Hair and other silly self-reflections

It’s interesting how much we self-identify with certain things. Things that may or may not have anything to do with anything, but can cause dramatic responses when challenged.

Growing up I was blonde. Bright sister-golden-hair blonde. I knew as I got into high school and college it got darker, but I still identified as a blonde. It was just dark blonde. Turns out, when I meet new people, they think I’m brunette. It kind of weirds me out. Don’t they know I’m blonde?? Curiously enough, my mother also self-identifies as a blonde–her drivers license even says ‘blonde’. But for as long as I’ve been around, she has definitely been a brunette.

Now–hair color is one of those things that doesn’t really matter. It doesn’t change your personality or help you win friends or influence people, but it is a distinguishing part of your appearance. And if you are surprised every time you look in the mirror because you don’t feel like you look like yourself, that can be wearing. My color change was gradual enough it was never a surprise, each day looks much like the one before. But when I talk to someone and they mention that my hair is brown, I am startled every time. Like it’s a new thing I’ve never heard of before and not prepared to understand.

So what about things that are bigger than hair? Like careers, or where you’re from.

I’ve lived enough places by now, that when I run into other people from there, they introduce me as being ‘from …’ We actually had a funny incident a few weeks ago when Ty and I met up with a bunch of my old Michigan friends. Ty made some off-hand reference to me being from Seattle. Everyone at the table got really still. Finally someone responded that I was definitely from Michigan. So apparently I’m a real good social-chameleon. But it begs lots of questions.

Am I from Michigan because that’s where I spent my formative years? Am I from Alaska because that’s where I came into my own and learned who I was as an adult (but apparently not because I still feel the need to think about these things)? Or am I from Washington–where I grew up, where my parents live, where I met my husband and we spent our first years as a couple?

I don’t know. But I’m happy that everyone is willing to claim me.


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