Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Venetian blonde




I come from a family of redheads.

For quite some time, we were four. And yes, we would turn heads as we would bop down the street together, each of us adorned with their certain hue of ginger. You can almost hear the musical soundtrack accompaniment can't you? Bop, bop, bop, bop. There we went.

It put us apart this, made us slightly "other", reading special, save for schoolground torments and blissfully, I did not get too many of those. It was and is a defining part of who I am.

Even today at my current work in Avignon, I will gather the two - far, far younger than I - fellow creatures of the flame to proclaim us L'Équipe Roux and banter about facts that leave them blinking. "Do you know that redheads bleed more than other people? That we feel pain more accutely? That we actually have more Cro-Magnon in our genes than other people?" I can go on endlessly in this vein. Pride, swinging its invisible tail like a whip.

Of course, we rare birds have long been a matter of taste, hotly debated. We have been banished and burned or depicted as Mary, the height of magnificence. I remember one of the guides during an expedition in Mali, the one who drank hot sauce, telling me casually, "You know, because of your hair you are ugly. At least we all think so." And yet there were moments in Manhattan when the taxi drivers would shot out, "Yo, Nicole!" thinking I was a Kidman, a compliment if ever there was.

It was impossible to move around anonymously for so long because of the banner of my hair. But no longer.

You see, apparently, now, I am blonde. Un blonde vénitien. 

"What do you mean?" I snap at those who label me so, despite it being a statement always offered with admiration. "I am a redhead," I insist. If Team Red happens to be standing by when this happens, they tend to say nothing.

The white in my hair is copious and earned, the tips are indeed blond and I find that odd, this despite having seen my Mom's hair lighten too. I had a momentous (for me) lunch with my ex as of late and it was the first thing that he noticed. This change.

So you see, in everything that I have lost over this past year or so, it would seem that I have also lost this too - an incredibly important part of who I thought I was. It is all up for grabs these days (and seriously? I give up. I surrender). Because - and this is crucial to impart - I love my hair the way it is now. Strangers stop me on the street - as I bop in singular - with a compliment for its strange uniqueness.

That is me. Whoever, whatever that me might be.

I came to peace with this new definition utterly when I realized with a gusty laugh that my color - translated as Venetian Blonde - links me to Venice, one of the greatest gifts, one more than I could have imagined, during this time of losing. Something eternal gained. Now, wherever I go, I am literally living with my dream not only in my heart but on my head. The beauty in that lesson is not lost on me. Hope/trust is patient, waiting for me to remember her at any moment.






















43 comments:

  1. As a child my hair was the bright coppery shade of a new penny. I know this is true because I still have a lock of it tucked in with my birth certificate. As the only redhaired child in a family of brunettes, and the only girl, this made me special in a way I wasn't entirely comfortable with. "Hey Red" was a regular refrain and I didn't like it! If only, like you, I'd been part of a team wearing the same colors.

    And, now, like you, it has turned lighter and is seasoned with a few strands of white at the hairline. Of course now, I miss the red, but also love the white strands. They have been earned and it feels like a privilege to have aged enough to have them. And, now I am older, wiser, and more confident, I am owning this new look, faded red, whites and all. My hairdresser likes it too and is encouraging me to let it grow. So thank you dear Heather! I feel as though this post was written just for me.

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    1. And so this post could be just for you, dear friend. We are so linked. With much Love.

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  2. P.S. Gorgeous photographs, filled with every shade on the spectrum from the reddest reds to pink-tinged blonde.

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  3. I love your writing, as always. The magical photos - as if you had got Venice practically all to yourself - complement your words beautifully. As for hair colour, I'm 62 and my hair is still dark brown without any traces of grey. I like to think it's because of the few drops of Venetian blood in me... I hope you have a great holiday season. All the best for the new year!

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    1. Thank you Teresa, and for you too! And the irony is that these photos were taken in July at the very height of tourist season. ;) I think it is a matter of seeking the beauty out in a certain way. What we choose to see.

