It was a day that I will forever remember. It was the first time I was allowed to dye my hair. I was 13 years old, and I had watched my sister and mother get their hair dyed before. I was prepared for the foils that would be carefully and strategically placed in my hair. I will never forget the feeling I had as my hairdresser spun the chair around for me to see my fresh, coppery brown highlights. I was over the moon.

From that day forward, I got excited to pick a new shade of hair color every time I went to the hair salon. I would think about what my next shade would be. Would I go lighter? Maybe blonde? Who knows?

In 2015, I remember when the woman doing my hair accidentally dyed my hair a bit too orange and said: "Should we just tone it to red?" I eagerly nodded, and thus blossomed my love for red hair. I looked at it constantly in the mirror or whenever I caught my reflection. I was enamored with the shade. I remember getting so many compliments at school and I thought I wanted my hair to look like that forever.

Flash forward to the summer of 2016, the day I decided I wanted to move away from highlights and onto a full head of color. From this day on, I knew on the inside that I was going to have colored hair for a very long time, maybe even for my whole life. I remember seeing it in the car and being completely in love with the reddish-purple color that I ended up with. It was exactly the color I wanted. And it was all over my hair, not just in one section.

Another flash forward to me taking a long break from dyeing my hair and realizing in 2017 that I wanted to go bolder. I wanted something different. I wanted to go brighter. And most of all, I wanted to (as cliche as this sounds) match my outside to my inside. I'll never forget the moment when I looked in the mirror as my hair was being blown out. This feeling of pure joy filled me from head to toe. I knew that this was how I felt on the inside. From then on, a part of me opened that I didn't even know was closed. I was the girl with purple-blue hair, but I had also become the girl who was not afraid to truly express herself!

For me, coloring my hair is a way to artistically express myself. A way to indirectly show people, whether they know me personally or not, a piece of my personality that I don't have to explain in words. A way for me to showcase an important part of my identity. So to answer the question: I dye my hair to be me, fully and unapologetically.