While waiting 15 minutes for a treadmill to free up at Equinox Highline, I decided that instead of being angry with the throngs of new members getting their “New Year, New Me” body, I’d be inspired and go out to get some “New Year, New Me” hair.
After changing out of my Puma gym sweats and into my Calvin Klein lounge sweats (don’t worry, my Fenty sneakers go with both), I walked to the nearest Duane Reade and scanned the shelves.
I began to see my past in each different shade. When I moved to New York I was Champagne Blonde, and I went by the name “Christopher.” I’m not entirely sure why I changed my name: I suppose I wanted to keep everything about myself that I liked and ditch the things that I didn’t, thinking, “That was Ian-Michael, not Christopher.” Christopher lasted a few months before I realized I was the exact same person, just in a bigger city where nobody cared what my name was anyway, and I vowed to never pick up a box of Champagne Blonde again.
Blueberry Jam was the first color I ever dyed my hair, in middle school. It shone jet blue in sunlight; I looked just like an anime character. My mom was mortified; I was liberated.
I went Cinnamon Whiskey while dating my last boyfriend, AJ, who didn’t like that we both had light brown hair buzzed on the sides. (Well, his was light brown, mine was Toffee Nut.) (And yes, I giggled every time I read “Toffee Nut” on the box.) I thought Cinnamon Whiskey made me look like Ariel from “The Little Mermaid”; AJ did not, because it was around the time I changed my hair that he stopped kissing the girl (sha-la-la-la-la-la), and even lightening up to Apricot Jam couldn’t keep him from falling for Ursula instead of me.
Most recently, I went Scarlet Bronze, doing my best to imitate young Nicole Kidman in “Practical Magic.” (I’m fully obsessed with the scene where she holds a black cat, stroking it softly, and says to Sandra Bullock, “What wouldn’t I do… for the right guy?” before Stevie Nicks starts singing about feelings.)
Looking at all the different shades, shades of past Ian-Michaels, shades of potential future Ian-Michaels, I thought about this “New Year, New Me.” We can get a new gym membership, we can change our hair color, we can even go by a new name, but we’re still the same person. We won’t convince New Yorkers to like us, or our boyfriends to stay with us. We have the same personality, the same character flaws and the same unique quirks that make us who we are.
Quirks like changing our hair color every couple of months.
I decided to go back to my roots, literally, with Nude Brown (the hair color formally known as Hot Chocolate). I decided I didn’t want to be Christopher, and I didn’t want to be Nicole Kidman: I just wanted to be me. I may not have a magic cat or a singing crab, but so far I’ve gotten along just fine.