Last night was my long overdue hair appointment. When my stylist spun me around and I faced the mirror, a lighter, bouncier, blonder reflection stared back at me. I loved it. The dreaded headband of dark roots was gone (note to self: never go seven weeks between highlights again. Ever.) and the layers had been cut back in.

As I was waiting at the desk to pay, I glanced down at my new RI license and realized that the person in the picture was not the brunette I always define myself as. In that picture, I am blonde. And have only gotten blonder since.

It got me thinking. I have always been proud to be a brunette. My mom taught me that brunettes are smart and sexy. I associate with brunettes. The majority of my close friends do not have flaxen locks and those who do are sassy and intelligent. Not to say that blondes are dumb, obviously, but I think there is an automatic assumption that darker hair equals smarter women.

So what does this say about me? For the past year I’ve been choosing to lighten my hair, to take steps away from the natural me. And as much as I am convinced I’m doing it only because I like the way it looks, is there maybe something more to it? Do I want to be a blonde because blonde equals sexy?

Are things as trivial as the size of my jeans, the number on the scale or the color of my hair defining who I am today?

This morning I looked in the mirror again. A woman in a sweater and jeans stared back at me. A woman who went to college, who holds a job, who is smart, funny and sexy regardless of her hair color. A woman who is not defined by the gold in her hair after all.

Only enhanced by it.