A few years back, near the beginning of my journey to self-love, I decided to dye my hair purple. It was the first of many vibrant colours I’ve gone through. Taking this bold step (well bold for my mid-thirties professional self) taught me a few things, and I’d like to share those lessons with you.
- Being ‘different’ is not only ok, but is totally recommended
We grow up believing that we need to “fit in”. It’s the constant message we hear. I’ve seen parents say it to their children and even heard discussions about not standing out. I’m weird and never fit any category. I realize that’s what makes me awesome! Being different and standing out is amazing. It’s what makes our world so vibrant.
- There is no such thing as age-appropriate when you’re an adult
So at 33 I decided to dye my hair bright purple! It was scary, I won’t lie. For someone with anxiety issues and working on body issues it was a huge step. The thought of “damn am I too old for this?” Did enter my mind. But then I remembered all the cool older ladies who I saw with purple or blue hair and thought maybe they know something I don’t. And they do!! Sure there will always be the odd stick in the mud who thinks it’s not appropriate for a grown woman to have the same hair colour as a troll doll, but screw ‘em! Do whatever you want cause it’s really empowering.
- My hair my choice
I always thought that I had to be “acceptable”, I had to meet societal standards of “normal”. Again that need to fit in and not be criticized. But once I’d done the deed and had purple locks, I was empowered, I stood taller and glowed from the inside out. I had figured it out — my body my choice. There were snide remarks like “is that your natural colour?” or “OOHH why purple hair?”. I learned to use humour and witty remarks to get the point across. For example, I had someone in an elevator one day ask “why that hair?” with a snicker. My response was “why that sweater vest?”. I treat my hair like an accessory; you choose what you want to wear or how to look so I realized because I looked different it doesn’t mean I don’t have choice. My body is for me.
- It won’t be perfect but that’s OK
Yes, it will never be even colouring. Just a warning, BUT I learned that my hair doesn’t have to be “perfect”. By learning that I learned I don’t have to be perfect. We are always seeking perfection — our hair, our makeup, our nails, etc… I never used to leave the house without feeling I needed to be done. I’d stress and make sure I felt perfectly polished. Now I still get ready, but if everything isn’t perfect I don’t worry about it. The way I look at it is I am imperfectly perfect the way I am, any way that I choose to be. Imagine if we were perfect all the time? How boring….
- Fading sucks, but it just means you have colour that constantly changes!
It’ll fade! But it’s all in the care you take and honestly it only bothers me when it starts showing the bleached portions through the colour. I don’t bleach and colour it often (every 3 months) because I don’t want to damage my hair, but there are things I do to keep the colour vibrant along the way. And as it fades I love having a different tone. As a matter of fact I often dye it darker than I want to allow it to fade to the shade I am aiming for. Wash your hair in cool water, use sulfate- and paraben-free shampoos and conditioners, wash only once a week, and you’ll keep your hue a lot longer. I don’t mind that I have roots. Really who cares, it’s not the end of the world!
- Children love “mermaid hair”
I cannot tell you how many times, while on a routine excursion to the grocery store, I’ve see a child, smiling ear-to-ear, tug on her mother’s sleeve and say “look mom! She has blue hair!”. The parents always act embarrassed, but the truth is a take great joy in knowing I made that little girl smile by unabashedly embracing fun. I think we as adults need to jam fun into every corner of life. We need to show kids that growing up doesn’t have to mean “growing up” (aka becoming boring) .
Every step I’ve taken on my body positive journey I’ve been terrified. If you aren’t terrified it probably isn’t going to be a challenge and you may not learn enough from it. The world doesn’t stop because you aren’t perfect. Someone may say something stupid, but who are they really to you? I don’t really react anymore, nor notice the judgement, because I’m busy painting the world in rainbow colours and meeting amazing people doing something I truly love. The world is full of milquetoast soccer moms and mindless sheep. That’s not me. I’m a technicolour nudibranch in an ocean of brown sea slugs.
Note: The dress featured in the main image is the Sourpuss Sideshow June Dress. Get it here.