A Green Streak

A green streak. I look in the mirror, and I can’t picture myself without it. It isn’t even my natural hair color, a natural hair color, it couldn’t be– since when do people photosynthesize from their heads? Of all the hair colors on which to pin an identity, green? Yet I never did a double take when looking in the mirror after adding it. It belonged, as surely as my tattoo.

I wore it like a flag. This here? This is me. Green. The stubbornness of moss and lichen. The grandness of the oak. Implacable green. The every day usefulness of a copper kettle, corroded to a verdigris. Green like the waters of the Atlantic in Miami. Green like the little flutter leaves of the pomegranate tree. As green as sustenance. Spinach and collard greens. Leek shoots and lettuce. Green like the crocus stalk. Hi. I’m here.

To have to… step back from that valley, abundant, lush, to have to lower my flag, hide my allegiance to the geeks and freaks, my monstrous hordes, my strangeling kin… it feels like a betrayal. Insincere. All for a job, pennies in the pocket, a few digits and decimals to keep the debt collectors at bay.

That’s the way of it, isn’t it? We live together and make rules, lists of “thou shalt not”s, and hold them to one another like guns, paste them to one another like glue. I suppose it holds.

So I erase my verdance. I put in the cream to take it out, and blot over what’s left with brown. Despite what anyone says, it’s not normal. And I’m left with a question: having to erase the face of my constructed self, what’s left?

Pack it up, pack it out. It was never yours to begin with. Your flag is a symbol only. Burn it. See if you’re a phoenix.

With my first paycheck, I think I’ll buy a clip-in streak of fake green hair.