Dying My Hair Gave Me More Confidence Than I Could Have Expected

Dying My Hair Gave Me More Confidence Than I Could Have Expected

The upkeep is worth everything positive that's come from this one action.

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Right before Halloween, I did something I have wanted to do since starting college:

I dyed my hair.

Sure, that sounds like nothing for most people. But for me, it's not totally in my character to do something that in my eyes, is pretty adventurous and a significant commitment. And to make this action even more out of my character, I dyed the underside of my hair purple.

This was something I had been tossing around since freshman year of college. I experimented back then with a blue streak over winter break, but it washed out hella fast (thank you, crappy dye) and I had a blonde streak in my hair for the next three years. The pics below are from January 20, 2016 (the day I dyed the streak), February 2, and February 28. I kid you not, that's how quickly the color washed out. NEVER use Splat dye, folks


Even after that interesting experience, I was still curious about what it would be like to really dye my hair. I knew it was something I wanted to do at some point, but I wasn't sure about the timing. I wasn't sure if I could work with dyed hair. And throughout my junior year, I was either looking for an internship or working one, and the environments, while great, were pretty professional--so not exactly ones where you could walk around with brightly colored hair.

But this year, I decided I would finally do it.

I was working in a chill environment, it's my senior year of college, and I wasn't planning to do anything super drastic. I was in a better place to make this decision and not overanalyze it (thank you, anxiety). And honestly? It was 100% a moment of "you know what, fuck it. I'm going to do something cool and fun, something that I've always wanted to do, FOR ME."

So two days before Halloween, I went into my local Bubbles salon.

After a few hours and one awesome stylist, I left behind my boring brown hair and walked out with a bomb-ass bold purple peekaboo.

I had the biggest smile on my face as I left and for the rest of the day, honestly. This was something I had wanted to do for so long but felt too scared to do. Too afraid of what having unnaturally colored hair could do to me professionally, because my parents always emphasized professionalism in both looks and behavior. Not that dyed hair was something they were against, but having that mindset definitely held me back a bit from going ahead and doing something like this sooner.

I immediately began experimenting with my typical hairstyles to see how this purple peekaboo looked. I was pleasantly surprised to discover the next day, as I got ready for class, that something as simple as throwing my hair up in a messy bun made me look significantly more put-together and like I had put that much more effort in--just because of that one little detail that jazzed up what otherwise would've been a boring, everyday messy bun.

I know that doesn't sound like anything too impressive, but it is for me. As someone who deals with anxiety, particularly when getting dressed for class, to have something so small instantly make me feel more put together and "on" made a huge difference. I walked with my head held higher. I didn't feel as uncomfortable in my body and clothes as I usually did. I didn't change outfits multiple times like I have an anxious tendency to do, worrying too much about what others think of what I wear and how I look.

Doing something as out there as dying my hair purple reminded me that I had confidence in me.

That one change brought out some of the confidence that had been hiding inside me. The compliments I've gotten on my hair and the positive reactions from friends, family, and even strangers have helped as well. I know I shouldn't care as much as I do about what others think of me and how I look, but as someone who doesn't often get compliments just because or on something in particular about my looks, it feels like a little light has been lit inside me every time someone says "I love your hair!"

But most importantly, I feel more like "me."

That's not to say I didn't feel like myself before. But once I dyed my hair, I realized that something had been missing to me and this was it: something on the outside that truly helped to express the fun, lively person I am on the inside.

What's next in this adventure of re-finding myself? Well, the first step is touching up my hair to bring some the boldness back, thanks to hair washing (not even color-protecting shampoo can fully stop a semi-permanent color from washing out a little bit). After that, maybe I'll finally get around to re-piercing my ears and maybe even do a second piercing. Yes, I realize these aren't big things for most people, but for me, these actions have a big inner impact.

Here's to learning more about myself in 2019!

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20 Small Tattoos With Big Meanings

Tattoos with meaning you can't deny.
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It's tough to find perfect tattoos with meaning.

You probably want something permanent on your body to mean something deeply, but how do you choose a tattoo that will still be significant in 5, 10, 15, or 50 years? Over time, tattoos have lost much of their stigma and many people consider them a form of art, but it's still possible to get a tattoo you regret.

So here are 20 tattoos you can't go wrong with. Each tattoo has its own unique meaning, but don't blame me if you still have to deal with questions that everyone with a tattoo is tired of hearing!

SEE RELATED: "Please Stop Asking What My Tattoos Mean"

1. A semicolon indicates a pause in a sentence but does not end. Sometimes it seems like you may have stopped, but you choose to continue on.


