As a complete aside, I have now got pink hair. It wasn’t meant to be pink but now it’s here I kind of like it.
Well, it’s not really an aside as such. Changing hair colour is quite significant for me. Hair for me embodies so much about me as a person that I’ve only just come to realise what a complicated relationship I have with it.
I always as a child and young person loved experimenting with colour. My mother forbade me to dye my hair until I was 14. In those preceeding years I was regailed with stories of the horror of bleach and permanent colouring of hair and how bad it was not just for hair but one’s place in society.
Of course when I was 14 I reached for the nearest hair dye, fearful of whatever I put on it and half expecting my scalp to fall off. Which it of course didn’t. But I never wavered from shades of brown, dark dark red or black.
Except once when I had highlights. And I was so terrified of being a blonde that I went brown again a few weeks after. In case my scalp fell off and I melted my head.
I would go to festivals longingly looking at girls who had the courage to bleach and colour their hair like a rainbow, using dramatic makeup and wearing amazing outfits.
I felt constrained by my work and my upbringing and trying to fit a mould that was not me. I realise now I was bought up to be scared of my own shadow, that every move of me being independent and asserting an opinion was crushed. Even as a student, prime time to go crazy with hair, I was terrified of what would happen and the censure I would receive as a result.
I had the same with my tattoos. I had them four years before my mother found out and that was because she saw them in a huge maternity top I had on last year. A 35 year old woman still afraid of her mother.
It dawned on me a few weeks ago that I don’t have those constraints any more. I don’t have to fit some role that I am not suited for. My mother doesn’t have that power any more. So on a whim, and with much encouragement from DH, I grabbed some packs of peroxide and super red hair colour and proceeded to bleach away the invisible chains I still had holding me back in the past.
My first attempt made me look either like Milla Jovovich in the Fifth Element or Cyndi Lauper in that Girls Just Wanna Have Fun vid. I think it was more the former which was pretty cool. Again not the color I had gone for but still cool. Then it faded pretty fast and I tried again last night after going properly blonde aka Danerys (which looked shit – I definitely am not one who suits blonde).
Then I thought I did everything right and was waiting in anticipation of hair the shade of a Chinese red dragon. I instead got this
(yes, that’s my tenth cup of tea in the background)
It’s not really red is it! Damn you Directions Poppy Red – I should have stuck with Manic Panic.
But if I wanted a departure from my old life then I couldn’t do it with more of a statement than having bright pink hair. The downside is that people do stare at you whether you are blonde or pink which I find hard.
Hair is a statement. We show so much of who we are by what we do with it, from religion to wannabe Chinese red dragon. I wanted to start living my life by my definition. Not sitting around with labels over my head like ‘bipolar’ ‘mental health’ ‘PSTD’ etc or be what my parents thought I should be. I want to find out who I am.
I have a very difficult time talking about my parents. It’s such a super complex relationship and is about 100 posts worth. But let’s just say my mother is an awkward person and my father hardly around. Mum did what she could but there is a lot I don’t think I will ever forgive. Even now I am still trying to release myself from the restrictions imprinted on me as a child. My hair is proof. And I find it difficult.
Anyway – I don’t slot neatly into someone’s box and I want my hair to be a visual demonstration of that. But only to me. It’s for me. Not anyone else. So here’s to pink candy floss hair 🙂 perhaps I will find my Chinese dragon next time.
By the way, my daughter, the ultimate arbiter of these things, hated blonde. She nearly cried when she saw me with it. This morning the first thing she did was giggle and try and grab at the pink fluffyness of my hair as it was. Who am I to argue with her preferences?! 😀