A Blend of Stop and Yield
Daily, I tangle with answering the unruly question: When is “enough is enough”? I have combed through copious books, coiffed hundreds of personal journal entries and ashamedly finessed my final image of an answer in the haut couture of Google. Regardless of how I’ve styled my search to this elusive question, I am relentlessly reminded that somewhere in the tease of answers, are beautiful roots of satisfaction, gratitude, contentment and acceptance.
June 15, 1979 is one of the most important dates in my life: God exposed the value of knowing when to heed the idiom “enough is enough”. Bruce Morrow a grade thirteen running back on the high school football team asked me, an unknown grade eleven girl, to be his senior prom date.
My mother was thrilled: His father was an accountant and they lived in the village. We were dairy farmers and one of her greatest fears was that I would marry an agriculturalist, trapped in a life ruled by animals and the land. Her mission began.
In preparation for this significant event, I was put on a diet, fitted with a most exquisite dress, presented with a padded bra and lastly, well heeled. Lastly! Why couldn’t I leave well enough alone! I had to put my two cents worth of effort into the endeavor and enrich my brown curls. I was sure I could secure my mother’s happiness through providing a crowning feature of luxurious chestnut locks to braid Bruce and me together for life.
With the excitement of school girls, my mother and I set out to enhance the depth and boost the sheen of my shoulder length brown hair. The night before the prom, the final act of securing my future was put in motion.
My promised image of shining white teeth, a vibrant smile and bouncing waves of voluptuous cylindrical filaments characteristically growing from the epidermis of a mammal was only twenty minutes away. My sixteen year old mind calculated what forty minutes could do!
In the wee hours of the prom morning, my mother was crestfallenly rinsing my flat coal black hair for the fourth time in pure bleach (the caustic liquid one added only a cap-full to their laundry). It didn’t work; I still looked like Morticia Adams. After a few fitful hours of sleep, I found myself skipping school for the first and only time in my life, ironically with the desperate permission of my mother. I was devastated and ashamed. I ruined all her work towards a better life for me.
My stylist wouldn’t touch my hair but the franchised salon up the street agreed to redeem me only if I signed a waiver releasing them of all liability. Time was precious, my future hung in the balance. We commenced.
The peroxide successfully stripped the coal colored coating and left my shock with a base of bright orange. I now describe this chroma as a blend of stop-light red and yield- sign yellow; stop and yield being operative life lesson signage. It was then pigmented with a chestnut brown hue. My follicles definitely lacked bounce and sheen. During this process, many ladies had come and gone to get their weekly do’s, each one commenting on my plight.
That night, when Bruce picked me up, he appeared dazzled much to my mother’s delight. When he touched my hair and observed I had changed something about it, I prayed that it would not break off or fall out in his hand.
The Morrows wanted a picture of their only son and his date commemorating this once in a life time event. When they opened the door to greet us, I froze in panic. I recognized her. She was the one with the hardiest laugh at the salon during my disaster. My second prayer granted that night was for salon anonymity.
Bruce left that autumn to University, I returned to high school and my mom was broken hearted. Amazingly, I have carried forward a deep gratitude for my hair and never tried to improve on what God has created. More importantly, God continues in His mercy and grace to renew that below my hair; my mind. Slowly my striving for enough-ness pales and is loosing it’s addicting shine. Dull complaining is being tinted with the sheen of satisfaction, shades of gratitude color my natural hues of self-pity, contentment now washes my anxious streaks and my new image is acceptance. There is definitely less tangles in my mind and I’m liking this do.
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