2. "A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor."


3. Top symbol: unclosed delta symbol which represents open to change. Bottom symbol: strategy.


4. "There are nights when the wolves are silent and only the moon howls."


5. Viking symbol meaning "create your own reality."


6. Greek symbol of Inguz: Where there's a will, there's a way.

7. Psalm 18:33 "He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he causes me to stand on the heights."


8. 'Ohm' tattoo that represents 4 different states of consciousness and a world of illusion: waking (jagrat), dreaming (swapna), deep sleep (sushupti), transcendental state (turiya) and world of illusion (maya).


9. Alchemy: symbolizes copper, means love, balance, feminine beauty, and artistic creativity.


10. The Greek word “Meraki" means to do something with soul, passion, love, and creativity or to put yourself into whatever you do.


11. Malin (Skövde, Sweden) – you have to face setbacks to be able to go forward.

12. Symbol meaning "thief" from "The Hobbit." It was the rune Gandalf etched into Bilbo's door so the dwarves could find his house.


13. “Lux in tenebris" means “light in darkness."

14. Anchor Tattoo: symbolizing strength and stability, something (or someone) who holds you in place, and provides you the strength to hold on no matter how rough things get.

15."Ad Maiora" is translated literally as “Towards greater things." It is a formula of greeting used to wish more success in life, career or love.


16. A glyph means “explore." It was meant as a reminder for me to never stop exploring.

17. "Aut inveniam viam aut faciam," meaning roughly, "Either I shall find a way, or I will make one."


18. Lotus Flower. It grows in muddy water, and it is this environment that gives forth the flower's first and most literal meaning: rising and blooming above the murk to achieve enlightenment.

19. The zen (or ensō) circle to me represents enlightenment, the universe and the strength we all have inside of us.

20. Two meanings. The moon affirms life. It looks as if it is constantly changing. Can remind us of the inconsistency of life. It also symbolizes the continuous circular nature of time and even karma.


SEE ALSO: Sorry That You're Offended, But I Won't Apologize For My Tattoos


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The Selflessness Of Self-Care

It is OK to nurture yourself before nurturing others.

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Do you find yourself prioritizing taking care of others before taking care of yourself? I do.

Let me introduce myself. My name is Saiarchana, and I am a nurturer. Nurturing people is something that has almost become second-nature to me because I am so accustomed to doing it. I love uplifting others and being there to give them support when they are in need. I love giving support to others so much that I am even majoring in Psychology. Nurturing is something that is incredibly important to me. I nurture others because I don't want anyone to feel alone or unsupported.

But, sometimes I forget to nurture myself.

I used to believe that taking care of others involved sacrifice. This kind of sacrifice was my own energy and self-care. I lived under the belief that by pulling away and taking care of myself, I would be labeled as selfish. So, I kept on nurturing others around me.

Until I broke down.

I was giving so much support and care to others, that I had forgotten about me. I am also a very important person in my life. My relationship with myself is incredibly important, and I had forgotten that. I was so focused on pouring love and care to others, that I had forgotten to water myself with those same sustaining forces. I was getting drained and worn out from nurturing and giving love to so many people around me because I was neglecting myself.

When I realized what was happening, I finally understood: Love is not starvation. I do not need to starve myself in order to feed others. I do not need to neglect my self-care in order to care for and give love to the people around me. Nurturing others does not equate to neglecting myself. Because, once I neglect myself, I end up not being able to show up fully for the people in my life.

I read a quote by an influencer named Allie Michelle. Michelle said:

"Taking care of yourself is selfless. An empty well cannot give water to a village."

When I read this, it was as if my eyes developed clearer vision. I recognized that I believed that self-care was selfish when actually it is one of the most selfless things I can ever do for this world. When I am able to take care of myself, I am at a healthier and stable position to give care to others. When I give from a place of lack, I end up lacking more. Giving my energy to others when I am in desperate need of recharging my own energy will end up making me feel emptier. It is like the good analogy from Michelle's quote. I cannot give from an empty source. When I forget to give love and care to myself, I reach a point where there is nothing left to give to others, because I haven't maintained a solid foundation for myself.

Giving care to others should be a fulfilling experience, not a draining one. In order for it to be a fulfilling experience, I need to make sure I am not giving from a place of emptiness. I need to nurture myself because doing so will give me a stable foundation. So, I finally understand the key to nurturing others: making sure I am nurturing myself first.

So, what now?

I am going to continue giving love and care to others. But this time, I am going to make sure I am nurturing myself too.

I hope you nurture yourself too. You are worthy of the love and care you give to others.

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