I am Beth the Brave

“Yes is for young people. Yes is for young people,” I chanted reassuringly to myself in the bathroom mirror as the hair dye oozed through my plastic-gloved fingertips.
A lumpy trail of Vaseline jelly was layered across my forehead at the hairline and down around my ears to save my skin from turning the colour of cinnamon sticks.
My hair looked like a science experiment and I prayed no one came knocking at the door.
“There is no choice you’ve ever made, nor any you will ever make, that will limit you as much as you may fear,” I said to the me who wasn’t so sure this “at home” follicle re-pigmentation project was a good idea.
The instructions said to leave the goop in for 10 minutes. Did that include the 10 minutes it took me to work the stuff into my extra thick long hair?
And what about the intolerable wiry grey I wanted to get rid of?
I read the instructions again.
“For resistant grey hair, you may need to leave colour on for an additional five minutes, or longer than a total of 15 minutes.”
Little did I know at that moment that I misread the instructions and had just invited remorse into the room.
“For no longer than a total of 15 minutes,” was a crucial part of the recipe.
It was a misread, misinterpreted, misjudged, mistaken, missed by a long shot. BIG MISTAKE!!
After 25 minutes, I peeled the plastic bag off my head, leaned over the tub, and rinsed out the leftover dye with the shower hose.
The warm water felt so good on my tender scalp rudely marinated in wordy ingredients I could hardly pronounce: “Methylresorcinol,” “Soytrimonium,” and “Ethoxydiglycol” to name three of the some 20 chemicals listed on the box.
“And what are ‘Oleth 2’ and ‘Oleth 5’? Movie sequels?” I queried out loud.
I should have kept my eyes shut as I washed the dye from my hair, but I didn’t.
I opened my eyes—and then opened them wider—as I watched the rinse water flow off my head in a fiery red colour and promptly stain the bottom of my tub before swirling down the drain.
It felt like a lifetime passed before the water ran clear. As I waited, I chanted to myself the score of positive thinking I’d preached from last week’s column.
“Make it a rule of life never to regret and never to look back. Regret is an appalling waste of energy; you can’t build on it—it’s only good for wallowing in.”
I wrapped my long head of hair in a towel and squeezed. I prayed. I closed my eyes and fumbled my way over to the bathroom mirror, stood there, and said, “Go forward. Finish what you start. Don’t look back.”
I took the towel off my hair and peeked out of one squinty eyeball. At first glance it was like one of my old Scottish ancestors was staring back at me.
I thank my lucky stars, the spirits of King Fergus and Queen Elinor, and the clan of Caldwell that my captain was away on an ocean-sailing adventure for three whole weeks.
Oh, Lordy. I was the spitting image of “Merida” from the Disney movie, “Brave.” All I needed was a long bow and a green velvet dress.
In the meantime, I had to figure out how to get in and out of the hair dye aisle for a “browner shade of something” without being recognized and swarmed for autographs.
But that’s another story.

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