The one in which I blather on about frivolity

I have not seen my natural hair color in years. People ask me about my natural color and I can only describe as “dead mouse”, it’s that dull not quite brown, a bland and entirely feeble sort of color. Uninteresting to say the least.
Now my hair is a carnival of colors on my head and I absolutely love it. I see my hair in the mirror, a color of joy or celebration and it makes me smile. For a very long time, for most of my late teens and then my adult years, I could not smile at what I saw in the mirror. I would look in the mirror and see a crooked, fat face, a sagging mushroom of a body. I looked in the mirror and only shame looked out at me. I made things easier on my reflection, I bought clothes in the blandest of colors, khaki, beige, some black, off white. I wore these nondescript colors and I kept my hair long and I hid myself from view. If I kept myself hidden then I would not offend anyone with my fat and ugly body, no one would be compelled to think derisive thoughts since they couldn’t see me.
Eventually I was able to lose the weight and gain some confidence and I felt good about how I looked. I bought clothes in brighter colors, I bought fun shoes, I started dyeing my hair.
I started with your standard bottle blond (Feria 100 Pure Diamond). Mostly it lightened my hair, made it brighter, maybe not awesome but I was feeling better, like I might deserve to be worthy of looking at.
Then I met Owen. There is much to say about Owen, he is a magician, he is my hairdresser (really he’s a very good friend who also cuts my hair). He crafted beautiful hair styles for me, he still does. Eventually, he gently mentioned that the out-of-a-box blond was really not my most flattering decision and that he had a solution for this. He started coloring my hair for me.
We started slow, different shades of blond, sometimes a few different shades at once. I felt so good!
Then we stared experimenting with other colors, maybe mostly blond with a bit of red or pink mixed in. Then we got braver and bolder and we went to town on my head. Pinks, purples, blues, everything. We did color highlights or spikes or swirls, we would cover my head in the shiniest of pinks! I glowed! I could advertise my triumph over the bland me. Owen taught me how to do it myself, it became a part of me.
My depression came back. My soul hurt, it still does. My world sometimes feels like a monstrosity grey and shadows. I do not always feel so colorful. I considered ending the hair coloring, it was most definitely not reflecting who I was in my heart, it felt trite and forced. But also I stilled liked it. In fact, the idea of stopping had made me sad. That was a glimmer, a little bit of hope. So I continued with the colors.
When you are in a negative place in your head, when you are depressed or low, you tend to pick up on the depressing and low. You perseverate on the negative. You read the the horrid accounts of people being murdered and tortured and abused and it sticks in your brain. You don’t notice the heartwarming stories of someone beating the odds, you only see the crippling and the rending. That’s what I saw, a world as horrible as my own heart.
Then I’d go brush my teeth and see a blob of shiny pink on top of my head and I smiled, a little smile but it was a smile. In soothing myself after a panic attack I would go get a drink of water and there is was, spiky blue fun.
I’d go out and kids would stare and smile, they liked it. Could a world as terrible as the one I imagined also be a world with kids waving and smiling and loving my hair? But even adults liked my hair, people often complimented me on my hair color (sure, there were the ones with the snorts and snide asides, but I didn’t care!). The color of my hair made me happy on even the very terriblest days, anything that potent was worth hang on to.
Photo 15
This is why I do it. I color my hair the way that I do because in some small way it creates happiness for me and for others and that is some powerful magic
Photo on 2010-03-19 at 21.25 #3

9 thoughts on “The one in which I blather on about frivolity

  1. I’m trying to decide which one is my favorite, but there are so many fabulous ones! Maybe the orange, but I love the blue, too.

  2. I love the blonde with a dash of pink, the totally pink one(with the cute barrettes!), the one with the tiara!
    But I think the light blue one is my favorite. They bring out the colour of your eyes. :)

  3. you are such an inspiration to me! it is fascinating how much hair can communicate both to others and ourselves. thank you for sharing.

  4. Exactly. This is exactly how I feel about coloring my hair. I have a turquoise streak in mine, and even when I feel terrible, it’s something that makes me smile. It makes me feel more like myself, like the person in the mirror is closer to the person I am in my head. And I love all the comments it draws–which is a lot, as I work in retail.

  5. I don’t think many things make me as happy as bright pink hair. That orange looks great on you, and the blue, and the pink, and the purple. :) Kudos to you for living life on your own terms. Keep making the world a better and brighter place.

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