Someone recently asked me if I was “happy.” People seem concerned with my “happiness.”
When I was a tweenager I wrote that I would be completely happy (emphasis in original) if/when I had long, blonde hair and when I lived in New York City. I think, at the time, those two things seemed so ridiculously unattainable; so exotic and unachievable as to be Shangri-la.
(I should explain why playing the role of Christie Brinkley in a music video seemed such an Unattainable Thing. See Exhibit A, below:)
As it turned out, though, by my thirties, I grew long, blonde hair and I now live in New York City. And every couple of weeks, I meander over to the salon and someone paints highlights into my mane. I look out over the Park as someone else rinses the bleach out, and I sip tea, and I pay hundreds of dollars for the privilege.
I’m happy. It’s worth it to me.
This long hair tangles on the ends and it breaks, and it looks messy. It doesn’t have “style” like it did when it was shorter and more manageable. It doesn’t hold a hot curl; it doesn’t pin up as well. When it air-dries, it cannot be tamed.
(See, e.g., this example from earlier this week)
But I’m happy.
When it fell out after methotrexate, I was scared that I’d have to cut it off again. But I didn’t. And maybe the ends don’t look great. And maybe I’m getting too old to wear it long. But when I think about things that are awesome; when I think about happiness and having things that I’ve always wanted…
I have long, blonde hair, and I live in New York City.
I suppose my past-self — my younger self — knew a lot more than I ever gave her credit for knowing. Because when I am stripped to the studs; pared to essentials — these are the things I have always wanted: to possess a shaggy head of Do Not Care hair, and to call this sleepless city my home.
I make things so difficult for myself in so many ways; I paint myself as being so complex. But there is something so simple and so satisfying about looking the way I always thought it would be nice to look, and living where I always wanted to live.
Am I happy?
In a word: Yes.