I went back to my natural hair color. I’ve been searching for beautiful metaphors to create an epic transitional essay. I’ve been trying to read into the fact that we used a clarifier to lift the eccentric colors from my hair, hoping that it represents clarifying other things in my life. This research felt so forced, so inorganic. Maybe I was grasping for meaning in something that defies meaning.
A few weeks ago, I looked in the mirror and for the first time, I saw beyond the rainbow. I saw the level of damage I had done to my hair and I no longer identified with the color.
I wanted to start over with a clean slate. I wanted to meet myself, to see myself. I wanted my outsides to look as happy and healthy as my insides. After a year and a half of abusing my hair with bleach, chemicals, and flat irons, I decided to give it all a rest in attempt to get my hair healthy again. I considered making a drastic change, like shaving my hair off completely, but decided against it. I’m aware that putting brown hair color on top of a rainbow doesn’t undo the damage, but it’s a step in a healthier direction. I think of it as applying sobriety to my hair.
Looking back on the colorful journey I’ve had, it’s been a roller coaster of emotions. While some of my family supported my choice of self-expression, most of them enjoyed reminding me how much they disliked my hair color choices. My father sat me down and told me how worried he was about me because I colored my hair pink. My mother was concerned that coloring my hair was another form of self-destruction, that I was hurting my career, and that I was becoming a caricature of myself. My Nana kept asking me when I was going to “get rid of that color”. I don’t understand why my hair color affects my family so much. What am I missing here?
Despite the lack of support from some of the people I love, I continued paving my own vibrant path. My pink hair traveled with me on a three week EuroTrip – including a 3 day solo trip to Paris without knowing French. My pink hair helped me move to New York City to follow my dreams. My galaxy hair was with me when I decided to give up alcohol and start this blog.
I had some doubts before going back to my natural color. I’ve just rebranded myself as a crazy-haired sober blogger, what If I lose followers? None of my photos will make sense anymore. People will get bored with me because my hair will look like everyone else’s. My hair is my trademark – how will people recognize me with brown hair? These thoughts may sound extreme or dramatic, but that’s truly how I felt. These thoughts inspired that moment of clarity I was desperately searching for: I had grown so attached to my hair color that I projected that attachment onto other people, too. I began to identify myself with my hair color, often hiding behind it. My self-doubt told me that people only followed my blog because of my hair color, not my content.
I am not my hair color. I am not the voice in my head. I am not even this blog.
While desperately searching for metaphors and symbolism to help me expand on this particular topic, I had “Hair” by Lady Gaga in my head for a few days. The lyrics to this song describe my feelings perfectly. I’ll leave you with this stellar performance (P.S. She wrote this song when she was 15).
“I’ve had enough. I’m not a freak. I’m just here fighting to stay cool on the streets. I’ve had enough. This is my prayer. That I’ll die living just as free as my hair.”