The woman with short, sorrel-
colored hair smiled back at me in the mirror.

“OMG! I’m gorgeous!!” I said, as I ran my fingers through newly-trimmed, dark red hair. I couldn’t believe how long I had waited before changing from bright, red-turned- sandy to rich brown with glistening red highlights. I had returned to the original me, only better.  My husband, expecting the usual, punky red, went speechless but only until he caught his breath.

“Well helloooo, you sexy thang! I didn’t know you were gonna do this!”

To tell the truth, neither did I. When we started out, that afternoon, I’d faded to a golden tan. Still, I had avoided going darker for fear I’d look older.

Seven years and two life-changing events ago, I frowned at the downtrodden woman with the gray on her temples. Inevitable as I knew it was, I wanted to hit “Pause” on the graying process.

From 1995 to 2007, I had survived brain surgery, lost both of my vivacious and talented parents, and watched. the marriage I’d tried so hard to save go down the drain. The woman I saw in the mirror, though not yet sixty, looked and felt decades older. It was time for a change.

In 2005, I let Stef give me a few blonde highlights. Then, a few more. In fact every time I plopped down in her chair I chirped, “More highlights, please!”  Two years later, as Stef flipped through my yellowed, straw-dry locks, she frowned.

“Girl, it’s time for a change. Let’s try red.”

Two visits later, I arrived at the perfect shade — “Sharon Osborne Red”, as we started calling it.  The bright burgundy red plus the spiky hair style took years off my personality as I cruised into my sixties. even though it faded to a reddish tan only three weeks later.

I’m still trying to get used to the new-old me. I can’t promise I won’t revert to my redheaded ways. Still, every time I see myself, at least from my nose on up, I see my mother.

In more ways than one, I’m back to my roots, again — only better.


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