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  4. Um, for the record - original Team Red here - YOU'RE A REDHEAD. PERIOD. Ok, shew, got that out of the way! I agree, though, that there is a gift in this new title, seeing as how Venice is YOUR city! Evidence displayed above - wowza, I LOVE these photos!!! The hues, so beautiful, our colors!! And you're right - it's so good when we can roll with life's punches, even if it takes while. Impermanence, yes? And possible to embrace who we were with who we are - it's all valid, all us. Thank you for these beautiful photos and thoughts; we miss you when you're gone but we are also so happy for you, that you are out living your life! p.s. If we could include a photo with our post, like on Facebook, I would so post one of our Colerain family photos!

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    1. Yes! Oh my gosh, yes! I have one on my kitchen sink that I look at every day.
      And thank you for making me laugh Sister. You know how much I need it.

      I love you so much....for ever and ever...

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  5. So nice to your your blog. As someone who started out with dark fuzz at birth, lost that and became a true strawberry blonde (NOT to be equated with Venetian blonde) then became a true blonde, then a honey brown (all in the first seven years of life), and ended up a brunette with copper red auburn highlights, I know the feeling of the changing hair colour! Still the definition of Venetian blonde is intriguing. Titian you are not because you would have to have brown tones in your red. I interpret Venetian blonde to mean red with some blonde highlights. i think it is the height of a compliment for a Venetian (or others) to say you are a Venetian blonde. Loved your photos!

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    1. Yes, I take it as a compliment. :) And oh my what hair adventures you had as a young one! It must have been rather confusing, I would think.

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  6. You are so lucky! Some of us just go gray in a blah kind of way. But you are always classy and instead go Venetian blonde. As if it weren't enough to go blonde without resorting to an array of chemicals, you not only go blonde naturally but with Venetian flair! I was hoping for a photo, but I can't say I'm disappointed because you gave us such a bounty of Venetian beauty I nearly forgot it didn't include the one I was looking for.
    I think 2018 is going to be a great year for you.

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    1. PS: The Malian's comment probably comes from the symptoms of malnutrition. Kwashiorkor turns Africans' hair red and makes bellies get distended. I remember a song from Kenya whose lyrics included, "mama, we're hungry, our hair is turning red." And I saw far too many examples of it.

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    2. Wow. Thank you for that very humbling explanation. And yes, I did see that too but did not know what it was...How fortunate we are.

      Thank you for all of who you are, including your continual kindness. I hope it is a great year for both of us!

      Oh! And I wanted to post a photo...but then liked how the post looked without. Will do so on Instagram. ;)

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  7. Yo, blondie!
    Love this post. As someone with only red highlights, I can be quietly envious of the lovely ginger colors. And lovely Venice.
    Oh, yes, I think this next trip around the sun may be a better one for you, and for many. Here's hoping.
    Joyeux Noël.

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    1. Oh my gosh, I love you Em. I swear that was my first reaction! :)

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  8. I smiled, no grinned, all the way thru this post! Your wonderful hair, now Venetian Blonde! And the photos to match. Your life, and your hair, are just blooming madly.
    bon

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    1. I hope you are right, Bon. ;) Happy Holidays!

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  9. Hey Heather....

    1. First of all?.....what's with the entire notion of "ginger"? I understand "carrot top" and "Flame head"......but ginger isn't in the least red,either in itself or when processed. What gives?

    2. I was a "strawberrry-blonde" (not that I ever thought of it that way, but I heard it) for years. Now, at age, 57, it's all white.....whichis a bit strange, but convenient.

    Let's talk soon,

    David Terry

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    1. I wondered about #1 as well. I think maybe it comes from ginger bread which is reddish????

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    2. I don't make these terms up folks! heeheeheehee I don't know either. But I like the link to feistyness.

      Love to you David.

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  10. But of COURSE you are Venetian! (I had a French friend in Zimbabwe who used to call my son's strawberry red hair "vanishing blond")

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    1. That is the BEST! Vanishing blond...I love it.

