changed. While I’m far from days filled with AARP magazines and BenGay applications, I’m no longer the effortlessly careless 20 year old or the beautifully reckless 23 year old. I wake up at 6:30 instead of 10:30 and a night of heavy drinking will render me a useless human being for a solid three days. I still talk to my friends but not as regularly. I see them even less. I care about my bank statements now that I actually take the time to look at them.
I take vitamins in the morning.
But a white hair? This is a change I’m not ready for. It’s too soon. It’s too fast. It’s not happening. Not yet.
I lean closer to the mirror and send my faithful fingertips to swiftly dispose of the aged intruder. I try to isolate the strand from its youthful counterparts, pressing finite hairs between determined fingers before swiftly yanking upward.
I look at my hand and see nothing but brunette strands. I look back at the mirror immediately to see that damn white hair, standing straight up. Defiant. Provocative. Hateful.
Why won’t this strand give up? Is it not acutely aware that I’m just not ready for everything to change? So much has already; friendships and relationships and responsibilities. I stay in more than I go out and I clean the dishes immediately after I’ve finished cooking. Have I mentioned I cook? Something I never, ever, thought I would do. Let alone consistently. Let alone well.
I’m not ready for my brown locks to start sprouting up white. Nope. Not yet.
I try again, this time actually pressing my nose against the mirror. I isolate the loitering fiber, pinch it between my fingers, and yank again.
Nothing but strands of brown. Taken before their time. Lost to the wastebasket between the bathroom counter and the toilet.
It’s then, as my surging frustration peaks, that I realize how futile this all is. Fighting change. Combating inevitable transition. Wasting time on this one, defiant white hair.
If I continued to stand in front of this damn mirror, which I should probably just clean instead, I’d waste perfectly good brown hairs trying to get rid of one altered standout. If I continued to look back on what was, I’ll waste perfectly good years trying to keep everything from changing.
The truth is, change is good. I’m relatively responsible, minus a few close calls with bills I inexplicably leave for the last minute. I’m healthier than I’ve ever been, replacing impressive bar tabs with elongated receipts from overpriced grocery stores. I take the time to slow down. I’m not running from place to place, desperately worried I’m somehow missing out. There are no more bad dates or dramatic encounters or nights erased by a few too many cocktails. I’m surrounded by people who are supportive rather than jealous, inspiring rather than draining. The ones who are good at hurting can’t be found and the ones who are good at loving are closer than ever.
The baby sleeping in the next room reminds me of my priorities and the importance of selflessness. The man I made him with reminds me of my self-worth and the importance of investing. In others. In passion. In yourself.
I know who I am now.
Well, I know who I am. For now.
So why do I, hell we, push against change? In the end it’s a useless endeavor, guaranteed to leave us wasting moments that could continue to shape us into better versions of ourselves. We miss out on new lessons and different viewpoints.
Even unique hairstyles.
I run my fingers through my hair, flipping it to one side. The white strand now more visible than before.
I’m lucky, to have met this hair. I know plenty of people who haven’t changed or, worse, were never given the opportunity. It’s a privilege, to stand here cursing in front of my mirror. It’s encouraging, to see how far I’ve come and wear the scars, even the inevitable white hairs, that prove it.
I reach for my eye liner.
Hey, you never know. Maybe my ability to apply makeup will change for the better too.