I looked at my reflection in the mirror this morning and was heartbroken with the head that stared back at me. A crown of glossy jet-black hair rudely sat atop my head. Black hair that was steadily replacing my halo of gorgeous teal hair.
Teal hair that used to be vibrant blue. Sometimes Jared Leto’s Joker green. Other times shimmering aqua. And once, a madness of blue, green, purple and mint. Teal hair that once made me thrilled to find a stray hair in my food.
And now the blackness that is cruelly tearing through my scalp and spreading through my glory like hay amongst a rainbow orchard, is threatening to eat away at my very core.
Believe me, I’ve toned down the drama.
I’m unsure about a lot of things, mostly pertaining to myself.
I’m a copywriter with an unreasonable fear of words. I’m a Gen-X-er who can’t hashtag or vine (that’s a verb, right? I just made it worse, didn’t I?). I’m a mum experimenting with my very own Jon Snow Parenting. My lower half is half a dress size larger than my upper half, which is testament to how deep my confusion runs.
Through all of this, the one thing I’m sure of is my hair. Even when I hate it, I hate it indubitably. When I love it, you’ll know.
So when I fell madly in love with a shade of blue, I knew exactly where to put it.
Two days of strand tests and six hours of bleaching, colouring and toning later, there I was, blue as the day Cookie Monster was born. No amount of ‘feeling blue’ puns could drag me down from the blue-sky-high (sorry) perch I was perched on. I could barely tear myself away from the mirror. For days afterwards, I couldn’t wipe the blue dye off my nape or the big grin off my face.
Five months later, as the black crept in and started edging out the blue, I turned the whole thing blue, green and purple.
I was on a high. The kind of high where it’s not only possible, but it’s also poetic to see My Little Pony, Little Mermaid and a 90’s Troll doll in a psychotic threesome on my head.
But, people! People have so many questions to shake you out of your high.
“Are you tying to stand out?”
“Are you trying to fit in?”
“Have you completely lost your mind?”
“How bored/drunk were you?”
“What statement are you making?”
“Who the hell do you think you are?
Lucky for me, I don’t need to answer them. You see, they’re all rhetorical questions and the questioners have already made up their minds.
Here’s my question: Why isn’t “because I felt like it” an acceptable answer? Everyone wants a story. A Carpe Diem moment of clarity when I decided it’s now or never. A drunken misadventure. A calling. A lost bet.
I’ve got none of that. Just a woman-child and her desire to have peacock cotton-candy hair.
Try as I may (I don’t), I cannot peel my eyes off myself. In photos with my sweet child, I zoom past him to analyse the scintillating shades of blue and green in my hair. Every elevator ride turns into an exercise in self-admiration and every mirror reflection into a fascinating work of art.
The many colours in my hair are so mesmerising that strangers on the street walk into one another staring at me, so why can’t I lose myself in it?
When babies spend forever admiring their reflection in the mirror, it’s called self-awareness. When I do it, it’s vanity.
Like Carrie Bradshaw would’ve asked: Why is it impossible for us to absolutely, unequivocally adore ourselves?
This isn’t a serious issue like feminism or body image; it’s about not taking yourself too seriously. About doing what makes you feel good. About loving what you see in the mirror because it’s fun and it makes you smile. About being your own pick-me-up.
Sometimes, superficial is the way to go. Do because it’s pretty; it makes you laugh; it makes you pay attention to yourself for a minute longer; it’ll make a damn good story someday.
And when the colours fade, makeup washes off and magic underwear stretches out, it’s just you. The you that dared to colour, toiled to makeup and held your breath long enough to squeeze into that underwear. You didn’t just love the superficial, you loved it on you.
Which is why I’ve decided to embrace the black as a new and intrusive shade in my hair (as of the last 3 minutes). It adds character. Plus I’m an ocean away from my hairdresser and I don’t want to think about it. And even at 40% colour, my hair is always greener on my side.