Sometime last year, I was sitting with a few friends in our living room. In a conversation, I remember one of the girls referring to my “blonde” hair. I gave her an odd look and asked her if she would consider me a blonde. Really?
She was confident. She responded with an astoundingly confident yes, while my face became more confused.
I looked to the other girl with us for solidarity. She wouldn’t consider me a blonde, would she?
She agreed. Confidently.
So, naturally, I decided they were both wrong. I have always been a brunette, or at least I thought so! I always checked the box: Caucasian, brown hair, blue eyes. Wouldn’t my parents have told me if I was checking the wrong box?
Fast forward to just a few weeks ago, as nearly the exact same scenario took place. One girl said something about two of us being blondes, to which I asked if I was blonde. This question itself illicited an odd look, as if I should know myself. Well, I thought I did, friends. I thought I did.
Again, everyone in the conversation agreed I was blonde.
And this time, I was a little shaken. I know my hair is lighter, since we’re in the sun day after day.
But I didn’t think it changed it. I would still call my hair brown, just lighter.
So I brought it up with a sensible friend over lunch. She declared me blonde; Stephen & I both, in fact.
Honestly, I don’t care what color my hair is. I didn’t care much for doing my hair in the States, and its only gone downhill from there. And here, my hair rarely dries from one shower before I’m taking another, or sweating enough that I can’t tell anymore. I don’t have a preference of blonde or brunette; I simply don’t care.
What I do care about is this: which box do I check on the form?
And now I can’t even remember what form they’ll ask that on, but it just seems like I should know my answer. What if it comes up in a game? I get embarrassed when I can’t remember Stephen’s eye color or how he likes his butter on his toast, but what if I don’t know my own hair color?
It seems like something you just look into the mirror for, but I’m finding it’s not that simple.
Perhaps this is what my friend felt like when he went to renew his driver’s license and the lady made him change his hair color to gray. The shift to adulthood (or older-adulthood in his case) that you just didn’t see coming. At least she told him; did they look at my checkbox and just think I was delusional?
Despite the paradox, I’m know I’m not a very self-aware person. I learned this early on in dating Stephen, to whom this was quite evident. And while I have been improving in recent years, this blonde-brunette question has me asking so many more.
If I wrote down a description of myself–physically, personality, quirks–and a friend did, how much would they vary? If it was a friend in the States or a friend in Mae Sot, how much would that vary? The fact that we might all write down different hair colors has me a little worried…