Inside Out

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It is amazing what a new hair-do can do to a person.  There are so many emotions.  Fear of change and fear of not liking the outcome.  Trusting your appearance to a person you may not know.  Trusting you have made the right decision and expressed your desires to the person whose capable hands your hair is in.  Then there’s the excitement that comes with a “make over”.  The thrill of trying something different, and looking your best, and the comfort and worthiness of being pampered for that hour to two…or 4.  I find that when I let my hair grow out, I feel shaggy and unkept.  I felt sloppy for at least a month before pulling my nerve together to go in for another haircut.  Funny, because I love the tousled, messy look.  But this was different.  Aside from just being in need of a haircut, I felt dull.  I wanted something more fun and exciting to my look, but didn’t want anything too drastic.  I wanted to show my joy and love of colour, the way that I do when I paint.  I wanted to be playful, and get back a little bit of the younger version of me.  My son wants a blue mohawk…so the thought crossed my mind again, for what seems like the millionth time…”why don’t you get some colour?”

Now, I know many people freely colour their hair on a regular basis.  And I have always admired those people.  I love that people can express themselves with their appearance and not be held back by what others may think.  I, on the other hand, have been held back by many voices inside, for many years.  “Your hair is beautiful as it is…don’t change it” was something I can’t even begin to count how many times I have heard, and from so many different people.  And the most common compliment that I receive, and can remember for my whole life, was about how pretty my hair colour was, and how so many people would long for that colour, and how that colour doesn’t come from a bottle, that I’m so very lucky to have it.  So with those messages, it felt as though I were being ungrateful for even wanting to change my hair colour.  I spent years trying to embrace it and love it, and for the most part of my life, I really did like it.  Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE that I have red hair…but…I always wished it were a bit brighter, and more bold and fun.  Always.  I was envious of my friends with red hair because theirs was more red and more playful than mine.  Some people wouldn’t even call my hair red if they didn’t see me in sunlight.  But, I went on telling myself, “I love my hair, I am blessed to have this colour, I am a lucky girl and I should be happy”.

There’s that word…”should”.  Should’s are not nice things to say to ourselves.  They make us feel unworthy, guilty, and even ashamed.  I was ashamed about wanting to look differently than I did.  And yet I was too afraid of hurting other people’s feelings and having my family judge me for changing what I was given in my genetics.  And since the death of my mother, there is even more guilt and shame for wanting to change my hair colour.  Just for wanting it, not for actually doing it.  I’ve been playing with the idea for years, and telling myself, “oh, but I couldn’t, because what would so in so think?”  Yes, this message was from my mother…but there were also so many more family members than just her.  And I love them all dearly, and don’t wish to hurt anyone’s feelings.

BUT…the time has come…for me to choose me and follow my desire.  To look the way I want to look regardless what people think or say about me.  I finally went out and did it.  More than just highlights…I got my hair coloured!!!  3 different reds…highlights and lowlights, and, can you see it?…PURPLE!!!  It’s so fabulous!  I feel younger, and I smile every time I see myself in the mirror, and every time I see someone’s face that notices the difference.  And it’s not about being accepted for me, or about fitting in or even about others liking it…well, it’s a bit about others liking it, if I’m being totally honest here.  But it’s about people seeing ME.  This is how I want to be, who I want to be.  I want to be the personality inside bright red and purple hair.  I feel it inside of me, but she’s afraid to come out because she won’t be accepted.  Well, the fear is being shushed…quieted down, and I’m going for it.  And I think my mom would be proud of me, for being brave, and for doing my own thing.  She was always proud of me for doing my own thing, I know this with all of my heart.  She would want me to be happy with my appearance.  I remember when she started to colour her hair after she started to turn grey, and how happy it used to make her.  Her face would brighten up and her skin looked fantastic, and she would be happy.  I know she would want this for me, above and beyond holding on to my natural hair colour.  I have had it for 37 years now.

Getting close to my 38th birthday, I can say that I am now living for myself.  It’s amazing how freeing this experience has been for me.  A bit overwhelming with the excitement and anticipation and fear as it was happening.  But the reaction from my youngest son was priceless and heart warming, and I am just thrilled.  Thank you to everyone for your kind words on facebook.  I feel alive and younger and full of energy.  I am super happy, expressing my inside on the outside.

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