      I am a wannabe Venetian. :)

      bisous

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  11. Oh, I envy that your hair is lightening. My red hair started as copper & through the years darkened. It was the best color in my 30s-40s, but now in my 60s, it's turned a muddy brown with no red highlights. I am impatiently waiting for the beautiful brilliant white that both my grandmothers had...but that is slow in appearing.
    I absolutely love your photos. Thank you for your gentle spirit. Even when you are sad, your writing is so beautiful that I am uplifted.

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    1. I know that my friend Stephen would take you under his wing and put the most beautiful highlights in your hair! Have you ever thought of getting a little extra "help"? Even naturally with henna? Redhead is in your heart!
      Thank you for your beautiful words. I feel your gentle spirit too in them. Namaste.

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  12. Venetian blonde or strawberry blonde is "a compliment for its strange uniqueness”. It changes with time.
    I guess it’s a part of stage in life.

    Thank you for the wonderful photos.

    Merry Christmas.

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  13. We think our newest grandchild is going to be Team Red, and we're delighted. There isn't a hair colour I haven't tried - cerise pink was a favourite, now it's a blend of blues and purples. Not that I mind the grey, but I have so little time for dressing up this is my dash of fun to any rushed day :-)
    You are beautiful xxx

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    1. Arrggggh! There is nothing cuter in the world than a redheaded baby. Ok, maybe a Golden Retriever puppy. But only maybe.

      Wow, cerise pink must have been a sight! How fabulous! But blues and purples feel right for this time of year.

      YOU are beautiful Lisa. You, you, you.
      xoxoxoxoxox

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  14. Joyeux Noel! We loved you as a redhead, we love you as a venetian blonde!
    P.S. My hair used to be chestnut, now is all white and I love it

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    1. I bet that it suits you perfectly Maria. Mine will be in a few years!

      Merry Christmas to you!!!!
      xoxox

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  15. Love this post and the gorgeous photos! So...show us your hair!!!! And in the meantime, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, of course! I'm sure Avignon is very beautiful just now. Enjoy!

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    1. Happy Holidays my dear friend. With much Love to you...

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  16. Venetian blonde. I think it's a colour that suits you perfectly. Maybe you should treat us to a photo. Venice, as always, is gorgeous. Merry Christmas, dear Heather.

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  17. Well, I'm not a redhead, but have always admired the beautiful hues of those that are. Venetian blonde sounds wonderful too, so enjoy whatever shade may evolve in your strands.
    Have followed you through many years of Christmas posts and am so glad you are in a peaceful and happy state this season. You are a such a genuine, loving individual and I appreciate having made your acquaintance, if only through your blog. Thank you for sharing these amazing photographs, such light and patina revealed through your lens. You seem perfectly suited for Venice.
    Wishing you the very best in the New Year!
    Laura in Santa Fe

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    1. Oh Laura...this moved me very much. Because you have been through many Christmases with me. Thank you. For the then and now and your being present throughout. With much Love and Gratitude to you on this Christmas Eve. I am imagining all the paper lanterns lit to show you the way this Christmas Eve...

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  18. I give up.
    I surrender.
    Not just about the hair.
    Opportunity happens when we surrender.

    Love Bernadette

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Oh, I removed a typo and what a perfect example of your point.
      Learning and learning.
      Love to you
      H

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  19. Wishing you and happy, healthy new year Heather as a Venetian blonde -- or any other shade of hair colour you may find in the time that lies ahead. I'm so glad to read a post you've written, and this one expresses much more than the visible changing colour of hair. Happy holidays, Michelle P.

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  20. In your photos your hair always appears stunning ... whatever colour it gets called. Joyeux Noël 🎄🎅🏼🌟

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  21. You're navigating these changes with such beauty.

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  22. The surrender is brave. I have such a hard time to do that. There is such beauty in your posts and that comes from who you are inside and out.

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