My hair is the one thing about my physical appearance, beyond my beautiful hands (they are perfect and I continue to hold onto my hand-modeling dreams), that I never really worried too much about. Naturally my hair is very thick and straight, and it takes almost no effort to care for. In the realm of “genetic lotteries,” I know I won big when it came to the hair on my head.
Me and my long locks before last years big chop
For a majority of my life I was the girl who had hair down to her butt. In childhood I was never allowed to cut my hair short, let alone dye it. By the time I got to college, it became more of a choice for me. It was partially formed out of my then (and a bit now, minus college) ~*hippie at a liberal arts school*~ aesthetic, but upon further reflection I’m pretty sure it was out of just never really thinking to take the time to go get my hair cut. There were a few times where I made a quick salon appointment because I realized my hair was getting to “girl trapped in a cult” length, but beyond that I just didn’t really think about it. Because of my lack of care, I let other people form attachments to my hair, which I now think may have subconsciously been a way for me to get people to give me complements in a format that I believed. That format being vocal obsession, because for some reason I have a hard time feeling worthwhile unless someone is constantly screaming “YOU ARE GOOD AND YOU ARE LOVED.” But that’s a whole other bucket of worms that should probably be saved for my therapist…if I had one.
If you could not tell by the existential dread dripping from that last sentence, I’ve had a kinda rough year. I made a huge decision to completely change my career path and it has really messed around with my head. I had a clear and distinct dream, and I felt positive that I was one of the lucky few who knew exactly what they were going to do with their life. But this past year everything kinda…shifted? I knew I was unhappy with what I was doing, but it took me a really long time for me to finally admit to myself that this dream was something I didn’t really want anymore. I was getting more anxious by the day and every night I would lie awake thinking “why have you done this to yourself?” There was no one telling me I couldn’t, or that I was bad; I just realized that it didn’t make me happy anymore. So I did what many people going through a break-up (romantic or metaphorical) would do: I was going to do something crazy, something totally wild, to show the world that I was TOTALLY IN CONTROL OF MY LIFE, OK? I was…wait for it…going to dye my hair purple.
I know, I know. Groundbreaking. Such a display of courage. Totally not a sign of a quarter-life crisis.
In this moment of uncertainty I thought of the first thing I could do that would make me feel like I had a semblance of control. Once I landed on the idea of changing my hair, it lead me down a path of registering just how much importance I had put on it. It’s true that I’ve never been that focused on my hair, but I liked that other people in my life seemed to be and because of that I think I had been subconsciously stopping myself from doing anything drastic to it. In this weird and misguided way I thought that if I did I was going to disappoint people. Upon realizing just how insane that is, I decided I wanted to do something that was just for me. Something, mind you, that I had wanted to do for a long time. So…I went for it.
I researched and researched the best salons in my area that specialized in this kind of thing. Especially since I am a naturally anxious person and I had never dyed my hair before, I wanted to be confident that doing this wouldn’t make my hair fall out. After much deliberation, I found the salon and booked a consultation with a stylist I had Instagram stalked for about a week. I was originally told that I wouldn’t be able to have the actual appointment until September, but in a moment I can only describe as fate throwing me a bone, my stylist had a last minute cancellation and I was able to get it done the next day.
I love it. This change, though minuscule in the grand scheme of life, has given me a new found confidence to push forward. The second those foils came off my head I felt giddy and was tossing out My Little Pony jokes left and right. But most of all, it just felt good. It has helped to give me the confidence to try a new life path, and in a way it has given myself permission to do things I had stopped myself from doing in fear of judgement from others. I know this whole thing is totally dumb and I’ve placed importance on something completely inconsequential, but it really has jumpstarted something positive in my mental state that had been lying dormant for too long.
Yes, I’m still in full blown crisis mode. No, I don’t know what I’m doing. But my hair is pretty rad, so there’s that.