I grew up constantly hearing my mother and others tell me to never dye my hair, that people pay a lot of money to get their hair to look like my natural color. For years, I took pride in that and believed that I shouldn’t change it. Adding to that trend, I then never cut it. For years, I had the same long blonde hair.
Then, last year I decided to cut it shorter, just past my shoulders, and dye it red.
To be fair to myself, I had wanted to do it for a while, but every time I brought it up, I got a similar reaction, that I shouldn’t change my hair. When asked why I wanted to change it, I never had a straight answer, but I started to understand that I didn’t need one.
Sure, I have influences, like my favorite Disney princess, but overall, I just wanted a change. It was the beginning of my sophomore year, I was finally feeling a sense of independence, and there was no reason not to.
I was also pleasantly surprised when people liked it. Changing your appearance might not always seem like a big deal, but it affects almost everything in your life.
In my case, it gives me a chance to be more myself.
That may sound weird to some people, “you change yourself to be yourself?”, but when you’ve lived your whole life looking a certain way, it can morph into your identity. I believe I used my hair as a kind of safety blanket. It was long enough that I could cover my face or entire back, so by cutting it and dyeing it a color that is harder to ignore, I gave myself a kind of confidence boost.
I don’t like a lot of attention, but it is nice to be noticed or get a compliment sometimes. My hair is no longer a way for me to hide, but a way for me to stand out and lessen my anxiety. If I feel like people are looking at me, I just imagine it’s because of my hair.
I am not the quickest to embrace change, in fact, I’ve proven myself quite stubborn, but I feel like dyeing my hair is the smallest way to make the biggest impact on my life. Since I started dyeing my hair, I feel more willing to try new things, like meeting new people or allowing myself to be challenged.
I don’t think changes in my personality or identity necessarily derive from dyeing my hair; I think dyeing my hair is a part of the change.
Changing your appearance is a way to express yourself, and that is why I do it. I want to show myself, and others, a different side of me and a new stage in my life.
My hair, or any part of my appearance for that matter, doesn’t define me, doesn’t change the fact that I’m me. It’s just hair, but it is my hair.