I am a fake blonde. 100% unnatural.
I moved all the way from Texas to North Carolina a couple days before the start of my freshman year. I was determined from the start to be spunky and stand out. I’ve never really liked blending in, but at the same time, I really don’t want to be the center of attention. I’d like to be a brick in the wall, but like one of those really neat bricks that are a little different than the rest and you’re just like hey that’s a kinda neat brick. That’s me. The neat brick. So, on my venture to be the neat brick, I decided I wanted to change my hair. I had always had very long dark brown hair and after 15 years of life with said very long dark brown hair, I decided it was time for something new. I went searching the net and downloaded multiple pictures of girls with dark red hair (burgundy if you will) and presented them to my momma:
“I wanna dye my hair red,” I told her.
“You can go blonde,” she replied.
And that was that. (Momma doesn’t have anything against redheads, I just have very rosy cheeks and she knew I’d be unhappy with that color hair given my complexion.) The long dark brown hair became long blonde hair. A few months passed and spunky lil (now 16-year-old) me wanted to go back to her dark locks.
Fast forward, a couple months into my junior year, I wanted to go blonde again. Not only that, though, I was tired with the length. I got over 12 inches chopped and went blonde again. I have been a blonde ever since.
My hair color is not from a box. It takes hours of highlighting and toning in the salon every few weeks. There is no way in hell I would deal with blonde hair just to impress other people… too expensive. The upkeep is sooooooo haaaaarrrrrddddd; given how dark my hair is naturally, my roots don’t play games. They out to play and you can’t get em off the field. I’m a blonde because I like how I look with this hair color. I have short hair because it’s easier to manage and I’m lazy.
Both the first and second times I went blonde, I got a lot of backhanded compliments from girls: Wow, I wish I was brave enough to dye my hair. You must be so confident to do that. That’s so different to dye your hair so young. It was frustrating to actively produce a physical characteristic that I personally enjoyed just to feel taunted about the fact that I dyed my hair. No, I didn’t dye it because I wasn’t happy with what I was born with. I love my hair brown; I just love my hair blonde more at this moment in time.
I also noticed that for some reason there is this whole stigma around dying your hair, which is absolutely ridiculous:
#1- my hair, not yours.
^ All of this applies to any form of physical self-expression. I am 18. If I want to mess around with my hair color and cut, I can. If I want to go get my ears pierced up, I can. Having blonde hair didn’t make me confident, what made me confident was dealing with society’s odd view on self-expression via physical changes. People are quick to judge. They’ll judge you on every last characteristic, even those you didn’t even know existed. It doesn’t make sense, it never will, it just is how it is. What I learned is that I just don’t care. If this is something I am happy with, I do not take the opinion of others into consideration. After all, this is my body and my life, not theirs.
Self-expression via our physical appearance is very limited in today’s world. I mean this in the sense that our culture is composed of two extremes: the go for it! and the absolutely not. side. People who absolutely 100% support you doing you are going for it! People who want you to conform to their expectations of how you get to live your life are absolutely not. This shouldn’t exist, especially not now regarding hair dying or piercings.
Changing up how you look is one of the easiest and most fun ways to express yourself. Before we graduate college and go off into the big world, we are completely free. Yeah there are various social constructs but they don’t really matter, you do you, ya feel????? I am a strong believer in the idea that these are the days we should explore how we physically like ourselves to appear. Mess around with your hair, or your makeup or your clothes. You’re young and it really doesn’t matter.
In the wise words of Dr. Suess:
“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”