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!