the power of purple (or: a brief history of my hair)

the power of purple (or: a brief history of my hair)

In order to know where we are, we must first understand where we’ve been.

haircollage

Like my mother before me, I was born blonde. I dyed my hair for the first time my junior year of college, just as I was starting to get into pinup/rockabilly style. A lot of the pinups I admired had gorgeous fire-engine red hair, and I wanted it for myself. And thus began the redhead years. I felt good as a redhead; I was generally assumed to have come by it naturally, which was nice. But I found myself yearning for something more. I bleached my “bangs,” because that felt like a fairly low-key method of hair rebellion. I had a white collar professional grown-up job by this point. One that was admittedly very welcoming of some of my more colorful wardrobe choices, but I feared that I had missed my chance for fantasy colors.

Enter last November. I wanted a change more than ever. I didn’t want to go blonde…I’d been blonde. But I didn’t think dark hair would suit me. Where else was there to go but to the funkier side of the spectrum? I became obsessed with silver and lavender hair. I slipped a “hypothetical” question about any restrictions on hair color to a senior staff member…and was told to go for it.

It feels weird to say that something as obviously unnatural as purple hair has made me feel more like my “real” self than anything else, but it’s true. I’m colorful and eccentric. My idea of glamour has always been just slightly off-kilter. Purple hair (for now) feels more natural than anything else ever has. It makes me feel beautiful and glamorous; it makes me feel like a real live princess when little girls shyly compliment me in public.

People who know me online are always surprised to hear that I’m actually quite shy in real life. I tend to be quiet and reserved, feeling things out before I open up. Shy people aren’t usually as flashy as I am, but not long after I dyed my hair, a friend said, “I think it’s very cool, like you’re showing people who you are when you don’t feel like you can talk to them.” And that resonated a lot with me. Pinup style and purple hair is totally how I tell the world who I am without ever having to say a word.

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