Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Pink hair. Don't care.

In college, I studied for a semester in London. I ran around and acted like a fool because I was 20 years old and had no real responsibilities beyond showing up a few times a week to a class (our abroad program brought its own professors along - the grades directly flowed right into my transcript without a problem) and going to theater two or three times a week (part of the program). I got in trouble, I caused drama, I went to museums, and I learned a lot about who I was/who I would be.

One thing that I did was to purchase a container of pink dye - it wasn't Manic Panic, I don't think, but it could've been (I actually had a container of pink Manic Panic back at home in the U.S. that I'd never done anything with beyond staring at it longingly) - and dump it on my head. I didn't bleach my hair (which is on the darker side of blonde when left to its own devices) so the color was subtle and shimmery in the light but not very noticeable otherwise. A classmate called me an Easter Egg, lovingly yet harshly, and she was right. So? It was awesome. I loved it. It washed out quickly and was gone.

Then I never had the guts to do it again.

So we're clear, my hair was many colors before and after that. It was auburn, it was dark red, it was light blonde, it was even a purple of sorts, but it was always within the general family of....natural, dare I say? My colors came from boxes bought properly at the drugstore, not from one of them there "beauty supply stores." (Scary!) I had it professionally dyed a few times but mostly I relied on good old $6 boxes of goo in whatever color seemed most appealing. There was also the year of the dollar store colorful mousse - a stripe of turquoise or fire engine red that would make my hair stiff and would wash out rapidly in a single shower - that was about as adventurous as I got in that direction.

Then I stopped dyeing it completely and left it alone for a few years. I grew it out, I cut it back, I fell in love with a hair stylist in that way one does, and she moved away just as we were getting settled together. I had a terrible, awful, no good haircut that left me nearly in tears - though at that point I'd learned that everything grows back and that tears are pointless - and I let it grow to the middle of my back.

Then I met Misti. *cue the dramatic music* Misti had posted in a Facebook group that she was looking for someone who would let her do pretty much anything to her hair in trade for exposure and a spreading of the word of Misti's all around fabulousness. I raised my hand, meekly. My hair is untouched! I said. And long! And I don't care what you do! Go forth and do whatever to my hair! And I can't afford you otherwise so please pick me! And also, we both know the hairdresser who moved away she was so fabulous wasn't she are you as fabulous as she is huh? And Misti reached out and chose me and all was fantastic and I have had the best haircuts of ever and ever for about a year now.

Early on, Misti hooked me up with beautiful highlights of blonde in my hair. Natural looking yet, you know, just a bit of extra extraness. Subtle but dramatic. Perfect. Because of our arrangement, I didn't dare ask for more hair color though - it takes hours and energy and I saw that time as a super deluxe favor, never to be repeated (it grew out perfectly because she knows what she's doing).

But then this summer she mentioned she'd be open to another round of color. And I said, "Misti. It's time. It's time for bright, dramatic color. I want pink. Can we do pink?"

You see, I really really really needed a change. Something to shake up my life. I'm in a rut with my writing (that's why I'm writing this, by the way - it may be imperfect, but I'm hoping to unlock something by blogging again as I work on my Other Writing Things). Having a child with a disability is a daily energy drain (and I love my daughter beyond any love I have ever felt before forever and ever - that doesn't mean she's not difficult or problematic). Money is always a worry in the life of two freelancers, and despite my best efforts - two to three resumes a week out there for 18 months - I just wasn't getting hired by anyone. So I said fuuuuuuck this. And Misti said yes.

I sent her a bunch of picture of what I might want. You may not be surprised to hear that it's hard to find pictures of real people with real brightly colored hair. Lots and lots of Photoshop going on out there. Also, I am over 40. Many of the pictures are of children who are 12. Or perhaps young women in their 20s - I like to imagine I am in my 20s as well, but I'm not, and I don't want to look like I'm trying to be that age. I want to look like me - fabulous, 40+, but...bright.

Misti is magic. She took my pictures and she looked at me and chose the bright colors that still would work with my actual face and she made my hair into the most amazing thing I have ever seen. She literally PAINTED ME with five different colors. She made my hair do that ombre thing that I wouldn't have dreamed of asking. I actually thought I'd probably wind up with a few streaks of pink - or maybe pink tips. No, I got a full head of pink purple red peach. And I cannot stop staring at myself in the mirror. It has brought me self confidence I'm not sure I ever had* and it has made me feel special and beautiful and cool and ALLOWED. I am ALLOWED. I have rarely felt that - I've felt (and I know this is ridiculous) like everyone is staring at me and judging me when I go into certain spaces, deeming me unworthy of being in said space. I know that it is not about the pink hair, but it has given me that boost to FEEL ALLOWED and that is what I needed.

You didn't think I'd write all this and not show you, right?

Outift notes: This is the amazing green coat I thrifted for $2.50. Plain black top, skinny jeans both from the favorite thrift store, boots from ModCloth. PINK HAIR.
*Of course, I will also give you the truth: I finally washed it after a week - yes, I showered with a shower cap until then, shut up! - and it's not as straight and shiny as it was when Misti styled it. But I'll figure it out. And it is still BRIGHT PINK.

More soon...

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